Columns (1942)

The 007 Lotus Esprit Submarine Car from “The Spy Who Loved Me” (1977) commonly tops the polls when multiple generations of movie fans are asked to pick their favorite film cars of all time. Like all the best Bond cars, the Lotus was a veritable war chest of weaponry and gadgetry that was designed to fox and foil the enemy while helping Bond to another hard-won victory for Queen and Country. The Giorgetto Giugiaro-designed Esprit was launched in October 1975 at the Paris Auto Show and went into production in June 1976, replacing the Europa. With its lightweight chassis, mid-engine…

1967 Iso Grifo GL 300

Written by December 2013
This 1967 Iso Grifo GL, chassis GL660107, features Chevrolet’s 327-cubic inch V8, with 300 horsepower. The car’s silver finish accentuates its distinctive Bertone lines, and the black leather interior presents nicely, showing wear commensurate with the car’s age. The elegant wood-trimmed instrument panel remains in good condition, as does the sporty three-spoke, wood-rimmed steering wheel. The Iso Grifo is a car that combines some of the automotive world’s best engineering ingenuity with beautiful lines that are distinctive to their Italian creators and horsepower and torque that only the United States could deliver. With fewer than 500 built within an 11-year…

36 Hours in Modena

Written by December 2013
The invitation came on a Monday, from Luigi Orlandini of Canossa Events Srl. “Would you like to spend two days in Modena, learning about the restoration program Modena Classic Works, tour both Ferrari museums and drive some classic Ferraris on the Modena Circuit? The event starts this Friday, so you would have to leave from Portland on Thursday. You would be back in Portland Sunday morning. “And we’d like your daughter, Alex, to come as well, as we have enjoyed her blogs and think she could bring a fresh perspective to the activities.” Could you have said no? We hustled…
Howard Coombs At this writing, a U.S. Bankruptcy Court trustee is set to auction off the ownership rights — whatever they might be — of Dan Mathis Jr. in regards to 1960 Corvette VIN 00867S103535. This car is one of the legendary Cunningham Corvettes — one of the three that competed at the 1960 24 Hours of Le Mans. The current bid of $25,000 was made by Mathis’s partners. Whether the auction will actually take place is yet to be determined, as Mathis still has time to appeal the Bankruptcy Court ruling that ordered the sale. If the sale is…
Donald Healey could not have imagined that his simple design brief to build a small sports car that “a chap could put in his bike shed” would result in a car that is still being raced now, nearly 60 years later. Gerry Coker, stylist at the tiny Donald Healey Motor Company, could not have foreseen that the simple car he penned would become an icon and define a mini-genre, but it did. Their bike-shed car was introduced in 1958 as the Austin-Healey Sprite, but it quickly became better known simply as the “Bugeye” in North America and as the “Frogeye”…
• A rare and desirable matching-numbers early 4-cam Speedster • Believed to be the eighth pre-A Carrera Speedster produced • Period SCCA competition history • Believed to have just 20,000 miles from new • Fantastically restored by some of the marque’s best • 4-cam engine prepared by Bill Doyle SCM AnalysisThis car, Lot 43, sold for $1,485,000, including buyer’s premium, at the Gooding and Company auction at Pebble Beach, CA, on August 17, 2013. Let’s cut to the conclusion right up front and say that this Carrera was extremely well sold. How did that happen? There was a lot to…
The innovative American Motors Company of Indianapolis, IN, is best remembered for their famous “Underslung” models. These striking designs placed the frame rails below the axles, giving a significantly reduced center of gravity along with a sporting profile. Significantly oversized wheels remedied the problem of ground clearance. This design innovation resulted in a chassis with remarkably sure handling while still retaining the necessary clearances to handle the poor road conditions of the day. The effect of the underslung chassis, with its big wheels, was dramatic and memorable and helped make the Underslung a style and performance icon of the pre-war…
Despite his success in almost every category of international motor racing, many consider Dan Gurney’s incomparable Eagle race cars to be his moAst significant contribution to American motorsports. Designed and built in Southern California, the original Gurney-Weslake Eagles raced with success on the world’s stage and were among the most memorable machines built during the golden age of Formula One, before the purity of Grand Prix cars was forever tarnished with aerodynamic aids and corporate sponsorship. Driven by some of the best drivers of the era — including Gurney, Phil Hill, Richie Ginther, Bob Bondurant and Bruce McLaren — the…
Luigi Chinetti recognized the viability of sporty open cars in the American market. The 250 GT SWB California Spyder in particular proved itself a resounding success. But whereas the 4-cam’s predecessor — the 275 GTB — offered a Spyder variant, the wind-in-your-hair alternative to the 275 GTB/4 was a 330 GTS. As such, the 275 GTB/4S NART Spyder was born of a direct request from Luigi Chinetti to Ferrari. NART stands for North American Racing Team, the American face of Ferrari’s racing efforts. They were one of endurance racing’s most successful teams, with drivers that included the Rodriguez Brothers, Bob…
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…