Category Archives: When they were new

Mark And I love classic cars and really cool ones too. We always have our cameras with us and are ready to snap a picture. Heck one time I passed one while riding my Hayabusa, turned around and followed it until I had an opportunity to take a picture. Yup, We love cool cars.

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: 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.

So that’s a Matador

AMC’s entry into the personal luxury market.

American Motors almost always had to swing for the fence when it came to introducing new products because they didn’t have the big budgets to work with like GM, Ford, and Chrysler did. The same went for their marketing.

Enter the second generation Matador in 1974 and with the Ambassador being dropped became AMC’s largest car. With its second generation, the Matador became AMC’s largest automobile after the discontinuation of the Ambassador. A lot of effort went into this entry in the personal luxury market, one which AMC was looking to cash into. Premium trim levels of the second generation Matador coupe were marketed as the Barcelona and Oleg Cassini.

One of the many AMC ads I’ve collected over the years.

The Barcelona edition was loaded with a 360 V8, auto transmission, tilt steering, air conditioning, 8-track player, matching vinyl landau roof, rear opera windows along with unique interior markings and seats your butt could get lost in.

There was a love-it-or-hate-it mentality regarding the Matador coupe even among AMC geeks. I liked it. It beat the coffin-nose front end that the Matador adopted when it replaced the Rebel in 1971. My first car was a 70 Rebel SST with the one year only aluminum side molding.

My first car. Had a 360 V8.

The coupe, designed by Richard Teague, sold well the first couple of years, outselling the four-door by nearly 25,000 units in 1974 but dropped to less than 10,000 in 1978 just over 2,000 and the company pulled the plug. It had a claim to fame being featured in the James Bond movie Man with the Golden Gun where it flew.

The last Matador. Photos: BAT

These don’t sell for a lot of money. According to Classic.com an average of just short of $20,000 which makes this one sold on Bring A Trailer for $41,000. An eye-popping price even for me. That’s quite a return on a car that listed for around 7 grand. This is the kind of money that first-gen AMX’s sell for!

What makes this one so special? According to the listing it was built for its designer, Teague, and was the last one off the line. It went up for sale with only 7,000 miles and the original window sticker. Like most of the ones ordered, this one two was well equipped and lived in Minnesota. Check out that interior. Those seats were pure butt vacuums. Love the license plate. Hope it found a good home.

Two car guys reunite after 36 years.

And we didn’t even know each other were car guys then

Author (left), Darrel (right) on set doing a special on the Milwaukee Brewers just before the ’82 World Series where they lost to the St. Louis Cardinals. It was a fun season!

It’s funny how life sometimes comes full circle and you are reunited with a coworker after a very long time and you find out something you didn’t know about him when you both worked together. That happened to me recently when I was reunited with Darrel Burnett. He was the Sports

Me and Darrel now. Slightly less hair and a few more pounds:)

Director at WLUK-TV in Green Bay, WI and I was his backup doing weekend sports and reporting during the week. From about 1981 to 1985, we rocked the Green Bay market until new owners came in and both of us ended up leaving.

RELATED: Hear the story about Bart Starr’s MVP Corvette.

Darrel drove this yellow 1978 Porsche 924 while I arrived in a 1979 AMC Spirit and later upgraded to this Spirit AMX with a 304 V8.

Fast forward 36 years

I retired a couple of years ago and started this car blog with buddy Mark Savage. Darrel found me on Facebook and I discover he is running The Automobile Gallery in Green Bay. So of course I had to go up there and catch up with Darrel along with checking out a place I call car heaven. As it turns out we are both huge petrol heads and The Automobile Gallery has some pretty cool cars as Darrel told me during this interview.

A priceless Corvair

More valuable to this family than any other car

63 corvair, 1963 chevy corvair, corvair, corvair monza, corvair convertibleBy Paul Daniel

I love going car spotting but sometimes the cars come to me like this 1963 Corvair. One of the fun things I do during the summer is work at Ironwood Golf Course, about five minutes from my house. One day I show up to work at a really big golf outing and what’s parked right out front? This 1962 Corvair Monza Continue reading A priceless Corvair

These Jeeps aren’t cheap

A bright spot for American Motors

jeep cherokee, jeep cherokee golden hawk, rare jeeps
Photo: BringATrailer

I remember my dad, who worked at the National Parts Distribution Center in Milwaukee, came home one day in February 1970 and told me the big news that AMC had bought Jeep. I was probably just as excited as he was knowing that we would soon be having Jeeps show up in our driveway.  One that I remember most is a 1980 Jeep Grand Cherokee Golden Hawk just like this one that recently sold on Bring A Trailer. Not only did this give the middle finger to Wisconsin Continue reading These Jeeps aren’t cheap

Missing the guy who got me into cars

It’s my dad who got me hooked

nash healey, sports cars, nash motors, classic sportscarsAnd his dad before him but this Christmas will be my first without him after his passing away in February. The car dad always talked about buying was a Nash Healey. The car was introduced in 1951 beating the Corvette by two years. There were just over 500 manufactured so they are rare now going for north of $100,000.

I found this video Hemmings made that made me think of this. It’s a video about a dad and son’s bond with cars and I thought I’d share it. Boy, if this doesn’t get you into the Christmas spirit, I don’t know what will.

 

So that’s a Matador! And an expensive one!

Print ad from my collection

A line used by American Motors in marketing the Matador. AMC introduced a newly designed two-door coupe in 1974 as a luxury coupe. Members of the automotive press pretty much loved it. Car and Driver said, “There’s an undeniable smuggnes stamped on the fenders of AMC’s new Matador X. And each arrogant crease is integral to an overall air of confidence.” The X package, the sportiest, was one of three offered, the other two being the Broughram, and upscale Oleg Cassini.

For 74, production totaled 62,269, 31,169 base coupes, 21,026 Brougham coupes (including 6,165 in Cassini trim) and 10,074 of the X. That was a huge jump from the previous year’s boxy design when 7,067 went down the line in Kenosha. It was a Matador coupe that reached a production milestone for AMC becoming the six millionth car they produced since its founding in 1954. Its competition was the Chevy Chevelle Coupe, Ford Torino Coupe, and Plymouth Satellite Sebring. Base price was $3,699, with a loaded one at $4,350. Engine choices were the 232 and 258 6-cyl along with three V-8’s, 304, 360, and 401. Continue reading So that’s a Matador! And an expensive one!

Cars your rarely see on the road

Another unusual car made in Wisconsin

The Excalibur Automobile Corporation was born by the idea Milwaukee native, and world-famous designer, Brook Stevens  who sketched a concept on a place mat while at a restaurant in 1964. He was asked by his then employee Studebaker to create buzz for their exhibit at the New York Auto Show. I love Studebaker, in many ways like AMC, in that they had to swing for the fence to get noticed by automotive buyers. It was at the auto show that Studebaker announced they were getting out of the auto business.

But that wasn’t the end of the Excalibur. The car received so much attention the Excalibur Automotive Corporation was formed to produce the cars. The engine and drive train came from General Motors while the bodies and interiors were hand-crafted in West Allis, suburb just west of Milwaukee. The car was pretty quick utilizing a Chevy 327 engine. With the same engine used in the Corvette and the standard 3.31:1 rear axle, acceleration from 0–60 mph took less than six seconds.

And it looks even better stretched

Which is why I stopped to take a picture of it. In an era where everything from Chrysler 300’s to Hummers are stretched into limos, this one would still attract a crowd. In fact, it has more value in the collector car market than the original car. You can find Excaliburs from the mid 1960’s all the way through the late 1980’s and very affordable ranging in prices from $37,000 for a Series 3, to a 1989 Roadster Convertible for $65,000.  Not bad considering there were just around 3,500 copies made.

The limo, much less, around 13, according to their website. These are the ones made in West Allis, not ones stretched by other companies. My best source for pricing came from the National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) where they listed the 1989 model with a low retail of $94,000, average of $177,700 and high of $280,300. You will find lots of the stretched versions around $50,000 or less. How much for this one? Good guess. Looks like it was just parked and forgotten with a group of unremarkable vehicles. Would make for an interesting restoration project and a fun ride. The body’s not in bad shape but will need some work as will the interior.

An electrifying sports coupe

My buddy and I had just finished lunch at a McDonalds in Lomira, WI and spotted two cool black cars parked next to each other near the back of the lot. One, a 1972 Chevy Monte Carlo, the other, this bad boy. I had to hop out and take a closer look, one because it was so cool looking, and two, I had no idea what it was. A Beemer? Nope. A Fisker Karma.

In case you have forgotten, and I did, here’s a little refresher.  Fisker produced the Karma and it was one of the world’s first production luxury plug-in hybrid electric vehicles. The Karma debuted in Detroit at the 2008 North American International Auto Show when Tesla was just getting going with its Model S. Deliveries began in 2011 but Production was suspended in November 2012 when its battery supplier, A123 Systems, declared bankruptcy. Just over 2,400 cars were built at its manufacturing plant in Delaware which used to be owned by General Motors.

In February 2014, Fisker Automotive’s Karma vehicle design, tooling and a manufacturing facility in Delaware were purchased by Chinese auto parts conglomerate Wanxiang Group who really wanted the battery side of the business. Founder Henrik Fisker, hung on to the Fisker trademarks and the Fisker brand and launched a separate company, Fisker Inc, in 2016. Wanxiang later renamed its new company Karma Automotive.

This car is over the top cool and even though a couple thousand were built, they are not expensive at all to buy now. Getting them serviced, well that’s another story. A quick search of the used car sites like TrueCar.com had several listings starting at just $32,950, all the way up to $52,500 and with low miles. Not sure I would ever purchase one but they are sure cool to look at.

 

 

 

Unicorn Promo Models

How a $2 investment generates a 2,000% return

One of my favorite episodes of Fast N’ Loud on Discovery channel is when Richard Rawlings and his friend Dennis Collins (who is also a big Jeep guy) go look at a Shelby Mustang they are looking to buy only to find more Mustangs, one of the Dennis describes as a unicorn. It was one of just a handful made with the exact options he explained. A car that could potentially generate a HUGE return on their investment, in the tens of thousands of dollars. The same situation is true of the plastic promotional model cars only the money is not quite as big. Continue reading Unicorn Promo Models