Columns (1968)

The 250 series was Ferrari’s crowning achievement of the 1950s and early 1960s. The high-water marks of this series have defined the “Prancing Horse” in the decades since, and in many ways, the series set the stylistic and cultural tone, which has grown exponentially model after model. From the lovely Lusso and the sporty California Spyder, to the Tour de France and, of course, the Series II Cabriolet, the basic construction formula was nothing short of perfect: a high-revving V12 engine, a shiver-inducing exhaust note, and an almost unbelievably sexy design that would envelop the chassis in two-door form. Chassis…
In its relatively short life, the French firm of Facel produced approximately 2,900 cars, all of which were stylish, luxurious and fast. Hand built, they were, of course, necessarily very expensive — the Facel II was priced in Rolls-Royce territory — and were bought by the rich and famous seeking something exclusive and distinctive. The roll call of owners includes royalty, politicians, diplomats and entertainers: Tony Curtis, Danny Kaye, Joan Fontaine, Ava Gardner and Ringo Starr — the first owner of the car offered here. Confirming that there was high-performance substance behind Facel’s unquestionable style, they were owned and driven…
Some 54 C-types were manufactured in all, the majority for customer sale, leaving the model rarer than examples of the replacement D-type family. This Ecurie Ecosse C-type has often been listed as having been intended originally for export to a customer in Argentina named Carlos Lostalo. The order was allegedly canceled due to customs difficulties, whereupon the car was delivered instead to Rossleigh of Edinburgh, Jaguar distributors. In fact the extensive — and beautifully bound — documentation file accompanying XKC042 reveals a different background story. Señor Lostalo’s planned purchase of the car did not arise until early in 1954, when…
The brainchild of Zora Arkus-Duntov, the “Father of the Corvette,” the Chevrolet Engineering Research Vehicle II is the first known operating example of torque-vectoring all-wheel drive, and it is among the most important Corvette development vehicles in private hands today. Since leaving General Motors, it has only been owned by the Briggs Cunningham Museum, Miles Collier, John Moores and the consigning owner. The first CERV was completed in 1960, and it was aimed at open-wheel racing. Duntov began work on this successor in late 1961, intending “to incorporate all the features necessary to make it a successful contender, not only…
Although enthusiasts may argue over the true definition of “classic” as applied to automobiles, perhaps we can all agree on one criterion: If at some point in the car’s lifetime it stops depreciating — its market price stops declining — and the price then levels off and begins to rise, then the market has just declared it a classic. If the price continues to drop, then it’s just another used car. The Mercedes-Benz 500SL roadster, introduced in 1990 on the R129 chassis and produced for more than 11 years (with its name changed to SL500 in 1994), is among the…
Since a 2001 Porsche Boxster S resides in the “Legal Files” garage, this letter from noted Porsche authority Pete Zimmermann caught my attention: Dear Legal Files: It appears that Porsche has a problem. A really big problem. All because of a bearing, to be exact, an IMS (Intermediate Shaft) bearing. That bearing is an internal engine part, and it fails. Repair cost can range between $3,000 and $20,000-plus. Unlike past engineering mistakes, Porsche ignored the IMS bearing problem for far too long. Too many engines have failed, or cost owners dearly. Porsche did eventually acknowledge the problem, but not before…
 There’s no question that America’s love affair with the car has changed dramatically. The New York Times and Wall Street Journal regularly report on the decline of numbers of driver’s licenses among young people, of fewer miles being driven and declining sales figures of new cars. This lack of interest in driving is even more pronounced in Europe, where tight-knit cities and excellent train systems make having your own vehicle increasingly irrelevant — and expensive, due in part to high taxes on gasoline there. One option among many I used to think cars were the solution to our transportation and…
 Always designed with strength, mechanical simplicity and durability in mind, Land Rovers have often been the vehicles of choice for individuals looking to take a trip on the road less traveled. Over its 65-year history, the company built up a well-respected name by manufacturing the finest off-road vehicles money could buy for both individual and commercial use. As such, they are transport for the armed forces of numerous countries across the globe. They are rugged, robust and reliable, and troops can always trust their Land Rovers to help them complete their mission with zero mechanical issues. This 1969 Series IIA…
The highlight of the 1971 Geneva Salon was undoubtedly the sensational new Maserati Bora. With the Bora’s introduction, the great Modenese manufacturer followed other supercar constructors in going mid-engined, while at the same time abandoning its traditional tubular chassis technology in favor of unitary construction. Named after an Adriatic wind, the Bora was the work of Giorgetto Giugiaro’s Ital Design, at least as far as its bodyshell was concerned. The mid-mounted engine was Maserati’s familiar 4-cam V8 in 4.7-liter form, the 5-speed transaxle came from ZF and the all-independent double-wishbone suspension was penned by Giulio Alfieri, co-designer of the legendary…
The 250 GT SWB was an automobile that could be driven to the racetrack, easily decimate the competition, and then be driven home. Although there were detail differences from car to car, the 250 GT SWB was fundamentally a standardized design. However, that did not stop the demand for custom coachwork. Six chassis utilized custom bodies, with four of those being designed by Pininfarina and the other two built by Carrozzeria Bertone. Offered here is the first Bertone-bodied SWB, chassis number 1739GT. This chassis was graced with a one-off body that was designed by a 21-year-old Giorgetto Giugiaro. Chassis 1739GT…