Columns (2017)

  We’ve read about many court cases involving collector cars, but here is a new one — a father and son in a bitter court battle over the ownership of a four-car Lancia Stratos collection. The cars are a 1971 HF, a 1975 HF Silhouette Turbo, a 1975 Stradale street car and a 1975 Safari. After successfully defending himself against criminal charges in Austria and Germany, the son lost the ultimate battle in the London High Court, which ruled that the father was the rightful owner of the Lancias. The disappointed son has vowed to appeal, and to seek redress…
The Fast and the Furious” movie franchise took movie car chase scenes to new levels of intensity, with an array of automotive stunts that helped make it an over-the-top success. One of the star cars of “The Fast and the Furious” is the Toyota Supra driven by the late actor Paul Walker, who portrayed undercover police officer Brian O’Conner. Like any movie involving car stunts, more than one version of this car was built, including a “hero” car for close-up scenes and others designed and built to perform the actual stunts. This 1993 Toyota Supra was built for “The Fast…
As they faced a relative failure at Sebring in 1963, MG was hoping that 1964 would bring a change in fortune for the proud marque. By this time, the MGB had been on sale for over a year, and MG was hoping to add to the car’s image with some success at international racing events. Abingdon took note of the success that Kjell Qvale, of British Motor Cars Distributors, experienced in San Francisco in 1963, where they had finished 7th overall behind a streak of Ferraris, and he hoped that Qvale and his team could bring the success they were…

Modena Cento Ore 2015

Written by August 2015
  It was 6 p.m., and we were driving towards Perugia, the capital city of Umbria, in central Italy. It was 100 degrees, and we were in the thick of rush-hour traffic. Our day had started in Rome, and we had completed four laps at the Vallelunga track as well as three timed hillclimbs on closed roads. The interior of our 1974 Porsche Carrera was stifling, and we were tired and sweaty. Our group of four cars, including Team SCM in the 911, a 1975 Lancia Stratos, a 1973 Ferrari 246 GT and a 1961 Ferrari SWB, was barely moving.…
1970 Ford Mustang R-code fastback 428-ci Cobra Jet V8 engine 4-speed manual transmission Complete frame-up restoration just completed Power disc brakes Steel wheels with dog-dish hubcaps One of one factory black/black with console R-code car One of four factory black/black R-code cars Elite Marti Report with window sticker SCM AnalysisThis car, Lot 2459, sold for $97,000, including buyer’s premium, at Leake’s Dallas, TX, auction on April 17, 2015. And then it wasn’t sold. Although this car is back on the market — more on that later — it still has an interesting story. If we dive into the evolution of…
  Cars are safer than ever. The fatality rate per million miles traveled in 2013, the most recent year for which data are available, was 1.1 — a nearly 25% decline since 2004, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Not only do cars handle and brake better than ever before, they are also loaded with safety features including airbags, anti-lock brakes and stability control. However, as cars have become safer, their drivers have become less so. Some say this is related to texting while driving and cell phone usage. According to a study published by the Cohen Medical…
Introduced in 1953, complementing the company’s successful open sports cars, the Le Mans coupe was the first closed Frazer Nash to enter production. It used the new parallel-tube-chassis frame, around which was wrapped a beautiful, full-width alloy body that, with its curvaceous lines and horizontal front grille, hinted at the forthcoming Sebring roadster. The chassis boasted independent front suspension, rack-and-pinion steering, torsion-bar rear suspension and twin-leading-shoe brakes, while the engine was, of course, the 1,971-cc, 6-cylinder Bristol. Of the nine cars completed, three would race at Le Mans, the most successful being chassis 186, which finished 13th overall in 1953…
The Renault 5 Turbo is a hatchback with a high-performance engine. This French car debuted at the Brussels Motor Show in January of 1980. At this time, rally cars were climbing in popularity. The design of this car was tailored towards the rally car market, but a street version also was sold. During its four-year production run, fewer than 4,000 of these high-performance cars were manufactured. The Renault 5 Turbo should not be confused with the Alpine Turbo or GT Turbo. This no-nonsense machine was profoundly modified. The turbocharged engine was mounted behind the driver in what is normally the…
  Last month, “Legal Files” focused on ways that a buyer can protect himself in a collector car purchase transaction. This month, we are focusing on how the seller can protect his interests. In today’s hot collector car market, the seller’s main problem is not getting the car sold, but keeping it sold — that is, not having to buy it back when the buyer complains that the car is not “as it was represented to be.” Watch what you say and write Be very careful about how the car is described and what is said about its nature, condition,…
Launched in 1954, the production 300SL retained the space frame chassis and lightweight aluminum-alloy bodywork of the W194 racer, while its mechanical underpinnings, like the latter’s, owed much to the contemporary Mercedes-Benz 300 luxury saloon. A 2,996-cc overhead-camshaft inline six, the 300SL’s engine was canted at 45 degrees to achieve a low bonnet line and produced 215 brake horsepower at 5,800 rpm using Bosch mechanical fuel injection. A 4-speed, all-synchromesh manual gearbox transmitted power to the hypoid bevel rear axle. Suspension was independent all round: by wishbones and coil springs at the front, with swing axles and coil springs at…