Columns (1985)

  Having me co-host a television show about cars sold at collector-car auctions is like turning a chocoholic loose in the Hershey factory. When evaluating cars for “What’s My Car Worth?” a TV show I co-host on the Velocity channel, I find myself slipping from the objective to the subjective. “This ’67 Healey BJ8 drives nicely and will probably sell for $80k” moves all too quickly to: “I’d really like to own this car. It’s been months since I’ve had a Big Healey.” So it should have come as no surprise that on a recent Sunday I found myself waiting…

1955 Jaguar D-Type

Written by June 2015
 When the Jaguar D-type debuted at the 1954 24 Hours of Le Mans, it finished a narrow 2nd to a 4.9-liter Ferrari V12. A year later, a D-type with a long-nosed factory body and a revised motor won the race outright. Although Jaguar retired from racing after the 1956 season, the D-type continued to flourish in private hands, winning Le Mans in 1956 and 1957 for the Ecurie Ecosse. Although not necessarily well suited to every type of course, the D-type proved to be extremely effective on properly surfaced endurance circuits, and it remains one of the most important Le…
In the late 1960s, Nissan began development of a closed sports car to replace their popular Datsun 1600 and 2000 roadsters. Under the direction of Yutaka Katayama, the president of the Nissan Motor Corporation in the U.S. (known as “Mr. K” and the “Father of the Z-car”), renowned German designer Albrecht von Goertz was hired as a consultant on the project. He and the Nissan styling staff would develop the initial design, while Yamaha would engineer the drivetrain and build the prototype. Ultimately, Nissan and Yamaha didn’t come to terms, and the project was temporarily shelved. Undeterred, Nissan continued to…
  The collector car market has been very strong the past few years, and many cars are trading at prices that were unheard of not long ago. An unfortunate consequence of today’s market is that mistakes can cost a lot more than they did before. There also is a perception that good cars sell super quickly, so you have to move fast to get the car. In this situation, trouble can come very quickly indeed. Savvy collectors need to balance their enthusiasm with care and intelligence. This month, we’ll look at ways that a buyer can protect himself. In a…
 Rare pre-A model; coachwork by Reutter One of 394 built in 1953 Matching numbers Comprehensive restoration Correct Ivory exterior and red leather interior Black convertible top Owner’s manual Kardex and Porsche Certificate of Authenticity Number 60266 is confirmed by the included Porsche Certificate of Authenticity and Kardex as a USA-spec, pre-A 1500. It has been restored in the original R504 Ivory exterior, over a red leather interior with black convertible top. SCM AnalysisThis car, Lot 143, sold for $443,750, including buyer’s premium, at the Hollywood Wheels Amelia Island Select auction on March 13, 2015, at the Omni Plantation in Amelia…
The 599 GTB Fiorano was a ground-breaking achievement for Ferrari. Although it was touted as a dual-purpose grand touring and sports car, the 599 could easily outmatch the performance of Ferrari’s iconic F40. The 599’s engine was derived directly from the Ferrari Enzo supercar. The 6-liter V12 produced 620 brake horsepower at 7,600 rpm, sprinting the car from 0 to 60 mph in 3.7 seconds and on to a top speed of 205 mph. Like all modern Ferraris, the 599 is just as luxurious as it is fast. The interior is spacious and comfortable, with incredible attention to detail throughout.…
  In 1941, the station wagon body was only offered by Oldsmobile on the bottom-of-the-line Special 60 Series. Sharing its wheelbase and dimensions with the Chevrolet Special Deluxe Wagon, it offered the brand engineering for which GM was famous. As was the standard practice then, coachbuilding for special models such as the labor-intensive wagons was contracted out to outside body companies. One such company was Mid-State Body Company in Waterloo, NY, which had been building custom commercial bodies, including special wagons, on GM chassis for years before the General formally contracted Mid-State to manufacture the wagon bodies. This 1940 Oldsmobile…
Most motoring enthusiasts are aware of the Mercedes-Benz 190E 2.3 16-valve cars. These models have acquired several nicknames, such as “Cosworth” or its diminutive “Cossie.” Although they have become famous, good examples remain elusive. But these are tough little cars, and refurbishing a driver is affordable, so you don’t have to “buy the best.” These cars only came in Smoke Silver and Pearl Black. Powered by the Mercedes M102 4-cylinder engines, U.S.-market Cossies made 167 horsepower and European versions made 185. Production was from 1984 to 1987, with U.S. market introduction in 1986. From raceway to freeway Mercedes-Benz wanted to…
  The market has redefined itself over the past decade. We’ve watched it happen from the SCM crow’s nest. From multi-million-dollar catalog auction sales to text-only postings on Craigslist, we keep a finger on the ever-changing pulse of the market. Prices have soared in the category we follow most closely — sports cars from the ’50s, ’60s and ’70s. Yet, we find a logic to most of these high fliers, and I believe they are indicative of a healthy, thoughtful market. Collectors, voting with their dollars, have neatly divided all collectible cars into three primary categories. I call them “The…
The Type 904, born of Porsche’s disappointing foray into Formula One in the early 1960s, was produced to bring the company back to its racing sports car roots. In 1962, the immensely talented Ferdinand A. “Butzi” Porsche was tasked with designing a new two-seat competition coupe that could also be driven on the street by utilizing the mid-engine chassis configuration that had proven so successful with the racing department’s lightweight Spyders. The beautifully balanced 904 GTS was introduced in early 1964, and it enjoyed a brilliant inaugural season, scoring victories at Sebring, the Targa Florio, Spa, the Nürburgring 1000 Km,…
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