Columns (2027)

Some marques, even in the affordable category, seem to engender passionate supporters. Mention Alfa or Porsche, and the swooning starts. Even the humble Miata has a plenty of fans. The Toyota MR2? Not so much. But if you are looking for an affordable two-seater, it should be on your list to investigate. They are plentiful and have performance on par with the competition — across nearly 25 years of production and three wildly different design envelopes. The accidental sports car The MR2 (apparently Toyota shorthand for Mid-engine, Rear-drive, 2-seater) was launched in 1984, but that belies a long development period,…
Offered here to the discriminating collector of fine luxury cars is a Cadillac that has splendor, luxury, and rarity all in the same package. In fact, this 1933 Series 355 Cadillac Roadster is number two of only three V8 roadsters produced — and the only one in existence today. It presents in the present day just as it did from the factory back in 1933. It still retains all of its original body and fenders, and also is a nicely optioned car with genuine Cadillac accessories including dual Pilot Ray lights, side-mounted spares with factory covers, sidemount mirrors, dual windshield…
With the Interceptor saloon’s introduction in 1967, Jensen had switched from glassfibre to steel for its car bodies. Underneath, the preceding C-V8’s robust chassis, running gear and 6,276-cc Chrysler engine remained substantially unchanged. With around 280 bhp on tap, performance was more than adequate, The Motor recording a top speed of 140 mph with 100 mph arriving in 19 seconds. Four-wheel, servo-assisted Dunlop discs looked after the braking, while ride quality could be varied by the Armstrong Selectaride dampers’ dashboard control. Leather upholstery, reclining front seats and walnut veneer were all standard features, with automatic transmission the choice of almost…
The Vallelunga prototype was styled and constructed by Carrozzeria Fissore. An alloy-bodied spider and a pair of closed coupes were completed in 1963/64. The Vallelunga was assembled around a backbone chassis frame and was powered by a 1.5-liter Ford Kent 4-cylinder engine which performed double-duty as a stressed chassis member, a practice becoming accepted in competition car construction of the time but rare within road cars. DeTomaso’s long racing experience was also reflected in the design of the Vallelunga’s running gear, which comprised all-independent suspension by wishbones and coil springs, rack-and-pinion steering and four-wheel disc brakes. The production Vallelunga featured…
Ferraris have always been campaigned frequently and with ferocity by both the factory and wealthy privateers. The company’s reputation during its early days hinged on the success of its race cars. Whilst numerous road-going “Inter” models would be built afterwards by Ferrari, this 212 Barchetta would be the final Touring-bodied, race-ready “Export” model built by the factory and fitted with the potent Tipo 212 engine. The new 212 would be destined for the race track. After great success at the Corsa al Monte Pellegrino Hill Climb, the owner entered his new car in one of the greatest motoring events in…
A legend in its own — relatively short — lifetime, the car offered here is the first example built of the fabulous Mercedes-Benz CLK GTR roadster, an even more-exclusive, limited-edition, open-topped variant of the already super-exclusive CLK GTR coupe with which Mercedes-Benz had re-entered international sports car racing in 1997. At the time of its introduction, the CLK GTR roadster was the world’s most expensive production car, with a price tag of $1.5 million, a figure exceeded only recently by the Ferrari FXX. Mercedes-Benz’s decision to switch from touring to sports cars had been taken at the end of the…
Last month, “Legal Files” gave a behind-the-scenes report on the settlement of the Cunningham Corvette case, explaining how hard it is to really be a winner in litigation and why settlements almost always make sense (September 2015, p. 70). This month, it’s the other side of the story — an example of a plaintiff taking it all the way and coming out on top. Five years ago, “The Nightmare of Litigation” (May 2010, “Legal Files,” p. 32) reported on a 1953 Ferrari 212 Vignale deal gone bad. “Ed” had given a $25,000 deposit to a California broker representing a seller…
This 1999 Lamborghini Diablo VT roadster is exceptionally rare by virtue of its special-order Titanium Silver Metallic paint, which is matched with a black leather interior with gray piping and accent stitching. Sparingly driven and showing just 30,188 miles, it features the visually stunning mid-mounted V12, 5-speed manual transmission, hydraulic front lift system for ramp clearance, an aftermarket exhaust system, aftermarket stereo head unit with six-disc CD player with remotes, and on-board navigation. The Diablo’s polished alloy wheels, which closely recall the Countach’s, are shod with newer BF Goodrich radial tires and are slowed by cross-drilled and vented disc brakes…
The first 16-valve Bugatti cars were built from 1920 to 1923. Among these cars, a few rare racing models stand out. The Bugatti sales ledgers provide us with information on approximately 22 twin-magneto Type 13s, and seven single-magneto cars in 1923. In 1924, only 19 Type 13 twin-magneto models were built, and 40 or so were built in 1925. Out of a total production of 80 Type 13 twin-magneto cars, no more than 10 survive today. Among the cars delivered in Paris was a small series of nine cars, consigned to the dealership at the beginning of 1925, followed by…
  One of the magnificent spectacles in the collector car world occurs as the morning mists lift off a concours field. Dozens of rare and important machines that trace the history of the automobile are revealed. From diminutive Hupmobile roadsters to imposing Cadillac phaetons, our love affair with cars is on display. But like all aspects of car collecting, concours face challenges in attracting new faces. Over the years, I’ve had the opportunity to participate in many concours and shows as an emcee, judge, entrant and spectator. They include Pebble Beach, Amelia, Concours of America at St. John’s (Meadow Brook),…
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