My adventures with the 1965 Volvo 122S continue. I am thoroughly enjoying being back behind the wheel of a vintage vehicle. The joy of driving a classic sports car reminds me of why I started SCM 32 years ago.
It also reminds me of how many stories you readers have shared with me.
For 90% of the driving I am doing, the BorgWarner Type 35 3-speed automatic transmission in the 122 does just fine. (Of course it’s the other 10%, with upshifts and downshifts, that we all live for.)
I tried driving our GTV and Giulia Super today. I have had smaller steering wheels fitted to both cars, which gives my left leg a little more clearance. Although I did better than I did two weeks ago, I still don’t have the fine motor control necessary to lift my left leg from the floorboard and place it on the clutch in a reliable manner.
I know that day will come. But in the meantime I’ve been thinking about other automatics that might provide a little more comfort than the Volvo. Perhaps more power and creature comforts, such as a/c, would be nice.
I want to stay with cars that would be eligible for the SCM 1000, so I’m looking at 1974-and-earlier cars.
Our resident Mercedes expert, Pierre Hedary, forwarded me a classified ad for a 1966 250 saloon automatic. It was only $6,000. But once I talked with the seller and found about the rusted-out driver’s door and sill, the chowed leather interior and the checking paint, $6,000 became the down payment on another $20,000 in repairs. So I passed.
However like a hound dog, once I have the scent of a more powerful sports car with an automatic transmission, it’s hard to back off.
Pierre also has a 1968 Mercedes 280SEL in very nice condition for under $20,000. It’s a little big for my taste, but I could be convinced. I’d prefer a W114/W115 4-door.
And there is a Jaguar SIII V12 automatic on Bring a Trailer right now with sluggish bidding.
It’s no secret that the market is slow, and these cars, especially with archaic automatics aren’t exactly A-list collectibles. Which would you choose, and what would you pay?
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I look forward to your thoughts.