When Old Cars Were New

“It was a grand time to be writing about cars,” said Car and Driver’s Brock Yates at the recent International Automotive Media Conference in Las Vegas, Nevada. He was referring to the ’60s and early ’70s, when the horsepower race between American manufacturers was in full swing, Ford was locked in its titanic battle with Ferrari over bragging rights to Le Mans, and landmark cars like the Ferrari 275 GTB, the Jaguar E-type, the Porsche 911S and the Lamborghini Read More

A Red Egg for Christmas

Our day started innocently enough. Seven-year-old daughter Alexandra and I headed to a local swap meet in search of a pre-’55 American car to use in Martin Swig’s La Carrera Nevada event. While wading through the rusting junk, a.k.a. valuable restorable collector cars, she pulled suddenly at my sleeve.
“Look Daddy, it’s an Easter Egg car.”
The bright red 1958 BMW Isetta 300 had only 11,500 miles showing (original, claimed the owner), a sunroof, fresh Coker tires and Read More

From the Speedway to Syracuse

Our circuitous, car-filled week started with a trip to the Autofair at the Charlotte Motor Speedway in North Carolina, where I was co-host of a Speedvision special, “Muscle Car Mania,” to be broadcast Thanksgiving weekend. The swap meet and car show occupied the entire infield of the Speedway, and presented over 100,000 enthusiasts with the opportunity to fill their little red wagons with vintage Edelbrock intake manifolds and reproduction Hemi-Cuda air cleaners.
Our favorite car was a 1969 Mercury Read More

The V12 in the Driveway

Now that the annual Monterey convention of dealers and stealers, gearheads and tire-kickers, lookie-lous and wallet-flashers is over, it’s time to reflect. For several years, the weekend’s events have overlapped, but this year the congestion was ludicrous. The traffic jam to the track on Saturday rivaled the Bronx expressway on a Friday afternoon before the Labor Day weekend.
Let’s suggest something sacrilegious. How about moving the important races to the preceding weekend, making the focus of that time the Read More

Collapsed

We’ve just returned from a grand three days, participating in the 10th Annual Monte Shelton N.W. Classic Rally. Our ’68 Porsche 911L performed splendidly for the 1,000 miles through Washington State’s Olympic Peninsula, and never missed a beat until it was three miles from home. We stopped to pick up our daughter at my wife’s sister’s house, and when we restarted the car, a horrific noise emanated from the engine compartment.
Although we haven’t opened the engine up yet, Read More

Enjoy the Ride

If you’ve been dabbling in collector cars for a decade or more, you’ve been through the meteoric highs and the dismal, depressing lows. Eight years ago, carbureted Ferrari 308s sold for over $70,000, and Boxers passed $250,000. Porsche Speedsters were bringing $100,000, and flat-floor Jaguar E-type convertibles even more. If you were selling, those were pretty good days.
Buyers have been in the cat-bird seat since 1992, snapping up those same 308s for $25,000, Boxers at $60,000, Speedsters for Read More

Let’s Tape the Headlights and Go

Until the late 1950s, it was not uncommon for production sports cars like Alfa Giuliettas and Porsche Speedsters to be driven to the track, raced and driven home. Competition preparation consisted of criss-crossing their headlights with pieces of black tape to keep the lens from shattering into a thousand pieces if a rock hit it, and removing the spare tire, jack and tools from the car. A hard-core competitor might even unbolt the windshield. At the end of the Read More

Seize the Moment

Fifty years from now, this period will be looked upon as the golden age of vintage car motoring. We are fortunate to live at a time when our classics, the cars just now becoming 30 years old, are very proficient machines, capable of satisfying back-road velocity along with high-speed autoroute transits.
Consider this. Our newly acquired 1968 Porsche 911 was built three decades ago, but apart from safety and convenience factors, is nearly as competent as cars being built Read More

It’s Your Deal

We are frequently reminded that there are no constants in the car market. No price is absolutely too high or too low, no deal completely good or bad. A 1966 Triumph TR4 that may only bring $8,000 when dragged out of a garage in Arkansas may fetch $18,000 when fully detailed and offered under the shining lights of the Barrett-Jackson stage. Both prices are correct, and both deals can be called fair.
Private buyers looking for dream fulfillment may Read More

Just Another $40 Million Buying Spree

While most of the collector car market percolates along, with prices for sound cars appreciating gradually, one segment has ignited with the fury of a Saturn V booster rocket. During the last month, John McCaw of Bellevue, Washington, who made his fortune in the cellular phone business, has spent over $40 million enhancing his already formidable Ferrari collection, and at the same time redefined the values of an entire echelon of Ferraris.
Here are what our informed sources tell Read More

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