Tag Archives: collector cars

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.

 

 

 

Holy crap, I think that car might have been mine!

My one shot at a collector car

promotional model cars, AMX, AMC, American MotorsCame in 1987 while living in Green Bay. I always kept an eye out in the papers, this was before that interweb thing got big, looking for, well, I wasn’t sure. Then, bingo, a 1970 AMX was for sale in Milwaukee similar to the image of this model I built to remind myself about the experience. I had to have it. Never mind I hadn’t even seen it yet. They seller didn’t want too much for it, $2,500, which should have been a red flag, but I was laser focused. I needed fast cash since I didn’t have that much saved up and this was an impulse purchase so I went to my local bank Continue reading Holy crap, I think that car might have been mine!

For the Rekord

Photo: WikiCommons
Photo: WikiCommons

Spellcheck went crazy with this

Lots of red lines below my copy when I wrote this blog entry about the Open Rekord. It kept wanting to change it to “Record”. You know me and odd ball cars. I was actually running through eBay looking at promo models when I came across a Record, oops, Rekord. More about the promo model in a minute but first I needed to find our more about the real deal since I’d never heard of the car. This car was no one-hit wonder as there were approximately ten million sold between 1953 and 1986. It was produced by GM’s Opel brand and was the second best-selling brand in Europe behind the Volkswagen Beetle. Check out the spot but brush up on your German. Continue reading For the Rekord

A home any car guy would love to own

It will take some deep, deep pockets

250 million dollar mansion, $250M mansion, Homes for the hyper-rich, collector cars, exotic cars
Photo: Bruce Makowsky / BAM Luxury Development
250 million dollar mansion, $250M mansion, Homes for the hyper-rich, collector cars, exotic cars
Photo: CNBC
250 million dollar mansion, $250M mansion, Homes for the hyper-rich, collector cars, exotic cars
Photo: Bruce Makowsky / BAM Luxury Development

This 38,000-square-foot mansion is located in Bel Air, California. It has 12 bedrooms, 21 bathrooms, three kitchens, six bars, a massage room, a fitness center, two wine and champagne cellars, and a 40-person home theater. One of my favorites is the 85-foot infinity pool complete with its own 20-foot TV on a hydraulic lift. I can just imagine the pool parties I would have when the Green Bay Packers play. Sadly not anymore this season.

What’s in it for the car guy?

Well I’ll tell you. It comes with a $30 million car collection parked right in the home. When’s the last time your wife let you park your collector car in the house? Included in the collection are cars we can only dream about like a faster than snot Pagani Huayra, a Rolls-Royce, a Bugatti, and a vintage Allard. OK, the cost. Are you sitting down? $250 Million. That’s $250,000,000. Lots of zeros. Let me know when one of you guys buy it and Mark and I will be your two newest best friends. Read more and be sure to watch the videos.

Almost $1M for an AMC

I’m a pretty happy AMC fan this morning!

gooding & company, gooding's auctions, amx 3, american motors, amx, amc
Photo: Gooding & Company

That’s because last night at the Gooding & Company auction in Scottsdale, AZ  this AMX 3 sold for $891,000 setting a new world record price for an American Motors creation. More than other cars in the auction like a 1935 Auburn 851 SC Boattail Speedster which sold for $693,000 but not as high as the top seller, a 1925 Bugatti Type 35 Grand Prix hammering for $3,300,000. Continue reading Almost $1M for an AMC

The sick minds of some car builders

Don’t read this on an empty stomach!

KLM, midwest airlines, airline Passengers, commercial airline seatsOr if you just happen to have an unused airline puke bag, have it handy. What? One of the other things I collect is airline memorabilia, like these seats from a KLM DC-9, which included three. Yup, I’m slowly collecting parts and should have a full airliner in about…..long story. One of my favorite Apps on my iPhone is Hemmings Motor News. On the top of the page they Hemmings-app-imagehave featured cars for sale along with stories about classic cars farther down. I love seeing mostly cars I will never own but lust over. That doesn’t cost a dime. I recently viewed two cars that stood out. Not that they were cool or collectible but because one was repulsive and the other is an “A” for effort but really? I’ll save the first one for last and build up to it. Continue reading The sick minds of some car builders

A hidden auto museum gem

Almost like a big barn find

wisconsin automotive museum, kissel kar company, collector cars, cars built in wisconsin, wisconsin auto museumsIt’s winter as I write this blog post in Wisconsin. Gotta tell you that as I’ve gotten older I’ve grown more of a distaste of winter. It’s cold and snowing which means all the collector cars are taking their long winter naps. Not one wanting to hibernate, I grabbed my camera and my daughter and took a ride up to the Wisconsin Automotive Museum. Continue reading A hidden auto museum gem

Pontiac GTO sweet sounds

Songs about the GTO

ronny-and-the-daytonas-little GTOI love cars! I love music about cars too which might be the reason I like the Pontiac GTO so much. Overall there are over 15 songs about this car mostly in 1964, the first year the GTO was built. Songs range from Little GTO by Ronny and the Daytonas, to Mighty GTO by Jan and Dean, to Here comes the Judge by Shorty Long. I have several on my iPhone.

History of the GTO

1966PontiacGTOBuilt from ’64-’74 and then again by Holden from ’04-’06, It was a classic muscle car of the ’60’s and ’70’s and considered by some to have started the trend with all the big four automakers offering a variety of competing models. The GTO was the brainchild of engine specialist Russell Gee, Bill Collins, a chassis engineer, and Pontiac chief engineer John DeLorean. GM had a ban on sponsored racing on tracks and events at the time so these guys took it to the street. DeLorean came up with the name idea inspired by the Ferrari 250 GTO. Good luck on trying to find one of those now! GTO is an Italian abbreviation for Gran Turismo Omologato, in english “Grand Tourer Homologated”, which means officially certified for racing in the Grand-Tourer class. The Ferrari guys were not to happy about it. Go figure.

Consumers began calling the GTO ”The Goat,” because the animal is known for eating anything in this case on the street. Acronym for GOAT was turned into “Gas Oil And Tire” burner. Those who had a GTO probably spent time and money purposely burning the three resources, and with gas costing only 32 cents a gallon, who cared.

Huge engines, nice investment

Courtesy RK Motors Collector Car Auctions
Courtesy RK Motors Collector Car Auctions

V8’s anywhere between a 389 to a 400! What’s not to like? These were fast street racers and the public knew it and still do. Daily drivers run about $20,000 to $50,000. Not too bad for all that fun. These are a favorite collector car of the Baby Boomers. On the high end, I found this ’71 GTO Judge which was sold for, wait for it, $232,500. What makes this special is that of the 357 GTO Judges that Pontiac sold in ’71, only 17 convertibles were made. You can click on the image to read more about it at Hemmings.

Promo model GTO’s can be a bit pricey too.

While you won’t be dropping the kind of cash I mentioned above, good GTO promo model examples will cost a couple of hundred dollars. I found this hard to find MPC ’71 Quezal Gold Hardtop which sold for $245. While this MPC ’70 Cardinal Red GTO Hardtop sold for $245. Sure you can find lower cost ones for around $20 but there is nothing like having a pristine model of one car that inspired so many songs.

$T2eC16ZHJIkE9qU3k6hdBQzLJyKpZ!~~60_57

$T2eC16N,!)sE9swmYktfBRU)6DDFqQ~~60_57

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.