Archive for August, 2010

RM Auctions’ “Automobiles of London” Event On Tap Oct. 27th

August 27, 2010

Classic car fans will want to take note of a huge happening that is going to take place in London, England on the 27th of October. The Automobiles of London sale, an annual RM Auctions event, is going to be truly extraordinary this year, featuring more than eighty of the world’s most sought after fine collectible specimens.

The centerpiece of this extravaganza is perhaps the most famous “movie car” of all time: the 1964 Aston Martin DB5 that was driven by Sean Connery as agent 007 in the classic James Bond films Goldfinger and Thunderball. There were only two such vehicles used in the movies, and this is the only one that remains, United Kingdom registration number FMP 7B.

1964 James Bond Aston Martin DB5

An American named Jerry Lee acquired the DB5 when it went back to Aston Martin after having been loaned out for the shooting of the movies. He is said to have paid $12,000 for the car; it is estimated that the 1964 James Bond Aston Martin DB5 will fetch somewhere in the vicinity of $5 million at the upcoming Automobiles of London auction.

Though the James Bond car is the undisputed star of the show, there will be many other stunning examples of automotive excellence making up the supporting cast. These include a 1971 Lamborghini Miura SV Jota, a 1913 Rolls-Royce 40/50 HP Silver Ghost London-Edinburgh Barker, a 1936 MG NB Magnette Airline Coupe, a 1931 Bentley 8L Open Tour 4Dr Touring Harrison and dozens of others.

Once again, the date of the auction is October 27th, and there will be a day-long preview taking place on the 26th. If you would like to learn more about this event, visit RMAuctions.com or give them a call at +44 20 7851 7070.

Contributed by Fossil Cars Staff Writer

The Zimmer Golden Spirit

August 24, 2010

The American spirit is all about a can-do attitude, and that elusive but ever-present American dream starts with an idea and comes to life through the taking of action. There are those who have the energy and vision that it takes to make their mark, and in an industry that is as competitive as the automobile manufacturing business, it does indeed take a unique individual to carve out even the tiniest beachhead. Paul Zimmer was just this type of person.

As the story goes, Zimmer was having dinner with his son Robert, and he sketched out the rough draft of what looked like a neo-classic automobile. He then went on to tell Robert that they were going start a company that would build that very same car, and that he, Robert, was going to be in charge of development, manufacturing, and overseeing the day-to-day operations of the company. And with that, Zimmer Motorcars Corporation was born in 1978.

The model that the company first released was the Zimmer Golden Spirit, and in that initial production year there were 1,500 of them built. The company found some footing on the strength of the Golden Spirit and by 1984 they were introducing their second model, which was called the Quicksilver.

In 1988 the younger Zimmer decided to move on and start his own automotive dealership, and this created a void. Not long after that, Paul Zimmer fell ill, suffering a heart attack, and this compounded the lack of energy and vision at the top. Employees and existing management and major stockholders tried to right the ship, but their efforts weren’t enough. The Zimmer company, which had broader holdings beyond the automotive division, which was said to be profitable, fell into bankruptcy.

The factory was located in Pompano Beach, Florida, and at the height of its success it provided jobs for 175 people and posted annual earnings of some $25 million.

Art Zimmer, who is not related to the founders of the company, obtained rights to the name in 1996 and started a car club for Zimmer enthusiasts. He went on to found the Art Zimmer Neo-Classic Motor Car Company that builds a handful of cars every year. A 2011 Zimmer four-door convertible can be ordered with a 60% down payment and delivered in about four months at a total price of $194,900

Contributed by Fossil Cars Staff Writer

The Ford Country Squire

August 20, 2010

The station wagon was once a ubiquitous site on the American roadways during the heyday of the American Big Three, and to a very large extent it was a symbol of the post-war nuclear family. These big long vehicles were built for comfort and provided plenty of room for all of the kids, pets, and cargo. And since they were big and designed to carry a significant load, many classic station wagons were quite powerful as well. Today, the true station wagon has been largely supplanted by the sport utility vehicle and the minivan, but they did indeed play a huge role in American automotive history.

One of the most memorable station wagons of all time was the venerable Ford Country Squire, and when you take a look back at it the first thing that grabs your attention is its longevity. It made its debut for the 1951 model year, and it was in production all the way through 1991. The 1951 Ford Country Squire was an authentic “Woodie,” with real wood outlining the doors and side windows. This lasted through the mid-fifties, when the wood was replaced by fiberglass and plastic (boo). The first Country Squires were offered with a 226 cubic inch six-cylinder as standard equipment, but that could be upgraded to the 100 horsepower V8. The wagon of course had three seats, and was intended to be able to carry up to eight passengers.

By the end of the 1950s the Country Squire was fully entrenched in the Ford lineup, selling over 24,000 units in 1959 at a price of around $3,000. By 1969, that production number had grown to some 129,235 units, with its most powerful engine option being the hefty 429 cubic inch Ford V8. 1969 marked the first year of the fifth generation of the Country Squire, and it was notable for the “Magic Doorgate” in the rear that could either drop straight down to load and unload cargo, or swing open from the side.

In the 1970s and eighties, tastes changed and fuel economy became an issue, and the popularity of the Country Squire gradually began to fade. It was discontinued after the 1991 models were released, but it rose to iconic status and survived for over forty years. Some of them are quite valuable today, and right now (as of this writing, that is) there is one listed over at FossilCars.com that many people may be interested in. It is a 1963 with a 428 Cobra Jet V8 put in to replace the original 390, and it looks stunning. Check it out, it is a true rarity, and if you were to add it to your collection it’s a good bet that you’ll have the fastest station wagon on your block!

Contributed by Fossil Cars Staff Writer

Top 5 Car Songs Of All Time

August 17, 2010

Little Red Corvette

The automobile has played an enormous role in the United States over the last 100-plus years, and its impact has had a wide reach across our culture. Aside from the business, motor sport, and transportation implications, cars and trucks have also made their way into the television shows that we watch, the art that hangs in our galleries and museums, into the movies that we watch and even into the music that we have listened to throughout our lives.

We are going to honor the place of cars in American music here today with our list of the top five car songs of all time. Of course, any time anyone endeavors to compile a “top” list of any sort, there will always be those who say, hey, you missed this one or you added something that shouldn’t be there. So sure, this is just one guy’s opinion, but feel free to leave a comment and let us know your personal top five favorite car songs!

5.) “Cars” by Gary Numan

This song, released in 1979, is a new wave tune that is admittedly kind of strange, but when you first heard it back in the day it had a way of sticking in your head.

4.) “Low Rider” by War

“Low Rider” is a cool tune that bands both famous and unknown have been covering since it first hit the airwaves back in 1975.

3.) “Pink Cadillac” by Bruce Springsteen

This is certainly not the best tune ever written by The Boss, but it was indeed written by Springsteen and that alone makes it deserving of this list.

2.) “Hot Rod Lincoln” by Commander Cody and the Lost Planet Airmen

This tune was actually written Charlie Ryan and W.S. Stevenson and made into a hit in 1955 by Arkie Shibley and his Mountain Dew Boys. But most “children of the 70s” heard it for the first time when it was redone by Commander Cody in 1972.

1.) “Little Red Corvette” by Prince

Prince released this tune in 1982 on the album 1999, and it reached #6 on the American charts, but it has finally found its way to the number one slot on our list of the top 5 car songs of all time!

Contributed by Fossil Cars Staff Writer

The Fuldamobil Microcar

August 13, 2010

The things that make a collectible car valuable include rarity and original price and quality, but another factor is just how unique the car is from a conceptual basis. One car that a lot of people have not heard of that is very unique and quite rare is the Fuldamobil.

The Fuldamobil was conceived by a German fellow named Norbert Stevenson as a three-wheeled microcar that could transport the driver and one passenger. It is interesting to note that Stevenson was not an engineer by trade, though he had taken some courses in mechanical engineering in Berlin before embarking on a career in journalism. Stevenson was eventually able to obtain the funding that he needed to put the car into production, and the Fuldamobil made its debut for the 1950 model year.

When you think about the concept of a three-wheeler you may immediately get the mental picture of two wheels in the back to provide power and one in the front. However, the Fuldamobil had one wheel in the back and two in the front to provide added stability. The base Fuldamobil was powered by a one-cylinder, 198 cc motorcycle engine, but it was offered with other engines as well over the years that it was in production, including a 300 cc Sachs engine.

Many observers contend that the term “bubble car” originated as a description of the Fuldamobil, and when you look at the car you can see why. The Fuldamobil was sold in a number of different countries under different names, including the Noble that was sold in England, the Bambi that was available in Argentina, and the Attica that was offered to Greek consumers.

Though they were produced in small numbers, the Fuldamobil was in production from that initial year of 1950 all the way through the 1969 model year. Today, these cars are hard to find and quite valuable. In fact, there is a 1955 Fuldamobil listed on FossilCars.com right now with an asking price of $50,000.

Contributed by Fossil Cars Staff Writer