1969 Mazda Cosmo L10B Coupe

Courtesy of Bonhams

Although founded in the 1920s, the company that would become Mazda Motor Corporation did not commence series production of passenger cars until 1960. Only four years later, the Japanese firm exhibited its first rotary-engined prototype, having acquired the rights to produce NSU’s Wankel-designed engines. In 1966, Mazda launched its first rotary engine, the Cosmo L10A, which went into production the following year.

Mazda’s flagship model, the Cosmo, was powered by a twin-rotor engine displacing 982 cc and producing 110 horsepower, Read More

1980 Renault 5 Turbo Group 4

Courtesy of Artcurial Motorcars

In 1979, the modest Renault Sport division, responsible for the R5 Turbo rally program led by engineers François Bernard and Michel Têtu, only had the Group 5 prototype that had appeared on the Tour of Italy, the famous “Black” R5, assembled from specific Renault and Alpine parts.

Gérard Larrousse and his team had to wait for 400 examples of the production series to be built for homologation in Group 4 that would allow the R5 Turbo to compete in major Read More

1967 Ferrari 330 GTS Barn Find

Mike Maez, courtesy of Gooding & Company

Soon after the 330 GTC was unveiled at the 1966 Geneva Auto Salon, Ferrari introduced its exclusive Spider variant, the GTS. The new 330 GTC, GTS, and the contemporary 275 GTB/4 featured the same mechanical layout of fully independent suspension, four-wheel disc brakes, a rigid torque-tube driveshaft, and a 5-speed, rear-mounted transaxle.

Whereas the 275 GTB/4 utilized a 4-cam, 3.3-liter V12, the 330s were equipped with 4-liter, 2-cam V12 that delivered a genuine 300 horsepower at 6,600 rpm. The 330 Read More

1971 Mercedes-Benz 280SE 3.5 Cabriolet

Courtesy of RM Auctions

In 1959, Mercedes broke with tradition by introducing the angular “Heckflosse,” or “Finback,” sedan on the W-111/W-112 chassis — itself revolutionary in having the first-ever crumple zones and roll-over integrity to protect the occupants from injury in the event of collisions — to replace the bulbous “ponton” built on the W-128 chassis.

Two years later, following the end of production for the stately W-128-chassis 220SE coupes and cabriolets, the Mercedes designers introduced 2-door coupe and cabriolet models aimed at the Read More

All Over the Map With the FJ40

Patrick Ernzen ©2013, courtesy of RM Auctions

Back when I first profiled the Toyota FJ40 Land Cruiser as an Affordable Classic (February 2012, p. 34), they were the up-and-coming thing. I won’t be so forward as to say that my scribbles helped push the market up, but the ink was barely dry before they soared in value.

Superb examples were selling at either side of $100k, and because of that, it seemed like every auction house had to have one on their docket.

Fast forward to 2014, Read More

1931 Alfa Romeo 6C 1750 Supercharged Gran Sport Spider, Coachwork by Zagato

Pawel Litwinski, courtesy of Bonhams

In the world of car collecting, there are four primary criteria that establish a vehicle’s worthiness: authenticity, provenance, aesthetics and engineering. The exceptional Alfa Romeo offered here resoundingly checks all of these boxes.

The history of this incredible Alfa Romeo, chassis 10814356, begins in 1931. According to Angela Cherrett’s Tipo 6C book, 10814356 was completed as a fifth-series Gran Sport Spider, featuring the uprated 1,752-cc supercharged dual overhead cam, all-aluminum engine, an improved braking system and more refined Zagato coachwork Read More

1960 OSCA 750 S

Patrick Ernzen ©2013, courtesy of RM Auctions

After the company’s inception, OSCA quickly began to make a name for itself, as it started to notch up class and overall wins at race tracks all over the globe, with some of the best drivers and teams in the world behind these fantastic new racing machines from Italy. In what is considered to be one of the biggest upsets in the history of endurance racing, Stirling Moss and Bill Lloyd won the 1954 12 Hours of Sebring overall behind Read More

1935 Auburn 851 Boattail Speedster

Pawel Litwinski, courtesy of Bonhams

In 1949, this exceptional Auburn Boattail Speedster was discovered in an old garage in Omaha, NE. The Auburn required some refurbishing, so a restoration was undertaken in 1951, and it was decided to restore the car as a 1936 852, perhaps in an attempt to make the already rare Speedster seem even more desirable, as 852s are extremely scarce. The Auburn was parked in the garage during the summer of 1962, and didn’t move from that spot for 52 years, Read More

1960 Lotus Elite Series II

Pawel Litwinski, courtesy of Bonhams

With the Lotus 14 of 1959 — better known as the Elite — Colin Chapman demonstrated that his skills as a racing-car designer and constructor could just as easily be applied to production road cars.

Just as innovative as Lotus’s outright competition cars, the Elite featured a fiberglass monocoque body tub, independent suspension all round (based on that of Lotus’ racing monopostos) and four-wheel disc brakes, the rears mounted inboard. Its engine was the 4-cylinder Coventry Climax FWE, a single-overhead-cam Read More

1965 Mercedes-Benz 230SL

Dirk de Jager, courtesy of Bonhams

Introduced at the Geneva Salon in March 1963 as replacement for the 190SL, the 230SL is a landmark model that founded a sports-car dynasty that would prove an enormous commercial success for Mercedes-Benz.

Soon christened by the public the “Pagoda” after the distinctive shape of the removable hard top that evoked the roof of a Japanese temple, these SL models were among the best-loved sports-tourers of their day and continue to be highly sought after by discerning collectors.

This matching-numbers Read More