1963 Mercedes-Benz 220SE Cabriolet
The Mercedes-Benz 220SE Cabriolet, part of the W111 family of models, debuted in 1961 as a full-size executive open-top model that replaced the W128 220SE which was still based on the antiquated ’Ponton’ design. The new model featured a more sharp-cornered design that has endured as one of Mercedes’ finest over the years.
The W111 series debuted in 1959 at the Frankfurt Auto Show where Mercedes-Benz unveiled the four-door sedan body style which quickly gained the ’Heckflosse’ nickname, which stands for ’Fintail’ in English. The nickname emerged thanks to the car’s stylized fins that rose at the rear of the car, a design cue aimed at the American clientele.
The Cabriolet version followed a couple of years later after the production cycle of the Ponton-based W128 Cabriolet ended. The two-door car had a soft top and exuded a sort of refined beauty that has become almost synonym with ’60s Mercedes-Benz models. The W111 is considered part of the S-Class lineage along with the deluxe W112 that featured bigger engines and more amenities onboard.
1963 Bentley S3 Saloon
The Bentley S3 Saloon, along with the Rolls-Royce Phantom V, represented the standard of luxury in Europe. The S3 marked the end of an era as it was the last production luxury sedan from Bentley with body-on-frame construction.
The Bentley S3 was the last model of British manufacturer’s S Series which was in production for a decade. The S3 replaced the S2 in 1962 and, in turn, was replaced by 1965 with the T-Series Bentley that was also a close relative to the Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow. The S Series came as a replacement for the antiquated R Type which had been in production since shortly after the war but was largely based on pre-war designs.
The S3 is, thus, the last of the truly classic Bentleys, so it’s only fitting that the car is one of the most elegant ever to come out with the Flying B on the hood. Performance is not that relevant on such a car but what matters, the comfort of the ride, is there aplenty. You won’t feel a bump in the road aboard the S3 even if you want to.
The Lola Mk. 6 GT is genuine cornerstone material in the racing world as it laid the groundwork for what would become Ford’s answer to Ferrari: the GT40. It was also one of the first mid-engined GT sports cars to race at Le Mans, its philosophy transforming into the go-to recipe for endurance racers for years to follow.
This year, we celebrated 50 years since Ford’s third win on the trot at Le Mans. One more was on the cards for the following year, and all was possible because of Eric Broadley’s Lola Mk. 6 GT which debuted at London’s Olympia Racing Car Show in January of 1963. It was a sleek, yet simple design that blazed a trail that many would follow in the construction of purposeful endurance sports cars as well as many road cars that we now look at and consider the forefathers of the supercar.
It all happened thanks to a change in the regulations of the rebadged World Sports Car Championship, which would be known as the International Championship for GT Manufacturers for 1962. This rebranding exercise also led the way to FISA launching a new class for Experimental Grand Touring cars. These were, in effect, closed-top sports racers that didn’t need to worry about any homologation requirements that were in line for production-based machinery. While still retaining the GT moniker, these were, for all intents and purposes, prototypes that had to retain some degree of roadworthiness to be road legal.
This was very much the case with the Mk. 6 GT which, in innovative fashion, featured monocoque construction, although it wasn’t a “full monocoque.” Another innovation laid in the construction of the bodywork which was made entirely out of fiberglass, something quite uncommon at the time. For all the stir int produced upon launch, the Mk. 6 GT fell short on its promises, Broadley’s limited pockets effectively cutting the wings of his new design which seldom showed up at a race meeting, and when it did it never lasted too long.
Only three of these cars were ever made and, thankfully, all survive to this day. While you may think they are only a footnote in the Ford vs. Ferrari saga, if it weren’t for Lola raising Henry Ford II’s eyebrows at Le Mans 55 years ago, we may never have gotten the GT40 the way we know it today. Yes, the follow-up Lola T70 is the much more revered design, and the Ford GT40 is the one that gathered all the accolades in the winner’s circle, but the Mk. 6 GT deserves to lavish in much more attention than it gets for the pioneering act that it is.
Keep reading to learn more about the Lola Mk. 6 GT and its intricate history and historical relevance.
1960 - 1963 Ferrari 250 GT 2+2 (GTE)
While the Prancing Horse is best known for its top-shelf performance vehicles and winning racing machines, even Maranello’s finest must occasionally bend to the whims of the passenger vehicle market. But don’t see it as a compromise - rather, it’s best seen as a combination of speed and usability, catapulting the commonplace people mover to the extraordinary realm of apexes and checkered flags. Such is the case with the Ferrari 250 GT 2+2, the brand’s first genuine four-seater model.
Continue reading to learn more about the 1960 - 1963 Ferrari 250 GT 2+2 (GTE).
1963 Aston Martin DP215 Grand Touring Competition Prototype
Originally designed to compete at Le Mans and considered to be “the most significant one-off Works Aston Martin” in existence, the 1963 Aston Martin DP215 Grand Touring Competition Prototype is also one of the most valuable collectible cars in the world. Exuding an almost mythical presence, the history of DP215 is one of heartbreak and accomplishment that marks the end of an era for the British automaker. Lovingly restored over a 40-year period with extensive consultation from the car’s original designer, DP215 now heads to the block later this month at the RM Sotheby’s event in Monterey, where it may very well become the most valuable British car ever sold at public auction.
Continue reading to learn more about the 1963 Aston Martin DP215 Grand Touring Competition Prototype.
1963 Ford Cortina "Green Goddess"
Originally revealed in October of 1962, just a couple weeks away from the London Motor Show, Ford brought the Cortina to the masses as an affordable, cheap-to-produce, and cheap-to-run compact. Ford produced the Cortina for two decades, between 1962 and 1982, putting out five generations in that timespan. Thanks to its easily accessible pricing and promotion in films like Carry on Cabby, the Cortina was immensely popular, becoming England’s best-selling car in the ‘70s. The first generation alone sold over a million units, and the Cortina still enjoys a widespread enthusiast movement in the U.K. Now, there’s an outrageously well-maintained first-gen Cortina going up for auction, and it’s got less than 20,000 miles on the odometer, original everything, and looks like it just rolled out from the factory this morning.
This green old-school four-door comes in the top-spec 1500 GT trim from the 1963 model year, and it’s going under the hammer at the Historics at Brooklands classic car auction, near Weybridge, England, later next month. On average, the “Green Goddess” has traveled just a mile a day in the 53 years it’s been on the road, and should tempt any collector looking to get his hands on a British Ford classic.
Continue reading to learn more about the Ford Cortina “Green Goddess.”
The Aston Martin DB4 was launched in 1958 as a replacement for the DB Mark III (not to be confused with the DB3 race car), and built until 1963 in various body styles and engine specifications. Offered as a 2+2 coupe, two-seat coupe, and 2+2 convertible, the DB4 was produced in no fewer than five variants, named Series I (one) to V (five). Modifications for each Series model usually included revised front grilles and new headlamps and taillights, but Aston Martin also meddled with the DB4’s body, offering longer versions for increased legroom and luggage space.
One such model is the DB4 Series V, which had its wheelbase increased by 3.5 inches over the Series IV in order for the DB4 to become a grand tourer suited for longer trips. The DB4 Series V was built between September 1962 and June 1963, marking the end of the nameplate, replaced by the more iconic 1963 - 1967 Aston Martin DB5.
Produced in only 168 units (including 32 convertibles) of the total 1,210-unit run, the DB4 Series V Vantage is one of the rarest DB4s ever built, second to only the 1963 Aston Martin DB4 GT Zagato, a lighter, Zagato-bodied version. Making this particular coupe that much special is its Vantage specification, which means an uprated engine, and the more aerodynamic front fascia, later carried over to the DB5.
Continue reading for my full review of this special DB4.