Columns (1960)

A Tale of Two Cobras

Written by October 2014
Recently we witnessed the sale of two unique 289 Cobras — at two different auctions, within two months of each other. One was a modified street-specification car that has lived a quiet life in the United States. The other was a factory-prepared Competition car that has lived a much more public life in France, including an 18th-place finish in the 1964 running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Interestingly, the two cars realized prices within 15% of each other. At first glance, any Cobra enthusiast would tell you it is preposterous that a street Cobra should bring anywhere near…
One of just 91 examples produced with coachwork by Abbott of Farnham during a four-year production run, OLY136 was first registered on March 25, 1954. In the current ownership since 2007, the car was entrusted to marque specialists Classic Restorations Ltd. in 2009 to carry out soda blasting of the body and a bare-metal respray, followed by a thorough engine overhaul in 2010. All five wheels were also blasted, powder-coated and painted. Invoices for the work carried out are contained in the car’s accompanying history file. The most recent service was carried out by Speedweld of Farley Hill in April…
A rare survivor, this very original 31,370-mile-from-new 3500 GTi spent four decades in the care of a single California owner. The Amaranto Rame paint has taken on an added layer of character over the years, while the tan leather interior is clean and inviting. Benefiting from all of the final production upgrades bestowed upon it within the last two years of production, this fuel-injected 3500 retains its original engine. It is reported that a recent drive by a Maserati specialist produced enthusiastic comments on the car’s performance and preservation. As with any unrestored motorcar, it is recommended that a degree…
For some people, the best is not enough. In 1984, the Koenig Workshop, a German preparer based in Munich, developed an extreme high-performance car that was given the name Ferrari Testarossa Koenig Competition Evolution. As the name reveals, the model used as a starting point was extraordinary in its own right, as the Testarossa was a car that ordinary mortals could only dream of. However, Koenig went even further, making this supercar a hypercar before its time. Clients could get 1,000 or more horsepower if requested. Meticulously re-worked running gear set on a widened track, stabilizers, anti-roll bars and wide…
1966 Brabham-Repco BT20 F1 When the FIA announced in late 1963 that a 3-liter limit would be imposed on Formula One racing in 1966, a scramble ensued among competitors to develop suitable new engines. Jack Brabham turned to Repco, an Australian parts supplier. Development centered on Oldsmobile’s F-85 V8 block, which offered the advantage of a pre-existing and proven crankcase to create a 300-hp, 2,994-cc SOHC V8 engine. Jack Brabham began the 1966 season driving the sole BT19 chassis, but within a matter of months, two BT20 cars were built. Chassis F1266, the second of these two cars, commenced racing…
The Fiat X1/9 has been all but forgotten in the 40 years since it was introduced to North American markets. Most collectors just ignore the little mid-engine, two-seater convertible. Many see the car as Fiat’s underpowered and somewhat half-hearted effort to hold onto the American market — and really, who wouldn’t rather have a Fiat 124 Spider of the same vintage, all things being equal? On the other hand, autocrossers, track-day addicts and those who just wanted an agile sports car prized the X1/9 in its era. But Toyota’s MR2 came along in 1984, and Mazda’s ultra-popular MX-5 Miata arrived…
Two recent cases that attracted a lot of attention seem to involve different issues, but they actually have a lot in common. In one, SCM and ACC contributor John Stein brought to our attention a recent fire in a Sacramento repair shop that destroyed a number of Porsches. In the other, SCMer Joel Gardner shared a very lengthy Internet chat-board thread about a Ferrari FF that was damaged while being driven by a dealer’s employee. Two calamities The Sacramento shop was completely destroyed during a three-alarm fire that also destroyed a number of Porsches — 356s, Speedsters, early 911s, 914s,…
  Is it fair to say that we love our cars? Over time, we develop relationships with them based on the things we have done with them — from changing spark plugs to repairing upholstery to going on tours and rallies. In a way, a favorite car is like a faithful Labrador retriever. It sits and waits for us, and when we turn the key, it jumps to its wheels and wags its exhaust pipes. Our favorite cars exist to be our companions in adventure. But a relationship with a pet comes to a natural end. Dogs and cats age…
This 1971 Hemi ’Cuda convertible, one of just two 4-speed versions delivered in the U.S., has been hailed as the Holy Grail of muscle cars. Documented as the only matching-numbers 4-speed convertible in existence, its factory broadcast sheet confirms that it was equipped at the Hamtramck, MI, assembly plant with the New Process 4-speed, Dana 60 rear end with 4.10 Super Track Pak, 26-inch radiator and power brakes. Finished in code B5 Bright Blue, with black power top and blue high-back-bucket-seat interior. Driver appointments include the Rallye Instrument Cluster, 3-speed wiper switch and Hurst pistol-grip shifter. Perhaps most importantly, in…
Lamborghini Countach LP400 “Periscopio” chassis 1120066 Engine number: 1120070 The exceptional example of Lamborghini’s original LP400 “Periscopio” Countach offered here, chassis 1120066, was produced in the model’s second production year, 1975. The car was finished by the factory as seen today, in Blu Tahiti over a Naturale (light tan) leather. As with all LP400s, 1120066 was fitted with a kilometers-per-hour speedometer and Celsius temperature gauges. Interestingly, the car is fitted with engine 1120070 (engine 1120066 resides in chassis 1120062). According to Lamborghini authority Valentino Balboni, it was not uncommon that technical issues, such as delays on the dynamometer or, most…