Columns (1985)

Although founded in the 1920s, the company that would become Mazda Motor Corporation did not commence series production of passenger cars until 1960. Only four years later, the Japanese firm exhibited its first rotary-engined prototype, having acquired the rights to produce NSU’s Wankel-designed engines. In 1966, Mazda launched its first rotary engine, the Cosmo L10A, which went into production the following year. Mazda’s flagship model, the Cosmo, was powered by a twin-rotor engine displacing 982 cc and producing 110 horsepower, which was enough to endow the pretty two-seater coupé with a top speed of 185 km/h (115 mph). In July…
 In 1979, the modest Renault Sport division, responsible for the R5 Turbo rally program led by engineers François Bernard and Michel Têtu, only had the Group 5 prototype that had appeared on the Tour of Italy, the famous “Black” R5, assembled from specific Renault and Alpine parts. Gérard Larrousse and his team had to wait for 400 examples of the production series to be built for homologation in Group 4 that would allow the R5 Turbo to compete in major international competitions. This was done before the summer of 1980. And so the car presented here was born, bearing the…
As popular now among enthusiasts of traditional British sports cars as it was in its heyday, the TF was mechanically little different from the outgoing TD II. The TF kept its predecessor’s body center section, while featuring a changed front end with shortened, sloping, radiator grille and headlamps faired into the wings — plus an improved interior with separately adjustable seats. The TD’s 1,250-cc XPAG engine was retained at first, but the need for more power prompted the swift introduction — in November 1954 — of the TF 1500 (with 1,466-cc XPEG engine), which accounted for more than half of…
  I love the way the collector-car year launches. Arizona in January is like Mardi Gras, with cars to be auctioned replacing floats. The procession of delectable automobiles is non-stop, with the six big auctions pulling out all the stops. For me, the action started earlier this year than usual. It included a quick trip to London for a dinner at Bonhams’ new headquarters at 101 New Bond Street — a most tony address, in a most tony part of a tony city. I was fortunate enough to stay at the Royal Automobile Club. For a blue-jeans-bred, West Coast boy,…
The 2014 Scottsdale auctions showed that many collectors are taking advantage of the hot market and selling cars for record prices. But many of those collectors are also learning that we are in an era of high income tax rates. So, how can collectors minimize the tax costs? Basic tax principles Let’s start with some basic principles. The gain on the sale of your collector car is the difference between your net sales price and your income tax basis. Your net sales price is the gross amount received, less your selling expenses. In an auction setting, the selling expenses can…
Back when I first profiled the Toyota FJ40 Land Cruiser as an Affordable Classic (February 2012, p. 34), they were the up-and-coming thing. I won’t be so forward as to say that my scribbles helped push the market up, but the ink was barely dry before they soared in value. Superb examples were selling at either side of $100k, and because of that, it seemed like every auction house had to have one on their docket. Fast forward to 2014, and every Arizona auction had at least one Toyota FJ40 Land Cruiser consigned. It was as if the state auction…

1960 OSCA 750 S

Written by April 2014
After the company’s inception, OSCA quickly began to make a name for itself, as it started to notch up class and overall wins at race tracks all over the globe, with some of the best drivers and teams in the world behind these fantastic new racing machines from Italy. In what is considered to be one of the biggest upsets in the history of endurance racing, Stirling Moss and Bill Lloyd won the 1954 12 Hours of Sebring overall behind the wheel of an OSCA MT4 that was entered by Briggs Cunningham. The duo successfully defeated legendary drivers, such as…
In 1959, Mercedes broke with tradition by introducing the angular “Heckflosse,” or “Finback,” sedan on the W-111/W-112 chassis — itself revolutionary in having the first-ever crumple zones and roll-over integrity to protect the occupants from injury in the event of collisions — to replace the bulbous “ponton” built on the W-128 chassis. Two years later, following the end of production for the stately W-128-chassis 220SE coupes and cabriolets, the Mercedes designers introduced 2-door coupe and cabriolet models aimed at the prestige buyer. These were built on the same W-111 chassis, but the styling was changed, with the rear fenders rounded…
In the world of car collecting, there are four primary criteria that establish a vehicle’s worthiness: authenticity, provenance, aesthetics and engineering. The exceptional Alfa Romeo offered here resoundingly checks all of these boxes. The history of this incredible Alfa Romeo, chassis 10814356, begins in 1931. According to Angela Cherrett’s Tipo 6C book, 10814356 was completed as a fifth-series Gran Sport Spider, featuring the uprated 1,752-cc supercharged dual overhead cam, all-aluminum engine, an improved braking system and more refined Zagato coachwork than its predecessors. The new Gran Sport Spider was equipped with engine number 10814356 and Zagato body number 987. Baron…
With the Lotus 14 of 1959 — better known as the Elite — Colin Chapman demonstrated that his skills as a racing-car designer and constructor could just as easily be applied to production road cars. Just as innovative as Lotus’s outright competition cars, the Elite featured a fiberglass monocoque body tub, independent suspension all round (based on that of Lotus’ racing monopostos) and four-wheel disc brakes, the rears mounted inboard. Its engine was the 4-cylinder Coventry Climax FWE, a single-overhead-cam unit of 1,216 cc producing 75 hp, while the gearbox, an MGA unit fitted with an alloy casing and modified…