Columns (2007)

  "Joe” wanted to get into the collector car hobby. After kicking a lot of tires and spending many hours on the Internet, he came across a Southern California dealer offering a car that he had always wanted — a 1962 Corvette Roadster. The car was a matching-numbers example with 48,000 miles, a 327-ci, 360-hp engine, factory fuel injection and a 4-speed. It also looked great in Tuxedo Black. He went to the dealer, test-drove the car, and thought it fit the bill perfectly. Joe didn’t want to overpay. Being no fool, he hired a well-known appraiser to value the…
SCM AnalysisThis ex-Malcolm Pray Delahaye 135 roadster sold for $6.6 million with commissions at RM Auctions’ Amelia Island, FL, sale on March 8, 2014. This is a serious amount of money for a collectible car that your neighbor who “collects cars” has never heard of. However, the transaction offers three points of interest worth considering. But first, a little history: France in the 1930s possessed a number of manufacturers whose cars now inhabit the upper reaches of the collector car universe — most notably Talbot, Delahaye, Delage (owned by Delahaye subsequent to 1935), Bugatti, and Hispano-Suiza. Despite the ravages of…
The replacement for Ferrari’s Testarossa, the 512 TR, was introduced for the 1992 model year as a response to the launch of Lamborghini’s Diablo in 1990. The car was well acclaimed by the motoring press right from its introduction. The legendary Phil Hill wrote in Road & Track that “lurking under that bodywork is about three quarters of an F40 with all the conveniences of any modern GT.” This specific 512 TR is a late-production 1994 model that is finished in a black exterior with a black interior. It received a timing-belt service in the past year, and it has…
The Z8 is BMW’s spiritual successor to the 1950s 507 roadster. Both have a long hood with short deck design, which creates a powerful and sporty appearance. This limited-production roadster with optional hard top is equipped with a 4.9-liter DOHC V8 as used in the M5, mated to a proper 6-speed manual gearbox and producing nearly 400 horsepower. The Z8 has electronic traction control and four-wheel ventilated disc brakes with ABS and factory alloy wheels. This example has fewer than 51,000 miles and is handsomely presented in Titanium Silver Metallic with a black leather interior. The removable hard top is…
Today, Porsche remains the uncontested champion of more endurance races than any other manufacturer, having amassed the most outright wins at Le Mans, Daytona and Sebring. Yet in the early 1960s, Porsche remained an unconventional, small-displacement manufacturer only capable of winning class victories. At the onset of the prototype era, however, Porsche’s strategy on motorsports development was beginning to pay great dividends. Their immediate focus was to build a Porsche Le Mans winner for 1967. That year’s event guaranteed competition between Ford and Ferrari, with the ever-increasing displacement of the GT40 and P-car alike. To contend, Porsche needed more than…
The Lotus Esprit was built between 1976 and 2004, and a future release is forthcoming in 2014. The silver Italdesign concept that eventually became the Esprit was unveiled at the Turin Motor Show in 1972, and it was a development of a stretched Lotus Europa chassis. It was among the first of designer Giorgetto Giugiaro’s polygonal “folded paper” designs. By the close of 1980, Lotus was building three different models of Esprit, with distinct chassis designs and body molds — the S2.2, the Export S2 and the dry-sump Turbo Esprit. The Turbo Esprit had a common chassis, inheriting much of…
Inspired by the all-conquering GT40 race cars that beat Ferrari at Le Mans and won the famed 24-hour race four years in a row, the Ford GT was much more than a mere design resemblance when it was launched. It was a supercar the likes of which Detroit had never before produced. On top speed alone, it surpassed even the Porsche Carrera GT and Mercedes-McLaren SLR. It even set new lap records on the Nürburgring’s Nordschleife — faster than many of the highly developed cars from Porsche. The blue and orange JW Automotive/Gulf Oil livery worn by the cars of…
The collector car market is steamrolling along with the largest price increases we’ve ever seen. From 2009 to 2013, combined sales of all the auctions in Monterey jumped from $120m to $308m. That $188m increase in four years represents a 157% change, and a return of 26.6% per year. For Scottsdale, from 2010 to 2014, combined sales went from $126m to $253m. That’s a 101% increase, and an annualized return of 19%. The Dow Jones Index, which has reached record heights this year, began 2009 at 8,776 and ended 2013 at 16,576. That’s a 90% increase, and a yearly increase…
  There’s nothing more fun than buying, driving and enjoying a bargain sports car. Today, in our red-hot collector car market, most hope — and perhaps pray — that our purchases will continue to appreciate. Yet the prospect of price appreciation someday is different than a bargain today. The 911SC is that rarity which represents a great value in today’s market. The 911SC saved Porsche from a botched response to U.S. emission controls imposed in 1974. Intended to be the rear-engine swan song, the 911SC instead proved to be a tremendously enjoyable and durable design. Long the everyday car of…
We thought it was odd that our client’s Mercedes-Benz dealer was threatening to sue him for wrongfully exporting his car in violation of his agreement that he would not do so, exposing him to substantial liquidated damages. As we got into the case, we learned that this was a really big deal across the United States. Luxury-car manufacturers (Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Land Rover, Porsche and Lexus) are worried about a growing U.S. cottage industry that buys their new cars in the U.S. — and then promptly exports them to Asia, Russia and other parts of the world. The U.S.-based exporters are…