All Over the Map With the FJ40

Patrick Ernzen ©2013, courtesy of RM Auctions

Back when I first profiled the Toyota FJ40 Land Cruiser as an Affordable Classic (February 2012, p. 34), they were the up-and-coming thing. I won’t be so forward as to say that my scribbles helped push the market up, but the ink was barely dry before they soared in value.

Superb examples were selling at either side of $100k, and because of that, it seemed like every auction house had to have one on their docket.

Fast forward to 2014, Read More

1945 GMC DUKW 2.5-Ton Amphibian

Initially, the DUKW was rejected by the U.S. Army, but the unexpected rescue of a ship that had run aground convinced them of its efficiency and seaworthiness, subsequently confirmed by a channel crossing. Developed by Sparkman & Stephens in collaboration with General Motors Corporation, each letter of its name has a meaning: “D” for a vehicle designed in 1942; “U” for utility; “K” for front-wheel drive: “W” for two rear axles. Understandably, it was known colloquially as the “Duck.” Derived Read More

1980 BMW M1

In the late 1970s, BMW was still in its growing pains in the United States. The favored quirky rally car of the 1960s was becoming the favored fast luxury transport of young professionals.

Between the two eras of Bayerische Motoren Werke, there was the M1, which remains the most exotic street car that the company ever built. It was essentially a road-going Procar and Group 5 racer, built to homologize the cars for the track.

Hand-built in limited numbers, Read More

The Beetle is Crawling Back

 

The humble Volkswagen Beetle — which is actually not its official name, but few people know what a Type 1 is — created the massive compact-car market in the United States.

It took the brilliant mind of Ferdinand Porsche — and high-quality labor from a rebuilding post-war West Germany — to make a compact car a success in the United States of the late 1950s and early 1960s.

By opening up the compact-car market in the U.S., VW blazed the trail for all small cars — domestic and imported. While the Chevrolet Corvair was initially all but an Americanized Beetle, the rest of the domestics weren’t. Still, the success of the Falcon, Valiant, Rambler and Lark was only possible after VW made small cars acceptable in the big-car-crazed U.S.

By the early 1970s, the early Beetle became a victim of its own huge success.

By 1970, the Big Three had run one full generation of compacts off U.S. assembly lines, and a second one was on the way. The Falcon gave way to the Pinto, the Corvair led to the Vega, and the Rambler became AMC and birthed the Gremlin. In addition, the Valiant had a plethora of siblings from Dodge.

While the Japanese competitors were generally viewed as quirky and cheap during the 1960s, by 1970 they were becoming formidable competitors. During all this, the Beetle just puttered along with minimal changes.

While staying the same in a world of change played well in the turbulent 1960s — even among the Counterculture — the Beetle was old hat in the 1970s. The Beetle looked dated compared with everything else in the market.

1956 Ford Thunderbird

While this Red Mist price defies value guides, as long as you buy for love — not money — you won’t go wrong

Chassis number: P6FH202140

– Restored to original color combination
– Colonial White with red and white interior
– Both hard top and black soft top
– 312-ci engine
– Automatic transmission
– Wide whitewall tires

1923 Ford Model T White’s Garage Snowmobile

Model Ts were a natural for these conversions because of their sheer simplicity — and massive numbers on the road

Virgil D. White was a clever inventor who sold and serviced Model T Fords, becoming an authorized Ford dealer in West Ossipee, NH. By 1913, he had patented a snowmobile conversion kit for Model T Fords, which he sold for $400, and complete vehicles were sold for $750. 1923 seems to be the first year that he actively marketed Read More

1939 GM Futurliner

The consignor of Futurliner Number 3 that is available at our auction in Auburn purchased the vehicle out of an Indiana warehouse in 1999. It is believed to be one of the Futurliners that passed through Joe Bortz’s hands. It is clearly the most accurate and original unrestored Futurliner in existence, having been used by all of the previous restorations as the template for many parts that needed to be fabricated.

All of the exterior letters are original, have never Read More

A Truck Stuck in the 1946 Wayback Machine

By 1940, military planners all but knew that the United States was eventually going to end up embroiled in World War II. Specifications were drawn up for military-specific truck configurations, and Dodge was at the forefront.

Contracts were let initially for a series of half-ton trucks based on the new-for-1940 Dodge civilian trucks with several cab and body configurations, including an SUV-like Carryall wagon. These VC-Series trucks held great promise, and they soon evolved into the Read More