Great Cars Available…Get It Before It's Gone. Check the date of the post. If it is a few weeks old, it is probably too late.


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SOLD!! Major Mini Mania: A Real 1965 Mini Cooper S 1275

Mini Cooper SMinis are cute. I get that. So cute that BMW ripped off the concept and built a successful retro-compact. But the real soul of the Mini lies with an original and originals are hard to come by. I don’t have to tell you why the Austin Mini is a historic vehicle, you can ask Wikipedia to provide you with the details. Essentially the genius lies with a unique packaging concept that allowed a small car to be pretty darn roomy. The byproduct of the transverse layout and unique suspension is that it, with a little help, could be an amazing rally car. Again, Wikipedia will provide the Rally results and you will be astounded. Or perhaps you have Paddy Hopkirk’s cell phone number. Ask him. Or if his line is busy, try Timo Makinen. Minis came with a variety of engine sizes: 848 cc, 970 cc, 997 cc, 998 cc, 1,071 cc, 1,098 cc, 1,275 cc, and were built-in quite a few countries under various names. But the real cool Mini is the Cooper S. It is like the Pontiac GTO of Mini Coopers. Mini Cooper SThe Mini Cooper S 1275 is amongst the rarest of the Minis. According to Wikipedia, 19,000 Mark I Cooper S with 970 cc, 1,071 cc or 1,275 cc engines were built. Read More


SOLD! Armageddon Machine: ’71 Land Rover Series IIA 109 LWB

Land Rover


Irene has found a new home with an enthusiastic owner. We are confident Irene and the new owner will get along famously.

If you are looking for the ultimate wagon for your beach or country home look no further. This LR started out as a working vehicle from a coffee plantation in Cost Rica. It was originally powered by the Land Rover Diesel with the standard Land Rover transmission. At some point it was imported to California. The Land Rover was purchased by a Boulder, Colorado enthusiast who spent several years planning and building this magnificent and extremely capable machine. We believe “Irene” (named after the notorious hurricane) has traveled less than 4,500 miles since the build. In this photo, note the custom galvanized front bumper with a WARN 8,000lb winch with a roller fairlead. Rocky Mountain light guards on the wing mounted lights. 5-bar checker plate on the wings, spring loaded hood hold downs. The snorkel has a pre-cleaner (spinner type) head. The build included a Cummins 4bt Diesel out of a late 90’s delivery truck, rebuilt most of it and installed many new parts in order to have a 100% reliable engine. This engine is what you will find in some Dodge Diesel Pick-ups, FedEx and UPS trucks. This is a great addition to the Rover as it provides lots of power and torque at very low RPM’s. It has a Holset rebuilt turbo, rebuilt injector pump and injectors. The water pump, thermostat, starter, alternator, seals, belt tensioner were replaced.
The engine is mated to a standard Ford bell housing with a standard Ford 11” clutch. There is an external hydraulic clutch slave cylinder. The clutch, slave cylinder and throw out bearing are new. it was treated to new polyurethane motor mounts. Read More


New Obsession: Country music and a Mercedes-Benz 450SLC

Merceds Benz 450SLC

Perhaps you are or were a frequent reader of Mint2Me during my ambitious days, then you’ll probably say that I have an eclectic taste in automobiles. I think that is a good thing because it allows me to appreciate a wide range of cars that I see daily on the automotive landscape. The truth is, although I like a lot of cars, I really like cars with presence. Cars that regular folks, not infected by the car bug, recognize as being special. John Updike said, “most of American life consists of driving somewhere and then returning home, wondering why the hell you went.” Whether your destination is work, the cleaners, or your country home in the hills of Connecticut — we all need to get in a car and go.  So why not make the most of it and do it in something that makes your pulse race?  I believe that more now than I did a few years ago.

In my small, myopic universe, I sense a shift in the tastes and sensibility of young people when it comes to the automobile. Those that still yearn to have a driver’s license. And that, in part, is why I decided to break silence and write this post.

Screen Shot 2016-08-29 at 11.01.02 AMThere is a company in Southern California that rebuilds vintage Mercedes-Benz automobiles to like-new condition. Two things about this that interest me. One, they do not focus on Gullwings or Pagoda SLs. They focus on W123 Diesels – sedans and wagons. Occasionally a big 450SEL or a delicate and elegant late ’70s  Coupe. The second thing is that they are young, like 30-something young. The firm is called Mercedes Motoring and I encourage you to visit their site. They see in these older Mercedes, the ability to recycle a car and give it new life. Not to be a garage queen, but a daily driver. For the price of a well equipped Toyota Camry, you can enjoy the finest in automotive craftsmanship from a period in history that we will never see again. And that is when a car company set out to build the best car in the world without compromise and without entirely being a slave to government mandated rules and regulations. Read More


“Auspicious” – 1939 FIAT 2800 Torpedo Ministriale

IMG_0200Okay, my head is still spinning from my trip to Sicily. I think about these cars every moment, mostly running different scenarios through the empty space between my ear buds. How can I or better said, should I attempt to bring any of these long-lost cars back to America. Some do make sense and I have the short list. Of all the cars, the biggest, baddest of them all haunts me. Its name is “Auspicious” and it belongs to the ’39 FIAT 2800 Torpedo. Fiat 2800 TorpedoNow I like naming cars as a sign of affection and have come up with some clever monikers over the years. Auspicious ain’t one of them. That name came from the House of Savoy, the last reigning royal family of Italy. Sort of. You see, King Victor Emmanuel decided to build 6 luxury parade cars on the 2800 chassis. IMG_0191They would be open cars naturally and not all the same. Some would have glass partitions between the driver and the passengers. Others would be just big Cabriolets. The chassis numbers of the 6 are: 276, 278, 279, 280, 281 and 282. Each was named after a favorite horse from the stables of the House of Savoy. So there are Alcino, Augustale, Admeto, Amicale, Alceste and Auspicious. My cousin’s Torpedo is 281, Auspicious, with the center divider. IMG_0186restored, it will be pretty neat. Thankfully, all of the bits are present. Look at the pictures of “Alceste”, a completely preserved original. So what do readers of Mint think? Does it deserve reclamation?Screen Shot 2016-06-06 at 1.33.13 PM


Missione Compiuto! (Mission Accomplished)

Lancia Aurelia

A Lancia Aurelia B10 in the collection

Our trip to Sicily is over and I have to report that it was a success. Not exactly representative of what my fantasy was as a 15-year-old. No Ferraris or Maseratis but a neat experience just the same. The Alfas in a garage in Enna that we saw on day 1 are all worthy; An Ivory ’75 Spider Coda Tronca in great nick, a ’61 Giulia Spider and a GTV in Grigio. What’s not to like in that group?

Avorio Alfa Romeo Spider Coda Tronca

Avorio Alfa Romeo Spider Coda Tronca

I see potential giggles in the ’47 Lancia Aprilia we met in garage one. It was parked next to the Lancia Augusta Pininfarina with a special body slightly different from the production model. Tucked in the corner was the Lancia B10, the first ever production V6.

Alfa Romeo 2600 Sprint

Pre-war Fiat, Bianchi Tipo Monza, Alfa 2600 Sprint

It looked solid and complete and probably ready for the Mille Miglia or at least the California Mille. The Lancia Flavia in garage 3 is pretty sweet and so was the Series 3 Appia.  Out on the farm, there is a sweet Fiat 1500L in dark blue with strong American styling cues. One of the Giulia ti looks like it could be brought back.

Alfa Romeo 1900 Berlina Super

Alfa Romeo 1900 Berlina Super

The ’57 Alfa 1300 Sprint is an early car with an original column shift that is in need of everything including being returned to the original color Blu. The Mercedes 190SL will find a friend at the right price and it will look great restored to the colors it was born in – black with red interior and a white hardtop. That won’t be easy but they do seem to bring the money. There is a tiny Fiat Balilla 508 Weber that it amazing as well as an early Fiat 1100 tv from the early ’50 with a folding top. Back to Mercedes for a second. The 180 Ponton is solid as a rock and powered by gasoline. Neat.

Fiat Balilla 2 -Porte and a Fiat 1100 A

Fiat Balilla 2 -Porte and a Fiat 1100 A

My favorite and the one I would want to restore is the 2600 Sprint with the elegant Bertone coach lines showing through the dust and vermin poop. An Alfa Romeo 1900 Berlina Super was a surprise. I didn’t know he had one and they are pretty collectible versions of their cousins the beautiful Coupes by various Carrozzieri.

Mercedes-Benz 180

Mercedes-Benz 180 Ponton

We may not have mentioned how difficult it has been to get information out of a shipper. We can’t make an offer unless we know that key component. My cousin in Catania came to the rescue with a contact at MSC Sicilia. one of the most challenging aspects if we intend to rescue these cars is getting them out of their resting places. It won’t be easy particularly for the cars in town.

Alfa Romeo 2600 Sprint

Alfa Romeo 2600 Sprint

The streets of Enna are small and I can’t envision anything more than a single car carrier. The farm will be somewhat easier although each car presents its own little bio hazard. I guess the folks that found the Baillot hoard of great cars in France had the same issues. If only this collection had a few really special cars. But I am not disappointed. It is the end of a 50 year journey and who knows, a year from now a freshly restored Alfa might be sitting in my garage waiting for a run up to Lime Rock Park Race Track.

Fiat Topolino - Ran when parked!

Fiat Topolino – Ran when parked!

This was a real surprise!

This was a real surprise!


Drivers fast, Internet, not so fast!

27161775872_6323b2d4b0_kYesterday we visited a small town in central Italy. We rented a BMW 1 Series and it was almost too big for the narrow and steep streets of Naro. But this isn’t a travel blog, it is about cars. With that said, we have to mix a little travel log with car blog. I miraculously found an “agriturismo” farm called Mandranova. They specialize in award winning olive oil production. Our first night we sat alone with the founder, Giuseppe, and just began the usual small talk about where we came from and how we like Sicily. About 5 minutes in, I hear the Giuseppe mention his love of classic cars and the rest is history. 26652264644_6f7a701e4a_kThe next morning we toured not his olive oil production but his collection of 5 spectacular classics. The stable includes a 3 time Mille Miglia Storica Lancia B20GT, a 356A Porsche Coupe, an Alfa Giulia Sprint GT Veloce and my fave, a Fiat 1100TV race car. Call me crazy but it is so cute. I told him about the collection of my grand cousin and he may be interested in some of the cars. His restorer is in Palermo and by the looks of the collection, he is pretty talented. Today we tour the olive oil factory and ponder the old dusty collection. Decisions will have to be made soon. Projects anyone? Raise your hand soon! The clean cars are not part of my cousin’s collection!! of27258977065_e5c4d5d65b_k








We have arrived in Sicily!

FIAT 508 BalillaIt isn’t surprising that the worst experience we’ve had so far involved something referred to as dinner on American Airlines. The lovely flight attendant said “my you didn’t eat much” and I answered, “I wonder why?”. She laughed, “I know”. We are in Sicily now, overwhelmed by our experience to date. Our family has been the most gracious hosts, feeding us home cooked meals twice a day. Dinner ends at 11 o’clock. After spending 2 days hopping around old cars parked door handle to door handle, we were and are exhausted. The entire experience met our expectations. We knew the cars were hidden away, many for more than 50 years. Some were unfortunate beyond being abandoned – part of the roof of one of the stone and wood farm outbuldings collapsed on them. 26576775023_c57ebce30a_kSomehow the unrealized dream of packing up one of the cars immediately for my own selfish pleasure didn’t bother me. With that said, some of these family members will make it to the USA. Which ones I am not entirely sure. I laughed at wanting the 1934 Fiat Balilla 508 that my mother rode in 50 years ago. The sentiment is certAlfa Romeoainly there but the reality is it would never make it up the hill we call Sheehan Road. And scarier is the thought of descending said hill. I have to digest about 400 pictures taken so far and perhaps 10 mini-films. So please be patient while we try to do justice to this experience. I met Tom Cotter at Amelia Island this past March and he is of course, the well-known “barnfinder”. When I told him what was in store for us he said it was a book. I think so.



A 50-Year Journey

Study Hall was invented to allow high schoolers the opportunity to do what they didn’t do the night before. For me, not so much. I preferred to slip my new issue of Car & Driver, into my English Lit notebook, so Brother Gabriel “the punisher” wouldn’t catch me. I couldn’t see the difference between reading Chaucer and his insufferable use of the English language and reading David E. Davis waxing poetically about the benefits of disc brakes and radial tires. David E., the editor of Car & Driver, once said that “god does not charge us for driving before breakfast”. Brilliant.

My grandfather on my mom’s side died unexpectedly in March of ’65. I was a freshman back then. When the dust settled and the last cannoli devoured, my grandmother declared she wanted to return to the old country, the country where she grew up and met the love of her life. My mother was the only sibling of 4 that had a command of the native language so she packed grandma’s black dresses and off they went.Car & Driver

First stop, Rome, the eternal city where cousin Simone was the Questore di Roma. That position was like a police commissioner and prosecutor rolled into one. Because of his high rank, he sent a car and driver to meet the grieving Americans. The car and driver (no pun intended) would be at their disposal during their stay. And their planned stay would be 4 weeks. A long time to be without a mother. But there was time for letter writing.

Her first letter included a picture of her standing next to a Ferrari 275 GTB. She stopped a gentleman who had just parked the car and told him how much her son would enjoy a photo. Luisa & Ferrari Open DoorShe stepped behind the open door as he captured my favorite image of her. I wrote back asking her to make sure she made it to the Baths of Caracalla, the largest in ancient Rome. We were studying ancient Rome in Latin class and I knew I could use the extra credit the pictures would get me. After her stay in Rome, the grief tour headed south to Sicily and my grandparents’ home town of Savoca.

My first letter

Savoca is one of those ancient mountain towns so typical of Italy. Allegedly, Savocans are more pure Sicilian than most because they were able to defend the town from the invaders. And there was no shortage of hordes desperate to take Savoca. There are many blonde haired, blue-eyed Savocans and I am not one of them. I have the blue eyes, but the hair, not so much. It is here in Savoca, back in 1966, that my current story takes shape.

Not long after her arrival in Savoca, I received another welcome light blue air mail envelope from my mother. The letter told me of her travels with Grandma and their first visit in Sicily with another cousin, a radiologist by the name of Salvatore Bongiorno. They call him Turredo. The next paragraph in the letter would set me on a 50-year journey that will end sometime in the very near future – Turredo was a car guy and allegedly had a collection of really neat old cars. I couldn’t convince my dad to let me call mom that very night. I needed to know what cousin Turredo had tucked away in that little mountain town in Sicily. I wrote back but there wasn’t enough time left for her to answer via snail mail.

That grief tour turned my mother into a true Italian. Not a version of Carmela Soprano. More like Olivia de Havilland as Meg Johnson in Light in the Piazza kind of Italian. When she left for Italy, her first name was Louise and when she returned, it became Luisa. Her trips became more frequent, almost annually and always 4 weeks or more. She brought back Gucci, Trussardi, and recipes from family cooks but never information about Turredo’s car collection. One trip yielded a clue. She brought home a black & white image of Turredo’s son, Carmelo, when he was a boy. He was featured piloting an Auto Corsa Indianapolis children’s car. He posed wearing a helmet and driving gloves in front of an Alfa Romeo Gran Sport Quattroroute- an Alfa Romeo recreation built between 1965 and 1967.

Turredo's son

Fast forward 49 years. My beautiful mother who posed in front of a flaming red Ferrari was now confined to a wheelchair, ate purred food and hardly uttered a word. Some part of life sucks and then you die. And she did, just days ago on March 31st. But what a life she had. Our connections to family in Italy remain strong because my sister, Rosemary, took over the responsibility. She could never figure out how to master a manual transmission however Rosie had a way with languages that escaped me. In life there are forks in the road and I took the one with lots of curves.

Rosie was in Florence visiting another favorite cousin, Mario Bongiorno. She sent me a text with a picture of her with her husband, Lou and Mario at a restaurant in Florence. Rosie was eating my mother’s favorite dish, braised rabbit with olives and rosemary. I knew Mario kept in touch with Turredo who is now 93 years old. I jokingly sent back a response that said something like “ask Mario to call Turredo and tell me what cars he has”. There aren’t many things in my life that have turned my knees into less than reliable support. But the next text I would get an hour later made me reach for a chair. Turredo has 53 cars and he wants them all gone.

That was October of 2015. Since then, I have been in touch with Carmelo, his son, who must be in his late fifties now and is handling things for his father. He isn’t the best communicator and doesn’t write to me in English. I rely on Google for translation. I wanted to book a flight right away but he urged me to wait for spring. Since then I have been given a list of the cars in the collection. Months went by as I try to pry more details from Carmelo. He has learned well from his father. Don’t say too much and that I am told that is a typical Sicilian trait.

The collection has 8 Alfas that I am interested in. There are Giulietta Sprints and Spiders, a 2600 Sprint and a brace of those cool Giulietta 1300Tis. I think a few 1600Tis too. The Lancias range from early Augustas, Ardeas and Aprilias to a cool B10 and B21 Sedan; almost all Mille Miglia eligible. The Fiats are ancient too including a rare 2800 Ministeriale that was used as a parade car. There are Topolinos, Balillas and 1100s too. Turredo has a rare Moretti Alger Le Cap and one of these cars is a real Mille Miglia survivor. I don’t yet know which car is the survivor nor do I know the condition of any of the cars. Carmelo says some need to be “restored”, others “renewed” and some “revived”.

My wife and I are 19 days away from our flight to Rome with a direct connection to Catania. From there we head inland to Savoca. I’ve spent a considerable amount of time studying and researching as I probably should have done back in Xaverian’s study hall. I now know where to find chassis and motor numbers for most of the cars I will be inspecting. My wife and self-appointed infectious disease doctor, Ronnie, has acquired latex gloves and dust masks to fend off the unknown pathogens lurking in the various “houses for cows” where the collection is hidden.

I bought a new camera that takes HD video at 60fps and can handle 5,000 photos before saying “uncle”. We’ve got batteries and chargers and an Audi A1 rental that has WiFi. So images will be coming back to loyal readers and collectors of interest faster than images from the Mars Rover. Stay tuned and watch for news from Sicily. Please know this, loyal readers and friends of Mint2Me: If I discover that some or all of the cars are worth bringing back, you will be the first to have the opportunity to acquire one. Let me know what you might be interested in and we can stay in more formal, personal contact.

Ciao, and my Instagram account is Mint2Me. Follow us on the trip!

BTW: I have changed the name of cousins and the actual town the cars are located for obvious reasons…to protect the innocent.


The Amelia Island Concours – 21 years

A Ferrari 250LM and an OSCA guarded...

A Ferrari 250LM and an OSCA guarded…

We met a few friends here at Amelia during the weekend. Our friend Judy Stropus invited us to a casual dinner party where I listened to some great stories from Dick Fritz, former NART team manager and Chuck Cantwell, godfather of the Shelby GT350/GT350R program. The Mahi Mahi was okay but the conversation was outstanding. And this is what is great about Amelia Island Concours. It attracts some of the greatest contributors to Motorsport in addition to the opportunity to admire the world’s greatest automobiles.

I must confess that I do not play golf and therefore I can think of no better use for the beautiful greens of the Ritz-Carlton’s 10th and 18th fairways than showcasing some of the world’s most important and historic motor cars. The magician for making all of these cars appear seemingly over night is Bill Warner. “Diverse doesn’t begin to describe Amelia 2016,” said Bill Warner, founder and Chairman of the Amelia Concours d’Elegance. “We let our passions shape Amelia, so the field has a unique flavor that even hard core racers tell us they really love.” We thank Bill and his team of literally hundreds of volunteers for making this event possible. And what an event it was.

My personal favorite effort of Bill’s team was assembling a collection of Spanish Pegasos. I am told that around 20% of the entire production of Pegasos were on hand to amaze. Each one in spectacular coachwork. We were surprised to see a Pegaso owned by one of Mint’s neighbors, Keith Andersen. Frankly, Keith has some great cars that he occasionally parks outside his fabulous restaurant, Community Table. I didn’t know a Pegaso was part of his collection. BMW was given the opportunity to share its 100-year milestone giving driver Hans Stuck a chance to reacquaint himself with some of his finest race cars. Lamborghini Miura celebrated a birthday too – 50 years of making incredible music to those lucky enough to hear one run, full chat.

Pegaso Z-102 Saoutchik

Pegaso Z-102 Saoutchik






Pegaso Z-102 Touring Berlinetta

Pegaso Z-102 Touring Berlinetta

There were concept cars from everywhere but Detroit placed gingerly around a water hazard – most celebrating styling cues from the jet age. Outlandish in concept yet spectacular to look at. I had an opportunity to get up close with the famous Phantom Corsair and actually spotted it driving to the tee it would occupy during the event. Crazy impractical but imaginative. By now you understand Bill Warner’s comment about diversity.

Phantom Corsair

Phantom Corsair

The crowds on Concours day were amazing. Mind you, this is a fund raiser and they aren’t shy about ticket prices. You need $120 to enter and it is worth every cent. I don’t know what the total amount raised is as of this writing. Thankfully, we were able to get on the field on Saturday late afternoon and early on Sunday. One of our favorite opportunities was to get up close to a 1934 SS1 at the Jaguar Heritage display. The SS1 is actually the first sports car produced by SS (to be renamed Jaguar after the war), and was constructed by one of SS’s senior employees. Rare indeed.

1934 SS1

1934 SS1

The judges had their work cut out for them. Once again, Bill Warner assembles some of the most influential people to review and compare the best of the best. Pete Brock, Derek Bell, Wayne Cherry, Luigi Chinetti, Jr, Ken Gross are just a few of the more than 100 experts on hand. They awarded Best of Show Concours de Sport to the 1952 Pegaso Z-102 BS 2.5 Cupula Coupe owned by Evert Louwman and Best of Show Concours of Elegance at the 2016 Amelia Island Concours went to the 1930 Rolls-Royce Phantom II Town Car from the Nethercutt Collection.

Pegaso Cupula Z-102 Winner

Pegaso Cupula Z-102 Winner

We couldn’t possibly photograph all of the entrees and I encourage you to read other reports like, Sports Car Market and my fave, Petrolicious. Until next year.

762 Mile, Austin-Healey Sebring Sprite

762 Mile, Austin-Healey Sebring Sprite

Janis Joplin's Porsche 356 Cabriolet

Janis Joplin’s Porsche 356 Cabriolet

'53 Fiat 8V Supersonic

’53 Fiat 8V Supersonic

'53 Ferrari 250 Europa Vignale

’53 Ferrari 250 Europa Vignale







Amelia Island Concours – the auction days, Day 2

I am glad I held off on declaring the status of the collector car market until Saturday’s RM/Sothebys auction concluded. When the last hammer fell, $38.6 million dollars had changed hands with 89% of the offerings sold. Well folks, the state of the collector car market for quality cars is strong. For run of the mill cars produced in high volume and in not so spectacular condition, not so strong.

bentleyFor example, a rare and beautiful ’54 Bentley R-Type sold $1,850,000, $450,000 over high estimate. I don’t know if that is a record price but it was strong. A well-documented and stunning ’60 ACE went for $495,000 and that I am sure is a record price.


And then came Lot 160 – a ’72 Ferrari GTB/4 Daytona Coupe. It hammered at a disappointing $605,000. It was a nice enough Daytona with some performance modifications that may have hurt the car. But general consensus is that a Daytona or any high volume Ferrari isn’t that special anymore. Cloak one in a great color with terrific provenance and few miles and the story might be different.


And then came “the greatest beast of them all” – the Goldschmidt ’62 Ferrari 400 Superamerica Aerodinamico. This car had everything. Long term ownership by the original family, great specifications, and original mechanical components. The Ferrari, when delivered to Mr. Goldschmidt while vacationing in Switzerland, was originally finished in Rosso Cina and is now Blu Chiaro. It sold for an appropriate $4.4 million a whopping $1.1 million more than the high estimate. Quality trumps all.



Amelia Island Concours – The auction days, Day 1


Setup day on the concours lawn

Setup day on the concours lawn

I am told there are over 600 volunteers working to make all of the activities of this weekend go off without a hitch. As a former corporate meeting planner, I am impressed by how well it works. In addition to the concours on Sunday, there is the RM/Sothebys auction, the really fun Cars and Coffee on Saturday, a silent auction plus countless vendors and car companies vying for attention.  And that my friends isn’t hard.  Want a ride in a new Jaguar or Porsche? Step right up! The real fun is attending the auctions.


For me, the real litmus test of the health of the collector car market occurs on Fernandina Beach during Concours weekend. Scottsdale is first but like the Iowa Caucus, it is much too early in the year to know what’s happening. At Amelia Island, collectors have already submitted their voluminous tax returns and have a clean slate to proceed at will. Gooding and Company is first off the line with a stunning and well curated array of original condition and impeccably restored classics. The amazing cars from Jerry Seinfeld’s collection commanded as much attention as the sitcom’s finale in ’98. How will it end? Let’s see…


Of the first ten cars to cross the stage controlled by the lovable Charlie Ross, 3 cars entered into estimate territory and 1, a magnificently restored Buick Super Estate Wagon, was a no sale. There was little interest in a ’73 Fiat 130 or a ’77 F40 Land Cruiser – a truck that, before yesterday, could make a 6 figure sale in a nano second. Jerry did welcome the crowd and assured every winner bidder would receive a photograph of Jerry. The collection did well cumulatively although there was 1 no sale. There did appear to be a celebrity premium with cars selling well over Price Guide prices. A ’55 550 Spyder sold for $5.335 million and then bang, a ’57 356A Speedster hits $682,000! The big surprise was the 917/30 CAN AM car. The paddles stayed silent. This car had limited or no race history and that is not what makes a race car valuable. They are fast but not pretty so the value is in the provenance. I am told it sold after for $3 million. The ’59 Porsche 718 RSK (we missed seeing this one go) sold at almost $1 million under the low estimate. Don’t feel too bad, the ’74 Carrera Revson IROC racer sold for $810,000 over high estimate. And if you could ever conceive of a ’60 VW Beetle selling for $121,000, it did and it was Jerry’s. And one of my favorites, a ’64 VW Camper in original condition sold for $99,000. When the auction was over, Jerry went home with $22.2 million and 1 Porsche Carrera GT Prototype. Well done.

Among these outstanding examples, there is another class of motorcars – they don’t have a name other than they are super rare and super desirable. Take the winningest ’64 Shelby Cobra selling for $100K over high estimate at $1.2 million. A ’66 Ford GTMK I in street clothes sold appropriately for $3.3 million. Follow that up with a ’60 Ferrari 250GT Series II Cab at $1.512 million. Not all Ferraris did well and there were a few Ferraris that remain in the owner’s hands. Except for the show star – a ’61 Ferrari 250GT SWB Cal Spider. It was hammered at an eye-watering $17.160 million.  All of the sale prices we quote in this article are hammer prices.

Gooding & Company sold $60,162,000 all in and an 87% sell through. I would say the patient is in good shape.


Saturday is the RM/Sothebys auction at the posh Ritz-Carlton Grand Ballroom. Can’t wait for that. The field is amazing. My favorites are the Ferrari Superamerica, a nifty AC Ace and a red Mercedes 540K Spezial.

I’ll wait until RM/Sothebys is over to offer my opinion of the health of the collector car market. Right now it seems stable for A-list cars and less so for restored cars that were produced in reasonably large volume. The final opinion will come after RM/Sothebys. Okay, I am not an expert but everyone is entitled to their crazy version of reality. Even Donald Trump.



2016 Amelia Island Concours and Auctions

It is currently -2 degrees here at Mint’s headquarters in Northwest, Connecticut. However, I can assure you that our anticipation for our upcoming Florida trip is not based on escaping the weather. The Amelia Island Concours and the excitement of the RM/Sotheby’s and Gooding & Company auctions trump (perhaps I should use a different word) the lure of warm weather.

DeTomaso-P70-above-700x467During the past few months, we have spent some time representing a ’69 DeTomaso Mangusta. When we received notification that the Shelby-DeTomaso P70 Can Am car will be in the concours, we were particularly interested. The story behind this ill-fated project -and ill-fated projects aren’t often associated with Shelby – is particularly fascinating. If you want to read more, click on this link.

One of the most iconic celebrity owned cars of the ’60s is certainly Janis Joplin’s Porsche 356 Cabriolet. Screen Shot 2016-02-15 at 10.24.53 AMIt is right up there with John Lennon’s Rolls-Royce and anything owned by Steve McQueen. It just sold at the RM/Sotheby’s auction in New York last December and will be on display at Amelia. More about the history of this groovy Porsche by clicking here.

CoceptsWe are most familiar with American dream cars by the Big 3. Dream cars gave great designers the opportunity to show their vision of the future or give clues to design cues of cars in the pipeline. Dream cars are not exclusive to the American manufacturers. The Europeans will have their day in the sun on the lawn at the Concours on Sunday – a first in the US.

RM/Sotheby’s and Gooding & Company will once again impress us with their ability to represent some of the most incredible collector cars. All eyes will be on the Seinfeld Porsches and we are confident that the soothsayers will be trying to figure out the overall health of the collector car hobby. If you would like to have a look at the auction lots, click here for RM/Sotheby’s and here for Gooding & Company.


Snakes beware: ’69 DeTomaso Mangusta (8MA 728)

DeTomaso Mangusta

Alejandro DeTomaso had the idea to marry a big American V-8 to his Vallelunga backbone-style chassis. Not a revolutionary idea and he knew that. So he decided it needed to be drop dead beautiful to make a splash. Alejandro met Giorgetto Guigiaro, a young designer at Ghia, and hired him to come up with something beautiful. It came together for the Turin show in 1966 when the Mangusta was unveiled with its mid-mounted Ford V-8 and ZF transaxle. Giugiaro did not disappoint with a spectacular 40-inch high body that included gullwing-type engine covers and an aluminum front bonnet. To this day, some say the Mangusta is one of his finest designs. Only 401 were produced, fewer survived, which adds to the car’s desirability.

DeTomaso MangustaOur Mangusta has been in a private collection for many years. The Mangusta is the more desirable 4-headlight example that is preferred by collectors. Fortunately, the Mangusta appears to have held on to most, if not all of its unique parts. A good thing because sourcing trim items for Italian exotics is never easy. The robust American mechanicals are in good working order and we believe them to be original to the car. At 35,000 miles, you would expect that to be the case. The interior shows minor wear, particularly the pedal box carpeting. The seats and door panels appear in good condition and would benefit by a deep cleaning. Electric window lifts on many Italian exotics are not always the fastest when compared to modern lifts. That is the case with this Mangusta. Slow window lifts in many cases can be cured by some cleaning and lubrication. The Mangusta does come with a spare wheel/tire, but no tool kit or owner’s manual.DeTomaso Mangusta

The asking price is $295,000. The Mangusta is stored at the owner’s facility outside of Boston and can be seen and evaluated by appointment.


SOLD!! Its Time: ’67 Mercedes-Benz 230S aka The Colonel

67-MB230S Rear smaller

The old soldier needs a little more than an updated headline stating SOLD!! What a great project. The Mercedes (aka The Colonel) was just about the coolest car we ever created. From beloved family car to vintage rally car, he was ever the most popular car wherever we went. But it was time to move on.

What we are most happy about is the quality of the new owner. And by that I mean a gentleman racer who competes annually in the Carrera Panamericana! He is a great enthusiast and I couldn’t be happier. He will ship the Mercedes to his home in Mexico City and have it stripped and refinished in the original White Gray color. Then back to Connecticut where he will keep it at his summer home about 20 miles from our home. He plans to continue using the Mercedes in rallies but not the Carrera. Long live the Colonel!

Every car deserves a name. We named our Mercedes – The Colonel. So what’s with The Colonel you ask? Well, we love cars with stories. Originally, a US Army Colonel stationed in Brussels purchased the 230S. It is a European specification model with those gorgeous headlamps. He was transferred to Puerto Rico briefly and shipped the Mercedes with him. From there, it went to Seattle. It stayed in the family until 3 years ago when a M-B fan purchased him with the intention of making it his wife’s daily driver. Most of that story turned out to be bunk. The real story is even better.

Mr. Stanley S. was an accountant and was in fact transferred to Brussels. He decided to marry his love, Maria Mercedes R. and honeymoon in Belgium. He surprised her with the gift of this Mercedes-Benz. They did move to Mercedes’s home in Puerto Rico and did take the Mercedes with them. She loved that car and forced Stanley to spend an inordinate amount of money keeping it in good condition.67-mb230s-hemmings-photo-shoot_17354273604_o

We found it on eBay and unfortunately the Mercedes she treasured until 1999 fell into disrepair. It arrived and actually looked pretty good, was solid as a rock but was undriveable.

67-mb230s-hemmings-photo-shoot_17790599479_oThat signaled the beginning of a systematic rebuild/refresh to make it a reliable and competitive vintage rally car. First things first – get the fuel delivery system clean. The gas tank had to be removed, boiled and re-lined and the entire fuel system cleaned. We added an electronic ignition, all new filters, then a complete fluid/lubrication refresh to benchmark it. The front-end was totally rebuilt and new sub-frame mounts installed. We installed Konis at each corner and set them on firm. All of the brakes replaced including the power brake booster. The exhaust has been modified to save weight and sound cool. A classic Cherry Bomb muffler did the trick.

There was a nasty miss at low rpm under load  so we installed a Weber Carb kit. We decided to install a fully electronic distributor from 123 Ignition. We added an auxiliary cooling fan after getting stuck in Lime Rock Race Track traffic on a 90-degree day. You can’t find decent 13″ tires anymore so we upgraded to 14″. Luckily we found a local M-B dismantler who had a rare set of aluminum rims that weigh less than half of the steelies and look pretty much the same. We’ll be running without wheel covers so they were stripped and painted satin black. After some serious research, we decided to go with Michelin Defenders. Turned out to be a good choice.

mercedes-benz-230s-10-most-memorable-classic-german-cars-of-2013-_20678746503_oWhen all this busy stuff was completed and tested, we moved to the shop run by well-known race car mechanic, John Rogers (now retired). He offered his expertise and his shop to assist in fabricating brackets for rally lights, a new dash panel for switches. We had been collecting vintage parts from around the globe while the first part of the build was underway: Our Cibie Super Oscars are from the UK, the Marchal center light from Germany, well you get the picture. Almost everything we added was period correct. We did add a new tach, an outside temp gauge (to warn us of ice), Butler Maplight and a bunch of USB and Aux power outlets. All of the exterior bulbs were sourced through Daniel Stern Lighting who knows a light bulb isn’t just a light bulb. The final accessory – a Brantz analog rally tripmeter.

While we were in the interior, we restored the Becker Grand Prix to working condition (added iPod adapter), added Sirius Satellite radio, repaired the clock (it should work) and refinished the wood dashboard. We even found a NOS dome light to replace the broken one.67-mb230s-hemmings-photo-shoot_17790600229_o

We were all done a week before The Greenwich Concours. We had no expectation when we submitted the Mercedes to the Greenwich folks but it looked so darn cool, they couldn’t resist. We participated in more rallies and concours and always received a great response. In fact, Hemmings Sports & Exotics decided to do a story on it.

The license plate we run on the front is a copy of the Belgian plate that was originally on the car when it was delivered to Colonel Swanson. We still have the registration so the number is correct. Very cool.autoweek-speaks_17977287931_o

Since the build, we were surprised at how popular The Colonel became. Invitations from The 100 Cars of the Radnor Hunt to the prestigious Carmel by the Sea show (during Monterey week) came in. We’ve participated in annual VSCCA Rallies and a few others, never reaching our objective to compete in an Adventure or Endurance Rally like The Tiger Rally or the South American Challenge. We are confident that with a little bit more effort like adding skid plates and redundant fuel pumps, The Colonel has the chops to start and finish any event he puts his mind too.

Our asking price is $21,000. Call Michael at (203) 917-2354


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