Category Archives: Fun Stuff

Here contributing editor Paul Daniel blogs about just anything that’s on his mind about cars or maybe something else. Fun Stuff.

Car Spotting: VW’s compact car, the Type 3

A “wagon” comes to the VW line

When just about anybody mentions VW, the first image is probably the bug. Not exactly a family-friendly vehicle and that’s part of the reason VW introduced the Type 3 at the Frankfurt Motor Show in 1961. In the U.S. it was to compete with Chevy’s Corvair which hit the market a year earlier. The Type 3 came in three body styles, Notchback, Fastback, and this Squareback (sort of a wagon) that I spotted near Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wis., on a recent trip.

Car spotting

More than a million of these were manufactured in Germany, Brazil, and Australia until production ended in 1973. What are they worth? I checked on Classic.com and found them just as affordable as the bug ranging from $3,000 all the way up to $43,000 while averaging around $15,000.

Check back next Friday for another car spot.

Crazy money shelled out at Mecum Kissimmee

A couple of AMC’s make the list

There was some serious cash thrown around at the recently completed Mecum auction in Kissimmee, FL. Around 3,500 cars crossed the block with some crazy money chucked up for cars like this 2016 Pigani Huayra selling for almost two million.

There were other million-plus cars but what a lot of people probably missed were the number of cars that were built in Kenosha and sold for insane numbers, orrrrrrrr, maybe not.

Let’s start with this 1974 Gremlin X with a 258 6, 3-speed manual, power steering, brakes, and air conditioning. A loaded Gremlin. What makes this special is that it only had 21 hundred miles on it. I’m thinking this might have sold for maybe 20 thou outside of an auction but at Kissimmee it sold for….wait for it….$30,800. That is NOT a typo. Nice return if the seller had bought it new because it would have stickered for $3,454.10.

Photo: Mecum

This next one brought back memories for me, a 1979 Spirit AMX with the 304 V8, and loaded up. I had a white one. This is a survivor with the original paint and interior. It had 8,368 miles and sold for $35,750!

Photo: Mecum

There was a beautifully done 1972 Mark Donahue Trans-Am Javelin tribute car which hammered at $35,200.

Photo: Mecum

Here was somewhat of a head-scratcher. This 1987 Eagle Limited wagon with 72,000 miles went home for $35,200. I would love to have one of these but like the Gremlin, you have to wonder if this would have hit that mark on an auction site. But hey, somebody wanted it bad. Good for them. There was another one that sold for a more reasonable $8,800.

Photo: Mecum

The highest price of any AMC selling at auction was this 1969 AMX with 390, 4-speed manual with Hurst shifter, factory Go Pack, and seldom seen side exhaust. This went home with a happy new owner for $84,700 which is more than I’ve seen 1970’s go for.

Photo: Mecum

Based on what happened this past weekend I think people have discovered our secret, AMC made some really fun and collectible cars.

Car Spotting: Giving this one the boot

Meet the Bootmobile

No, I do not mean the Batmobile. Outdoor retailer L.L. Bean decided that it needed something to celebrate its 100th anniversary by creating this memorable vehicle. I was stopped at a major intersection not far from my home when I spotted it across from me in the oncoming lane. I could not get my phone up fast enough to grab this picture and I’m sure that’s the thought behind it.

Imagine the looks this gets in traffic.

The Bootmobile is 20.5 feet long, 7.5 feet wide, 13 feet tall, and of course, street legal. The base vehicle is a Ford F-250a Super Duty Power Stroke with a fiberglass body. What size would this be in real life? Picture a man that’s 143 feet tall.

Car Spotting: A rare Ferrari

California Dreaming in Wisconsin …

What normal car person doesn’t turn their head when they see a Ferrari? I had one drive right up to me this past summer while working at Ironwood Golf Course in Wisconsin. My duties at bag drop for a charity golf outing were put on hold as I grabbed my phone to take these pictures. All my co-workers know what a car geek I am and laughed as I started drooling. I mean first, it was a Ferrari and second, a California.

Introduced in 2008, it’s powered by a front-mid-mounted 4.3-liter V8. Later models were powered by a twin-turbo 3.9-liter V8. I have to be honest with you, I’m not sure what year this was. Forgot to ask. This car incorporates a bunch of Ferrari firsts:

  • First front-engined Ferrari with a V8
  • First to feature a 7-speed dual-clutch transmission
  • First hardtop convertible with a folding metal roof
  • First with a multi-link rear suspension
  • First with direct fuel injection

As far as I could find there were not a lot of these built each year, less than 1,500, which makes them rare, even rarer for one to have made its way to Wisconsin.

Have a great weekend and come back next Friday for another Wisconsin car spot.

Die-cast: Autoart’s Bugatti Chiron Sport

A 1:18 hypercar that looks crazy fast even at rest …

What happens in the auto world when the term “supercar” isn’t descriptive enough? Naturally we seek a new term, and for now that has become hypercar. But is that enough to describe a car with 1,479 horsepower and a 0 to 60 mph time of 2.4 seconds?

The thesaurus says appropriate synonyms for hyper include aggressive, intense, bold, dynamic, spritely, and frisky. Super synonyms aren’t much better – terrific, great, marvelous, outstanding, topnotch, sensational. All seem too tame to describe Bugatti’s Chiron Sport.

Most adjectives also fall flat in describing Autoart’s latest 1:18 version of the Chiron, a beautiful Bugatti blue with black carbon fiber-look hind end. Incroyable!

The History

Many are aware that Bugatti, now owned by Volkswagen, has a blended European background. Started by Ettore Bugatti, an Italian-born French designer in 1909, the firm was based in what was then Germany, but is now Alsace, France.

The Bugatti brand was extremely successful racing in the early years, winning the 24 Hours of Le Mans and many other high-profile contests. One of its most successful and famous drivers was Louis Chiron, who raced from 1926 all the way to 1958. Bugatti honored him by naming this model after him when it was introduced in 2016.

The Sport is a lightened, faster version of the original Chiron, which followed the Veyron supercar and was first shown at the Geneva International Motor Show in 2018. The Sport is about 35 pounds lighter than that first Chiron, featuring a firmer chassis and suspension. Its wheels are even lighter and the interior packages Alcantara, leather, and carbon fiber for seats and trim, emphasizing luxury along with vein-popping acceleration.

Power? The 8.0-liter V16 quad-turbo engine has a governed (really?) top speed of 261 mph. Car and Driver magazine says the Chiron Sport will race from 0 to 100 mph in 4.4 seconds and to 200 in just 15.7 seconds. Keep both hands on the wheel!

Doors open and the carbon-fiber-look engine cover is easily removed.

The tranny is a 7-speed double-clutch Ricardo model and the carbon fiber body is impregnated with color so as to avoid an entirely black model. Just 250 Chirons had been made as of 2020, but at a cost of $3.3 million each one supposes Bugatti doesn’t need to crank out too many more to assure a profit.

The only question that remains, it seems, is what those 250+ people do for a living! We know they have fun driving their exotic cars.

The Model

               Oh my, this Chiron model is fabulous, starting with the carbon fiber look of all black portions of the body, including mirrors, engine cover, rear wing and front/rear/side ground effects all the way to the trim around the windshield well.

These tiny velises, with Chiron logos, easily fit in the frunk.

               The car’s eggshell-thin hood opens to reveal a couple black valises featuring realistic handles and blue Chiron logos. One imagines crisp monogramed shirts and private label Italian ties gently strapped inside.

               Move to the rear and the black carbon-fiber-look engine cover easily pops off to expose the body-colored blue headers atop the V16 quad-turbo engine. Bugatti blue logos enhance the black engine block’s top while major turbo pipes wrap around the engine. A white liquids container sits above a silver heat shield at the far end of the enclosure.

               Cool though that you can still see the blue headers once the engine cover is in pace, as this is how most of us will pose the Bugatti in its display case.

               A button under the car’s tail easily releases the big carbon fiber rear wing, which can be angled slightly with the light touch of a finger.

The wing can be deployed and check out the quad exhausts and cool lights too!

               I love the front view that shows off the black wire mesh of the Bugatti horseshoe grille with its red, silver and white Bugatti badge and a blue No. 16 imprinted on the grille. That touts the 16-cylinder engine powering all Chirons. There’s black mesh in the air duct slits in the sleek nose too, plus beautifully executed four-element projector beam lights.

               In back is more silvery black mesh below the light bar that extends the car’s width. There’s also a Chiron Sport logo, the EB Bugatti emblem and down low a unique four-pipe exhaust system with deflector. Naturally a multi-element diffuser rides below the tail.

               Behind the special lightweight black wheels are humungous drilled discs and blue Bugatti-labeled calipers. Tires are the low-profile Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2s that are standard on the Sport. Labeling here is matte black on the sidewalls, but just showing the Michelin logo. Tires feature an aggressive tread pattern.

               Inside is another fine Autoart interior, all black except the blue accent line down the dash’s center spine and extending the console’s length, plus blue seat belt latch receptacles and belts.

               There are racing style bucket seats, a flat-bottomed race wheel, and a sharply detailed driver’s gauge pod. The Bugatti console includes four protruding buttons and a small gear shift knob while the three foot pedals below are silver-faced to represent a metal finish. Door trim is accurate and finely detailed with carbon-fiber-look door panels.

Love that you can see the blue header covers even with the engine cover in place.

               The sum is visually fantastic, almost as fantastical as the 1:1 car’s performance! The Chiron Sport isn’t a muscle car, it’s a missile.

Vital Stats: Bugatti Chiron Sport

Maker: Autoart
Scale: 1/18
Stock No.: 70997
MSRP: $260

Link: Autoartmodels.com

Car Spotting: A rare Porsche

And one found its way to Wisconsin

It was an off-road capable off-road capable supercar. The 959 was produced from 1986 to 1993 and only 345 were built. The Porsche 959 was the most technologically advanced car in the 1980s and it took years for other cars to share similar technologies. Just like the fabled 911, the 959 has a flat-6 behind the rear axle. The engine can produce 444 horsepower which is the same as a brand new 911 Carrera, proving how advanced in performance the 80s 959 was. Mated to the flat-6 is a 6-speed manual transmission and could do 0-60 mph in just 3.6 seconds, could reach 197 mph.

959 convertible I spotted at a golf course this summer.

Its all-wheel-drive system included adjustable hydraulic suspension that could perform perfectly on the road or off-road. Yup, you could take your $300,000 Porsche off-road. Especially since it was equipped with two adjustable differentials and weighed around 3,100 lbs. thanks to its kevlar body panels and hollow-spoke magnesium wheels, the flooring is made of Nomex. A flame-resistant and light material.

I would have loved to go for a ride!

This one I spotted most likely never saw any off-roading and it’s even rarer because it made it here to Wisconsin thanks in part to Bill Gates. Yup, the Microsoft guy. He imported it under the Show and Display Rule which allowed non-approved cars to be imported into the US under tight and strict conditions. The cars could only be driven so much and you had to prove the car’s significance historically. The cars also have to pass emissions and the 959 was never produced with a catalytic converter. Porsche eventually provided a catalytic converter system for US owners if you sent that car back to Germany for installation. Not a cheap deal but neither is the car. If you could get the owner to part with it, you would have to write a check for just under 1 million bucks.

My ar spots are published on SavageOnWheels.com every Friday. Have a great weekend and Happy New Year.

Car Spotting: An under appreciated Mustang

A Mustang fully loaded

Most of us think of the performance-based Mustangs targeted towards the youth market yet there was one that took a different direction, the upscale Grande. Produced from 1969 to 1973 it was only available as a hardtop. It had tons of options, 45 to be exact, which was a lot at the time and included “Comfortweave” hopsack upholstery, extra-thick carpet on the floorboards, two-tone narrow stripes, faux woodgrain dashboard, padded interior side panels, racing-style mirrors, chrome rocker panel moldings, and wire-style wheel covers.

Mustang Grande I spotted this summer while working at Ironwood Golf Course

Ford also gave drivers the option to order any Mustang engine for the Grande, even including the 428 Cobra Jet V8. This option drove up the price significantly, especially combined with the more elegant Grande package. That said, any surviving Grandes with miscellaneous engines have become very collectible, and only 62 Grandes were built with a 428 Cobra Jet in 1969. Hagery lists an average price for all four years of production at around $12,000 with almost $30,000 for a Concours level example making it a very affordable collectible like this one.

An excellent example. Bodywork looked great

My car spots appear every Friday here on SavageOnWheels.com. Be sure to check back and keep your phone out and ready to snap that next great spot. Have a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

Car spotting: America’s other two-seat sports car

This one I know well

The AMX was produced by American Motors from 1968 to 1970 as a two-seat sports car. Its short wheelbase, one inch shorter than the Corvette, and big engines, 290 to 390, V8’s made it a hit for AMC who was a late arrival at the muscle car party. To show it had the chops, Craig Breedlove and his wife set all kinds of land speed records when it was introduced.

Red 1968 AMX I spotted while on my way to Mark’s house.

The American Society of Automotive Engineers named the AMX as the “best-engineered car of the year” in 1969 and 1970. In its three-year run, it sold a total of just under 20,000. It was discontinued by AMC because of tougher crash standards and they didn’t have the money. The AMX rode on as a performance package on various other AMC cars concluding with the Spirit in 1980. I was fortunate to own two AMX’s, a ’70 and ’79 Spirit AMX. The value of the two-seaters continues to rise on the collector market with excellent examples going for around $60,000.

I spotted this clean 1970 while out for a ride. Owner did a great job on the restoration. It had a 390 and 4 speed.
amc, amx
My two AMX’s. 1970 had a 390 V8 while the 1979 a 304.

It ripped up rally racing

It’s light weight and gobs of torque made it an ideal car for rally racing and still is to this day. This AMX was spotted by fellow AMC geek Joe Schliz at the Lake Superior Performance Rally held this past fall near Marquette, MI. This car still has it finishing eigth driven by Tim O’Neil and Constatine Mantopoulos and against competators like Ken Block who came in first. It was sponsored by Team O’Neil Rally School in NH.

My car spots appear on SavageOnWheels.com every Friday. Have a great weekend and keep that phone ready.

Car Spotting: The forgotten Chevy

A BMW beater

During the summer months, I work part-time at Ironwood Golf Course, a short drive from where I live. The area is a haven for cool cars like this Chevy SS, produced from 2014-2017. While this might look like just another four-door sedan, it will beat a ton of cars while doing it with less cash.

A wolf in sheep’s clothing

GM had to do little in the way of development for this car because it was a rebadged Holden Commodore. GM owned Holden at the time but later pulled out of the Australian market ceasing operations just last year. Too bad because Holden turned out some really badass cars.

A fast family sedan

This family sedan was only offered with a 6.2-liter V8 engine putting out 415 horsepower. It can with a six-speed manual or automatic and could do 0-60 in under 5 seconds. Inside It had ample seating for five and came standard with leather seats that were embroidered and luxuriously stitched all for just $45,000. Should have sold GM’s projected 12,000-15,000 units a year but this is GM you’re talking about. They only sold around 3,000. Why? Never advertised the car. You can still buy one today but don’t expect any deals. Now they are in demand and expect to pay close to what they retailed at.

More spots to come.

The Edsel that Ford never built

Cars potting an unusual car

My neck is on a constant swivel when I’m out on the county roads here in Wisconsin. It drives my wife and daughter nuts because sometimes I ignore the road. We were up in Door County which is about two and a half hours north of Milwaukee. Since water surrounds it on three sides, it is a popular vacation spot and destination for visitors who have more a more than average amount of disposable income. Read extra cash to buy cars they really don’t need but look cool.

Photo: Mediabrew Communications

Related Video: The cars of Door County

Carspotting: A rare Edsel

Early Edsel magazine ad: The Henry Ford Museum

I remember as a kid my dad taking me down to see the Edsel even though I was probably only four or five years old at the time. I remember sitting on his lap and pushing every one of the buttons on the steering wheel that selected a different transmission. As a kid, I thought they were cool, but as we all know they were not. If you’re not familiar with this story, I’ll give you the short version. Launched by Ford in 1958 and lasted just two years before it was given a painless death. Ford spent gobs of money marketing a vehicle that consumers saw as ugly and not built well. To this day, however, I still think they look cool especially now when it is getting difficult to distinguish vehicles on the road.

A rare Edsel

That’s what first drew me to this car sitting at what looked like a small auto repair shop but then as I looked closer, I saw it was different. This was the pickup version. Now I know Edsel had a seven-model product line, including four sedans and three station wagons. The sign inside the car said that there were only 100 made. Well after further research, he might have been correct but Edsel never made them. So this is a mashup of a Ford Ranchero, which was produced, and an Edsel.

Push-button transmission selector on steering wheel

So this was created by some enthusiast in his garage by taking the front clip off the Edsel and mating it to a Ranchero. They have also been made using a Villager wagon. This one was in pretty good shape from what I could see but hadn’t been on the road in a while.

Chrome was good

How rare? A quick search found them, not many but some. What are they worth? Edsel introduced a seven-model product line, including four sedans and three station wagons. I did a quick spin on Hemmings and found ten of them up for sale ranging from $10,950 for 1959 Corsair up to $99,500 for a 1960 Ranger that was essentially a rebadged Ford. There were several in the mid-’20s. I found this Ranchero that had quite a bit of custom work done on it for $16,990. I guess like any other rare car, it’s how bad do you want it.

Photo: American Dream Cars