A Mercedes for the Farm, Woods or Battlefield

In the United States, Mercedes-Benz Unimogs are rare enough to qualify as mild curiosities, but these tough, fear-no-road trucks are also inching up on the cool meter, especially with military-vehicle buffs.

You’ll see them scattered around the countryside — often in the mountain areas of the western United States — but few know their long, fascinating history.

For example, Unimogs were originally designed as farm vehicles. Let’s jump into the Wayback Machine for a little Unimog history.

Out of the Read More

Mercedes’ Little Road Rocket

Most motoring enthusiasts are aware of the Mercedes-Benz 190E 2.3 16-valve cars. These models have acquired several nicknames, such as “Cosworth” or its diminutive “Cossie.” Although they have become famous, good examples remain elusive. But these are tough little cars, and refurbishing a driver is affordable, so you don’t have to “buy the best.”

These cars only came in Smoke Silver and Pearl Black. Powered by the Mercedes M102 4-cylinder engines, U.S.-market Cossies made 167 horsepower and European versions made Read More

Toyota’s Fast and Furious Turbo

It’s hard to see Toyota as a performance brand, especially given the current state of their offerings, but for a time the staid Japanese megabrand produced some real hot rods.

The Toyota Supra started life as the performance model of the sporty Celica line. Designed to compete with the Nissan/Datsun Z-cars, the Supra was always given an overhead cam inline 6-cylinder engine. Horsepower ranged from an anemic 110 ponies in 1979 to a reasonably respectable 232 horses for the last Read More

Porsche’s Red-Headed Stepchild

Stop for a moment and consider the plight of the Porsche 924. If ever there was a car that was born on the wrong side of the blanket, the 924 is it.

Coming onto the scene as a 1977 model, the 924 was Porsche’s first attempt at a conventional, water-cooled, inline 4-cylinder car. The 924 was created to replace the 914, which had suffered under the stigma of its Volkswagen heritage — the factory couldn’t even manage to put a Read More

No Longer Hidden in Plain Sight

Like a surface vein of gold in the Sierra Nevada of California in 1848, Lancias have suddenly been discovered by the larger collector car world.

Long hidden in plain sight, these superbly over-engineered, pioneering and championship-winning cars are leaving behind their reputation for being woefully undervalued. Lancias are setting new auction records, and prices have hit levels scarcely imaginable by long-term Lancisti just a few years ago.

In point of fact, a very good argument could be raised for the Read More

The Best Kadett of All

Courtesy of Barrett-Jackson

Ask any American to name an Opel product, and they’re overwhelmingly likely to name the GT — often known as the “Baby Corvette” that arrived in America in 1969.

But few could tell you that General Motors bought most of Opel in 1929 — and took complete ownership in 1931. By the end of the 1930s, Opel was the second-biggest automaker in Germany. Relations with the parent corporation were severed during the World War II years, but after 1945, Opel 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

Monterey Loco Meter on Overdrive

No way. That’s not possible. That makes zero sense. Oh come on — really?”

Welcome to the calliope of incredulity running around inside my otherwise-seasoned noggin during Monterey Auction Week. The madness that prevailed in the market for cars that sold in the perceived “lower end of the offerings” was more eye-watering than the prices achieved by the Violati Ferraris sold at Bonhams.

Listen, from where I was sitting, I watched three patterns unfold while $464 million and 822 cars Read More

Is the X1/9 Emerging from the Shadows?

The Fiat X1/9 has been all but forgotten in the 40 years since it was introduced to North American markets. Most collectors just ignore the little mid-engine, two-seater convertible. Many see the car as Fiat’s underpowered and somewhat half-hearted effort to hold onto the American market — and really, who wouldn’t rather have a Fiat 124 Spider of the same vintage, all things being equal?

On the other hand, autocrossers, track-day addicts and those who just wanted an agile sports Read More

Serio’s Gang of Five $50k Buy-Nows

Allow me to fire up Mr. Peabody’s Wayback Machine for some personal perspective on a chronic, serious car-collecting habit.

Maintaining such a habit for 35 years is certainly (albeit marginally) better than being a fall-down alcoholic, a street-punk heroin addict or a perpetual gambler-loser. The aforementioned addictions are generally shunned by society — and wreak a terrible impact on those who are involved in their terrible wake.

Hold on… they leave you chronically broke, looking for the next high and Read More

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