Tag Archives: Classic cars

Car Spot: MGB Roadster

Underrated and affordable

When you think of the perfect summer car there are a lot of options but one thing for sure is that it has to be a convertible. This week’s car spot, this powder blue MGB, is a perfect candidate. This little car is packed full of fun.

Manufactured and marketed from 1962 until 1980 first by the British Motor Corporation (BMC), and later the Austin-Morris division of British Leyland. They sold tons of these and their variants, the MGC and MGB GT V8 totaled 523,836 cars.

Fun, rugged, and stylish, and with enough old-school mechanicals to keep any shade tree mechanic occupied, MGB roadsters and MGB-GTs have been in the bargain basement of the collector car market because they sold so many of them.

Right now, you can pick up one of these in pretty good shape for under ten grand. A great deal for some solid summer fun. I did see the couple who owned this leave the restaurant we were dining at and it’s unlikely the top on this has ever been up because the guy driving was about 6 foot 6.

Check back next Friday for another one of my car spots along with a little bit of history. Have a great weekend.

Car Spot: 1950 Pontiac

A rolling time capsule

Every classic car has a story and Gary Sipiorski of Green Bay is a great example. He is the owner of this 1950 Pontiac, Sky Blue over Cream with a Silver Streak 8 engine. 72 years old and all original. Click here to listen to the conversation I had with him at the Cars and Guitars Event sponsored by the Green Bay Auto Museum.

Check back next Friday for another one of my car spots and have a great weekend.

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.

Chasing Classic Cars: Two of a kind

Double Barn Find

Barn_finds_barn find_aston_martin_silverstone_auctions_classic carsIt’s fine admit it! Every time you go for a ride or a drive in rural areas, you pay special attention to barns or other buildings out in the middle of no where looking for that rare car you’ve always been wanting. So what if you opened the door and found not one but two identical cars? I’d be doing the happy dance! Add to that they are affordable and Aston Martins. That’s exactly what happened recently. If you want them, pack your bags because they are going to action. Here’s the rest of the story.

It’s a car, it’s a boat, no it’s the Amphicar

The fastest car on the water and fastest boat on the road

My regular blog followers already know this about me so for the first timers, I really like unusual cars. Maybe part of the reason I owned an AMC amphicar, Amphibious Vehicles, savageonwheels.com, collector cars, classic carsPacer. Stop laughing, I really did. Maybe that’s also why I like the Amphicar. So my aunt and uncle live on Kelly Lake, about 30 minutes west of Green Bay, and told me about this guy who had this car that was also a boat, or a boat which was also a car. Being in TV at the time, I called the guy, set up a time and off I went with a photographer.

It was the first and maybe the last amphibious automobile

Designed by by Hans Trippel and built in Germany, production started in 1961. The company set a goal of 20,000 units per year based on the then booming American leisure market. Hans make potential customers aware of the new car and in 1962 he got it. His Amphicar set sail across the often-turbulent English Channel from France to Britain. Slam dunk on this right? It naturally captured the attention of both car and boating enthusiasts all over the world. He got the U.S. market’s attention because around 3,000 units of the the 4,oo0 total produced were sold because of it.

Powered by a Triumph four-cylinder engine of 1147 cc, 8.0 compression ratio, rated at 38.3 bhp., used a Porsche gearbox, just over 14 feet long, five feet long, and had a 13 gallon gas tank. Guess you didn’t plan any long trips. In the water the owner used the steering wheel to turn the car instead of a rudder like you’d find on a boat. Compared to most boats or cars, its performance was modest. It got about 32 mpg on land and about 1.5 gallons per hour in the water.

How did it transition to water?

amphicar channel crossingBasically it’s a boat with wheels hung on it. The hull is all sealed up, and the two doors have rubber seals around their edges that press against seals on the door frames when the doors are shut, they form a watertight seal. Once the doors are shut along with the hood and the bilge plug are both secured, you just drive down to the water’s edge, put the transmission in neutral, engage the dual propellers of the water drive with the smaller stick shift on the floor and off you go. Kind of freaky for first time riders. In fact former president LBJ owned an Amphicar and loved the reaction. That’s LBJ’s car on the left.

OK, why is it not made anymore?

A couple of reasons, one because it would leak, was made of steel so was prone to rust, noisy, and the profit margin on the car was too low. The west coast port-of-entry price in 1967 was only a little more than $3,000, twice the cost of a VW Beetle. Production ended in 1968.

An Amphibious Car Refuses to Sink into Oblivionamphicar channel crossing

There are collector clubs and very devoted members. “United We Float, Divided We Sink” has been the motto of Amphicar enthusiasts for a long time. They seem to be a fun bunch. During the fourth week in July, Amphicar owners convene at Grand Lake St. Marys in western Ohio. These events, amphicar channel crossingand similar ones nationwide, are called “swim-ins”. Pretty excited about this little car……yup, I see you shaking your head, yes? I went to Hemmings and found this ride. Love the seller’s opening line in the ad “Up for sail is a nicely sorted Amphicar. Runs and swims well”. While this one is priced at $55,000, the average price is around 32 grand. Nope, didn’t forget the video. Click on the image and come along for a ride or sail.

Chasing Classic Cars: What five would you own?

Your chance to dream big

I daydream a lot about “if money was no object” and I had a place to store them (like Jay Leno’s Garage) what five cars would I own. Of course I’d want more but in this blog entry decided to stick with five. So here you go.

1970 AMX

70 AMC AMX
70 AMC AMX (Photo credit: DVS1mn)

I admit this is an emotional pick because I had one of these. It was my first entry into restoring cars and turned out to be a disaster. The engine blew up on me, there were holes in the floor pan and the back sail panels were mostly Bondo. I call it my $1,500 lesson. Ouch. But more on the car.

The AMX was built by American Motors from 1968-1970. Since it was a two-seater the only other car like it was the Corvette. This was one of AMC’s entries in the muscle car era although also classified sports car and touring car. It was available with a massive 390 V8 and one version pumped out and incredible 420 hp! I picked this year because I had one and it was the last and was built in small numbers, around 2,000 making it the most collectible of the AMX’s. A really good one right now would go for around 25 grand.

1963 split-window Corvette

1963 Chevy Corvette Split Window
1963 Chevy Corvette Split Window (Photo credit: Chad Horwedel)

I love all Corvettes so it was tough to narrow it down to just one. I picked the ’63 because these are rare finds now since they only made them that one year. Legend has it that Corvette chief engineer Zora Arkus-Duntov never liked the split rear window because it blocked rear vision, but Bill Mitchell thought it to be a key part of the entire design. In the end Duntov won out and it was gone the next year. This was also the first year when they began designating them Sting Rays. According to Hagerty’s price guide, a split-window Z06 (big tank) with the 327cid/360hp F1 L84 will dent you for $335,000. But wait, money is no object, right?

1969 Camero SS

DSC_0045
DSC_0045 (Photo credit: WalterPro4755)

This was the last year of the first-generation Cameros. Remember, Ford had already beaten Chevy to the gun with the Mustang. Chrysler and AMC also fielded entries. I picked the SS version because of the power option, an 8-cyl. 396cid/375hp 4bbl L89. Wheeee, that’s a lot of juice under the hood. Parts for 1967-69 Camaros are limited only by the restorer’s checkbook. But then again, who cares in this case. The one I would have is currently valued at 107 grand. This of course for your insurance.

1962-63 Studebaker Avanti

1964 Studebaker Avanti (02)
1964 Studebaker Avanti (02) (Photo credit: Georg Sander (GS1311))

Studebaker positioned this as “America’s Only 4 Passenger High-Performance Personal Car!”. It sure was. Equiped with it’s 289 cid/240 hp V8, it was a screamer. A Paxton supercharger was offered as an option and many of these Avantis went on to break Bonneville speed records. Twenty nine of them with the fastest with a Paxton almost 200 mph while a stock one 168 mph!

Maybe it’s because I like the underdogs I like this car but it’s bold new styling was not enough to save Studebaker as it shut down its South Bend, IN plant in 1963. I also like the rarity. The ’62 model had about 1,200 come off the line while the ’63 had slightly less than 4,600. With these low numbers I thought the Avanti would command a six figure price, instead found them around $20,000 (for insurance purposes) and the supercharged ones around $60,000.

1967 Ferrari 275 GTB/4*S N.A.R.T. Spider

Courtesy RM Auctions
Courtesy RM Auctions

I struggled for the last spot for a while because there are lots of cars I would have, if I could. This time I decided to hit it out of the park with one of the rarest of the rare Ferraris, a 275 GTB/4*S N.A.R.T. Spider, one of only ten made. This is not the same model that appeared in the movie Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. That was a 250 GT California. Why this? It’s a Ferrari and just recently set an auction world-record for a non-race car going for…wait for it…$27.5 in Los Angeles this past August!

I know there are lots of more expensive cars I could have put on the list but these are the cars I had an a certain coolness factor. What is your top five car list? Let’s start the discussion.

Chasing Classic Cars: A Ford that is out of this world

In the 60’s the space race was hot

1965 Ford Galaxie 500XL photographed in Mont S...
1965 Ford Galaxie 500XL photographed in Mont St. Hilaire, Quebec, Canada at the Auto classique VAQ Mont St-Hilaire. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Because of that the auto manufactures took cues from the space race whether it was in the design or the name. Ford is a good example, specifically their Galaxie. Yes the word is spelled Galaxy but maybe Ford didn’t want to just rip off the word. The Galaxie was a full-size car built in the United States by the Ford Motor Company for model years 1959 through 1974. It was the high volume counterpart to the Chevrolet Impala. Some Galaxies were high-performance, racing specification machines, hello muscle car era while others were plain family sedans.

Sales of the Galaxie convertible

I couldn’t find 1967 sales numbers (because the car I will be blogging about is a 1967) but in 1966 the Galaxie 500 was the #3-selling convertible in the U.S. with 27,454 sold; it was beaten by the Mustang (at 72,119, by more than 2:1) and by the Impala at 38,000. The cars are moderately priced on the collector market in the 20 thousand dollar range. However one of the rarest is one with the 427cid/425hp 2x4bbl high performance package goes for just under $100,000 according to Hagerty and the market is trending up.

It was a top down day at the beach

I had ridden my bike down to a local beach near my house to get my hair cut and what do I see but a red 67. Of course I grabbed the owner and here is his story.

67 ford galaxie convertible, collector cars, chasing classic cars, classic cars
Click on the image to view the video.

No garage, no problem

So let’s say you don’t have around 30 grand to have something like this. The next best thing is a promotional model car. I wasn’t able to find a 1967 like this but I came pretty close with the 1965’s you see below. This car is in pretty good shape with the usual issues like the posts and was reasonably priced on eBay going for just over $42. So there you have it. The big one or the little one? If money were no object, which it very much is right now, I’d take the big one since I love convertibles! To see another of my blog entries on a model Galaxie, click here.

65 Ford Galaxie Convertible right rear65 Ford Galaxie left profile65 Ford Galaxie Conv left side

Cool Cars at Road America

Hey Paul Daniel here. I help Mark with the site, do videos and write for the section of promo models. Like Mark, I’m a huge car geek! I was at Road American this past weekend, just about my most favorite place, with my wife and daughter, taking in some of the racing. Beyond the cool race cars, there are plenty others. This video will show you what I saw. So this video would actually fit better in a section “Cars I’ll Never Own”.