Appreciation Replaces Depreciation

Although enthusiasts may argue over the true definition of “classic” as applied to automobiles, perhaps we can all agree on one criterion: If at some point in the car’s lifetime it stops depreciating — its market price stops declining — and the price then levels off and begins to rise, then the market has just declared it a classic. If the price continues to drop, then it’s just another used car.

The Mercedes-Benz 500SL roadster, introduced in 1990 on the Read More

Lawsuit Has a Bearing on Porsche Owners

Since a 2001 Porsche Boxster S resides in the “Legal Files” garage, this letter from noted Porsche authority Pete Zimmermann caught my attention:

Dear Legal Files:

It appears that Porsche has a problem. A really big problem. All because of a bearing, to be exact, an IMS (Intermediate Shaft) bearing. That bearing is an internal engine part, and it fails. Repair cost can range between $3,000 and $20,000-plus.

Unlike past engineering mistakes, Porsche ignored the IMS bearing problem for far Read More

1912 Stutz Model A Bear Cat

Michael Furman ©2013, courtesy of RM Auctions

By any standard, Harry C. Stutz was an unlikely artist. Perhaps a few in the stands at Indianapolis in 1911 saw Stutz’s creation coming, but they were in the minority, as they were engineers and fellow veterans of the early automobile industry, and they knew Stutz’s genius. The car that he built under his own name averaged 62.375 mph for 500 miles in that first running of the Indianapolis 500, running with only minimal mechanical adjustment and 13 pit stops, Read More

Grooming the Young Collectors

 There’s no question that America’s love affair with the car has changed dramatically.

The New York Times and Wall Street Journal regularly report on the decline of numbers of driver’s licenses among young people, of fewer miles being driven and declining sales figures of new cars.

This lack of interest in driving is even more pronounced in Europe, where tight-knit cities and excellent train systems make having your own vehicle increasingly irrelevant — and expensive, due in part to high Read More

1959 Ferrari 250 GT SWB “Competition” Berlinetta Speciale

Michael Furman ©2013, courtesy of RM Auctions

The 250 GT SWB was an automobile that could be driven to the racetrack, easily decimate the competition, and then be driven home. Although there were detail differences from car to car, the 250 GT SWB was fundamentally a standardized design. However, that did not stop the demand for custom coachwork. Six chassis utilized custom bodies, with four of those being designed by Pininfarina and the other two built by Carrozzeria Bertone.

Offered here is the first Bertone-bodied SWB, chassis Read More

1964 Ferrari 250 LM

Michael Furman ©2013, courtesy of RM Auctions

As Marcel Massini, the pre-eminent Ferrari historian declared, “Ferrari’s 250 LM is one of the most spectacular mid-engined sports cars ever built — a true competition race car rarer than the legendary 250 GTO, and the last Ferrari to win the grueling 24-hour race at Le Mans.”

Chassis number 6107 is the 24th car of only 32 Ferrari 250 LM examples produced, and it is particularly special because its first owner did not have racing in mind when he acquired Read More

1969 Land Rover Series IIA “Air-Portable”

Jeff Yardis ©2013, courtesy of RM Auctions

Always designed with strength, mechanical simplicity and durability in mind, Land Rovers have often been the vehicles of choice for individuals looking to take a trip on the road less traveled. Over its 65-year history, the company built up a well-respected name by manufacturing the finest off-road vehicles money could buy for both individual and commercial use.

As such, they are transport for the armed forces of numerous countries across the globe. They are rugged, robust and reliable, and troops Read More

One Solution to Tangled Corvette Case

 Last month’s “Legal Files” (December 2013, p. 40) reported on the conflicting ownership claims to the Briggs Cunningham #1 Le Mans Corvette.

The claims of plaintiff Dan Mathis Jr. took an unexpected turn when defendant Kevin Mackay’s attorney discovered that Mathis had failed to mention the Corvette when he filed bankruptcy. That put his bankruptcy trustee in control. The trustee was set to auction Mathis’s rights on October 15.

Mathis’s partners, Idoni and Borelli, had submitted a bid of $25,000, Read More

1966 Shelby GT350 H Fastback

This Shelby GT350 H underwent a complete frame-on restoration and has the original body paint. Over $150,000 was invested in this car. Shelby produced 1,003 of these cars. Today, the GT350 H has taken its place among the most sought-after Shelbys of all time, and with only 1,001 being built, they’re considerably rarer than the standard GT350. Concours-caliber restoration and incredible performance.

A Concours Comes of Age

 Concours d’Elegance is just a fancy name for a fancy car show with fancy awards.

Whether it’s the weekly Beaches Cruisin’, which draws 1,500 vintage cars and thousands of gearheads every Wednesday all summer long in Portland, or the rarified air that surrounds the multi-million-dollar cars at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance — car shows are about owners who enjoy preparing and putting their cars on display and spectators who enjoy gazing at them.

I’ve just had my first visit Read More