Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

The 5 Most Rare Factory-built Muscle Cars

March 29, 2011

Most car enthusiasts know that some of the most rare cars in the world were special ordered with very specific requests and that hundreds of thousands of dollars were spent to make them that way.  The cars that were factory-made, but still incredibly rare, get casted in the shadows because they are considered not as glamorous and sold for less money.  This article wants to commend these rare, factory-built vehicles and bring them out into the spotlight they deserve.

The 1970 Dodge Super Bee 426 Hemi Fastback is the first rare vehicle we will look at today.  With only 4 ever produced (all manual) with the 426 Hemi engine, the car could produce 425hp at 5000rpm and rip from 0 to 60mph in 5.3 seconds.  All of the Super Bee’s in 1970 were given an extreme new nose design to go with Dodge’s new motto that their cars had to be “new and radical”.  Dodge also added new colors like Plum Crazy (which was the most popular color) and Panther Pink (which was the least popular).  Dodge also offered the vehicles at a lower base price of $3,074, but the majority of the public found these changes to be a bit too much for them, and sales for this vehicle year dropped “radically.”

One hundred and fifty-two 1970 Plymouth Road Runners 426 Hemi’s were built, but only three of them were in the convertible style (1 manual, 2 automatic).  In all of the ’70 Road Runners, new standard options were added like a new grille, leather seats, front fenders, quarter panels and single-piston Kelsey-Hayes disc brakes.  When adding the Hemi engine options, the cost increased by $715, but also included the Air Grabber hood that could be controlled by a button from under the dash and went from solid to hydraulic lifters.  This particular model produced 425hp at 5000rpm and went from 0-60mph in 5.6 seconds.

The 1969 Chevrolet Corvette ZL-1 427 2D Coupe was originally ordered as a company car for a corvette plant resident engineer from St. Louis.  It ended up being one of only 3 of these type of vehicles ever produced.  This vehicle boasted a L88 special turbo jet 427 V8 engine, F41 special purpose suspension, a ZL-1 aluminum cylinder block and a heavy duty transmission and brake system.  This seemed to be GM’s last big stand against emission controls on economy cars, as it produced 500hp.  The ZL-1 style added over $3,000 to the price tag, which gave the vehicle an astounding total of $10,771.

The 1970 Dodge Coronet R/T 426 Convertible was special because while 296 vehicles were made in the convertible style, only two of them had the 426 Hemi engine, which cost $718 more than other engines.  During this year, the Coronet model received all new front sheet metal, a smooth, split grille, a bumble bee stripe along the rear and dummy rear fender scoops.  The 426 Hemi engine could put out 425bhp/5,000rpm and could roar from 0-60mph in around 6 seconds.  Due to low sales of the convertible styles in all of the Coronets, 1970 became the last year the convertible style was used for the Coronet.

Two hundred and thirty-eight 1967 Dodge Coronet R/T 426 Hemi’s were produced, but only two of them were in the convertible style (one automatic and one manual).  During this model year, Dodge started offering the R/T (Road and Track) versions of the Coronet.  They also gave the model a facelift for both the front and rear by giving it simulated air vents, a Charger like grille, and racing stripes.  Bucket seats also became an option, though this year did not offer retractable headlights like the Charger offered.  This vehicle sold for $3895 ($3438 base + $457 Hemi engine).


Ralph Lauren’s Garage is Going to a Museum

March 15, 2011

Many of us have taken a virtual peek inside of Jay Leno’s or Tim Allen’s garages and been pleased and even excited about the selection of vehicles that they own.  Well, if you were impressed with those, you will be awestruck with Ralph Lauren’s garage.  The renowned fashion designer owns a garage that holds 60+ of the most rare and valuable cars in the world.  In fact, they are so impressive; the Musee des Arts Decoratifs is borrowing them.

The Musee des Arts Decoratifs, in Paris, France, is crafting an exhibit called “The Art of the Automobile:  Masterpieces from the Ralph Lauren Collection”.  This exhibit will be on display from April 28-August 28, 2011.  It will feature many of the rare vehicles from Lauren’s, now notorious, garage including:  a 1960 Ferrari 250 GT SWB Berlinetta Scaglietti, a 1931 Alfa Romeo Monza 8C 2300, a 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO, and a 1938 Bugatti 575SC Atlantic Coupe.  Not only is this collection rare, but it is incredibly expensive, as well.  The last two cars named are worth $30-40 million – each.

The D.A.D. Garage (acronyms from the names of Lauren’s children) is the name of the garage in Westchester, New York, where Lauren houses his astounding collection.  Upon entering, one would not know it was a garage, however, because it appears to only be a lobby and library.  Once permission is granted from Lauren or from one of the four people that staff the garage and keep the vehicles in perfect condition, one of the lobby walls slides away and you are welcomed into a wonderland of phenomenal cars.  The cars range from rare collectors to modern legends; they include  a 1964 Ferrari 250 LM, a 1938 Alfa Romeo Mille Miglia Roadster, a Bugatti Veyron and a Lamborghini Murcielago SuperVeloce, just to name a few.  The most rare car that the garage can boast about holding is a 1930 Mercedes SSK “Count Trossi” roadster; it’s is the only vehicle of its type in existence.

For a recent article, Vanity Fair was given a tour of the garage by Mr. Lauren, himself.  When asked why he collected cars instead of rare paintings, he said, “You can’t drive a painting.”  He was also quick to point out that all of his vehicles are registered because he said, “I drive these cars.  They don’t just sit here.”  Isn’t it exciting to know that for those of us who are not lucky enough to be given a private tour of the cars, that we might just catch Mr. Lauren cruising around the streets of New York in one of them?

Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este by RM Auctions on May 21st, 2011

March 8, 2011

RM Auctions is holding its award-winning Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este auction off the shores of Lake Como in Italy on May 21, 2011.  RM Auctions, founded by Rob Myers in 1976 and headquartered in Chatham-Kent, Ontario, Canada, opened its own auction house in 1991 with partners Dan Warrener and Mike Fairbairn, which has now gone world-wide.  RM Auctions holds 4 of the 5 all-time records for the highest sale of a motor car sold at auction.  In May 2010, it matched its own record (May 2007 – Italy) for the highest single-day auction sales with $45 million at its Monaco auction.

The RM Auction boasts that its auction that will be held in Italy will feature “a limited, hand-picked selection of the world’s finest motor cars.”  While the lot continues to grow daily, some of the cars that are currently being featured are the 1955 Ferrari 375MM Berlinetta, the 1938 Talbot-Lago T1550C-SS Teardrop Coupe and the 1937 Mercedes-Benz 540K Cabriolet A by Sindelfingen. The 375MM Berlinetta is the most desirable Ferrari model and was built to win world sports car championships.  It is described as one of only a handful built in the coupe style, the last with the “Mile Miglia” designation and a vehicle that has won many awards, including:  First Class at Pebble Beach, FCA Platinum and The Luigi Chinette award at The Quail, and The Cavallino Classic at the Villa d’Este.  The Talbot-Lago is featured as one of only 10 of the Goutte d’Eaus of the New York style and was one of only 3 that was fitted for a factory sunroof.  Finally, the Mercedes-Benz proclaims a class win at Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance and was 100-pont mechanically and cosmetically restored by RM auto Restoration.  It features factory coachwork with the desirable rear spare configuration and has low mileage.

The Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este will be held at Spazio Villa Erba, Largo Luchino Visconti, 4 Cernobbio, Como 22012, Italy.  The actual sale will be from 8pm-11pm CET on May 21, 2011.  A Gala Reception will precede the sale from 6:30pm-8pm.  Preview dates for the sale are May 20 from 10am-6pm CET and May 21 from 10am-6pm CET.  To gain entrance to the auction, people must purchase an official auction catalogue for 70 Euro; this allows two to be admitted when the catalogue is presented at the entrance of the auction.  To order a catalogue, click here.

If you are interested in consignment of your vehicle, there is limited room and selection.  Contact someone for discussion of your vehicle here.  For information on how to buy, click here or for buyer information, click here.

1961 Ferrari GT Spyder California SWB

February 22, 2011

The 1961 Ferrari 250 GT Spyder California SWB, better known as the Cal Spyder, is a rare beauty that is easy to fall in love with.  Motivated by distributors, Jon von Neumann and Luigi Chinetti, this Spyder was the last of the truly, open-aired, dual-purpose Ferraris.  It was first shown in Geneva in 1960. Only 55 were built in 1961 (125 total were built from 1958-1963) and many of them were unique in some way due to the fact that the vehicles were built for both the race track and for the road.

The Cal Spyder was built to replace the LWB California Spyder and was based on the 250 GT Berlinetta SWB.  It was built with a Carozerria Scaglietti body construction of a Pinin Farina Cabriolet design.  It featured a 60 degree 3.0-liter SOHC V-12 engine, triple down-draft Weber carbs, a 4-speed manual transmission and cranked out 280hp.  Disc brakes were introduced and both covered and open headlights were other features of this vehicle.

In May of 2008, the Cal Spyder earned the prestigious title of the most expensive vehicle ever sold in an auction.  Oscar-winning actor, James Coburn, who played in The Magnificent Seven, sold his black ’61 for nearly $11 million ($6.4 million Euros + fees) to a British radio DJ.  The other reason that this vehicle was made famous is because it was featured in the 1980’s movie, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.  A fiber glass bodied replica was used in the movie, but Ferrari later sued for damages because the actual vehicle used was not a Ferrari and the producers did not have the proper permission to label it as one.

Canadian International Auto Show

February 17, 2011

The Canadian International Auto Show roars into Toronto this weekend and runs through February 27th.  This year’s theme is “Discover, Connect, Experience”.  The organizers of the show would like you to discover the latest in electric hybrids, hydrogen-powered models, and advances in technologies such as navigation systems and enhanced web interaction.  They want you to connect with the vehicles by feeling and interacting with the most advanced automotive creations.  Finally, they want you to experience industry-leading displays, special exhibits, and exclusive, on-site test drive opportunities.

The show is featuring many activities and displays; the Icons: Legend of the Camaro/Firebird is a 30,000 sq./ft. historical display of the two most popular and celebrated vehicles in American History.  Some of the famous cars that will be in this display are Smokey and The Bandit’s 1977 Firebird S/E Trans Am, KITT of Knight Rider and the bright yellow BumbleBee, the charismatic star of the 2007 blockbuster Transformers.  Another feature is the PlayStation Gran Turismo 5 Challenge, where people can play the new game and win prizes for posting the best lap time of the day or the entire show.  Callaway is also offering a Driving Centre and Volkswagen is offering a children’s play area, among the many other features being offered.

If you’re feeling lucky, the show is also featuring many contests and give-aways.  There are going to be opportunities for people to win vehicles, like in the “Auto Lotto”, where game cards will come in the Toronto Sun, which people can scan at the show for a chance to win one of 25 Chevrolet Cruzes (they have two random drawings for those that don’t get the Toronto Sun).  Also, AutoTrader is offering a climb in and win contest for a new 2011 Camaro, while the National Post is giving away a 2011 Lexus CT in their “Win the Perfect Moment” contest.  People also have the opportunities to win vacations. TADA and Aeroplan are giving away 500,000 Aeroplan travel miles, while VIA Rail Canada is giving away a trip across Canada for 4 people.

The show will run from 10:30AM-10:00PM, February 18-26 and from 10:30AM-6:00PM on February 27th.  Tickets are $20 for adults (you can save 10% by buying online), kids between 7-12 are $7 and children 6 and under are free.  Volkswagen is offering a family admissions deal for $40 (also 10% off when you buy online) that allows entrance for 2 adults and 2 children (ages 7-12), which is a $14 discount.  Finally, they are offering a 2-day pass for $30.

If you are in the Toronto area in the next few weeks, The Canadian International Auto Show is something that you should check out. Going to a place that offers interactive games, contests, and of course, most importantly, amazing cars is any car lovers dream!