The Mercedes-Benz Fintail sedan is not a thing of beauty. But they are rugged and impeccably built and just right for customization. A fully restored to original Finnie may be considered a little boring but a hot rally car, like ours, BaT’s and Classic Motorsports Finnie, are really fun. This one is being sold at a good price, $4,900, and can probably be had for less. The body looks solid as a California car should (it is 5 miles from Disneyland) but the interior is pretty much toast. The Classic Motorsports car was afflicted in the same way and they just bought a donor parts car with a better interior and swapped it out. You will be one step ahead of theirs (maybe more) because their car had some serious rust issues. It already has the Stage 1 Rally Tune-up (no wheel covers). Read More
The “S” is in quotes because this isn’t a real “S” but one heck of Mini regardless. It is a ’66 Austin Mini MK II with a huge personality transformation. It is equipped with a hot 1275cc motor coupled to a ’85 4-speed. The suspension was converted to dry from wet and is fully adjustable. The brakes were upgraded with an S booster and “the best components”. Everything got some attention including the headlights and horn. The interior has racing buckets and they look pretty good to us. Read More
We happen to think the ’65 Fords were one of the most upscale looking Fords of the period. We seem to remember commercials comparing the interior cabin noise to be lower than that of a Rolls-Royce. Perhaps it wasn’t a Rolls but it was something expensive. They had very simple elegant design with stacked headlamps that were popular back then. The top sedan was the LTD and the top wagon was, and always will be, the Country Squire. This one is very special and probably one-of-one. Read More
The first version of the MG Midget was essentially a slightly more expensive version of the Austin Healey Sprite MKII. Although not as charming as the original Bug Eye Sprite, the Mark II Sprite and the Midget were very cool, capable little sports cars. MK I Midgets are simple cars with a rear suspension that retained the quarter-elliptic sprung rear axle from the original Sprite. The early Midget’s engine was a 948 cc with twin SUs producing 46 hp at 5500 rpm. Brakes were 7-inch drums all round. In October ’62 the engine was increased to 1098cc, raising the output to 56 hp at 5500 rpm, and disc brakes replaced the drums at the front. That extra 10 hp makes for more spirited driving in such a little car so the disc brake addition is a nice feature. The seller says they only built 9,601 1098cc Midgets and if they are correct, that isn’t very many. Read More
Many collectors and hobbyists prefer the earliest versions of their marque of choice. Jaguar lovers covet the flat-floor, Moss gearbox, outside latch E-Types even though the next generation is much more enjoyable and looks pretty much the same. We will elevate the Volvo 1800S in this analogy. The earliest cars were not known as “S” but simply P1800 because the bodies weren’t built in Sweden. They were built by Jensen and the quality was a little iffy. Volvo brought production to Sweden in 1963. The early cars have some interesting details and are very rare to find in unrestored, original condition. The most common early cars we see are like today’s ’65. Read More
We have attended and participated in Concours events before but only a recent attendance at Pebble Beach could prepare you for Amelia Island. In only its 19th Year, Bill Warner has led a talented and dedicated team to quickly become one of the premier events in the world. Quickly and 19 years doesn’t sound quite right but consider the competition from events around the globe and Pebble Beach has a 44 year head start. And Bill didn’t quit his day job either. Bill Warner is founder of The Amelia, chairman of the Amelia Foundation, and also serves as president of his own business, H. C. Warner, Inc., an industrial filtration company. He also owns and operates Bill Warner Racing. I’m tired just writing about him. Read More
We will be on the road for the next few days trying to find a dry path up north to Mint’s home in Connecticut. Today’s stop is Asheville, North Carolina. Until we return, posts may get a bit spotty unless some of our readers sends us something really interesting.
The Gooding & Co. auction produced a lot of interesting results but here is one that reflects back to our early days – the ’69 Michelotti Fiat Shellette. Michelotti was asked to design and build a successor on the newer 850 platform for Philip Schell. Only 80 cars were built and we have no knowledge of how many survive. This pretty blue Shellette is a barn-find with 9,900 miles and is in excellent working and cosmetic order. We featured it in February 2013 for $58,000 without any takers. So the seller had the guts to give it to Gooding & Co with no reserve. The selling price of $55,000 includes buyers premium so they didn’t quite get what they wanted but they didn’t suffer too bad. The Ferrari 365 GTC4 at RM was another car of interest. We have one at Mint’s go-to shop/office. The owner may want to sell but no commitments yet. This 365 was impeccable, probably top of the food chain. It hammered at an eye-watering $335,500. Good for the seller and what a great car. The Iso Grifo is unique and may not be representative of the Iso Grifo market. Read More
RM Auctions gave us one heck of a ride on Saturday. Again, we’ll leave the analysis of the general trend of the market to experts. We’ll provide a more detailed review of the sales we were interested in when we get more time. Amelia Island presents an amazing opportunity to meet old friends and new people leaving little time for sitting at the computer. After the Concours today, we start driving back to Connecticut, dodging any snow or ice that may present itself along the way.
We were present for the star of the RM Auction – Malcolm Pray’s French Mistress. She is a 1937 Delahaye Competition Court Torpedo. Pray admired this Delahaye at an Auto Show as a teenager. He drew a little sketch of the car and pinned it on his wall proclaiming one day he will own that car. Well he did and for over 50 years. The family has decided to let her go in order to help fund the Pray Family Foundation. Malcolm’s little pencil sketch will go along with it. The Auction estimate was quickly surpassed, ending in an Amelia Island RM Auction record. You can watch the entire action unfold by clicking on the image below.
The weather in Florida is brisk but the bidding in the Gooding Auction Tent was brisker. We got a bit of a late start and that sent us to the satellite parking area that was right on the beach. It was even colder there thankfully the bus came quickly. First on the block for us was what Jerry Seinfeld calls “the dead guy car”. He defines that as a car where the owner has to die in order for someone else to gain possession. If you driven one, you would understand. This M471 Lightweight has flawless ownership history. It hammered at $1.275 million, slightly above high estimate. Next up, and leading a parade of BMWs, was a cute as a button BMW Isetta 300, complete with luggage rack and wicker basket. Charlie Ross, the best auctioneer in the business, asked one bidder if he could even fit in it! The hammered price was $46,000. Under the high estimate of $55,000. Our team’s favorite was Lot 29: a barn-find ’64 300SL Roadster with hardtop. The wasn’t a wreck of a barn find but a dusty, unrestored original in near perfect condition…for a rally car! It definitely had some hard miles on it illuminated in front by an array of rally lights and factory headlamp stone guards. The interior was magnificent. The hammered price a stout $2.035 million. As amazing as the SL was the ’55 Ferrari GT Europa in unrestored condition was spectacular. In the same family until recently complete with family pictures when new. Breathtaking and should be left untouched. Did you hear that wealthy person who paid $$2.53 million? Don’t you dare touch it. A ’59 Porsche 718 RSK sold for $3.3 million, off the high estimate by a few hundred grand. But what’s that among these players. There were a host of affordable cars for us regular folks. A 1964 BMW 700 Luxus LS 2-door sold for way under low estimate at $20 grand. Guess the fact the wheels and windows were date-coded didn’t make a difference. We couldn’t stay for the entire auction but we will try to get more auction results from the lower end and report back.
Today is the 2nd Annual Cars & Coffee on the golf course of The Ritz. We elected not to participate with the SL500. It’s nice but not C&C worthy. Later in the day, The RM Auction. That will be interesting.
If you have ever been part of an organizing team for a major event you would know what it is like to run an event of the magnitude of Amelia Island. This is the 19th year of the event and by sheer will and a ton of hard work, it has bullied its way into being one of the top automotive events in the USA, if not the world. That is quite an accomplishment. One might say Amelia Island is the East Coast equivalent of Monterey Week in August. The vibe is a lot different.
The Keller years at Chrysler ended in 1955 with the advent of stylish cars like the 1955 DeSoto Firedome station wagon. K.T. Keller, corporate president since 1935, liked conservative styling with high rooflines that allowed passengers to keep their hats on. But America wanted sleek, stylish cars. Chrysler’s new chief of design, Virgil Exner, really shook things up. His styling was dramatic by 1950s standards. In 1955, Virgil introduced new styling for all Chrysler divisions. Today’s Firedome wagon comes from Dan Aykroyd’s personal collection. Read More
The 500E has been surfing under the radar for years. Just recently it made a list on Yahoo Auto of cars that you need to own. The M-B 500E is a freaking German hot rod in the Pontiac GTO tradition. It looks plain on the outside but watch out. The press called it “a wolf in sheep’s clothing”. How unimaginative. It’s Walter White from Breaking Bad. It is a monster with a top speed limited at 160 mph. They made 1,596 of these bombers. More appropriately Porsche made them. Yup. In a spirit of camaraderie, Porsche assembled the 500E engines for Mercedes. Read More
There are always quite a few Porsche 356s available at any given time. Like any car, if you are interested in a restored car, you should look to a marque expert to have been the one who completed the work. That isn’t a 100% rule. Given the opportunity and a decent budget, a quality shop can do the research to do a decent job. We selected today’s 356B Super not because of the quality of the work but because it is a rare color combination Aetna Blue over red leatherette with a factory sunroof. Read More
On our first anniversary, we reported the top car that received the most interest and sold the fastest. That was Dave’s Bertone X1|9. We never mentioned the runner-up. Well it was a Ford F100 Pickup in Meadow Green very much like the Pickup we have for you today. This one has a special package making it a little bit special. The 5 Star Extra Cab package includes a good many things a normal 5 Star Cab would not have: stainless windshield trim, dual visors, upgraded interior trim, driver and passenger locks, dual horns, dome light with door switches, upgraded heater, full door and kick panels. Read More