2001 Ferrari 550 Barchetta

Displayed for the first time at the 2000 Paris Motor Show, Ferrari’s new 550 Barchetta followed in a long line of exclusive, open-top, front-engine V12s. The Barchetta was built to celebrate Pininfarina’s 70th anniversary and its long relationship with the marque. The renowned coachbuilder styled the car as a truly special Ferrari. A more stimulating and less rational car, it was exclusively intended for open-top motoring.

The 550 Barchettas were powered by the same alloy, 48-valve, four-cam engine as fitted Read More

1959 Lister Costin Jaguar Sports Racer

In 1957, Brian Lister built his first Jaguar-powered sports racer, with which he achieved outstanding racing victories with the brilliant one-armed driver Archie Scott Brown. During this time, Lister’s sponsor, British Petroleum, was seeking a team of large-displacement sports racing cars to rival Aston Martin and Ecurie Ecosse Jaguars, both of whom were sponsored by Esso.

Lister seemed the obvious choice, and the first production “Knobbly” Lister Jaguar, so named for its unusual but effective body shape, debuted in 1958. Read More

1931 Rolls-Royce Phantom II Merlin Special

Chassis 64GX left Crewe as a standard Phantom II saloon, but in the late 1970s, Rolls-Royce collector Nicholas Harley of London decided to create a showcase of British engineering might. The restoration that ensued spanned approximately seven years, during which time the Phantom II frame was lengthened, reinforced and fitted with this lovely Gurney Nutting-inspired body constructed by Wilkinson’s of Derby, and a 27-liter Mk I Merlin V12 engine was fitted, fed by two fuel pumps delivering 100 gallons per Read More

1952 Mercedes-Benz 220 Cabriolet B

Introduced at Frankfurt in 1951, the Mercedes-Benz 220 series was available in sedan, coupe, and cabriolet variants. It was in production through August 1955, with only 997 cabriolet Bs built. According to a letter sent by a previous owner to the vendor, this lovely example was owned from 1993 to 1998 by a gentleman in Wisconsin, who bought it from a party who found the car in a barn they had purchased. Upon acquiring it, he removed the body from Read More

1925 Bugatti Brescia Type 22 Roadster

This car has become one of the most celebrated of all Bugattis, having lain submerged beneath the waters of Lake Maggiore in Switzerland for more than 70 years. Its whereabouts had been known to the local dive club for years, but in February 2008 a tragedy occurred which led to its retrieval. Club member Damiano Tamagni was mugged and beaten so severely that he died. The club decided to raise the car and use the funds from its sale for Read More

1954 Mercury XM-800 Dream Car

In the 1950s, concept cars-often referred to as Dream Machines-were built to test new ideas. For 1954, Ford Motor Company fielded two new entries in the show circuit: a sporty little two-seater called the Thunderbird and a full-size two-door hard top produced under the Mercury banner and called the XM-800. Ford’s head of design, George Walker, sent this project to the Mercury Pre-Production Design Studios, which was headed up by John Najjar.

Initial designs for the XM-800 used sweeping lines Read More

Unaffordable Classic: The Purchase Price is Just the Beginning

A look at the photos of the rusty 1953 Lancia Aurelia GT, sold by Bonhams at Olympia, in London, on December 7, 2009, for $26,082, sent a rush of emotions through my head.

The first was admiration for the brave soul who would commit to such an ambitious project. Let’s hope he is well versed in metal repair and the intricacies of early post-war hand-built Italian sports cars. Even a sound example can spring some wicked surprises, as I can Read More

1949 Ferrari 166 Inter Farina Coupe

The Ferrari 166 Inter was the road version of the 166 MM racing model, and 37 were produced between 1948 and 1950. The “166” referred to the displacement of a single cylinder in cubic centimeters, and twelve cylinders equaled 1,992 cc.

The Colombo-designed and Lampredi-developed engines had twin distributors and coil ignition with a single twin-choke Weber 32 DCF carburetor as standard, although a triple set-up could be specified. With 7.5:1 compression and at 6,000 rpm, 115 hp was available, Read More

1924 Bentley 3/4½ Liter Sports

Recipe: Take a good 3-liter Red Label Bentley chassis, mix in a good 4½-liter engine, gearbox, and transmission and add a light body with accessories to taste. The result is a motorcar which, while still retaining a good vintage flavor, possesses a performance equaled by few other machines even of the most modern and expensive type.” (Captain J.G. Fry, The Autocar, May 14, 1943).

Captain Fry’s 3/4½ was one of several constructed by H.M. Bentley and Partners during the late Read More

1901 Argyll Spindle Seat Rear-Entrance Tonneau

Scotsman Alexander Govan obtained financial backing from Warren Smith of the National Telegraph Company in 1899 and designed and built his first voiturette using De Dion and MMC engines.

A vertical, single-cylinder engine was forward mounted, driving through a 3-speed gearbox with shaft drive to a live rear axle. A distinctive wrap-around radiator cooled on thermo-syphon principles. Early cars featured tiller steering, but in 1901, wheel steering replaced the tiller.

This car features wheel steering and is a 1901 Read More