1954 Chrysler GS-1 Special by Ghia

During the 1950s, Italian coachbuilder Ghia built numerous one-off “dream cars” for Chrysler Corporation. One, the slab-sided and extremely modern “Thomas Special,” named for Chrysler export executive C.B. Thomas, was so well received at European shows that a limited run of duplicates was produced for European customers. Others soon followed, including the so-called Ghia Special.

Chrysler’s Export Division had two 1954 Chrysler New Yorker Deluxe chassis, each with a 125.5-inch wheelbase frame, a 235-horsepower Hemi V8, and a PowerFlite automatic Read More

1980 BMW M1

In the late 1970s, BMW was still in its growing pains in the United States. The favored quirky rally car of the 1960s was becoming the favored fast luxury transport of young professionals.

Between the two eras of Bayerische Motoren Werke, there was the M1, which remains the most exotic street car that the company ever built. It was essentially a road-going Procar and Group 5 racer, built to homologize the cars for the track.

Hand-built in limited numbers, Read More

New Money Chasing Old Cars

If the collector-car market were a cappuccino, its frothy foam would spill over the sides of the cup and cascade to the tabletop like a miniature Niagara Falls. Is there a major auction that doesn’t set a few world records? Even Toyotas are now worth more than a million dollars.

Well, not all Toyotas.

As you might expect in this time of valuation acceleration, my inbox is full of questions, many similar to this one from David Cohen, of Read More

1969 Lancia Fulvia Coupe Rallye 1.6 HFS

In total, 1,258 1.6 HFs were built during 1969–70, of which approximately the first 600 were designated HFS and fitted with the Variante 1016 engine featuring modified cams similar to the Works rally cars. This car, 001578, which is a rare fanalone (big-headlight) version, is one of the last HFSs to be built and is contemporary with cars used by the Works in late 1969/early 1970. Believed to have been used as a reconnaissance car by the Works team, Read More

1955 Jaguar XK 140 MC Roadster

From 1948 through 1954, the groundbreaking XK 120 established Jaguar at the forefront of sports car manufacturers with its graceful lines and impressive, race-winning performance. Late in 1954, the improved XK 140 arrived, heralding comprehensive improvements that made the original design even better.

Notable upgrades included precise rack-and-pinion steering, improved brakes and engine cooling, plus enhanced cabin comfort and legroom. Subtle body updates preserved the widely acclaimed original styling elements. The most popular model in America remained the OTS Read More

1952 Ferrari 225 Sport Berlinetta “Tuboscocca”

The lifeblood of Ferrari, particularly in the early years, was competition. It is a widely held belief that the creation of road-going versions of the competition sports cars existed almost solely to support Il Commendatore’s racing effort. In many instances, engineering advances developed for battle can be traced directly to the road cars, such as the pioneering weight-balancing use of the transaxle from the 275 series GTs.

Ferrari’s competition teeth were cut along with the continuous progress of the Read More

The Beetle is Crawling Back

 

The humble Volkswagen Beetle — which is actually not its official name, but few people know what a Type 1 is — created the massive compact-car market in the United States.

It took the brilliant mind of Ferdinand Porsche — and high-quality labor from a rebuilding post-war West Germany — to make a compact car a success in the United States of the late 1950s and early 1960s.

By opening up the compact-car market in the U.S., VW blazed the trail for all small cars — domestic and imported. While the Chevrolet Corvair was initially all but an Americanized Beetle, the rest of the domestics weren’t. Still, the success of the Falcon, Valiant, Rambler and Lark was only possible after VW made small cars acceptable in the big-car-crazed U.S.

By the early 1970s, the early Beetle became a victim of its own huge success.

By 1970, the Big Three had run one full generation of compacts off U.S. assembly lines, and a second one was on the way. The Falcon gave way to the Pinto, the Corvair led to the Vega, and the Rambler became AMC and birthed the Gremlin. In addition, the Valiant had a plethora of siblings from Dodge.

While the Japanese competitors were generally viewed as quirky and cheap during the 1960s, by 1970 they were becoming formidable competitors. During all this, the Beetle just puttered along with minimal changes.

While staying the same in a world of change played well in the turbulent 1960s — even among the Counterculture — the Beetle was old hat in the 1970s. The Beetle looked dated compared with everything else in the market.

1967 Fiat Dino Spider

The 1965 Dino 206S Speciale coupe was Enzo Ferrari’s tribute to his late son, Dino. More practically, it was a way of making the new all-alloy, Ferrari-built V6 eligible for Formula Two competition by building 500 production cars equipped with it.

Given Ferrari’s limited production, Fiat used the engine in a new, sporty model that also carried the Dino name, and it would be built in larger numbers starting in 1966. The sound of the triple Weber-carbureted V6 engine Read More

1935 Duesenberg Model SJ Convertible Coupe

As advanced as the Model J Duesenberg was upon its introduction in 1929, most of the technical advancements contained within were confined to the body and chassis. The design of the front end and fenders — as well as that of most coachbuilt bodies — still bowed toward late-1920s convention, albeit stylishly. As a result, by the mid-1930s, the Duesenberg still held mechanical prowess over virtually everything else on the road. From a design standpoint, however, it was looking rather Read More

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