Columns (1933)

The “Blower” Bentley is one of the most masculine, muscular and sporting motorcars ever built. While some companies hid their superchargers behind the radiator grille, the Bentley wears it right out front, and that statement alone says it all about the car and its creators. First shown at the 1929 London Motor Show, it was developed as a private venture by “Bentley Boy” Sir Henry “Tim” Birkin in order to extract more performance from the proven 4½ Litre model, which was becoming outclassed by its rivals on the racetracks of Europe. His aim was to produce a British car that…
Built in the Alfa Corse workshops between 1946 and 1948, this 6C 2500 Competizione, chassis number 920002, was originally sold to Franco Rol of Torino, Italy. An Italian aristocrat turned successful chemical manufacturer, Rol was an avid sportsman who successfully raced a variety of automobiles during the late 1940s and early 1950s. On May 2, 1948, 920002 made its competition debut at Italy’s most famous road race, the grueling Mille Miglia. But the new Alfa Romeo’s first appearance at the Mille Miglia proved to be a disappointment, as the car failed to finish its maiden race. It was next entered…
Monterey Car Week is the closest we get to automotive nirvana. We have grown accustomed to the week’s three major problems: finding acceptable accommodations, finding enough time to do everything we want to do, and getting decent dinner reservations. This year, for the first time, another problem manifested itself — car thieves have discovered Monterey. Four collector cars were stolen during the weekend: two from Mecum, one from Russo and Steele, and one from a bed-and-breakfast parking lot in Pacific Grove. Coincidentally or ominously — we can’t tell which — they were all Chevrolets. A red, restored 1962 Corvette was…

1970 Porsche 914/6

Written by October 2013
• The ultimate, best-performing Porsche 914 model• Well known in PCA circles; 30 years of single ownership• Excellent older restoration; rare and powerful mid-engine Porsche• Complete with toolkit and owner’s manual SCM AnalysisThis car, Lot S651, sold for $57,750, including buyer’s premium, at Russo and Steele’s Newport, CA, auction on June 22, 2013. For readers who are accustomed to thinking of 914s as Volkswagens minus two seats, this sales result might come as a shock. But to aficionados who appreciate the differences between a 914/4 and a 914/6, that result was not a surprise. The 914 was the result of…
This 1958 Chevrolet Apache Cameo Carrier is the rarest of the Cameos, and it was the last year it was produced. Just 1,405 were made for 1958, and only a few were fitted with the NAPCO 4x4 system. This Cameo was treated to an exhaustive, no-expense-spared, frame-off restoration to the most exacting standards. The truck has been driven only five miles since the restoration was completed. This is its first time offered for public sale at auction. It is a two-owner truck from new, with known history from new. SCM AnalysisThis truck, Lot S650, sold for $67,100, including buyer’s premium,…
With the approach of the new Formula 1 that was due to begin with the 1954 season, Daimler-Benz announced that they would be represented by an entirely new team of Mercedes-Benz racing cars. When these entirely new W-196 cars emerged at Reims, fans recoiled in astonishment. These sleek new silver rocket ships were futuristically alien machines from Mars. Juan Fangio and Karl Kling immediately qualified first and second, then finished 1-2 in this their debut race. Over the fleeting 14 months that followed — completing the 1954 season and on through 1955 — the Mercedes Benz A W-196 single-seater contested…
As the echoes of World War II austerity faded in Europe, it occurred to Enzo Ferrari that his wealthiest clients were ready for a super-fast, road-going gran turismo. The result was a series of exclusive Ferraris built with especially powerful engines wrapped in elegant bodies from the finest Italian coachbuilders. Each car was individually tailored to its owner’s requests, blisteringly fast, and sophisticated enough to transport a royal. One model in the series was the 400 Superamerica. Enzo Ferrari drove a 400 Superamerica, as did the Aga Khan, Gianni Agnelli, European royalty, and major Hollywood stars. No doubt, they were…
This remarkably well-documented ex-Mille Miglia, ex-Le Mans 24-Hour race Austin-Healey Works car began life as one of the Donald Healey Motor Company’s pre-production competition vehicles — properly referred to as the Special Test Cars — destined for use in International motor races and world-class distance and speed-record attempts. Of the four Special Test Cars built in 1953, NOJ 392 is the sole remaining car in original 100-specification guise. By February 1953, Donald Healey had three of his first batch of 20 pre-production Austin-Healey 100 cars ready for publicity purposes, including motor shows in Europe and the United States. Four of…
First seen in concept-car form at the Frankfurt Auto Show in 2003, the Alfa Romeo 8C revived a famous name from the Italian company’s illustrious past when it entered production in 2006. The original 8C (8-cylinder) Alfa engine had been designed in 1931 by the legendary Vittorio Jano and was used to power Alfa Romeo’s most prestigious road models — as well as its sports-racing and Grand Prix cars — until the decade’s end. Styled by Wolfgang Egger, the modern-day 8C was received with universal acclaim, the car’s gorgeous looks recalling those of Carrozzeria Touring’s aerodynamic Alfa sports-racers of the…

Passing Into History

Written by October 2013
We just put 1,611 delightful miles on our 1965 Giulia Spider Veloce. It was our first real road trip in years, and it brought home the reasons we fool around with these old cars. The occasion was the Alfa Romeo National Convention, held in Rohnert Park, CA, south of Santa Rosa. Good friend Doug Hartman was my co-pilot on the way down, and Wendie flew down to ride with me on the way back. We’ve owned the Spider nearly 30 years, selling it once and buying it back during that period. Conrad Stevenson in Berkeley did the engine and transmission…