The Frankenstein Mercedes-Benz 280SL

George felt his time was coming. He was through with his studies and was just getting established in his career. Unburdened by a wife or kids, he had been able to save up some money and he was ready to have some fun with it. His interest in collector cars beckoned, and he was quite a fan of the Mercedes-Benz “Pagoda” cars.

A lengthy Internet search led him to the website of a dealer a long airplane ride away. The Read More

Barrett-Jackson is the Pebble Beach of Arizona

Tony Piff

Our collector car world has four epicenters, and each has its own anchor event.

The vintage car calendar starts with Monterey in August, followed by Arizona in January, Paris in February and Amelia Island in March.

The signature event for the Monterey Classic Car Week is the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance. It follows the auctions, marque shows and historic races. All eyes are on the cars displayed on the 18th Fairway that Sunday.

Five months later, and now nearly upon Read More

1930 Cadillac V16 Roadster

On January 4, 1930, Cadillac stunned the fine-car market at the New York Auto Show with the introduction of its breathtaking new V16. With it, Cadillac instantly catapulted itself to the head of the luxury class in one brilliant stroke. Until then, only Bugatti had produced a 16-cylinder engine, and it was accomplished by bolting two 8-cylinder inline engines together, which was an innovation that was originally intended for aircraft use.

Cadillac’s V16 was the first true 16-cylinder engine to Read More

1911 Mercer Type 35R Raceabout

Darin Schnabel ©2014, courtesy of RM Auctions

The Mercer Automobile Company was established in 1909 by the Roebling family, creators of tensioned wire-rope suspension bridges — embodied by the Roebling-built Brooklyn Bridge. The company was crippled early on by the deaths of its Roebling family leaders, but it survived until 1925, when it was renamed the Mercer Motors Company, signaling its acquisition by Hare’s Motors, a joint venture with Simplex and Locomobile.

During that short early period, however, it was responsible for one supremely important, successful and Read More

1984 Ferrari 512 BBi Berlinetta Boxer

Tom Wood ©2014, courtesy of RM Auctions

When introduced at the 1981 Frankfurt Salon, the 512 BBi brought about only minor changes from the outgoing 512 BB, with the chief among those being the addition of a Bosch K-Jetronic fuel-injection system. The BBi retained all of the 512 BB’s looks and character — but added exposed driving lights on the nose and rectangular parking lights adjacent to the exhausts at the rear. For many clients, the addition of the fuel injection was a welcome change, and the Read More

1936 Lagonda LG45R Rapide Sports-Racing Two-Seater

Chip Riegel, courtesy of Bonhams

This is the most famous Lagonda of all.

Special competition variants of the LG45 were tailor-made at Staines Bridge for the Lagonda company’s experienced and battle-hardened quasi-Works racing team: Fox & Nicholl Limited of Tolworth, Surrey. Just as Enzo Ferrari’s private Scuderia ran the quasi-Works Alfa Romeo team cars from 1932 to ’37, so Fox & Nicholl represented Lagonda’s vital interests in International motor racing.

For 1936, the production department at Staines Bridge built four competition cars specifically for Fox Read More

1954 Aston Martin DB2/4 Coupe

Ryan Merill ©2014, courtesy of RM Auctions

The BMIHT Certificate states that this DB2/4 was completed on February 2, 1954, and it was originally sold to a Scottish customer. While its early history is unknown, its build sheet documents an early factory engine replacement.

According to Anthony Forshaw, it is believed that its current engine is that period replacement unit. Aston Service Dorset has issued an amended build sheet and new chassis plate to cement the connection. The Aston was discovered in Virginia in 2008 by the Read More

Coulda, Woulda, Shoulda

Here at SCM, we take some space in every issue to look at affordable classics — great cars that you can get into without emptying your wallet. Affordable classics are great because they’re far more engaging than the average new grocery-getter, and you can drive them without worrying yourself to death about miles, damage and insane repair bills.

But here’s one true fact: Affordable classics don’t always stay affordable. Whether this is a good or bad thing mainly depends on Read More

1954 Pegaso Z-102 Cabriolet

Chip Riegel, courtesy of Gooding & Company

That Spanish truck manufacturer ENASA should have built one of the most exotic sports grand touring cars of the early 1950s seems rather improbable. However, it becomes somewhat more understandable when you learn that the company’s chief technical manager’s last position was Chief Engineer, Special Projects, for Alfa Romeo from 1936 to 1944. Wifredo Ricart was often criticized for the complexity of the vehicles he designed, but in the case of the Pegaso sports car, that attribute was very much Read More

When Your Hobby Becomes a Business

One unexpected consequence of today’s hot collector car market has been that many SCMers have been buying and selling more cars more quickly than ever before. They — and their accountants — have wondered if they have crossed the line from a collector to a dealer, which would carry some significant tax and legal consequences.

Dealer licensing

All states require car dealers to be licensed. The most obvious consequence of dealer licensing is the cost. Not only do you have Read More