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The Latest News And Reviews
Throughout The Car Industry

Categories: Classics

Discovery To Launch All-Auto Channel

On: Thu, Jul 21, 2011 at 4:09PM | By: Tim Healey

Discovery To Launch All-Auto Channel  test 2

If Speed TV isn't enough for you, and Top Gear only wets your whistle, well, Discovery has a new automotive channel on the way.

The channel, which will be aimed at well-heeled male audiences, will be called Velocity and it will launch with a combination of old and new programming.

Classic Car Cultist: The BMW 2002

On: Wed, Jul 20, 2011 at 3:51PM | By: Chris Salamone

BMW 2002 tii test 2

Produced from 1968 to 1976, BMW’s 2002 Neue Klasse model (New Class for those without the predilection for sauerkraut) completely changed the face and future of BMW motoring for generations to come. So much so, the 2002 became the predecessor for BMW’s dominant 3 Series and 1 Series models and permanently changed BMW’s reputation to one of producing premium uber-touring vehicles. To this day, the 2002 remains a standout amongst BMW’s rich history of revolutionary vehicles—and with good reason. The 2002 was fast, fun, and beautiful. Found in over 262 movies and TV shows, the BMW 2002 is still alive and well within the minds of car fans everywhere.

Mecum Des Moines: Home Of Great Original-Condition Oddities

On: Tue, Jul 5, 2011 at 1:16PM | By: Andrew W Davis

1981 Zimmer Golden Spirit automatic [Lot F114] test 2

It is a car collector’s most fervent wish that they find the vehicle they've been seeking in as-new, one-owner, low-mileage and perfectly-running and -driving condition. But as most cars that are desirable NOW were the same THEN—or were built for dangerous duties like racing—that almost never happens. And while you can restore a valuable car to better-than-new condition, the very fact that so many ARE restored has flipped the equation, making those in original condition the rarer of the two.

But for every multimillion-dollar original relic discovered there are thousands upon thousands of cars that nobody wants—apart from the weirdos that fastidiously maintained them—that feature all the buzzwords I mentioned up top, despite the fact that there's no "popular" reason for their preservation.

I found four such cars—OK, three cars and a truck-thingie—on-deck for Mecum Auctions’ July 15-16 Des Moines sale. They are proof of the adage that something's being rare does not make it desirable, nor does a desirable thing have to be rare. Even so, these vehicles are among the best examples of their kind you’ll find, so maybe it's best to think of this as your opportunity to buy some vehicles you never knew you needed…

Bid On The World's Oldest-Known Bespoke Bentley To Book-End Your Brooklands

On: Thu, Jun 30, 2011 at 9:15AM | By: Andrew W Davis

1921 Bentley; Photoillustration by Author test 2

When it comes to the winners of the world’s major automotive-endurance races, it’s usually the cars that have won the 24 at Le Sarthe that command the most respect and highest prices.

When buying a classic Bentley—cars once famously derided in-period by no less than Ettore Bugatti as the “world’s fastest trucks”—the same applies. And though you may not know it by looking at their modern line-up, Bentley was chief ass-kicker at Le Mans once upon a time, winning the full-day racing event outright four CONSECUTIVE times, 1927-1930.

Those winning “trucks”—and certain of their contemporaries—would easily be multimillion-plus-dollar cars if ever they were sold at auction, which they VERY rarely are. But those are the genesis for Bentley’s RACING heritage. What about the company itself? What would the VERY FIRST “bespoke” Bentley be worth? We’re about to find out…


Money, Modern Muscle, And A Monstrocity Meet At Bonhams Wally Lewis Sale

On: Mon, Jun 27, 2011 at 5:51PM | By: Andrew W Davis

1994 Gazelle-Pinto; Photoillustration by author test 2

In the stuff-selling world there’s a definite hierarchy. At the bottom you have the worthless tchotchke hawkers of eBay, and at the top are the established, old-world auction houses that have lot fees with more zeros than the price of the actual thing anywhere else.

Right at the tippy-top of THAT pile are firms like Bonhams. Founded in 1793—no, that 7 isn’t supposed to be a 9—this ''privately owned British auction house'' is ''one of the world's oldest and largest auctioneers of fine art and antiques. The Bonhams name is recognised [sic, silly Brits] worldwide throughout all sectors of the fine art, antiques, and collectors' market.''

So why the hell are they selling—between sales of ''Fine English Furniture'' and ''Art & Antiques''—a Ford Pinto-based kit car from 1994?

Blame Wally.

This Gooding & Co. Pebble Beach Auctions Offering Is A Real Duesy

On: Fri, Jun 24, 2011 at 5:15PM | By: Andrew W Davis

Photoillustration by author test 2

There was a time (not all that long ago, really) when persons of means could purchase a chassis of choice from a manufacturer and then deliver it to their custom coachbuilder to create the car of their dreams.

Nothing like that exists today, no matter how hard firms like Bugatti, Rolls-Royce, and Maybach work to make you THINK that’s what they’re doing. Sure, you can choose the exterior color scheme and have your choice of interior colors, upholstery, and accent materials.

But at the end of the day, all that “personalization” still leaves you with the same body riding on the same platform and stuffed with all the same mechanical and electronic doo-dads as the one bought by the person before you and the person buying after you.

Think not? Put them through my patented “Coachbuilt-or-Not?” test.

Haunted Highways: A Series Exploring The Ghosts of Cars Gone By (Quickly)

On: Wed, Jun 22, 2011 at 10:05AM | By: Lou Ruggieri

GMC Syclone Pickup test 2

Some cars and trucks are just ahead of their time. Sometimes, the world is just not ready yet for an idea; it's either too soon, too much, or just too unusual for the world to deal with and, as such, that idea usually either dies or goes into hibernation until the world catches up. Such was the life of one of the quickest and fastest trucks ever produced. The GMC Syclone was not a high-selling success, but this tricked-out pickup truck brought new meaning to the word "Hauling."

This pint-sized pickup started off life as a garden variety GMC Sonoma, but went on to be the first hot rod truck ever produced by a dealer. Starting with a very spartan 3500-pound truck, GMC sent their mild-mannered pickup to Production Automotive Services, Inc. (the same company that produced the 1989 Turbo Trans Am that went on to become one of the quickest Firebirds Pontiac ever released) and got back a 4.3-liter turbo-charged, liquid-cooled V6 nightmare.

Art-schmart; The Allure of the Automobile Compels You!

On: Fri, Jun 17, 2011 at 4:02PM | By: Andrew W Davis

1933 Pierce-Arrow; photoillustration by author test 2

Though the “grownup” version of Merriam-Webster.com offers a definition of the word “allure,” it’s their kid-oriented “Word Central” that nails it: “allure (verb): to try to attract or influence by offering what seems to be a benefit or pleasure; (noun): power of attraction.”

And when it comes to the “pull” anyone conscious will feel from these automobiles, a truer word has never been selected than that one when used in the title for the Portland Art Museum's “The Allure of the Automobile," a gathering of over a dozen of the finest sheetmetal sirens ever produced that you can enjoy from now until Sept. 11.

The Only Thing That's Ever Been Free On Rodeo Drive: 2011 Concours d'elegance

On: Thu, Jun 16, 2011 at 9:26AM | By: Andrew W Davis

Photoillustration by author test 2

I hear that it’s important to the highest of high-end stores that they set up shop “where the money is” to succeed, and in these United States that place/street is Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills, California.

This storied street is known around the world for its incredibly expensive yet relatively frivolous things, so it’s no wonder that it would be chosen to host a high fallutin’ car show. And if you had to pick the most expensive, yet least practical cars, chances are your first fifty or so would be Italian.

So the 2011 Rodeo Drive Concours d’Elegance theme (“The Art of Italian Motoring”) and its choice of Fiat as the event’s “honored marque” brings everything full-circle. And with an expected 125 “vintage Italian cars on display” at the free event Sunday, June 19th (Father’s Day!) from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., what’s outside of the glass of the street’s superlux stores will be worth more than what they have within.

Lincoln's Dracula-like Town Car Gets Heart-Staked... Sort Of.

On: Tue, Jun 14, 2011 at 2:30PM | By: Andrew W Davis

Photoillustration by author test 2

The latest installment in my non-existent series “They Still Build That?!?” brings terrible news for car-hire businesses and old people alike: 2011 is the final year for FoMoCo’s finest model, the range-topping (oh, yes, it is!) Lincoln Town Car.

Like the Mercury Grand Marquis (OK, Mercury, period) and non-cop Ford Crown Vic before it, this last of the rear-drive, body-on-frame luxury sedans from the Blue Oval Boys will greet its first sunrise and be converted to ash or whatever happens to vampire-like vehicle lines when they get tired of living forever without aging.

But fear not; Lincoln has seen fit to “transfer” the Town Car name to a wholly inappropriate vehicle the named-after-the-dude-on-the-penny folks want to cram down our (and limo/taxi companies’) throats.

[More on that in a minute.]

Mecum Set To Offer 400 Corvettes, Five Of Which Are Here. Hooray For Playing Favorites!

On: Mon, Jun 13, 2011 at 3:53PM | By: Andrew W Davis


I would like to say that I’m an expert in all things automotive (or at least be able to say it with a straight face and/or in public), but just like categories involving popes and kings are my Jeopardy kryptonite, Corvettes—and their myriad configurations—kill me every time.

I could probably learn a lot visiting St. Charles, Illinois, and if I do it June 23-26 some of that learning would undoubtedly involve Corvettes, thanks to the 2011 Bloomington Gold show—self-billed as “America’s Original Corvette Show”—at the nearby(?) Pheasant Run Resort.

Problem is I usually equate “good” with “expensive,” so in order to know how good a particular Corvette model is—or how much better it is than another—I need to know what it’s worth.

Enter the folks at Mecum Auctions, and their “Corvette Exclusive” Bloomington Gold auction event nestled into the same time (June 24-25) and space (the show grounds) as the Bloomington event with which it shares its name.