Columns (1942)

Cunningham C-3s have picked up a bit of a tail wind recently, as seen during the Gooding sale at Pebble Beach in 2012, where a yellow coupe sold for $341,000 with commissions. Our subject car, a 1952 Cunningham C-3 Vignale coupe, s/n 5210, sold at Gooding & Company’s Scottsdale auction on January 17, 2014, for $550,000, including buyer’s commission. This tidy appreciation perhaps reflects the car’s role as one alternative to increasingly unaffordable top line collectibles: Ferrari, Mercedes, Porsche and the like. With the Cunningham C-3 Reunion held at Lime Rock last Labor Day weekend — and the simultaneous release…
This car is equipped with a 260-hp, 2,999-cc DOHC inline 4-cylinder engine with two Weber 45 DCO/A3 carburetors, a 5-speed manual transaxle, independent front suspension with transverse leaf springs, De Dion rear axle with parallel trailing arms and semi-elliptic leaf springs, four-wheel drum brakes, and a tubular steel frame. This car finished 5th overall at the 1955 12 Hours of Sebring. It raced to multiple 1st-place finishes in other races. Phil Hill and Carroll Shelby raced the car. Marcel Massini documented the history of the car. This car is an early example of Ferrari’s 3-liter, 4-cylinder customer sports/racing cars. It…
While it is common today to think that the introduction of Jaguar’s new “sporting” model in 1975 was greeted with jeers, the truth is rather different. Certainly the XJ-S (the name carried a hyphen until 1991, when it became the XJS) was a notable departure from the XKE. The nomenclature clearly indicated that it was the top of the XJ sedan line rather than the latest in a line of XK sports cars. Nevertheless, the XJ-S was very much the successor to the XK 150 FHC, a comfortable grand touring coupe that could even be had with an automatic transmission.…
  We recently reported on the status of a lawsuit involving the Briggs Cunningham Corvette, which is ongoing (December 2013, p. 40 and January 2014, p. 42). Domenico M. Idoni, one of the plaintiffs in that case, is now the plaintiff in another lawsuit involving another Corvette, the “Real McCoy.” That’s either bad luck or quite an appetite for litigation! The story is taken from the parties’ court filings. The Real McCoy is a 1956 Chevrolet Corvette SR prototype that Chevrolet built to race. John Fitch ran it in the 1956 12 Hours of Sebring, finishing 1st in class and…
  Many years ago, I was considering buying a Mercedes 230SL and called Mercedes guru, SCM contributor and collector Alex Dearborn to ask for his advice. I told him the car was straight enough, a little scruffy in and out, would need a torn swing-axle boot replaced, had a 4-speed and both tops. At that time, the price of $18,000 was about right. Alex was direct in his response. “How much imperfection can you stand?” he said. “You’ll need to fix anything mechanical that creates safety problems, but after that it’s all up to you.” I decided that if the…
In 1949, this exceptional Auburn Boattail Speedster was discovered in an old garage in Omaha, NE. The Auburn required some refurbishing, so a restoration was undertaken in 1951, and it was decided to restore the car as a 1936 852, perhaps in an attempt to make the already rare Speedster seem even more desirable, as 852s are extremely scarce. The Auburn was parked in the garage during the summer of 1962, and didn’t move from that spot for 52 years, with the exception of a special display at the SAC Museum in 2004, where the car was exhibited for six…
Soon after the 330 GTC was unveiled at the 1966 Geneva Auto Salon, Ferrari introduced its exclusive Spider variant, the GTS. The new 330 GTC, GTS, and the contemporary 275 GTB/4 featured the same mechanical layout of fully independent suspension, four-wheel disc brakes, a rigid torque-tube driveshaft, and a 5-speed, rear-mounted transaxle. Whereas the 275 GTB/4 utilized a 4-cam, 3.3-liter V12, the 330s were equipped with 4-liter, 2-cam V12 that delivered a genuine 300 horsepower at 6,600 rpm. The 330 GTS was one of the fastest open two-seaters of its era, with a top speed approaching 150 mph. Designed and…
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…
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…
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…