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

The Long-Lived, Never-Loved Porsche

Courtesy of Auctions America

The 928 occupies a peculiar place in Porsche history. Conceived as a replacement for the venerable 911, the factory soon discovered that their customers would never prize a front-engined, water-cooled alternative — even if it did make more power than the company’s bread-and-butter sports car.

Maybe the 928, with its upward-staring headlights, was too strange-looking to appeal to Porsche buyers. This is really an accomplishment in itself, given the unique designs common to the marque. Maybe it was obvious that, Read More

Saab Quietly Goes a Little Crazy

When you think of sports sedans from the late 1970s, the first name that comes to mind probably isn’t the Saab 99 Turbo — unless you have past experience in one.

If you do, they tend to gnaw at you like the prom queen that got away, the early Apple stock you decided not to buy or the chance you passed up to live in Europe with that girl from college.

But climb into a well-loved example today, and you Read More

Porsche’s No-Frills Performance Bargain

There’s nothing more fun than buying, driving and enjoying a bargain sports car. Today, in our red-hot collector car market, most hope — and perhaps pray — that our purchases will continue to appreciate. Yet the prospect of price appreciation someday is different than a bargain today. The 911SC is that rarity which represents a great value in today’s market.

The 911SC saved Porsche from a botched response to U.S. emission controls imposed in 1974. Intended to be the rear-engine Read More

A Luxury Cat with Claws

While it is common today to think that the introduction of Jaguar’s new “sporting” model in 1975 was greeted with jeers, the truth is rather different.

Certainly the XJ-S (the name carried a hyphen until 1991, when it became the XJS) was a notable departure from the XKE. The nomenclature clearly indicated that it was the top of the XJ sedan line rather than the latest in a line of XK sports cars.

Nevertheless, the XJ-S was very much the Read More

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