1953 Austin-Healey 100 Special Test Car

This remarkably well-documented ex-Mille Miglia, ex-Le Mans 24-Hour race Austin-Healey Works car began life as one of the Donald Healey Motor Company’s pre-production competition vehicles — properly referred to as the Special Test Cars — destined for use in International motor races and world-class distance and speed-record attempts. Of the four Special Test Cars built in 1953, NOJ 392 is the sole remaining car in original 100-specification guise.

By February 1953, Donald Healey had three of his Read More

Passing Into History

We just put 1,611 delightful miles on our 1965 Giulia Spider Veloce. It was our first real road trip in years, and it brought home the reasons we fool around with these old cars.

The occasion was the Alfa Romeo National Convention, held in Rohnert Park, CA, south of Santa Rosa. Good friend Doug Hartman was my co-pilot on the way down, and Wendie flew down to ride with me on the way back.

We’ve owned the Spider nearly 30 years, selling it once and buying it back during that period. Conrad Stevenson in Berkeley did the engine and transmission several years ago, Bill Gillham oversaw the redo of the interior using original materials sourced by Matt Jones, and Tom Black put the finishing touches on preserving the aged paint. In short, it has never run nor looked better.

The trip down was uneventful. Our convoy of Northwest Alfas drove Interstate 5 to Eugene, Highway 126 across to Florence, then 101 to Santa Rosa with an overnight in Eureka. All the Alfas performed well except for a 750 Giulietta Spider that lost its water pump in Eureka; it was towed to the convention, repaired and driven home.

I’ve known most of these club guys for decades, and we remarked on how much better prepared our cars were than in the 1980s. As they have evolved into collectible artifacts, we have started lavishing unprecedented amounts of care and money on their maintenance.

1958 Chevrolet Cameo NAPCO 4×4

This 1958 Chevrolet Apache Cameo Carrier is the rarest of the Cameos, and it was the last year it was produced. Just 1,405 were made for 1958, and only a few were fitted with the NAPCO 4×4 system. This Cameo was treated to an exhaustive, no-expense-spared, frame-off restoration to the most exacting standards. The truck has been driven only five miles since the restoration was completed. This is its first time offered for public sale at auction. It is a Read More

1954 Mercedes-Benz W-196 Formula One Racer

With the approach of the new Formula 1 that was due to begin with the 1954 season, Daimler-Benz announced that they would be represented by an entirely new team of Mercedes-Benz racing cars. When these entirely new W-196 cars emerged at Reims, fans recoiled in astonishment. These sleek new silver rocket ships were futuristically alien machines from Mars. Juan Fangio and Karl Kling immediately qualified first and second, then finished 1-2 in this their debut race.

Over the fleeting Read More

A Boy Racer for the Ages

At first glance, the first-generation BMW M3 looks like a boy racer’s dream. You see a big air dam, a big spoiler and big wheels rolling under big flares.

You have to get into this car, start it and roll it down the road before you know exactly what the E30 (BMW’s internal designation for the car) is all about. In its first four years of production, it won more races and titles than any other BMW ever — and it is still the most successful racing saloon of all time.

The 1988–91 M3 represents a purity of purpose that BMW had not shown before — or since. The car was developed in reverse order of most — if not all — of the production cars of today. BMW first developed the race version of the M3 and then made it into a saleable homologation. Some will argue the M1 also fits this, but the E30 M3 was designed to go racing first, then became a road car. The M1 was developed as a sports car and then as a racer.

Tax Liens and “Good” Deals

A Ferrari owner was in deep financial trouble. Business difficulties had left him pretty well broke. Worst of all, he owed the IRS more than $3 million, and an IRS agent was hot on his heels to collect.

In need of cash, the owner approached his bank for a loan. Since the IRS had filed liens for the unpaid taxes, the bank required collateral to secure a line of credit. All that was available was the 2005 Ferrari, so Read More

1962 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Roadster

Delivered new to Mannheim, Germany, this 300SL Roadster was first sold to a Swiss customer. It has had no more than two registered owners since; it also features a factory hard top. Many aficionados consider the configuration of this example as the most desirable variant, with disc brakes in combination with the more reliable cast-iron block.

This Mercedes has been the subject of a painstaking, five-year, body-off rebuild. Acquired as a rust- and accident-free original Read More

1969 Maserati Mistral Spyder

At the start of the 1950s, Maserati was still producing cars on a small scale. It built high-performance sports cars that were a little too demanding for the wealthy clientèle just starting to appear after the war.

The marque wanted to produce models that kept the same allure and were fast, but which had improved levels of comfort and security. The task of developing such a car was given to Giulio Alfieri, the brilliant engineer Read More

1961 Jaguar E-Type Barn Find

Introduced in 3.8-liter form in 1961, the Jaguar E-type caused a sensation when it appeared, with instantly classic lines and a 150-mph top speed. Its design owed much to that of the racing D-type: a monocoque tub forming the main structure, while a tubular space frame extended forward to support the engine. The latter was the 3.8-liter, triple-carburetor S unit first offered as an option on the XK 150. The E-type’s performance did not disappoint: Read More