Columns (1968)

The extraordinary Ferrari presented here, 1425GT, is the 27th of 50 California Spyders built on the long-wheelbase 250 GT chassis. Consistent with its May 1959 build date, this California Spyder benefits from a number of significant evolutionary improvements introduced throughout the model’s two-year production run. Although more than 55 years have passed since it left the factory, 1425GT has never warranted a full restoration. Simply maintained as required, the Ferrari is largely unchanged since the seller acquired it over 45 years ago. Still wearing its late-1960s red paint and original black leather upholstery, this California Spyder possesses a glorious, irreplaceable…
The introduction of Group B into the World Rally Championship in 1982 was an evolution that was dictated by a general industry move from rear- to front-wheel-drive cars, and it proved revolutionary. Contenders now had three classes to choose: Group N (standard production cars), Group A (modified production cars), and the almost immediately notorious and virtually unbridled Group B (modified sports cars). Most notably, Group B allowed Audi to compete with its still-new Quattro all-wheel-drive system, which was an obvious boon on varied rally stage surfaces. The permanent all-wheel-drive system debuted in the Audi 80-based Quattro coupe in 1980, and…
  A recent Federal District Court decision in Illinois should be of serious concern to auction bidders. If it stands, we might all have to take a full coterie of mechanics and consultants with us to each auction. Our plaintiff, “Ted,” was a successful bidder at a 2011 auction. (“Legal Files” won’t identify the auction company because, as will be explained later, it isn’t particularly unique in this regard.) Ted purchased a 1967 Corvette 427/435 coupe at a hammer price of $68,500 — $72,610 after buyer’s commission. The Corvette was in beautiful condition, and it was displayed with an NCRS…
In July 1966, the Ferrari factory received an order from SAVAF for a 275 GTB Competizione, later specified to be chassis 09079. Late in the specialty model’s limited run, the car was the penultimate example of the thinly aluminum-skinned competition GTB, making it the second-to-last GT car ever produced by Maranello’s factory competition department. Factory records indicate the Tipo 213 competition engine was completed on September 8, 1966, with dynamometer testing occurring a day later. Trimmed with a light gray headliner, blue cloth seat upholstery with matching leather paneling, and complementary blue carpets, the rare GTB/C was finished in Rosso…
Prior to its conversion to Jota specifications, chassis 4892 was constructed at the factory in July 1971 as a Miura SV that was finished in white with a blue interior. The car remained in Italy and was sold new to a Dr. Alcide of Rome, Italy. It is not known when the conversion was done, but a letter issued by Lamborghini in 1974 listed it as a “P400 Miura SV Mod. Jota” at that time, which confirms that the conversion was done within three years following its production. Mechanically, chassis 4892 received slight engine tuning and was fitted with a…
It was a weekend to remember. At 6 a.m. on a Saturday in February this year, my daughter Alexandra joined me on a flight from Portland, OR, to San Jose, CA. We’d bought a 1964 Volvo 1800S last July, and it was time to bring it home. Mike Dudek of iRoll Motors picked us up at San Jose International Airport, and soon we were at his shop in San Martin, south of San Jose. The Volvo was better than I expected — by a long shot. It wasn’t perfect by any means, but it had a “lived and loved” feel…
  It’s said that Harley Earl, director of GM styling, got the idea for a GM concept car while watching world speed records being set at the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah. It would be a sports racer called a Bonneville Special. That was when 1954 models were being readied for production, and no GM car had ever carried the Bonneville name. Perhaps Harley Earl gave the assignment to Pontiac as the birth of its upcoming performance image. Under the direction of Earl, Homer LaGassey and Paul Gilland built two Bonneville Specials. The bronze car would debut in the Grand…
This car is equipped with a 164-hp, 260-ci, OHV V8 engine with a 4-barrel carburetor, 4-speed manual transmission, independent front suspension with coil springs, live axle rear suspension with semi-elliptic leaf springs, and front-disc and rear-drum hydraulic brakes. British coachbuilders Thomas Harrington Ltd. built only a handful of beautifully crafted fastback Le Mans coupe bodies for Sunbeam Alpine chassis during the early 1960s. Exactly one of those bodies was built for the Sunbeam Tiger, the potent Ford V8-powered “pocket rocket” developed with the assistance of Carroll Shelby and Ken Miles. This is that car, which is known to Sunbeam enthusiasts…
  This all started innocently enough. A friend gave me a ride to a Porsche event in her black 993. I hadn’t had a sip of that clattering air-cooled elixir for some time, and it was intoxicating. I immediately emailed my good friend and Porsche guru Jim Schrager, and asked him for the best buy in late-model air-cooled 911s (the 993 models). His response was immediate and definite. Forget the 993s. A first-gen 996 turbo with a Tiptronic (automatic) was his favorite. He owned one and drove it daily. He felt the turbo was a much-improved engine over the stock…
We all know that it’s going to be windy when a low-pressure area bumps up against a high-pressure area. The difference in air pressure sucks air into the low-pressure area until the pressures are equalized. “Legal Files” recently reported (June 2014, p. 54) how this same principle applies to economic disequilibrium, resulting in an industry that buys new cars in the United States and exports them to countries where the same cars typically sell for much more due to manufacturers’ pricing policies. Now the U.S. government has taken action to stop the reverse situation — the illegal importation of used…
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