After a day of walking around the Quail, driving Porsches, Jags, and a bunch of other great things, the day was not yet over. As we drove into Carmel for some spotting on Ocean Ave, I caught this little Toyota 2000GT out of the corner of my eye sitting in a side street. I scampered out of the rental car and after finishing with taking pictures of it, I later caught up with Nick on Ocean Avenue and continued spotting cars. I’ve never seen one before on US roads, and it looks just as fantastic in person as it does in any publication. Enjoy the photos. Read the rest of this entry »
At Laguna Seca, don’t go in with an expectation. That’s not me being negative, that’s me being honest. I only say this because you might come across a 550 Spyder, but then stumble on a piece of ancient automotive history like this racing Ford. When I was photographing it, the entire area around it stank like spent old brakes. Of course, that’s because someone had the guts (and the crazy) to drive this on Laguna Seca. This happens to be a 1915 Ford race car, utilizing a 1915 Model T engine with 50 hp. The list of tech pieces reads like something out of a horror film for racing, including a 12-speed transmission (via the use of a 2 speed planetary gearbox hooked up to a 3 speed Muncie transmission, then out to a 2 speed rear axle), a 2 wheel rear drum used as a service brake, and a pressure fed fuel system. According to the owners, this bright yellow Ford can break 100 mph. Judging by its minimal use of anything regarding bodywork, I’m not shocked at all about that. What I was shocked about was that the driver got out, said hello, and was in one piece. To the man who drove this car that day: I salute you, sir. Enjoy the photos of this incredible little car. Read the rest of this entry »
When The Quail came to a close, I stepped into the grassy field and stumbled upon this gorgeous piece of automotive sculpture. My skin tanned from the sunlight, but this icy green Bugatti looked frozen cold. This particular Type 57 example is built as an Aerolithe Coupe, a styling study done by Bugatti back in 1935 and lost since 1936. Very little visual information is left of the original Aerolithe coupe–there was enough technical information passed down through the years, but it took a Canadian group 5 years to build a version of the Aerolithe. This remake of that famous automobile uses 100% genuine Bugatti components. Even the tires, a set of Dunlop Ballon whitewalls, are completely correct and were custom-made for it. The color was matched through a painting made of the original to Bugatti paint chips of the era. However, by far the most impressive aspect of this breathtaking automobile is the bodywork. The body is made from a magnesium alloy, notorious for its flammability and volatility–this is why the body is riveted, not welded, together. The swoopy lines and stunning shapes of this car were more than enough to keep my attention for a solid hour or so. It was difficult for me to stop shooting pictures, even after a frantic call from Nick about Pagani allowing people to sit in the new Huayra (if that’s what it had to take to get me away from this Bugatti, then not much else would have. Enjoy the photos.
This comes on a similar note to the Lincoln Indianapolis Boano Coupe we featured a few weeks ago. This 1963 Chevrolet Corvette Rondine was created by, Italian design house, Pinninfarina for the 1963 Paris Auto Show. Those of you who know Corvettes know that 1963 was the first year of the iconic C2 Sting Ray. While I personally believe the Stingray is the best looking Vette of all time, especially the ’63 split window coupe, the Rondine’s Italian style is breathtaking.
The Corvette Rondine was the top-spec Sting Ray underneath, with the fuel injected 327ci V8 under its hood making 360hp. There is one key difference, though, and that is the body of the car. The Rondine had a steel body whereas the Sting Ray’s was made of fiberglass. This resulted in the Rondine being a bit heavier than the standard Corvette, however I’d say it is worth it for those beautiful curves.
The Corvette Rondine marks another fantastic example of an American car being fitted with Italian styling. Whether the Rondine looks better than the Sting Ray is entirely subjective, but it certainly is a unique and interesting automobile. The Corvette Rondine recently sold for a hefty $1.6 million back at the 2008 Barret Jackson Auction, and its value is certain to keep appreciating. It is always a pleasure to see such a stunning car as this, and the 2013 Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance was the second time I’ve had the pleasure of seeing this car in person. Enjoy the photos.
The late 1970s were a bleak time for America. The country was stuck with a bad case of stagflation, there was rife conflict in the Middle East as the shah of Iran was losing his grip on his country, and if you wanted anything fast and American, you were either wrenching on an older car, or looking longingly at the used car lots for a Hemi Challenger that wasn’t beat to within an inch of its life. This, however, didn’t stop Dodge from trying to bring the magic back. Read the rest of this entry »
This beautiful Auburn 851 SC Phaeton was at the recent 2013 Greenwich Concours d’Elegance. The 851 came about when Cord, who owned Auburn at the time, was looking to make an effective car for the times, which had changed. America was now caught in the midst of The Great Depression, and V12 luxury cars were no longer the best idea.
The 851 was a more downmarket model than previous Auburns, though very much still a luxury car. While most people think of the famous Boattail Speedster when they hear the name Auburn, this 851 SC Phaeton was aimed more at clients with families. The car you see here is equipped with Auburn’s supercharged inline-eight cylinder engine, producing 150hp. That was a lot of power at the time, and an 851 Speedster with the same engine set a record, averaging over 100mph for a 12 hour long run. Auburn sold around 5000 851s in 1935, but sales dropped sharply in 1936. It was at that point that Cord decided to end Auburn production altogether.
This 851 SC Phaeton caught my eye because of its immaculate appointments. Its beautiful two-tone blue exterior sits strikingly over its read leather interior, and the detail work all around the car is incredible. I tried to capture as much of it as I could through the lens of my camera. Enjoy.
This pristine Ferrari 250 LM was in attendance for the 2012 Radnor Hunt Concours d’ Elegance. It is owned by the Simone Foundation Museum in Philadelphia, PA. The 250 LM came about when Ferrari finally decided to give up on front-engined GT racing cars. The 250P was the first mid-engined Ferrari that saw major success, and was a contemporary of the legendary 250 GTO in the early 1960s. Seeing the success of their rivals with mid-engined racing cars, Ferrari decided to end the 250 GT cars, and carry on competition with a development of the 250P. And with that, the 250 LM was born.
The 250 LM was very similar to the 250P, except it had a roof and was built from a higher gauge of steel. The LM used an enlarged version of the 250 GTO’s 3.0L V12. At 3.3L the LM’s V12 produced 320hp, and it only had to propel a car which weighed under 1900lbs, lighter than the GTO. The result was a car that was very fast, and despite being denied homologation as a GT class, it still saw success in the Prototype class. 250LMs won 10 out of the 35 races they competed in, and in 1965 the NART team won the Le Mans 24 Hours. This would be the final outright Le Mans victory for Ferrari to this day, ending an era of Ferrari dominance in the late 50′s, early 60′s.
A total of 32 250 LMs were produced, making it on par in rarity with the GTO, and certainly worth a solid fortune in its own right. Seeing a car like this up close, with no barriers to keep people away is a rare treat indeed. I stuck around after most people had left the show, and had the privilege of some quality, un cluttered photo time with this epic car. Enjoy the gallery below.
If one day a magical genie came up to me and said “I will give you any classic Ferrari you want”, my choice would be this 275 NART Spyder. Yes that’s right, I would rather have this car than the legendary 250 GTO or 250 Testa Rossa. Why, you ask? Because I happen to be more of a road car person. I like racing cars just fine, but for me, driving perfection is found with the wind in my hair, and the hum of a great engine bellowing off the trees as I cruise by. Going on a real world journey in a great car may be my favorite thing to do, and it is the sole reason this 275 NART Spyder was commissioned by Luigi Chinetti back in the 1960’s. Read the rest of this entry »
This is the single Bizzarrini 5300 S.I. Spyder Prototipo in existence. It was shown at the 1966 Geneva Auto Show, and marked the beginning of Bizzarrini S.p.A. The start of this new company came after Giotto Bizzarrini left another Italian carmaker, Iso, due to a feud with its owner, Renzo Rivolta. Bizzarrini had been putting his own badge on Iso’s A3C instead of the Iso badge, which angered Rivolta. After a legal battle, Bizzarrini won the rights to the A3C, and all of its production, so Giotto formed a company bearing his own name, and set out to create his own identity as a carmaker. The first thing he did was to rename the A3C as the 5300GT. He created the prototype Spyder you see above to display to the world, and Bizzarrini S.p.A. was born. I was fortunate enough to see this 5300 Spyder Prototipo first hand at the Concours d’ Elegance of America this past summer. It is an incredible car, one that stops you in your tracks, and demands to be taken in. Read on for the rest of the story. Read the rest of this entry »
The name “Mangusta” is one that gets all motorheads giddy. It’s the Italian word for “mongoose”–a perfect animal name for the car that it was bestowed upon. The De Tomaso Mangusta is still ranked highly as one of the best combinations of Italian style and American power, with its stunning, menacing early 1970s Giugaro lines, gull-winged engine bay, and stump-pulling Ford small-block V8 (a few had the 351 V8). Only 401 were ever built from 1967 until 1971, but in the 1990s and early 2000s, someone brought the name back–and the car had some strikingly similar characteristics to its namesake. Read the rest of this entry »
Yes, the Prius. A different sort of car than we normally feature in this section, yet a car that has had a resounding impact on the automotive world in recent years. Everyone knows a Prius when they see one, and most people know that the car has become as much a political statement as a mode of transportation. Whether you buy into the whole Green movement or not, there is no denying that the Prius has been an incredible marketing success. It paved the way for an entirely new sort of car in the world, one that puts priority on efficiency and cleanliness over all else. We all know the car, but behind every car there is a story to tell. This is that story.
Malcolm Bricklin is a pretty well-known guy in automotive history. He’s had his successes and failures, but his most well-known business venture was the ill-fated Yugo, considered to be the worst car ever sold on American shores. However, his other experiences are also worth mentioning. He is the man responsible for Subaru’s initial presence into the United States (he was one of the first official importers, and one of the most successful), and he brought out one of the downright strangest cars to be designed in America–the Bricklin SV-1. Read the rest of this entry »