The Chevrolet Bel Air is as American as baseball, hot dogs, and apple pie. It’s also, especially in the flashy 1957 trim, one of the most recognizable stars of the 1950s. Chevy started their action by putting out their first OHV V8 in 1955, then made waves with the chrome-slathered styling just two years later. Augmenting that with the Dagmar front bumper points, classy knockoff style wheel covers, and dual antennas, they got plenty of attention from critics, and from the American public. Sales were fantastic, and Chevy hasn’t gotten their mainstream cars to be as stylish since then. GM hit the ground running in 1957–just like the Detroit Lions, who won their final (to date) championship that year. One could say that GM styling peaked the same year their football team did (although there are plenty of examples that prove otherwise). Enjoy the photos of this true American classic. Continue reading 1957 Chevrolet Bel-Air Convertible at the Radnor Hunt Concours
No matter what your fancy is, some of the best cars from the famous Cannonball Run were on display at the Greenwich Concours this year. Whether it’s the homage #144 Polezei BMW M5 driven by Alex Roy some years ago across America (a world record winner), the Chevy Malibu police car (my personal favorite), or the Dodge Tradesman ambulance, there was a smorgasbord in attendance. They even had Dan Gurney and Brock Yates’ Ferrari Daytona in attendance–the winner of the second race, and one of the more infamous cross-country cars still around. These cars were true crowd-pleasers, and even Nick, who normally laughs at Malaise-Era stuff, found the Dodge to be amusing (especially when the open exhaust announced the sound of a completely un-muffled small block Dodge). Enjoy the photos of these offbeat rides. Continue reading The Cannonball Run! (sort of) at the Greenwich Concours
Pontiac, before General Motors decided to kill the brand, made some of my favorite mid-priced cars. While some scorn and say that they were just Chevrolets with some extra body cladding, there was a time where that just wasn’t true. Back in the 1960s, John Z. Delorean wanted to put some pep in the General’s step–and he decided to use a time honored formula of taking a big engine and cramming it into a car smaller than normal. The new Tempest was a great candidate, being Pontiac’s newest intermediate in 1964, so it was chosen. Then, a 389 cubic inch V8 was bolted in, and the car was sent off to showrooms.
Continue reading 1967 Pontiac GTO at the Misselwood Concours
Happy Birthday, America. You aren’t perfect, but I love you anyway. Just like this Cadillac. In 1976, the USA turned a nice, round 200 years old. Things were, to say, a bit off-kilter in the world of American cars. The muscle car era was dead and gone. Imports were starting to take the domestic companies’ lunch and dinner away. And safety mavens (or so they called themselves) had put to death the classic American big convertible. As safety regulations began to tighten more and more, less companies were inclined to build convertibles. By 1976, only one major American car company still had a convertible in their lineup, and it was Cadillac. Stubborn to the end, the Eldorado marketing team wanted to send their flagship (and it sure was a flagship, with sharp lines, king-size proportions, an incredible menu of standard equipment for the era, and a ride soft enough to keep a baby sleeping for hundreds of miles) out in style. Continue reading 1976 Cadillac Eldorado Bicentennial Edition at the 2017 Greenwich Concours
Mercedes-Benz has made the SL for over 60 years, and despite the fact that some of them have been duds, the original is a timeless classic. Some people love the Gullwings, others love the Roadsters. I’m firmly in the latter camp, by virtue of the fact that the first toy car I bought with my own money selling candy as a kid was an ivory-colored 190SL Roadster. I don’t have it anymore, but the memories flood back when I see a 190 droptop in the flesh. This medium blue example drew a lot of attention at Monmouth Park Racetrack this weekend. It succeeded in keeping my attention span occupied for a good amount of time, and was my favorite foreign car at the show. Enjoy the photos of this timeless piece of artwork.
It’s quite a shock to the system to see a real Eighties Aston Martin Lagonda. Unpopular when new and a true curiosity today, these cars were packed with enough technology to make the Pentagon look Philistine in comparison of the era. Of course, that amount of 1980s technology wasn’t the best for reliability, and sales proved it. With a price approaching $90,000 at the time, these were quite a hefty purchase at the time, adn thanks to the below par reliability (even in the later fuel injected models like this one), they were not very popular. Today, they’re a bargain at the auction, but still tough to run thanks to a slow following even to this day. Continue reading Aston Martin Lagonda S3 at the Greenwich Bonhams Auction
What will always strike me about Lancia is just how good they look, even as a normal sort of car. This ’68 Fulvia sat next to a contemporary Ferrari 330 2+2, and still held its own for styling. This isn’t a supercar. It’s not even really supposed to be a sports-styled car of its era. But the eggshell white paint, tasteful minimum of chrome trim, and pert headlights and taillights accent the sharp body lines and bring out the best of the flair that the stylist of the Fulvia put in place. Of all the Italian cars in attendance at Scarsdale last week, this one was my #2, behind the silver 275 GTB (more on that next week) sitting down the street. Enjoy the photos of this offbeat Italian classic. Continue reading 1968 Lancia Fulvia Series 1 at the 2016 Scarsdale Concours
Sometimes, old American cars creep into a supercar show. Sometimes, one of them is a Cotillion White Cadillac Eldorado with massive whitewalls, color-key hubcaps, and a vinyl roof. Other times, it’s an old Delta 88, or maybe a Mercury Custom. This time, it was all three of those classy rides, plus a prewar Ford Model A to round out things before we hit the healthy array of supercars steps behind the other riff-raff. Enjoy the photos of these American machines. Continue reading Classic American Iron at the CF Charities Supercar Show
When Buick hit 1949, they were still using the smooth-running, classy straight-8 engines for which they’d become known over time. The big Roadmaster was their flagship ride, with acres of style, chrome, and good cheer. Even though the Fifties hadn’t quite hit yet, the lines of the 1949 model would be somewhat of a preview of what was to come from GM’s near-luxury brand. Continue reading 1949 Buick Roadmaster at the 2016 Amelia Island Concours
Ferrari ownership and postwar royalty seem to go hand-in-hand, especially one offs. This 1955 375 Plus Cabriolet is a one-off specialty car built for the ex-King Leopold III of Belgium, and is a mix of the older engineering that put Ferrari on the map in the early Fifties and newer styling features that would later become staples of the 250 and 275 lines throughout the late Fifties and into the mid Sixties. Continue reading 1955 Ferrari 375 Plus Cabriolet at the 2016 Elegance at Hershey
In the late 1930s, Buick launched their most high-end car to date, the Limited. This hulking, intimidating sedan became their flagship, and with a smooth-like-butter straight 8 under the hood, it took the rich folks in America’s money without much help. Not many were made (Cadillac apparently was upset with its cheaper sister division selling a like-sized car) and as a result, when war broke out in 1942, the Limited did not return after the war ended, until the Fifties came about. This 1941 example is finished beautifully and the chrome shined brightly against the sun-kissed sky this weekend in Hershey. I haven’t seen many prewar Buicks, and I hope this is the start of a trend as these cars really are overlooked in the collector market at this point. Enjoy the photos of this rarely-seen American classic. Continue reading 1941 Buick Limited at the 2016 Hershey Concours
Last year, I brought a Miata to this show, and I somehow managed to win 3rd place in the Import class (well, there were 3 of us). This year, the Lincoln may not have won anything, but my favorite car at the show won Best in Show, and the rest of the field wasn’t half-bad either. I spent the entire afternoon taking photos, talking to participants, and generally having a ball at the fact that the show was just steps away from my residence. This is the third year the show’s been running and the Elks Lodge in Piscataway does a beautiful job of getting the word out and getting some beautiful classic cars to turn up and show off their best. Enjoy the photos.