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.


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.


Was sold, now it isn’t – Armageddon Machine: ’71 Land Rover Series IIA 109 LWB

Land Rover
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. The transmission is a rebuilt Borg-Warner T-19 fully synchronized 4 speed. It is a close ratio (made for Diesels). These are bullet proof transmissions and are found in Ford and other brand 1-ton pickup trucks and large dump trucks. The transmission fluid is Lucas synthetic. The engine fits very nicely into the room available. There is a 3-core aluminum radiator with a thermostat controlled 3300cfm fan. K & N air filter and a aluminum turbo intercooler. There is an air intake shut down valve (in case of a runaway engine). 1971_Land_Rover_Series_SII_109_Cummins_Diesel_Modified_Expedition_Vehicle_For_Sale_Engine_resizeThe engine also has a 110v block heater as well as a 12v intake air grid heater. Dual batteries with Cole Hersee isolator to keep winch battery and starter battery separate. The winch has fuse protection under the driver’s seat. Louvered vents on hood provide extra cooling on hot days. The T-19 transmission rebuild was commissioned though Advance Adaptors and is mated to an Ashcroft UK High Ratio transfer case using Advance Adaptors specified output shaft and adaptors. This combination gives you lower rpm’s at highway speeds and keeps the original low range unchanged. A Rocky Mountain cooling fin transfer case cover was installed. The entire transfer case was rebuilt with Land Rover parts to include seals and shims. A new speedometer gear was installed with a new speedometer cable. The standard transfer case drum brake was removed and an X-brake, UK was installed. Fluid in the transfer case is Lucas synthetic. Dedicated start battery had to be relocated with a Coleman Products battery mount and an Optima Yellow top due to the increased length of the driveline from the Advance Adaptors configuration, as well as the transmission/transfer case mount.
That crossmember is now of the removable style. The interior (front) has a custom aluminum dash with Auto Meter gauges. There is a hand throttle and 3-speed heater/defroster as well. The steering wheel is a Grant 16” three spoke wheel with a custom steering column mated to a rebuilt Saginaw Power Steering box.

The adjustable custom bucket seats are quickly removable with captive pins for easy access and there is a lockable aluminum cubby box between the seats. 1971_Land_Rover_Series_SII_109_Cummins_Diesel_Modified_Expedition_Vehicle_For_Sale_Interior_resizeInstruments include: LR original speedometer (restored), Tach, Water Temp, Oil Press, Amps, Fuel level (for both tanks), Manual Electronic fan control (you can shut it off for water crossings and leave it on reduced speed for cool downs when engine is off), rear work light switch, off road light switch, turn signals, head lights, horn button, windshield washer button.Land Rover A 40 channel CB radio attaches under the dash and there is a FM / Ipod / SD Card radio player on the overhead. Both original wiper motors have been rebuilt with a new windshield wiper reservoir and pump. Bulkhead vents have new seals with the original Land Rover screens (keeps bugs from flying in when vents are open on the highway). The bulkhead was media blasted and painted with POR-15 before top coating and is 100% rust free. Interior floorboard, foot well and transmission tunnel area has had bed liner material sprayed on for anti-slip properties. The original fold-down LR back seat has been reupholstered. It has three lap seat belts for three passengers and again the floorboard area has had bed liner material applied for anti-slip properties. Original LR grab bar can be seen behind the front bucket seats. Rear cargo area has also had the bed liner material sprayed on and covered with a removal outdoor carpet mat. Shovel and ax mounted against the driver’s side fender. Locking tool storage area has a jack, lug wrench and other tools.
Land RoverThe original LR Series style sliding rear windows have been removed and the newer Defender rear sliding windows installed. Locking aluminum cubby box and a 15 gallon main tank under floor. The rear door has a third (middle of the door) hinge installed and a custom swing away rear tire carrier welded onto the rear bumper. This totally eliminates any door issues from the weight of the tire typically mounted to the door. A full-length roof rack with ladder is mounted to the roof rack and the roof is a Safari style with vents. A Hella rear work light provides rear illumination and a High-Lift jack is mounted onto the roof rack. Irene has original Land Rover mud flaps and there is a Class V pintle tow hitch. Rocky Mountain rear light guards, snorkel, pre-cleaner, roof rack, Hella lights add to its capability in all adverse road and weather conditions. The front axle is an extremely rare LR Salisbury (DANA 60 manufactured under license by LR). All US made DANA 60 parts interchange. This NOS (new old stock) axle was purchased in the US from a dealer who imported it from the Dunsfold Collection, UK. Standard LR swivels balls and seals, with a Bear Mach disc brake kit installed with all new steel and rubber brake lines front and rear. Land RoverThe front end was treated to Rancho steering stabilizer and front shocks and new tie and steering rods, Mile Marker free-wheeling hubs, fresh bearings in wheel hubs and steering knuckles. Axle wading tube was specified. The LR original frame was media blasted, inspected and then modified for the engine swap and also to accept the LR 1-ton spring packs all around. After the modification it was painted with two coats of POR-15 paint. LR drive shaft that was custom re-made by Bud’s Spring Works in Lancaster, PA, when transmission was rebuilt. New custom front drive shaft. It has an axle ratio of 4.70:1, no locker or limited device. Rear axle is also a Salisbury unit from LR. It has new bearings in the wheel hubs and new brake pads in the drums. tumblr_meeyv1iS4U1r8pyt5Differential has new pinion and rear seal. Front and rear spring packs are new LR 1-ton leaf springs, with LR Military Shackles, all new bushings. All four driving tires (and spare) are McCreary Super Lug 9.00 x 16LT bias ply tires. They are load range D. These tires are 36.3” overall diameter. All five tires are mounted are onto the bullet proof LR NATO/Wolf rims. Tires have better than 80% tread left, no cuts. They are balanced. During the current owner’s stewardship, the Rover was treated to a few more refinements including modifying the seats to make access to the spare fuel tank and battery more accessible and a beautiful set of custom front seats. The Rover is located in Litchfield County, Connecticut with an asking price of $38,000. You could not build one like this for that kind of money. Call Michael at Mint (203) 417-6856.

Here are a few videos produced by the previous owner (does not reflect the new custom front seats)


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



SOLD!! Forget Miami Vice: ’92 Ferrari 512TR


It has the shape basic shape as the original Ferrari Testarossa Enzo insisted Miami Vice use to replace the fake Ferrari they were using. But Crockett & Tubbs would be impressed with the improved 512TR. The Ferrari Testarossa was introduced at the Paris Motor Show in 1984. It essentially is a more usable version of the 512BBi Berlinetta Boxer. Ferrari accomplished making room for luggage and reducing cabin temperatures by moving the radiators to the rear of the car. That is why the Testarossa has those massive cooling vents ahead of the rear wheels. Ferraristi call these slats cheese cutters. The Testarossa was always a good performer but it was criticized for being a bit overweight. That was rectified in ’92 with the next generation called the 512TR. And that is what we have here today.


The 512TR shed over 300 pounds!  Under the hood is  a 4.9 liter Colombo Flat-12 engine with four valves per cylinder, forty-eight valves total, lubricated via a dry sump system, and with a compression ratio of 10.00:1.  The new engine gained 38hp to 421hp effectively silencing all critics. The Ferrari 512 TR can accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in 4.90 seconds and on to 100 mph in 10.70 seconds. It can complete a standing quarter mile in 13.20 seconds or a standing kilometer in 23.40 seconds. Top speed increased to 195 mph.


They recently acquired this example from a 20 year owner who used it sparingly. They tell us that photos you’ll see in this listing were taken as soon as the car arrived. No car wash, no detailing, attesting to the fine care the car experienced during his stewardship. The car is in good mechanical condition however it should be treated to a thorough mechanical check and a belt service. The 512TR has all of the tools and books from new and a folder with many service receipts. This 512TR is priced fairly considering it has just had a complete engine out service and clutch plate replacement by Auto Turismo Sport’s Sean Sheridan. Buy it and you’ll still be under market as we expect these 512TRs to move faster than the market in the coming years. Just a feeling. Check it out by clicking here.Engine Out Service

Ferrari 512TR


Some New Information – Cute & Fun: ’58 Fiat 600 Multipla

Fiat 600 MultiplaLong awaited auction results in Monterey are starting to come in. We’ll let the experts read the tea leaves but here is one bright star. A ’58 Fiat 600 Multipla in similar condition to our offering sold for $60,500. Cute sells. Make an offer, have fun and make some money doing it.

Let’s turn back the clock to the 1950s when visions of Audrey Hepburn in Rome on a Vespa made her an Oscar winner and Fiat dominated the market for economy-minded buyers. They charmed people into buying their cars with cute styling and willing engines. The Fiat 600 Multipla, was introduced as a station wagon version of the 600, and it was intended to multiply the flexibility of the 600 for the family or as a small commercial vehicle. It was designed around a rear-mounted, water-cooled engine. Because of this layout, Fiat made some bold decisions like rear hinged front doors, large side doors and well, making it look like a little VW Kombi. It became an icon throughout Europe.Fiat 600 Multipla

Our Fiat Multipla 600 is a station wagon version used exclusively to carry people. It was totally restored by the current owner of 15 years. All of the materials used in the restoration appear to be appropriate and remain in excellent condition. This is the Sport version that does not have jump seats and the seats do fold down. Fiat 600 MultiplaThe motor number matches the data plate and performs very nicely, moving the Multipla down the road at close to 60mph!

More pictures at:

The asking price is $45,000Fiat 600 Multipla


SOLD!! Price Reduction – Very Normale: ’62 Alfa-Romeo Sprint Normale

Alfa Romeo Giulia SprintThe Alfa Romeo Giulietta Sprint and the Giulia that succeeded it are one of the most popular and collectible Alfas on the market. The 2+2 bodywork designed and built by Bertone is seductively beautiful.  The first iteration of the Sprint had a four-speed transmission and column shift; from 1958 that changed to a more modern five speed gearbox and a floor shifter. The Sprint version, with its fastback styling, is a wonderful, long distance touring car with generous interior space for luggage. Approximately 7,100 were produced from ’62 to ’64, roughly 2,000 fewer cars than its roadster stablemate. Therefore the Giulia Sprint is somewhat more difficult to find today in good condition and are prized by Alfisti the world over.18736400750_0b620a0d89_k

We are fortunate to offer a solid, 1962 Giulia Sprint Normale with known history and under the care of a serious Alfa enthusiast for 7 years. Some of the paperwork that survives indicates that it may be, in fact, a black plate California car in the early years. We know this because the current owner has possession of the CA black plate. Oral history (and maybe some documentation) tells us it was owned by an Australian man in California. Allegedly the Alfa participated in the California Mille and perhaps even the Australian Mille. California Mille founder and dealer, Martin Swig, sold the Sprint in 2002 to an enthusiast in Upstate New York. The current owner purchased the Alfa from him 7 years ago.

Before coming east, it was treated to a restoration to a fairly high driver standard. Mechanically, it remains in fine running order and the odometer reads 56,000 miles. The dark blue exterior paint looks good however close inspection will reveal a few flaws that appear to be cracks in the finish. The interior looks as it should with proper materials used throughout. The Sprint has the correct 104hp, 1570 cc, single Solex carburetor motor.

More pictures…

The NEW price is $50,000.00 and you can call me directly at (203) 417-6856.Alfa Romeo Giulia Sprint


Major Price Reduction – Get one now: ’89 Mercedes-Benz 560SL

Mercedes-Benz 560SLI know a few really smart people who are “buying” in on the notion that the last year R107 Mercedes Roadster is the next “it” car. Here is why. Mercedes management decreed that all future SLs (Sport Leicht) after the 280SL would be V-8s. So a long procession of R107 bodied cars began with a 450SL, then a 380SL (yuk) and finally a 560SL (yeah). In the 560SL, Mercedes got it all just right, offering essentially bullet-proof reliability, great power, and elegant good looks. The 560SL combined all that Mercedes learned about the V-8, R107 chassis cars into a cultural icon that quietly and confidently told the world its occupants had “arrived.” Standard equipment included driver’s side airbag and ABS brakes. Interior improvements for the 560SL included burlwood accents, improved lateral seat back support, and a power passenger side mirror. Mercedes-Benz 560SLWe understand that there are literally hundreds of R107 convertibles offered at any given time, and you should be careful when considering one. They can eat you out of bratwurst if you aren’t. So buy the best one you can, one that is serviced regularly and garage kept. Also look for a clean CarFax and little, if any, bodywork. A car that the seller says has “new leather” means it was beat to death. Run in the other direction. Mercedes leather wears like iron. So we got a call yesterday from a nice man. He and his wife, loyal Mercedes-Benz owners, bought this one new 27 years ago. It has been serviced regularly and currently has no issues what so ever. And get this – the sheepskin seat covers came off for the first time when he took the pictures a few days ago. So the leather is blemish-free. We love the color mainly because it is the same as our beloved ’87 300SDL. We think in the R107 world, the color is called Light Fawn (DN441). The luscious interior is Palomino. After 27 years it has covered only 70,000 miles. That is relatively low for any car but extremely low for a durable engine like the one in a 560SL. It has a hard top and a brown canvas soft top as it should. Now Hagerty has the valuations for these roadsters in a vertical trajectory. And this appears to be a number 2, “driver” status, car (we haven’t seen it in the flesh). And since it has all original paint to boot, you can’t go wrong with the asking price of $27,500 PRICED REDUCED TO $22,000. Call me and we can talk about it. Michael at Mint2Me (203) 417-6856. The car is located in New Jersey.
Mercedes-Benz 560SL


The Colonel…again.

Our beloved ’67 Mercedes-Benz 230S makes the papers once again. And this time for no other reason that he is very photogenic. The publication is the September, special 10th anniversary issue of Hemmings Sports and Classics. The photographer deserves all the honors for hanging out of the back of a Ford Flex with me a few feet from his camera lens going 35mph. “brilliantly fun”, Terry Shea says of The Colonel. We agree.Mercedes Benz Heckflosse