Tag Archives: When they were new

Chasing classic cars: a multi-million dollar Corvette

It’s only money, right?

Yahoo Autos
Yahoo Autos

I’m betting that myself and anybody who reads this post is not rolling in the dough. If you are, share the love:) I love watching the car auctions to not only see all the cars being auctioned off but also see the ones that go for huuuuuugh money. At a recent Barrett-Jackson auction rare cars went for big bucks. I mean they were throwing all kinds of money around like on this Corvette which only 20 were made. Read on.

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 Rare Classic Cars

Rare=Lots of cash!

This article/video that I found on Yahoo this morning is a great follow-up on my last post. Some there were just a handful built while one just one. As with any classic car, each has a story which goes with it. Check it out by clicking on the image below then get a napkin because you will start drooling:)

Chasing classic cars, rare vintage cars, collector cars

Chasing Classic Cars: One-of-a-kinds

Rare cars that pop up from time to time

AMC Project IV cars, one of a kind cars, chasing classic carsone-of-a-kind concept cars, chasing classic cars, amc, amxHave you ever seen a car, in person, and it was the only one made? When I was a kid my dad would take me to the Chicago Auto Show. He got the tickets when he worked at American Motors and that was our first stop. There I saw their Project IV cars developed in 1966 for consumer research. Of the four only one still exists, the AMX. It’s an amazing story of how it survived. A factory worker ran into AMC’s then president William Luneburg and simply asked for it. Read this amazing story from Hemmings Classic Car by clicking here.

Richard Teague: Styling Genius

AMX/3, amx, american motors, concept cars amx/3, amx, american motors, concept carsSales of the AMX were not quite what AMC execs were hoping for but one of the legends of automotive styling was busy designing the next generation of the AMX, the AMX/3, Richard Teague. The body mold was sent to Italian GT maker Giotto Bizzarrini, whose Turin facility hand-made drivable mid-engined, steel bodied cars. Built on a 105.3-inch wheelbase, the Bizzarrini prototypes used the AMC 390 cu in V8 and an Italian OTO Melara four-speed transaxle. Road testing went well and test drivers declared the AMX/3’s chassis one of the stiffest and most neutral handling they had ever tested. AMC had originally ordered 30 but only five were built and two know to be in existence. Read more about them here.

What the 1971 AMX could have looked like

1971 amx, amx, american motors, concept carsRichard Teague wanted the two-seat version to continue and received permission to build one-off the redesigned Javelin but it never made it into production. Too bad. I have seen this car. It’s owned by long-time American Motors Owners Association member Mike Spangler. I found this article which gives the whole story.

Alternative fuel before it was in fashion

chrysler-turbineHere’s another one I saw, the Chrysler Turbine, as clear as it was just yesterday, at the intersection of 84th and Bluemound here in Milwaukee. First off, it looked cool, nothing else like it on the road, and sounded cool with the turbine humming. Chrysler build 55 of these cars from 62-64 in what was first and only consumer test ever conducted of gas turbine-powered cars. When the test was done all but a hand full were destroyed. Seems the legal guys get their underwear in a bundle about letting the public keep concept cars. The best-known car guy with tons of recognition is Jay Leno who owns a Chrysler Turbine and drives it. See more here in this Jay’s Garage video

Concept cars have a long history

RM AuctionsNow here’s a really cool one this Lincoln Indianapolis (photo credit: RM Auctions) created in 1955 by Carrozzeria Boano, using the chassis and running gear from the 1955 Lincoln. The only time it was shown to the public as a new concept study was at the 1955 Turin Motor Show.

Last time seen just over a month ago at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, where it previously appeared back in 2001 and took home the first place for Postwar Custom Coachwork class. It at the 2005 Greenwich Concours d’Elegance in Connecticut, where it just about stole the show at a recent appearance at Pebble, one of its few public outings. Want it? Well, you’re too late because it was sold at auction for 1.5 million bucks.

RM Auctions1955-Lincoln-Indianapolis-design-study

The concept car list goes on

I’ve only scratched the surface on these rare cars. This blog entry could go on for a long time. I found some interesting pictures on this Pinterest Board. Cool “What If” cars.

Chasing Classic Cars in the woods

Sometimes you never know where you will find them

If you’re like me out on the road, your head turns if you see even a slight view of a piece of metal resembling a potential classic car. My neck gets sore on many trips and if I want to stop, it drives my wife nuts. It’s even tougher when I’m out on my Hayabusa. Eyes on the road Paul.

Remember the Lambrecht Chevrolet sale back in September?

500-car-cache-in-the-woods-Well this collection of mostly European cars is even bigger. Found in, well we don’t know since the owner was afraid if he let the cat out of the bag he would be open to looters. This is a really interesting article I read on AutoWeek. Who wouldn’t want to walk around and just look. Yea right?

 

 

 

Chasing Classic Bond Cars

How can a car guy not like James Bond movies?

James bond cars, famous bond cars, bond car collector pricesThe cars in the movies could almost be listed as co-stars with all the gadgets and those chase scenes. But it didn’t start that way. James Bond’s first car was the modest ’62 Sunbeam Alpine Series II, in lake blue appearing in Dr. No (1962). Still it’s one of my favorites along with the following.

James bond cars, famous bond cars, bond car collector pricesThe Bond franchise began it’s long relationship with Aston Martin with a ’63 Aston Martin DB5 appearing in the movies Goldfinger (1964), and Thunderball (1965).

James bond cars, famous bond cars, bond car collector pricesAfter a couple of years off Aston Martin makes a return starring role with a ’68 DBS introduced a new James Bond, George Lazenby, in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1968).

James bond cars, famous bond cars, bond car collector prices

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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: There’s an app for that

For those who like me love going to the app store and classic cars

Let’s face it, we’re all car junkies! If we don’t already have our classic car, our baby, we lust for it. Well…..there’s always the promo models but they’re not interactive. Relax followers, I found a couple of apps that might interest you.

Free is good!

When I go to the app store I try to limit what I pay for apps. Of my 118 apps (OK, I might have gone a little overboard), I have a several that are $4.99 and a couple that are $9.99 (mostly aviation related). But FREE is even better, right? I have tons of those. Keep in mind that most of the apps offered are created with a goal of generating revenue. So free isn’t always free. To generate revenue, many free apps will make up the difference with in-app purchases.

chasing classic cars, car apps, app store, classic car apps.Not sure how I found out about it but CSR Classic caught my eye. The concept behind this app is that you have the opportunity to restore “THE GREATEST CLASSIC CARS EVER MADE” although not everybody will totally agree with the list of cars. There are Mustangs, a Corvette and several other Chevys, Mopars, such as a Road Runner and Barracuda, along with options from BMW and Audi that you drag race against other fictional car owners the app comes up with. Whateverchasing classic cars, car apps, app store, classic car apps. you do, do not pick the Chevy Impala even though it has a big 427 engine in it. I picked it thinking all that power would help and it didn’t and ended chasing classic cars, car apps, app store, classic car apps.chasing classic cars, car apps, app store, classic car apps.up costing me lots in upgrades. It’s all about shift timing and power. Oh and speaking of upgrades, you get some freebies in the beginning and it is pretty easy to earn the cash needed for  them. I used most of them to buy the Thunderbird which ran must better but eventually needed some upgrades I would have to pay for. The in-app purchases start at $2.99 (not bad) and run all the way up to $59.99 (ouch). Well after a while I loved the game, I didn’t love it more than the $9.99 upgrade I had bought. I will warn you that this game is addictive.

The classic cars that you will never own

chasing classic cars, classic cars, car apps, iphone, ipad, SavageOnWheels.comchasing classic cars, classic cars, car apps, iphone, ipad, SavageOnWheels.comAh but you can with this cool app I found called Car Fiend (who isn’t?) where you can create your ultimate garage. It’s sort of like Facebook or Pinterest but just for cars. You can add pictures of your own rides or grab ones you see on the internet to put in your garage. Others can comment on your picks while you can do the same with their’s. I’m not going to get into what’s in my garage because I’m going to do a post about that soon. I love this app! Hats off to its developer, CARFIEND.

How much do you think that car costs?

hagerty-1I do that all the time when I see a classic car. My wife and daughter ask too. Hey, it’s not like we’re going to buy it but it’s nice to know. This comes from one of my favorite place to hang out at Hagerty.com, considered THE source on classic cars. Hagerty has a price guide app. Totally FREE! You can find your car’s price and view market trends. It is so easy to use. Select the make, model, and year and the prices pop right up from a low (barn find not covered) to a high (restored to factory or better). Just for fun, pick a car, any car. I like to have fun with the exotics like Lambos or Porsches as these are the cars I will probably never own. Come on PowerBall!

chasing classic cars, car apps, app store, classic car apps.

Chasing Classic Cars: A rare Vette

Looking for classic cars

chasing classic cars, corvette, classic corvette, 50th anniversary vette, savageonwheels.comThat’s my modus operandi whenever I’m out on my bike. Heck I’ve even been known to see an oncoming classic car and turn around to catch up with it and see if I can talk with the owner. Well one day I saw this 50th Anniversary Corvette, did the turn around thing, looked at the car for a bit, and then knocked on the door. The owner was more than happy to talk about it. If you have to have one good luck with that. The next best thing would be you would be to buy two promo models like these and do some kitbashing. Click on the photo on the left to see my interview with the owner.old vette frontvette

Chasing Classic Cars: An AMC family reunion

One big happy family of car guys

No mater what car(s) you collect you probably belong to an owners group. It’s a great place for the owners to get together and show off their pride and joy, swap stories, or maybe event parts. But unless your group is located near where your car was built, you probably won’t run into many guys who worked at the factory or their dad did.

The pride of Kenosha

amc, rambler, car collectors, car clubs, kenosha, chasing classic carsSo for our followers, you already know I have a fondness for American Motors‘ cars, mostly because my dad worked there for over 27 years. So I go to this car show the other night and see some familiar cars, a couple of Ambassadors and a Hurst S/C Rambler. Of course I go up and talk to the owners and we eventually get talking how they came to collecting AMC cars. It’s because our dads worked there. Even though it was a long time ago, we start playing the game, hey did your dad know…..? But most important since every car has a story we spent most of our time on that. Check out the video. Hey, maybe your dad, or uncle, or mom worked there.