1966-67 Oldsmobile Toronado

How can muscle car collectors overlook anything this big?

The 1966 Toronado was America’s first front-wheel drive car since the Cord 810, 30 years earlier. It was certainly Oldsmobile’s (and possibly GM’s) last stylistic tour de force. The post-1967 years became increasingly unfriendly to this type of individuality as committees, legislators, and focus groups took over American automotive design.
The project that eventually became the Toronado had a long gestation period Read More

1954 Porsche 550/1500RS Spyder “Le Mans Prototype”

Porsche built four 550 Spyders for the 1954 Le Mans 24 Hours, numbered 10 through 13. This car, S/N 550-10, was assigned to Richard von Frankenberg and Helm Glockler. In practice, it was the fastest of the 1,500-cc 550s, but it was also the first to retire. Only 20 minutes into the race, a holed piston forced its withdrawal.

Porsche tackled the problem, improving both cooling and tuning. With these changes, 550-10 was entered in the Reims 12-hour race on Read More

1961-1972 Volvo 1800

Enough pipe-smoking, record-keeping professors bought 1800s to assure a decent supply of well-maintained examples

In 1961, Volvo was Swedish for “stodgy,” and a sports car from these practical folks in a cold climate seems about as likely as tailfins on a reindeer. But that’s what happened-right down to the fins.
Volvo had attempted a sports car in 1953 when they contracted with Glasspar in the U.S. to build the P1900. Typical of Read More

2005 Enzo Ferrari

Prospective purchasers were selected based on their importance to the dealer; we assume the Pope was pre-qualified

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Chassis number: ZFFCZ56B000141920

Ferrari entered the third millennium during an incredible phase of competition. In fact, Formula One has never offered the company such a true laboratory for advanced research. I decided that this car, which embodies the best of our technology, should be dedicated to our founder, who always thought that our Read More

1963 Fiat 750/850 Abarth Berlina

Lack of records makes it very difficult to tell a factory Abarth from one built by Uncle Giorgio’s Garage

(Note: In the auction catalog, there was an addendum that declared that this particular car was in fact a Fiat 750 rather than an 850. As its model year was appropriate for an 850, we can only assume that an earlier 750 engine had been retrofitted. The historical information about the 850 model Read More

1973 Datsun 240Z Race Car

Trailing throttle oversteer resulted in far more of them leaving the track backwards than ever drove off straight

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When Spike Anderson went trawling for a bottom-feeder race car in England, he started at a fish-and-chip shop.
Anderson bought “LAL,” a four-year-old Datsun 240Z from a Greek fish-and-chip shop owner, a Mr. Michael. Stripped, prepared, and repainted in Spike’s “Samurai” colors, the car was entered for the Silverstone 6-hour relay race Read More

1937 Cord 812 SC Convertible Coupe

E. L. Cord was a master salesman who acquired Auburn in 1928 after saving it from bankruptcy by unloading about 700 sedans languishing on the lot. He spiffed up the orphans with bright paint schemes and applied his considerable sales talent to move them. His reward was the company, which he revitalized.

In 1929 he took Auburn to the next step, introducing the front-wheel-drive Cord L-29 with low-slung sporting styling. He also bought Duesenberg and Lycoming engines to add to Read More

2001 Lotus Esprit

An Esprit makes sense based on performance and price, but it falls short on craftsmanship and materials

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Although the wedge-shaped Lotus Esprit has been around long enough to be something of a 1970s retro car, it has gone through significant changes since it first appeared in 1976. To most people the Esprit conjures up exciting scenes from the 1977 James Bond film “The Spy Who Loved Me,” where Roger Moore Read More

1939 BMW 327 Cabriolet

Because this car is a 2+2 and a cabriolet it weighs several hundred pounds more than a 328, and acceleration will be leisurely

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BMW’s first six-cylinder engine was launched in 1934, and formed the backbone of the company’s racing legacy. A modified version of the new powerplant was developed by Rudolf Schleicher and would stay in production until 1961, first as a 1.2-liter then as a 2-liter. It was a Read More

1964-1970 Maserati Mistral

If you decide to restore a Mistral, forget the scuba gear and go find Alvin, the Titanic submersible. You will be that far under water

The cold wind that gave its name to Maserati’s 1964 Mistral spells the end of summer in the south of France. The model heralded an even colder and more inhospitable wind in the form of crippling taxes, fuel shortages, idiotic U.S. regulations, and the ignominy of ownership Read More