Category Archives: Obscure Autos

This showcases the history behind obscure or notable automobiles from various eras

The Magnificent Bugatti Type 57 Aerolithe at Amelia Island

Bugatti Type 57 Aerolithe Amelia 2

I’m sure many of you know about the most expensive car on Earth (arguably), the 1936 Bugatti Type 57 SC Atlantic Coupe. Well, this Bugatti Type 57 Aerolithe was the show car that inspired the Atlantic’s design. At the 1935 Paris Auto Salon, the Aerolithe was had a striking and divisive effect on the crowd. It was unlike any car ever seen before because of its swooping coupe shape and also because its body was made entirely of electron magnesium, a metal nearly impossible to work with. It was aptly dubbed the “Electron Coupe.”

Despite initial mixed opinions in Paris, the Bugatti Aerolithe went on to inspire many other French car designs to come during the Art Deco era, including the famed Type 57 SC Atlantic. Interestingly, though, the Aerolithe vanished shortly after the Paris show, and has never been seen again.

Continue reading The Magnificent Bugatti Type 57 Aerolithe at Amelia Island

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1991 Dodge Spirit R/T at the Radnor Hunt Car Corral

1991 Dodge Spirit R:T Front

A Dodge Spirit does not belong in a Concours. It belongs in a Cars and Coffee if and only if Grandma Mildred or Grandpa Irving need to make a morning run to the local Pathmark to get fresh bread before the grandchildren show up. However, what you’re staring at today is not a normal Dodge Spirit. Carroll Shelby (may he rest in peace) got ahold of this one, and managed to turn a pereniall snore-mobile into one of Chrysler’s more eclectic fast sedans. Continue reading 1991 Dodge Spirit R/T at the Radnor Hunt Car Corral

Consulier GTP at the Lime Rock Sunday In the Park: EDIT – Warren Mosler Responds

Mosler Consulier Limerock 1

The Internet is a funny place, folks. Sometimes you write something about an obscure car you saw at a car show, and then get a response from the very person who created that car. Well that’s exactly what happened here.

I saw this Consulier GTP at Lime Rock over Labor Day weekend, and I wrote the segment below after some quick research for context on the car. Evidently, Mr. Mosler had some issues with what I found, and hey, who else would know better than him, right?

I haven’t altered anything here. I wanted to let the man himself say his piece about the car he created. I have left my original words intact below along with his responses.

Read it for yourselves, and see what you come away with:

Mosler Consulier Limerock 2 Mosler Consulier Limerock 3

Continue reading Consulier GTP at the Lime Rock Sunday In the Park: EDIT – Warren Mosler Responds

1990 Toyota Century at the 2016 Festivals of Speed, Amelia Island

Toyota Century Front Doors Closed

At Amelia, there’s quite a lot going on and if you blink, you will miss a lot. The show over at one of the other large hotels, the Festivals of Speed, was in full swing on Saturday afternoon in the ultra-strong Florida sun, and I discovered a few cars at the show which I’m unlikely to ever see again. One of them was a 6×6 Mercedes-Benz, which I will cover at a later date. This car, however, is one that almost no one has ever heard of, unless they’ve lived in Japan and had some obscenely wealthy friends (or friends in the Yakuza). Meet the Toyota Century–or the Japanese equivalent of a Maybach, from the Eighties. Continue reading 1990 Toyota Century at the 2016 Festivals of Speed, Amelia Island

1947 Delahaye 135M Narval “Cover Girl” at the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance

47 Delahaye 135M Amelia Island 5

Only automobile aficionados know about Delahayes. But when anyone asks me who made the most beautiful cars of all time, I usually drop the Delahaye name. They are gorgeous, they are elegant, they are as French as French can be.

Any connoisseur of pre-war automobiles will know of all the stunning machines that came out of France in the early-mid 1900s. Many might argue that Bugatti or Talbot should hold the crown of  beauty instead, but Delahayes have always dropped my jaw in a way that no other marque ever has. They are magical machines with the power to make everything around them disappear.

The 1947 Delahaye 135M you see here turned many heads at the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance. It is one of a few hundred 135Ms produced in the difficult post-war era. France was ruined and there wasn’t much room for ostentatious luxury cars as the country was being rebuilt. As a result, most post-war Delahayes were exported to wealthy buyers outside of France. Delahaye’s larger military contracting business kept them afloat until they lost a major contract with the French government, and went bust in 1954.

This beautiful black Delahaye 135M Narval was built for a wealthy industrialist in Ohio. It’s design was inspired by the elegant motion of aquatic mammals, specifically the Narwal. It was built for the President of The Prima Company Ohio, and was showcased in a magazine ad for “Covergirl Dress Flats by Prima,” hence the car’s nickname “Cover Girl.”

This Delahaye stands as a masterpiece of art on wheels. Enjoy the gallery.

Continue reading 1947 Delahaye 135M Narval “Cover Girl” at the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance

McLaren F1 GT Longtail (XP GT) at NYIAS 2015

McLaren F1 GT at NYIAS 2015

In 1995 the McLaren F1 GTR dominated the 24 hours of Le Mans, beating out purpose-built prototype cars for a 1st overall victory. This feat has never been accomplished since by any road-car-based GT class car. And when I say McLaren “dominated” Le Mans that year, I mean they finished 1st, 3rd, 4th, 5th, and 13th positions overall. Not bad for a modified version of a road-going supercar, which was never initially intended to go racing.

With that huge victory, the folks at McLaren were inspired to give the F1’s racing their all. That meant the car needed to be lightened even further and optimized for racing duties. Aerodynamics were key, and they wound up elongating the F1’s shape into what became known as the “Longtail.” McLaren also managed to take another 135kg out of a car which was already absurdly lightweight. The F1 GTR Longtail was quite an accomplishment, no doubt, and went on to be quite successful in the 1997 season.

In order to compete in racing, McLaren had to build a road-going version of the Longtail, dubbed the “McLaren F1 GT.” Just three F1 GT’s were built, the green prototype (seen here), a red one, and a black one. The green prototype, “XP GT”, has been retained by McLaren themselves, while the other two F1 GTs currently sit in private collections.

McLaren was kind enough to let the world see XP GT at this year’s New York International Auto Show. For me it was a dream come true because I’ve been lusting over this very car since I was a kid. It simply is gorgeous in person.

For a deeper dive into the F1 GT, and every other McLaren model, check out the McLaren Website, they have some great information.

To see more of the F1 GT at NYIAS see the video below from our friends at NJExoticSpotters on YouTube:

-Nick Walker

1908 Browniekar at the 2015 Elegance at Hershey

Browniekar Front//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Honey, I shrunk the car! Well, no, I didn’t, but it certainly applies here. This is a Browniekar, which might be the most diminutive Brass Era automobile I’ve ever laid eyes on. It’s small enough to trip over if you’ve had enough champagne at one of these shows, but just big enough to grab your attention. I’m not sure what this is, or why anyone thought it was a car for daily use, but it’s here and it’s showing up nicely. Continue reading 1908 Browniekar at the 2015 Elegance at Hershey

1955 Dodge LaFemme at the 2015 Concours of America

Dodge La Femme Front//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

When it comes to advertising, no one knew how to advertise cars to women in the 1950s. It didn’t stop Dodge from trying, but they clearly weren’t so great at it either. Welcome to the 1955 Dodge La Femme–one of the most obscure 1950s Dodge products out there, regardless of engine or body type. Dodge attempted to make their car appeal to women, but they did it in such a way that would make most women blush with embarrassment for having to be in this car. Continue reading 1955 Dodge LaFemme at the 2015 Concours of America

1985 Pontiac Trans Am Kammback at the 2015 Concours of America

Trans Am Kammback Front

When I say Kammback, the Pontiac Firebird is not a car anyone thinks of. People will think of it if I say phrases like “Screaming Chicken”, “Mullet”, “Eighties”, and my personal favorite, “Drunk Teenager Crashed It Into a Telephone Pole”. Well, this one lacks the drunken teenager and the Screaming Chicken, but it makes up for it with much added Kammback style. Nick and Shane took one look at this thing and said “Albert, this one’s all yours.” I gladly obliged. Continue reading 1985 Pontiac Trans Am Kammback at the 2015 Concours of America

1969 Farago CF428 Coupe at the 2015 Elegance at Hershey

Farago Front

At some Concours events, the most interesting cars might not be the ones I see as soon as I arrive. While traipsing past the back of the field right next to the astoundingly beautiful Hotel Hershey, I spotted this car, called the Farago. Its story is one for the ages. Continue reading 1969 Farago CF428 Coupe at the 2015 Elegance at Hershey

1973 Buick Century GS Stage 1 Sun Coupe at the 2015 Greenwich Concours

1973 Buick Skylark GS Stage 1 Lights

When it comes to old Buicks, there’s great ones and there’s not-so-great ones. After 1972, the muscle car era was quickly coming to an end. New emissions regulations from the EPA, plus safety regulations from the NHTSA, were already working to put a stop to powerful engines and forced automakers to reconfigure their products to increase weight. Not long after that, insurance companies figured out that they had a hand in what consumers should buy, and skyrocketed the rates on midsize cars with massive engines–effectively ending the party. Continue reading 1973 Buick Century GS Stage 1 Sun Coupe at the 2015 Greenwich Concours

1957 Mini Moke at the 2015 Boca Raton Concours

Mini Moke Front

Anybody want to go fishing? Well, I’m no fisherman, but I think that with this thing, it’s be difficult to justify parking it near a dock–the metal’s so thin it might just rust within a foot of the ocean. This is a 1957 Mini Moke, but it’s not just any Moke–this one’s a beach car. When it comes to beach cars, I’m used to seeing Fiat 600s with basket-weave seats and doily trim hanging off the cloth roof. This is only the second Moke I’ve seen made into a beach car (the other one was at an auction near the Quail in August of last year). Continue reading 1957 Mini Moke at the 2015 Boca Raton Concours