Thieves Know the Way to Monterey

Monterey Car Week is the closest we get to automotive nirvana. We have grown accustomed to the week’s three major problems: finding acceptable accommodations, finding enough time to do everything we want to do, and getting decent dinner reservations. This year, for the first time, another problem manifested itself — car thieves have discovered Monterey.

Four collector cars were stolen during the weekend: two from Mecum, one from Russo and Steele, and one from a bed-and-breakfast parking lot in Read More

1967 Ferrari 275 GTB/4S NART Spyder

Luigi Chinetti recognized the viability of sporty open cars in the American market. The 250 GT SWB California Spyder in particular proved itself a resounding success. But whereas the 4-cam’s predecessor — the 275 GTB — offered a Spyder variant, the wind-in-your-hair alternative to the 275 GTB/4 was a 330 GTS.

As such, the 275 GTB/4S NART Spyder was born of a direct request from Luigi Chinetti to Ferrari. NART stands for North American Racing Team, the Read More

1948 Alfa Romeo 6C 2500 Competizione

Built in the Alfa Corse workshops between 1946 and 1948, this 6C 2500 Competizione, chassis number 920002, was originally sold to Franco Rol of Torino, Italy. An Italian aristocrat turned successful chemical manufacturer, Rol was an avid sportsman who successfully raced a variety of automobiles during the late 1940s and early 1950s.

On May 2, 1948, 920002 made its competition debut at Italy’s most famous road race, the grueling Mille Miglia. But the new Alfa Romeo’s first appearance at Read More

1931 Bentley 4½ Litre Supercharged Le Mans

The “Blower” Bentley is one of the most masculine, muscular and sporting motorcars ever built. While some companies hid their superchargers behind the radiator grille, the Bentley wears it right out front, and that statement alone says it all about the car and its creators.

First shown at the 1929 London Motor Show, it was developed as a private venture by “Bentley Boy” Sir Henry “Tim” Birkin in order to extract more performance from the proven 4½ Litre model, Read More

1914 American Underslung Model 644 Touring

The innovative American Motors Company of Indianapolis, IN, is best remembered for their famous “Underslung” models. These striking designs placed the frame rails below the axles, giving a significantly reduced center of gravity along with a sporting profile. Significantly oversized wheels remedied the problem of ground clearance. This design innovation resulted in a chassis with remarkably sure handling while still retaining the necessary clearances to handle the poor road conditions of the day.

The effect of the underslung chassis, with Read More

1966 Gurney-Weslake Eagle Mk 1

Despite his success in almost every category of international motor racing, many consider Dan Gurney’s incomparable Eagle race cars to be his moAst significant contribution to American motorsports.

Designed and built in Southern California, the original Gurney-Weslake Eagles raced with success on the world’s stage and were among the most memorable machines built during the golden age of Formula One, before the purity of Grand Prix cars was forever tarnished with aerodynamic aids and corporate sponsorship.

Driven by some Read More

Leasing to Play

Auto leasing hit historic highs in the past couple of years and now finances about 27% of new-car sales.

Leasing is particularly popular with the luxury brands — 75% to 80% of new Mercedes-Benzes and about 50% of new BMWs are leased.

And specialty collector-car leasing companies such as Putnam Leasing and Premier Financial Services have become major players in financing collector-car transactions. J.J. Best Banc & Co., prominent in the field as well, offers traditional financing.

But leases in the collector-car market are quite different from those in the new-car market.

Different ends

Traditional, new-car leases are called “closed end” leases. You lease the car for a fixed period of time, say three or five years. There may be some up-front consideration, such as a down payment. At the end of the lease term, your lease obligation ends. You can just give the car back and walk away. Or, you can buy it for the pre-determined residual value, which was set at the beginning of the lease term.

1962 Ferrari 400 Superamerica SWB

As the echoes of World War II austerity faded in Europe, it occurred to Enzo Ferrari that his wealthiest clients were ready for a super-fast, road-going gran turismo. The result was a series of exclusive Ferraris built with especially powerful engines wrapped in elegant bodies from the finest Italian coachbuilders. Each car was individually tailored to its owner’s requests, blisteringly fast, and sophisticated enough to transport a royal. One model in the series was the 400 Superamerica.

Read More

2009 Alfa Romeo 8C Competizione Coupe

First seen in concept-car form at the Frankfurt Auto Show in 2003, the Alfa Romeo 8C revived a famous name from the Italian company’s illustrious past when it entered production in 2006. The original 8C (8-cylinder) Alfa engine had been designed in 1931 by the legendary Vittorio Jano and was used to power Alfa Romeo’s most prestigious road models — as well as its sports-racing and Grand Prix cars — until the decade’s end.

Styled by Wolfgang Egger, the Read More