1961 Chevrolet Impala
The Chevrolet Impala was rejuvenated again for 1961, officially the year when the third generation rolled into production. Chevy’s flagship full-size model was now entirely modern and, more importantly, an SS version became available.
The Impala debuted in 1958 as the top trim level for the Bel Air known as the Bel Air Impala. 1958 was the year of GM’s 50th anniversary, and the Bel Air Impala was the anniversary Chevrolet model. It featured different styling compared to lesser Bel Airs and people bought into it. So much so that, only one year later, the Impala became a model of its own - which is now considered the second generation Impala.
The 1961 Impala was still based on the B-body platform and sat on an X-frame chassis without side rails that were said to improve rigidity and lower the center of gravity. It had already been in use for two years on the previous Impala iteration. The new car came as a Hardtop 2-door Coupe, a Convertible, a 2-door Sedan, a 4-door Sedan, and a 4-door Station Wagon.
1960 Jaguar XK 150 S 3.8 Drophead Coupe
The Jaguar XK 150 was the final evolution of the original XK launched in 1949 and, as such, it was the most refined and the most powerful of them all. The S version came with a 3.8-liter engine from the Mark IX that developed 265-horsepower, impressive for the year 1960.
Just like its predecessor, the XK 140, the XK 150 was larger than the original XK 120, but it received some aesthetic improvements to make it look more modern. It originally came with the 3.4-liter DOHC inline-6 XK engine which developed 182 horsepower thanks to the updated cylinder head. The first XK 150s were sold in FHC (fixed-head coupe) specification with the drophead coupes arriving in 1958.
The XK 150 was kept in production until the end of 1960 when the final XK 150s were built for the 1961 model year. The following March, the E-Type was announced, and we all know how that went. But the appearance of the E-Type does not diminish the importance of the XK 120, and its XK 140 and XK 150 brethren, and the fact that now there’s an increasing market for these lush sports tourers.
1972 Dodge Challenger
The 1972 Dodge Challenger is the epitome of the tired muscle car. Not yet bloated and altered beyond any recognition like the 1974 Mustang, but showing clear signs that the muscle car phenomenon was dead thanks to stringent emission and safety regulations that turned all of America’s muscle to mild fat.
The Challenger, which debuted in 1970, has somewhat always lived in the shadow of the bigger Charger but, there, it had a life of its own. It raced to some success in the then-sprawling SCCA-governed Trans-Am Series, and that spawned a highly popular homologation special: the Challenger T/A. Then, things changed and new regulations swept away all of the big engines, so the 1972 Challenger was only available with a choice of three small block engines.
To make it even more evident that the status quo had changed, Dodge decided to give the Challenger a makeover. Basically, the body itself remained unchanged, but the car sported different front and rear sections which made it, arguably, uglier than the original iteration. With that being said, it’s unarguably still a work of art compared to the generic Japanese car Dodge decided to rebrand as a ’Challenger’ in 1977...
1965 Porsche 911 007
A Porsche Art Car isn’t something unheard of, but this is one of the strangest of them all. Designed by Peter Klasen, a German artist part of the ’La Nouvelle Figuration’ movement, it is an early 911 modified for racing with about 192-horsepower on tap and is named ’Project 007’. And no, there are no links to that secret agent.
Early 911s are revered for their purity in terms of the construction and the classic design of the body. The original 911 (901) is a Butzi Porsche design whose lines are still relevant on modern Porsches that we see and hear today. This particular 911, though, is something that we don’t see every day. Its colorful livery was drawn up by Klasen in 2009, and it’s similar, in terms of the color palette and some of the themes and elements displayed, with previous liveries he’s done.
Maybe Klausen’s most prominent work in the automotive world is a racing livery that adorned a Porsche 962 CK6 entered by German outfit Kremer Racing in the 1990 edition of the 24 Hours of Le Mans. The German artist also designed the red-white-and-blue livery of a Porsche 911 (993) GT2 entered by French team Sonauto in the French GT Championship in the late ’90s.
Duesenberg SSJ - The Most Expensive American Car
As a part of Monterey Car Week, Gooding auction house organized Gooding’s 15th Annual Pebble Beach Auctions and broke 23 records, selling some of the most extraordinary classic cars at the venue. Just to put the importance of this auction into perspective, I will say that of all the cars offered there, 25 were sold for more than $1 million. Yet, I am most interested about one - the $22 million 1935 Duesenberg SSJ - a car once owned by Gary Cooper. This isn’t just about any expensive car sold at an auction. Gary Cooper’s 1935 Duesenberg SSJ became the most expensive American car ever sold at an auction. This is, ladies and gentlemen, the most expensive American car ever made. Save for the Lunar Rover (estimated price for development in 1972 was $38 mil), but I guess that the Lunar Rover isn’t actually in competition with the Duesenberg. The Duesenberg SSJ is the fastest pre-war car in the world. It has provenance like no other car you will hear about.
Personally, I have some strange cravings for Duesenbergs (despite seeing one only once). If you were to ask me what car company I’d like to see resurrected, it would be the Duesenberg. Forget Hispano Suiza, Packard, or Tucker. I want a Duesenberg. But done right. And that is the problem. I think it is impossible to have a Duesenberg in the world of today. After learning about the SSJ, the most expensive American car, you will know why...
1958 Mercedes-Benz 190 SL
The Mercedes-Benz 190 SL was the more laid-back version of the legendary 300 SL and, like its much more exclusive big brother, was a huge hit in the U.S., practically establishing the SL model in Mercedes’ range for decades to come.
The 190 SL, like the 300 SL, was born out of a suggestion from U.S. executive and luxury foreign car importer Max Hoffman who thought that a less expensive but still exciting and luxurious version of the 300 SL would appeal to the U.S. clientele. He’d previously come up with the idea of the road-going 300 SL as well, reckoning that America’s rich and famous would love to blitz down the country’s infinite highways aboard a more friendly version of Mercedes-Benz’s 1952 Le Mans winner, the W194 300 SL designed by Rudolf Uhlenhaut.
Due to Hoffman’s significant success as the Mercedes importer, the Stuttgart-based company decided to follow suit on his bold ideas and debuted prototypes of the two SLs at the 1954 New York International Motor Sports Show in February of that year.
Unlike the 300 SL, for which a purpose-built tubular spaceframe chassis was created, the 190 SL exhibited a tweaked version of the Mercedes-Benz 180’s underpinnings. As such, it received the W121 nomenclature with the sedan known as the W120.
Keep reading to learn more about the 1958 Mercedes-Benz 190 SL
1938 BMW 327 Sport Cabriolet
The BMW 327 was the German manufacturer’s foray into the production of more up-market sports cars that offered agreeable performance, elegant styling, and comfort. It shares much of the drivetrain with the 326 sedan, and some styling cues are shared with the more well-known 328 two-seaters.
The mid-size 327 arrived in 1937, one year after the motorsports-oriented 328 which was, in essence, a racing car for the road. The 327, however, was tailor-made for a different kind of customer. Be it in coupe or cabriolet guise, this car was a tourer in the true sense of the term, one that could withstand long journeys and offer seating for 4 adults.
It proved to be a popular car back in the interwar period with over with over 1,300 units being built in the Eisenach plant until 1941. The production of the 327 resumed at the same plant after the war but under Soviet rule. Those cars later became known as EMWs (Eisenach Motor Works). The 327 signaled that BMW had reached maturity barely a decade after the former aeronautical engine builder turned its attention to cars.
1992 Porsche 911 Carrera RS
The Porsche 911 Carrera RS is an exercise in reducing a formula to its purest form. It was built as a lighter, faster, and more powerful version of the 964-generation Carrera 2 and it stands as a spiritual successor of the magnificent 911 Carrera 2.7 RS from the early ‘70s.
The Benjamin Dimson-penned Porsche 911 (964) debuted in 1989 and featured a rounder body shape in tune with the times which was a clear, but not profoundly radical, departure from the design of the previous 911 that was still tracing its roots back to the original Ferdinand Alexander Porsche-drawn model launched in 1963.
For 1992, Porsche launched the Carrera RS in Europe which was, in essence, a road-legal version of the Carrera Cup racing cars. This single-make series was on the bill of the Formula 1 World Championship weekends as support races in between F1 sessions.
The 911 Carrera RS never officially made it across the Atlantic and into the U.S. market. With that being said, 45 cars that were meant to be used in a Carrera Cup U.S. series that never materialized did trickle down to dealerships and were quietly sold in 1993 in the shadow of the RS America which deserves its own review as it isn’t identical to the European RS.
1995 Ferrari F512 M
The Ferrari F512 M was the last evolution of the Testarossa, unarguably one of the legendary cars of the ‘80s. The F512 M was lighter than its predecessor, featured more modern styling, and boasted improved handling characteristics.
Everyone knows the Testarossa. With its red cam covers, its long “cheese graters” on the sides, and angular design, it’s a staple of its time and one of Ferrari’s modern icons. At the time, it was every bit as fast as a Countach, if not slightly faster. It handled slightly better and, more importantly, was a more relaxed tourer in that you could actually drive the Testarossa for 500 miles at a time and not drop dead from back pain afterward.
The F512 TR continued the trend and refined the recipe, but the ultimate expression of this body shape came in 1994 and was christened F512 M, where M stands for “Modificato.” Indeed, there were many modifications done to the F512 M even in comparison to the F512 TR, but the same spirit was still there. It was to be the rarest of all the Testarossas since only 501 were built through 1996 when Ferrari rolled out the front-engined grand tourer called 550 Maranello.
1993 Alfa Romeo RZ by Zagato
The Alfa Romeo RZ is the equally-boxy and equally odd open-top version of the icon that is the SZ. Controversial at the time, the Zagato styling of the SZ/RZ family is now, 30 years on, considered downright legendary.
Produced as a limited-run joint project between Alfa Romeo and Fiat, the SZ Coupe and the RZ Roadster were laid on the underpinnings of the famed Alfa Romeo 75. Little over 1,000 SZs were built while the production cycle of the RZ began just after the final SZ was put together. Although the exact number varies depending on the source, no more than 285 Alfa Romeo RZ cars were ever built, making it much rarer than the already sought-after coupe.
The RZ was equipped with the same four-cam engine as the SZ although the lack of a solid roof makes the RZ the slower of the two. Alfa Romeo also chose to offer the SZ in more than one color combination, customers being offered the opportunity to pick their SZ up in either yellow or black, besides the customary red which was the only color available for the coupe. The last SZ rolled out of Zagato’s plant in Terrazzano di Rho in 1994 and, in spite of their popularity among the fans of the brand, the SZ and RZ aren’t particularly expensive to grab nowadays.
Keep reading to learn more about the odd Alfa Romeo RZ
1950 Jaguar XK 120 Alloy Roadster
The Jaguar XK120 was a turning point in Jaguar’s history and a sign of things to come. It was the fastest car in the whole world at the time of its launch in 1948 and remains one of the most beautiful British cars ever made.
First showcased at the 1948 London Auto Show held at the Earls Court, the XK120 was cheerfully received by an enthusiastic crowd who fell in love with the curvaceous and streamlined bodywork which covered the new XK inline-6 engine which promised never-before-seen performance on the road.
The first 242 XK120s were built with an alloy body until demand became so great that Jaguar switched to a different plant and began mass production in mid-1950. The XK120 spawned the XK140 and XK150 models which were successful evolutions of the concept and lasted in production all the way to the dawn of the ‘60s.
2008 Peugeot 908 HDi FAP Le Mans Prototype
The 908 HDI FAP was Peugeot’s first top-flight Le Mans prototype in over a decade and was designed to take on the might of Audi in sports car endurance racing on both sides of the Atlantic. It was a 750-horsepower diesel beast with over 850 pound-feet of torque that requires an army of men to run even today.
The mid-‘00s heralded the introduction of the LMP1 category at the top of the FIA/ACO prototype endurance racing ladder. This set of rules came in effect in 2004 as a replacement to the LMP900 rules, but older LMP900 machinery was to be grandfathered in Europe and the U.S. until 2006. The Peugeot 908, announced in 2005, debuted in 2007, one year later after Audi’s own diesel LMP1 car, and became the former’s biggest nemesis as the only other diesel prototype until the end of this era.
The 908, which changed quite a bit during its five-seasons-long racing career, was vastly quicker than the Audis almost anywhere, beating Team Joest and Audi Sport North-America both in the European Le Mans Series and the American Le Mans Series on numerous occasions. However, Le Mans glory was achieved only once, in 2009, when Peugeot Sport Total scored a historic 1-2 finish ahead of the brand-new Audi R15. Peugeot abruptly ended their involvement in global endurance racing before the kick-off of the new-for-2012 World Endurance Championship, although their hybrid 908 was already in testing and seemed to come together as a fine piece of kit.
Regardless, the French board decided that enough was enough and the P1 program was canned before the 908-HY could turn a wheel in anger. This led the way to Toyota’s hurried entry into the WEC midway through 2012, one year earlier than originally intended.
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.
Porsche Classic’s "Project Gold" Brought in $3 Million at Auction - All For a Good Cause
Porsche turned 70 this year, and the automaker decided to celebrate it by auctioning off the Porsche 911 Turbo Classic Series - a collection of 51 vehicles - at RM Sotheby’s "The Porsche 70th Anniversary Auction 2018” event. The highlight of the auction was a 993 that was finished in flashy Golden Yellow Metallic paint. After nearly 40 bids, it’s destined to go to a new home with a price tag of €2.7 million or about $3.1 million at current exchange rates.
1975 Maserati Bora 4.7
The Maserati Bora, a classic Giugiaro design, is the first mid-engine sports car to come from Maserati and the bigger brother of the more well-known Merak, which massively outsold and outlived the Bora. Less than 600 were made, all with V-8 engines.
The birth of the Lamborghini Miura took the world by storm. It produced shock waves that rocked all the big names in the world of sports car manufacturing. Basically, after the Miura, everyone had to have a mid-engine supercar in its lineup. Alejandro De Tomaso came up with the Mangusta which followed the latest trends in design which dictated that the body should have a lot of straight surfaces and razor-sharp edges which would, in turn, reduce drag and make the whole thing look incredible. You can thank Marcello Gandini for this trend, the Italian designer behind the Miura who quickly moved on to a more futuristic design language with the Alfa-Romeo Carabo which was exhibited at the Paris Motor Show 50 years ago.
Maserati, who were still employing their elegant Ghibli, a quintessential grand tourer through and through, decided they should have a mid-engine car too. Ghibli’s designer Giorgetto Giugiaro, of Italdesign, was phoned up and, by mid-1969, the Bora prototype was in its testing phase. The finished product was gorgeous to look at, and an advertised top speed of over 170 mph was astonishing at the time. It was also a car that you could drive for extended periods of time thanks to the comfortable cabin and many amenities that weren’t too common in supercars.
Someone is Auctioning Off a 1942 WWII Army Truck Turned Camper!
It’s not the fanciest vehicle to hit the auction block this year, nor is it the most attractive one. But for those who have gravitated towards overlanders these days, might we suggest hitting up the Mecum auction next month to get a good look at this 1942 Chevrolet Army truck that’s been turned into a full-fledged camper. The owner of this astounding creation is offering the vehicle for auction during Mecum’s auction that runs from November 15 to 17 in Las Vegas. The auction house estimates that vintage camper selling anywhere between $45,000 to $55,000 depending on the makeup of the people who will attend the auction.
1988 Porsche 911 Turbo ’Ruf CTR’
The original RUF CTR, commonly known as the “Yellowbird”, outran the Ferrari F40 and the Porsche 959 from 0 to 100 mph and kept going all the way to a top speed of 213 mph. It was the fastest car of the ‘80s and, arguably, the most extreme road-going interpretation of the Porsche 911 Carerra at the time.
As a follow-up to the vicious BTR, the RUF CTR was even more insane. It used parts from the Porsche 962 Group C prototype racer, had lightened body panels, a gearbox built just for it, tires similar to those on the spaceship that was the 959 and a bright yellow paintjob that made it stand out and earned its nickname: Yellowbird.
Before Alois Ruf and the team set about building the CTR, the world’s fastest car was the Lamborghini Countach. Surely, with all the wings it had grown by the time it received four valves per cylinder in 1985, it looked the part. Sadly for the Italians, the more understated Ruf CTR blew by the Countach, and the Testarossa, and the 288 GTO and just about any other supercar you can think of. And Ruf themselves thought that they could’ve eeked more with longer gears.
Keep reading to learn more about the ludicrous Ruf CTR