For Sale! [May 2017 Edition]

27 05 2017

For sale! Is a monthly feature on Automotive Views focusing on cars available for purchase in Europe. None of the ads selected are featured in this blog due to any kind of sponsorship by the sellers.

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2006 Mercedes Benz McLaren SLR

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One of the most misunderstood – yet extraordinary – supercars, the SLR has been splitting opinions since it first came out. From looks to handling to performance, the SLR has equally passionate critics and fans; count us in on that second category. Dramatic looks, fantastic performance and featuring one of the most impressive amounts of breaking power ever given to a road car, the carbon fiber bodied, V8 powered (617 bhp) SLR does 0 to 60 in little over 3 seconds. Reliability has been truly great for this kind of car and it’s not surprising that prices for SLRs still are what they are.

 

Price: 263.786 € (295.335 USD)

For Sale in the UK

Seller: Amari

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2013 Maserati Gran Cabrio S

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In terms of modern convertibles, you’d be hard-pressed to find a better choice than the Gran Cabrio. Maserati hit it out of the park with this one, they really did. The looks are perfect, there’s no other word to describe it. Plus, with the Sport version you get a little bit more grunt but still keep the fantastic body which later versions like the MC Shift completely spoiled. Plus, isn’t this the most gorgeous shades or red you’ve ever seen on a car?

 

Price: 89.500 € (100.204 USD)

For Sale in the Netherlands

Seller: Wim Prins

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1996 BMW B12 Alpina Limousine

 

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So in the mid 90’s, if you were an important executive and needed to go to all the business meetings, but still wanted a little spiciness in your daily drive, what would you get? Well, Alpina proposed this: the B12. An E38 full of vitamin (geeeet it???), Alpina’s interpretation of the big BMW V12 executive sedan meant a power boost and revised handling. The one offered here for sale looks in need of a little TLC, but you may even get it for under the estimate auction price and it is A LOT of car for the money, so if you’re cool with maintenance costs, do us proud!

 

Price: Auction, estimated 19.500 TO 25.500 € (21.832 to 28.550 USD)

For Sale in the Netherlands

Seller: CataWiki

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2016 Jaguar Project 7

 

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A product of the recently created SVO division – Special Vehicles Operations – at Jaguar/Land Rover, the Project 7 is a back to basics concept: an F-Type platform that was made a little bit better in every aspect with more power, less weigh, better handling and killer looks reminiscent of the great Jags of old, the Project 7 is and always will be a desirable collectible. Limited production and generally very favorable reviews from press and owners alike made sure of that.

 

Price: 210.000 € (235.116 USD)

For Sale in Belgium

Seller: Car Cave

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1989 Porsche 911 Speedster

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The sexiest of the topless 911s, the Speedster pulls off the not at all easy trick of looking perfectly modern at – in this case – 28 years old. This particular example offered for sale is pretty much a brand new car with just over 1.600km, which begs the question: who would drive a gorgeous looking car like this so little? The color is Porsche’s “linen grey”, so there’s a sort of champagne undertone to it which makes it look even more appealing in the sunlight and that is what this car is all about, fun in the sun; top down, foot down.

 

Price: P.O.R.

For Sale in Belgium

Seller: Gipimotor

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1977 Lotus Esprit S1

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Honoring the memory of one of our favorite Bonds, Sir Roger Moore, we couldn’t let this month go by without finding a white S1 Esprit to feature. Recently restored and looking as great as it did back in 77, this little wedge of awesomeness makes us all wish that we had a submarine Lotus…but hey, just the real, stock car is pretty damn good as well!

 

Price: 68.500 € (76.693 USD)

For Sale in Germany

Seller: Springbok Sportwagen

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2011 Bentley Continental GT Supersports

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If there’s anything sexier than a stunning, triple black coupe…we don’t know about it. And when that coupe is – arguably – the finest of the Continental GTs, well…our only reaction can only be a massively enthusiastic “yes please!” The Continental GT gets a lot of hate because of the kind of less than subtle clientele which seems to have a fondness for it (even we’ve complained about that), but it really is a fantastic car. Looks great, does its job exceedingly well – becoming a benchmark for Grand Tourers –it’s as reliable as you can demand a car of this nature to be and it’s immensely comfortable and well made. Handling and agility were a couple of the points that seemed to get folks riled up about it, so in 2009 Bentley came up with this, the brilliant Supersports, a pumped up Continental on a diet, the (then) fastest, most powerful Bentley ever. AV is hopelessly in love with it, that’s why the upcoming 2017 generation of the Supersports kinda rubs us the wrong way; we’re sure it will be a pretty damn amazing ride, but the air intake palooza at the front and the rear spoiler ruin the classic beauty of the thing. Guess we’ll just keep on drooling over this one.

 

Price: 98.500 € (110.281 USD)

For Sale in Belgium

Seller: British & Sportscars

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Celebrating The Mille Miglia’s 90th Anniversary

26 05 2017

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In 24 separate occasions, dozens of cars thundered throughout Italy, on public roads, as fast as possible (and sometimes, beyond that…), covering 1000 miles from Brescia to Rome and back again. It was an extreme, nonstop, danger filled event that claimed almost 60 lives during its original 30 year run.

Standing tall with the Targa Florio and Carrera Panamericana as the undisputed royalty of road racing, the Mille Miglia first took place in 1927. That year, Ferdinando Minoia and Giuseppe Morandi claimed victory thanks to the spirit of endurance of a fragile looking Officine Meccaniche model 665S, a small car from an equally small Italian manufacturer. The Mille Miglia became a matter of national pride for Italy and her people. Alfa Romeo is the undisputed manufacturer’s champion with 11 wins, followed by Ferrari with 8. And, unsurprisingly, the greatest road race ever ran was only conquered by foreigner drivers 3 times between 1927 and 1957, the year in which – to the public and official’s eyes – the risk finally outweighed the rewards.

To put the driving conditions of the Mille Miglia into context, it might be useful to remember the WRC attendance in the 80’s. Thousands of people on the sides of the road – or on the actual road – all trying to get the best possible view of the action. Kids running across from one side to the other and in some cases, playing a very dangerous game of chicken with the extremely fast cars. Tight streets, even tighter corners, wild and domestic animals wondering around, daredevils, the exuberance of youth, the sheer idiocy of some, the innocent enthusiasm of others and just plain bad luck sometimes…it would all come together to make for a million different recipes for disaster.

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It had been difficult putting the 1957 race together after the previous year’s event claimed a toll of 6 lives. However, the race was held and Alfonso de Portago was pushing his Ferrari 335 S. He wasn’t supposed to be competing, he didn’t want to compete, he had no experience in the grueling race…yet he continued to push hard and after delaying a tire change, the inevitable happened. The blown tire catapulted the Ferrari into the crowd clear past the first lines of spectators curiously enough, the ones that wanted to be closer to the action…and to the danger. When the Ferrari landed, de Portago and his co-driver Edmund Nelson were reportedly cut in half. The crash killed 9 other people, 5 of which were children. 20 others were seriously injured. The same year, Josef Gollgens crashed a TR3 into a wall in Florence; with the death off a motorcycle police officer, the 1957 edition of the Mille Miglia had claimed 13. 1955’s Le Mans horrific tragedy was still vivid in people’s minds, so the events of 57 were more than enough justification to mark the end of the historic Italian race. (For a better understanding of the 1957 Mille Miglia accident, William Rospigliosi’s article for the May 20th edition of Sports Illustrated is a great read)

The Mille Miglia would eventually make a comeback in 1977 and, despite not being the extreme, incessant trial by fire that it was back during its original run, it still retains a lot of the aspects that made it so very special. The immense pride the race awakens in its country and spectators, the fact that it gathers so many of the greats in the automotive world, the freedom of open road racing – so rare nowadays in it’s genuine form – and perhaps, most importantly, the demonstration of greatness from the machinery that took and continues to take part in the event. Today, cars (models) which participated in any of the editions from the original 30 year run are eligible to take place in the Mille Miglia again. In what other context would you see a Maserati 200SI or a Jaguar D-Type blasting down a public road?

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This year marked the 90th anniversary of the greatest road race. 450 cars participated in the now 4 day event, including entries from the Alfa Romeo Museum, BMW Group Classic and Mercedes Benz Classic such as the 1938 6C 2300 Mille Miglia, 1937 328 Touring Roadster and 1952 300SL W194. The victory however belonged, for the second consecutive year to the – appropriately – Brescia couple Andrea Vesco and Andrea Guerini with a 1930 Alfa Romeo 6C 1750 Gran Sport Zagato (report and gallery at Sportscardigest.com).

To celebrate the Mille Miglia’s 90 year run (if you dismiss the hiatus), let’s take a look at 3 of the all time favorite winners; iconic cars that earned their way into the history books and people’s hearts.

Between 1939 and 1946 the Mille Miglia was not held. The cause is simple to guess: WWII. In 1947, the event came back with Italy (Italians) looking forward to put the horrors of war and humiliation of defeat behind them. Renamed the “Franco Mazzotti Mille Miglia Cup” in honor of one of the founders of the event, it wasn’t at all easy to make the race happen; the war had inflicted severe damage to the country, both in terms of industry and public infrastructure (roads, bridges, etc). Also, the limitations on fuel and tires were an issue. As grandprixhistory.org‘s Dennis David stated:

“Only through persistent negotiations were special compensations extracted from the fuel companies and Pirelli, the supplier of racing tires. Every entrant was given a full tank of gas as well as five new tires. Upon hearing the news the list of entrants grew to 245 cars. The Italians being ever clever, ninety of these “entrants” promptly drove home before the race with their shiny new tires and full tank of gas!”

Clemente Biondetti and Emilio Romano, pilot and co-pilot of a stunning Alfa Romeo 8C 2900B Berlinetta Touring took the victory in 1947. Biondetti became a Mille Miglia veteran, winning in 1938, 1947, 1948 and 1949. The car itself was a proud member of the immensely accomplished 8C family.

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With a supercharged inline 8 engine refined in racing and slightly detuned for the road, the top of the range Stabilimenti Farina and Touring 8C models were (are) some of Alfa Romeo’s most beautiful cars ever, the pinnacle of post-war coachwork.  Built to maintain dominance at the Mille Miglia, the 8C 2900B certainly accomplished Alfa’s objective before Ferrari stepped up its game, dominating the fallowing years of the competition. A triumph of the period’s engineering and achingly beautiful, the #230 Berlinetta remains as one of the most beloved and visually striking cars to take the victory at the Brescia – Rome – Brescia run.

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Crashing Ferrari’s party in 1954, Lancia won the Mille Miglia with its D24 Spider, a striking barchetta with a 265bhp V8 under the hood and the great Alberto Ascari behind the wheel. Ascari is a racing legend in his own right. Before making the change to 4 wheels, he was already pretty accomplished in motorcycle racing and when he decided cars were worth a shot, he became F1 World Champion…twice.

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Before 1954, Ascari had already entered the Mille Miglia 4 times, but failed to finish every single one of those races. This time however, the careful Ascari and the accomplished D24 – which also won the Targa Florio the same year and which had already won the Carrera Panamericana in ‘53 – didn’t give the competition a chance. All the front runner Ferraris eventually retired due to a multitude of complications and the #602 Lancia easily took the win over everything else after that. Lancia had won its first and last Mille Miglia.

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The following year, Alberto Ascari dies in Monza. 4 days before his death, Ascari was leading the Monaco Grand Prix – also at the wheel of a Lancia – when he missed a chicane and went flying through the barriers and into the sea; he escaped the incident with a simple broken nose. At Monza, Ascari was visiting a friend and fellow driver, Eugenio Castelotti, while he was testing a Ferrari to enter the 1000km Monza event. Ascari decided to give the Ferrari 750 a try himself. The car skidded for reasons unknown and flipped twice, throwing Ascari on the asphalt, killing the World Champion.

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Finally, perhaps the most emblematic of the Mille Miglia victors: the Mercedes Benz 300 Sport Leicht-Rennen W196S; 300 SLR for short. Calling the SLR a “legend” doesn’t seem nearly strong enough to properly convey what it actually is. With a straight 8 engine derived from Mercedes’ Formula 1 W196, the SLR debuted in 1955 at the Mille Miglia, taking first and second place at the event, and grabbing first and second at the Targa Florio as well that same year, unsurprisingly winning the 1955 World Sportscar Championship. Juan Manuel Fangio and Stirling Moss were Mercedes’ top men at the 55’ Mille Miglia; Fangio left Brescia at 6:58 AM, he’d eventually finish 2nd and Sir Stirling Moss left at 7:22 AM, immortalizing the 722 number which would eventually even come to be used for a special edition of the Mercedes McLaren SLR. Another special edition of the same car was actually named “Stirling Moss” and features a body style reminiscent of the W196S SLR.

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Moss would end up taking a mind boggling victory with a run time of just 10 hours, 07 minutes and 48 seconds, maintaining an average speed of 99 mph…on public roads…in the 50’s…non-stop. Moss’s co-driver, Denis Jenkinson used notes he had previously taken about the route, a system which would shape the so called pacenotes used later and to this day in the WRC. A simple box with a roll of paper, Jenkinson would unscroll it as needed, following the directions written down.

The SLR would have certainly continued to have a brilliant racing career, but despite the auspicious start, 1955 would end up being a deeply tragic year for Mercedes Benz (and for racing in general).

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At Le Mans, driver Mike Hawthorn cut off Lance Macklin in order to make it into the pit lane; Macklin, in turn, was forced to cut off Pierre Levegh, a Mercedes driver. Levegh crashed into Macklin’s Austin Healey, sending the Mercedes flying off track, slamming into concrete and disintegrating on impact. Levegh was  killed immediately and heavy components like the engine and suspension of his Mercedes were hurled into the crowd, crushing several spectators while the large bonnet reportedly decapitated several people. The car burst into flames, spewing magnesium embers on the crowd. 84 people died, well over 100 were injured. The horrific event ended Mercedes’ racing program for almost 40 years and marked the forced retirement of one of the company’s  greatest models.

Racing often becomes as much about the tragedy as it does about the glory, unsurprisingly since risk is such a big part of the equation. The Le Mans crash proved that the Mille Miglia wasn’t dangerous because it was a road race, but simply because it was just that: a race. Despite not being around in its original, raw format, what truly matters is that it is, in fact, still around, that you can sign up your classic car – and there is a long, long list of models which are eligible for participation – and for 4 glorious days, you can experience a taste of something that would otherwise be lost forever. So happy birthday, Mille Miglia and ciao Brescia, see you next year.

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Image credits:

Alfa Romeo (Steve Mckelvie; Forum Alfa Romeo)

Lancia (Primotipo; Good Old Valves)

Mercedes (Motoremotion; Vitadistile; The Classic Car Trust)

Jaguar (Jaguar Heritage)

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

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For Sale! [April 2017 Edition]

29 04 2017

For sale! Is a monthly feature on Automotive Views focusing on cars available for purchase in Europe. None of the ads selected are featured in this blog due to any kind of sponsorship by the sellers.

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1988 Lamborghini LM 002

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Lamborghini’s LM002 might be the best worst idea anyone has ever had. Based on the Cheetah prototype, a testbed for the concept of a tough, H1-like all terrain vehicle for the US military, the LM002 is a huge, fairly capable offroader with a raging old school V12 under the hood, because reasons. Nicknamed the “Rambo Lambo”, with a production run of under 350 units, the LM002 is rare, unique and oh so expensive to maintain (a set of Scorpion Zero Pirelli tires for it will set you back 15 grand +), but also extremely cool.  A polarizing ride, some love it, others hate it. Count us in on the first group.

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Price: P.O.R.

For Sale in the UK

Seller: DK Engineering

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1965 Mercedes Benz 300 SEL 6.3

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If you want to ride in style, you get a vintage Mercedes. There’s absolutely nothing better and surprisingly, one of the greatest, most iconic cars the company has ever made still isn’t ridiculously expensive and as such, still within reach of a lucky few. The 300 SEL 6.3 is the result of sheer technical skill and boldness. Mercedes had the amazing W100, a stylish, over-engineered up the wazoo mammoth-size creation, a halo car before the concept was even invented. The W100 was powered by an extremely capable 6.3 V8 and of course, eventually someone in the company entertained the time honored thought of “what if we put a big engine in a small(ish) car?”. And so, in secret, the 300 SEL 6.3 was developed and eventually presented to the MB bosses who loved it and fast tracked it to production.

A serious classic, for serious drivers and the epitome of cool (McQueen had one and he loved it, so if you ever needed a seal of approval for a car, that qualifies for sure).

 

Price: €80.000 (95.200 USD)

For Sale in Germany

Seller: Kautschuk-Klassik

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1981 DeLorean DMC 12

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If it hadn’t been immortalized in “Back to the Future”, the DeLorean’s only claim to fame would be its gullwing doors and the infamous way in which the company went out of business. The ratio of what’s wrong and right on a DeLorean leans heavily to the “wrongs” side of the scale, but still…there’s plenty to love about it. The unique styling is a huge plus for the DMC 12 and the car didn’t just look futuristic, it actually went out on a limb and tried to be innovative. The body is stainless steel, unpainted, the structure is fiberglass; the engine lets it down…and so do the electrics…and the handling. But hey, it’s a DeLorean! Looks amazing. Plus, the good thing is that the DeLorean Motor Company is very much in business (unrelated to the original one). DMC Texas stocks all the original parts for these things because they bought them in bulk from the original factory, so you always have where to get bits and pieces if you need them.

 

Price: Auction. Estimated € 33.174 to 37.882 (36.229 to 41.405 USD)

For Sale in the UK

Seller: Silverstone auctions

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1985 Ferrari 308 GTS QV V12 Custom

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First things first: if you’re a car collector or Ferrari enthusiast and you haven’t bought a 308 yet, this is your friendly reminder to do so immediately. Prices still aren’t bonkers, but they’ll get there in no time. That being said, if you’d like a 308 which packs a little more punch than the original, then this is the car for you. Check out the auction house story on this pretty, crazy, blue Selleck-mobile:

“[I]ts first owner was rather disappointed in the Ferrari’s power output. The somewhat unorthodox solution was for Nigel Hudson, then at Nigel Mansell’s Ferrari main dealership network Emblem Sports Cars, to engineer and squeeze a brand-new Ferrari 400 series V12 engine into the bay. This work was carried out to a very high standard and was completed in the late 1980s. The results are quite astonishing. The 4.8 Litre, 4-cam, Ferrari V12 is known affectionately as “Nigel’s Flyer” and must be seen to be fully appreciated. This example is one of just four known 308s worldwide that boast a V12 Ferrari engine. The current owner found the car in 2013, following a 10-year stint in dry-storage, and he entrusted it to the very man that originally converted it. Nigel Hudson, now under his own name, began a two-year, no expense spared, re-commissioning.

 

Price: Auction. Estimated € 59.191 to 71.029 (66.695 to 77.634 USD)

For Sale in the UK

Seller: Silverstone auctions

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1975 Lamborghini Countach

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Possibly the yellowest Lamborghini that has ever yellowed, this 1975 Countach is a rare odd bird. When the Countach first came out in 74, people went nuts over it. Another stroke of genius from Master designer Marcello Gandini, the Countach looked like it had just been dropped off on earth by some alien race far more technologically advanced than us. Over the years, the Countach gained weight, grew a humongous wing and just generally deviated further and further from its original design and, some would argue, appeal.

Originally delivered to Prince Mansour Bin Mashal of Saudi Arabia, this “Periscopica” (referring to the periscope-like rear view mirror mounted on the roof; notice there are no side mirrors on the car) Countach is as subtle as a punch to the gut and yet, endlessly charismatic.

 

Price: P.O.R.

For Sale in Italy

Seller: Sotheby’sSotheby’s

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2000 Bentley Arnage Red Label

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How cheap is a cheap Bentley? Fairly cheap – by luxury car standards anyway. Should you get one? We’re not going anywhere near that argument today…However, what can be said in all fairness about the Arnage is that it’s a handsome (minus the rear, but Bentley hasn’t made a decent rear in a car since forever and an eternity ago), capable car. A twin brother of Rolls Royce’s Silver Seraph, the Arnage was, for a time and even with over 2 and a half tons to drag around, the fastest 4 door car you could buy. But its production run was plagued by issues regarding the engines, a subject which led to the distinction between Green and Red label Arnages; the green label cars had a BMW 4.4L V8 which was met with suspicion by Bentley’s clients and whaled on by the auto press, while the red label ones went back to Bentley’s heart of choice, a 6.75L (Rolls Royce) adapted from the amazing and all round far more balanced and accomplished Turbo R. However, the adaptation wasn’t a complete success (a rushed process; there were issues with the gear box as well) and red label Arnages, despite still more desirable, have dealt with their fair share of reliability issues.

But still, it is a lot of car for your money. Plus, it’s a driver’s car – with all the entails – and the interiors are, as you’d expect, the definition of luxury. Of course, one has to understand these aren’t really aimed at the casual buyer, but more towards the brand loyalist or the very well to do people who want to stand out and take it a step above the big German sedans; as such, this is not the crowd who usually sweats stuff like massive fuel consumption and high maintenance costs.

 

Price: € 45.979 (50.255 USD)

For Sale in Switzerland

Seller: Elite Garage AG

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2009 Mercedes Benz SL65 AMG Black Series

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AMG Mercedes have never been boring, but the Black Series label has stepped up the game for these things. The blackest of the blacks is this: the SL65. It takes the basics or a regular 65, gets rid of everything it doesn’t need and dials up everything else. The dually turbocharged V12 puts out 661bhp, the whole car is 250kg lighter than a regular SL65 and Mercedes even got rid of the folding metal roof to save weight. The suspension is concrete-hard to improve handling (at the complete expense of ANY comfort whatsoever) and the handling…well, the handling is up to the electronics. TCS is either on or off; on it will be overly intrusive to keep the back wheels from spinning out of control and off, it will slightly murder you. The SL65 black is a strange, expensive, mad, beautiful thing.

 

Price: € 254.519 (278.189 USD)

For Sale in the UK

Seller: Jeremy Cottingham

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1966 Jaguar F.T. Bertone

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Last but certainly not least this month, something truly special: the F.T. Bertone Jag. One of only two ever made. F.T. stands for Ferruchio Tarchini, the Italian importer for Jaguar who commissioned these amazing re-imaginings of what a Jag could be. Based on the 420, Tarchini had Carrozzeria Bertone build the first of the 2 four seater coupes not just as a show car, but a starting point of a limited production run. Sadly, the idea didn’t take off and only the show car and one production unit ended up being made. With the 1966 Geneva Motor Show car still belonging to the Tarchini family, this is the only example available for purchase. Back in 2012 it sold at auction for just under 90.000 Euros and now it’s back, it has a different paint job (very nice color on itself, but we’d have preferred to see it in the original one since it’s such a unique car) and it’s ready to steal someone’s heart.

 

Price: P.O.R

For Sale in France

Seller: GTC

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Automobília Ibérica 2017 – The Parking Lots

23 03 2017

Covering the Automobília Ibérica has become a yearly tradition for Automotive Views. The event set in the small town of Moita, Portugal takes over two pavilions which end up packed with all sorts of parts for classic cars and bikes, literature, vintage toys, aftermarket bits and pieces…if it’s automotive related, it’s in there somewhere.

However, the best part of the event isn’t the stuff for sale but the rides in which people show up in. Bare in mind Automobília Ibérica is a very “cars of the people” kind of event so there’s an abundance of Minis, Beetles, 2CVs and other small, affordable, easy to maintain European classics, but throughout the weekend more upscale rides will also make an appearance, you just gotta keep an eye out for them…

Although 2017 was a particularly slow year, some interesting rides could still be found in the event’s parking lots. Here are a few noteworthy ones.

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First, a gorgeous 4.2 XJ6 Series I. Well used, but in need of some esthetic intervention. We all know how demanding these are to maintain and how pricey they can become once troubles set in, but damn they’re worth the headaches. 

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Marking it’s second year at the event, a nicely maintained 65 Mustang coupe which always gets a whole lot of love from the visitors.

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A factory fresh Alfa Sprint isn’t something you see every day. In stunning condition for such a sensitive car, pretty amazing.

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Sticking with Alfas, a couple of interesting Spiders w/hardtops also showed up, as well as a beautifully clean, rich chocolate brown 2000 Berlina.

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A couple of pickups also found their way into this year’s honorable mentions, namely a 1953 Studebaker (with a North Carolina inspection tag still on the windshield) and a 1941 Chevy Half-Ton.

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A few Porsches also showed up at the Automobília Ibérica this year. Not being particularly extraordinary, at the same time these were just too neat to simply ignore. From a stunning 912 to a couple of Carreras, a 928S and even a 997 Turbo, Stuttgart was properly represented.  

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3 BMWs stood out: a fantastic looking 2800; one of the most underappreciated gems of the company, a 635 CSi (the 6 was accompanied by the, arguably, most iconic of the Triumphs: the TR6); and a – now – rare 700 Cabrio (next to a Series A Opel Olympia Rekord).

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Being an extremely popular event for small, popular European cars, there’s no way around a few honorable mentions for a couple of Minis (a funky gold, 2000 Knightsbridge special edition and a recently restored 1275 GT Clubman), DSs, a very cool Fiat 124 Sport and a spectacularly tiny Heinkel Kabine bubble car, a competitor to BMW’s Isetta. 

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It wouldn’t be a decent event in the classic car scene without a couple of grand ol’ Dames. Showing up for its second year, a heart achingly beautiful 1938 Buick, an ode to Art Deco finesse and aesthetic. Accompanying it, a 38/39 (?) Master Deluxe Chevrolet.

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With Mercedes models never failing to provide some of the most memorable presences in the Ibérica’s parking lots, this year’s head turners were a 220 Heckflosse, a 280SL and a 280SE 3.5. The first two, spotless. The third one in need of restoration but not less impressive in the slightest because of it. What a legitimately incredible looking car! And holy crap, that V8 sounded good…

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Finally, the belle of the ball: a Series 1 E-Type. Always an event to spent some time with one of these things. Sadly, this particular example was a late S1 2+2, which means the lines are not the sheer perfection that the 61 Coupe introduced. In fact, the owner was kind enough to discuss at length the differences between the Coupe and the 2+2, inside and out.

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For Sale! [February 2017 – Race Cars Special Edition]

28 02 2017

For sale! Is a monthly feature on Automotive Views focusing on cars available for purchase in Europe. None of the ads selected are featured in this blog due to any kind of sponsorship by the sellers.

 

1969 Lola T70 MkIII B

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One of the most recognizable and beloved race cars of the mid/late 60’s, the Lola T70 had a few different incarnations, the MkIII B being, arguably, the best looking, most awe inspiring one. A cousin of the GT40 (since designer Eric Broadley was involved with both projects and a Lola Mk6 GT was the starting point to Ford’s LeMans legend and to the MkIII), the stunning T70 MkIII B might not have been as dominant as some of the other big names of the period like the 917, but it held its own in group 5, a tough crowd. This particular restored example has 2 victories to brag about and with FIA papers and a ready to race status, it’s itching to claim a few more.

 

Price: P.O.R.

For Sale in the UK

Seller: Speedmaster

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1982 Lancia 037 Rally

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Group B may very well have been the greatest racing class in history. It’s certainly the pinnacle of the WRC. The majority of Group B cars have long since achieved legend status, but when you talk about the best of the best, Group B royalty…you’ve got to bring up the 037. Championship winner in 1983, the 037 Rally is the last rear wheel drive car to take home the WRC crown. With just a 4 cylinder engine (supercharged), the 037 Rally was light thanks to its steel subframes and Kevlar panels. It was also very adaptive to different terrains with independent double wishbone suspension and dual shock absorbers at the back. The 037 and everything else on the WRC became obsolete overnight when the Quattro began to dominate the competition; however, this amazing testament to the old Lancia ingenuity and style is still one of the most striking, most impressive race cars ever made. And with this Martini livery…boy, oh boy…

 

Price: € 380.000 (402.306 USD)

For Sale in Monaco

Seller: Monaco Legend Motors

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1996 Ferrari 355 Challenge

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Not only is the 355 one of the very best cars Ferrari has ever come up with, but the events created for this specific model – part of the Ferrari Challenge series – also became notable for their…interesting and certainly competitive races. Developed for the “gentleman racers”, a way to get Ferrari owners to develop their sometimes hilariously bad driving skills out on the track, for about 30 grand Ferrari would turn any regular 355 Berlinetta into a Challenge with a series of safety and performance modifications. Compared to recent stuff, the F355 were extremely straightforward, easy to drive, easy to maintain – by Ferrari standards – and the following factory series with the 360s stopped offering a manual gearbox, so purists still have a soft spot for the 355s. With just over 100 made, the Challenge is also increasingly rare.

 

Price: € 175.000 (185.273 USD)

For Sale in Belgium

Seller: GIPIMOTOR

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1979 BMW M1 Procar

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The start of the M badge of honor. The M1 had a difficult birth. Between the collapse of BMW’s deal with Lamborghini, the German manufacturer’s lack of experience with mid engine, high performance sports cars and the need to distribute production around to meet the minimum numbers for racing homologation, the fiberglass BMW oddity just didn’t seem like it was meant to be. However, the M1 ended up seeing the light of day and so did its racing incarnation. Big flares, huge tires and an enormous rear wing make sure you won’t ever mistake it for its road going little brother. The HP output was bumped up by 200 (to 470hp) and a specific series (Procar) was created as a support even to Formula One. Procar lasted just 2 years until the racing M1s could find the home they were really looking for: Group B.

 

Price: P.O.R.

For Sale in Germany

Seller: Jan B. Luhn

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2001 Lister Storm

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Lister’s claim to fame, the Storm became a household name through its fairly successful racing career in the mid 90’s and early 00’s and also thanks to the recognition that its inclusion in the massively popular Gran Turismo video game series provided. The Storm had, at the time, the largest engine put into a production car: Jaguar’s 7 litre V12, the same power unit used for the XJR LeMans racers. Despite only 4 road going Storms being made, the racing versions were more prolific, being also maintained and used until 2006.

This particular Storm has one win on its resume and it was restored fairly recently, making it an interesting purchase for a serious enthusiast.

 

Price: € 350.000 (370.895 USD)

For Sale in Luxemburg

Seller: Art & Revs

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1970 Lancia Fulvia HF “Fanalone”

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Lancia clearly had a handle on the WRC back in the day…With 11 manufacturer titles between 72 and 92, Lancia’s dominance started with this: the amazing Fulvia. For racing purposes, the unique looking little car with a tiny 80hp V4 was put on a diet and given a power increase, taking its first victory in 66. The Fulvia being offered for sale in this ad is a top of the range (so to speak) HF 1.6 ex-factory racer, one of the nicknamed “fanalone” (“big headlights” – insert sexual innuendo and giggles for full nickname effect); it took 8th on the prestigious Monte Carlo Rally of 1973 and 1st in the European Rally Championship of the same year.

 

Price: P.O.R.

For Sale in Italy

Seller: Solo Italians

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1998 Porsche 911 993 RSR

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The last of the air cooled models, the 993 enjoys a cult status among Porsche enthusiasts and this 2 time Daytona 24H participant, RSR factory racer version is sure to catch the eye of some very wealthy 993 lover.

 

Price: € 650.000 (688.805 USD)

For Sale in Germany

Seller: Springbok Sportwagen

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2002 Ferrari 550 Prodrive

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Talk about pedigree; this stunning Prodrive 550 blasted through La Sarthe 5 different times, making it a LeMans veteran. It was even driven by the great, late Colin McRae at the 2004 24 hours. On several other events, the car went on to win 5 races and take 14 podium finishes, as well as 10 pole positions. Not bad at all…

A highly refined Racing version of a fantastic, beautiful grand tourer, this Prodrive 550 will be a proud centerpiece of someone’s Ferrari collection.

 

Price: P.O.R.

For Sale in the UK

Seller: Girardo & Co.

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Making a Weird Citroen Weirder – A Guide by Chapron

31 01 2017

You’ve probably heard the name Henri Chapron at some point or another. The French coachbuilder had a long career creating fantastic, innovative designs; in the first half of the century for manufacturers like Delage and Delahaye and then focusing on Citroen, a choice which marked Chapron’s company path until its demise in the mid 80’s. As you can probably guess, the car that got Chapron’s attention was the brilliant and unique DS. However, we’re not gonna be talking about those conversions today. We’re picking much more exclusive stuff, models with production numbers so low that they didn’t even make it to double digits: three very special versions of that 4 wheeled space ship known as the SM.

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But before going into custom SM goodness,  let’s take a minute to talk about just how badass the regular SM is. Back in 68 Citroen had the awesome, highly impractical idea of buying Maserati. This gave the company the opportunity of coupling the DS’ extraordinary hydraulic suspension with some good ol’ Italian performance (via a 2.7 or 3.0L V6). The result was extraordinary: unique performance and a shape that endures until this day as one of the most complex, most futuristic forms the automobile has ever assumed.  The SM was a sports car like no other and people absolutely loved it…in theory. Sales were another story.

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“Some say” the car was just too complex and a prime example of how tough international cooperations can be when conceptualizing and creating an automobile. Others that the competition from established manufacturers in the sports car market was just too strong. Most just blame the economic conditions. By 74 Citroen had gone bust and the oil crisis was in full swing…just not a great time for a sports car, especially one as complex as the SM. Personally,k we feel that although everything played its part, what really got to the SM in the end was what got to most DSs out of France: no one knew what the hell to do with them when wrenchin’ time came round. To be fair, the SM is reportedly one of the biggest nightmares a mechanic (and an owner) can possibly have. Sure, the car was packed with innovations but that also meant that the potential for catastrophic failure was always just around the corner; not only do the French mechanics and Italian power train demand two completely different sets of specialists for the same car, but extremely relevant stuff like the carburetors and timing chains need regular, manual adjustment. Neglect of proper maintenance ended up giving the SM a poor rep from which it never recovered.

But we’re not here to talk about the “basic” SM; we want to focus on Chapron’s more unique interpretations of it.

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SM Mylord

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The first thing Chapron did to the SM was – of course – take the top of. The company had achieved a lot of success doing this to DSs so it was a logical step to go through the same process with the SM. However, while Chapron made hundreds of DS convertibles, only 8 SM “Mylords” saw the light of day…and they are glorious!

Following the lines of the regular SM, Chapron got rid of the roof while maintaining the stunning features at the rear of the car, replacing the fastback like rear hatch with a shapely lid (if you will). Newly inspired and respectful of the original design at the same time, Chapron’s Mylords are some of the rarest, most special SMs in the world. The Mylord in the pictures sold for well over half a million euros at auction (Artcurial) in 2014.

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SM Opéra

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The Opéra is right up there with the Lagonda, Quattroprte III and 375/4 as one of the most unique, best looking 4 door rides of the 1970’s. Just look at it, sleek and low, extraordinary lines…your brain doesn’t even register it as an SM and it’s the darndest thing because all the design cues are there, the elements are basically the same (after all it’s just an SM which was literally cut in half and lengthened) but the form becomes so unique that your perception about the whole car is altered. Pretty damn extraordinary.

With a grand total of just 8 units, the Opéra is, like the Mylord, one of the rarest SM Citroens in the world. When new, 3 remained in France, 4 were exported to Spain and one was shipped off to Haiti. When talking about French luxury for this era, this is the proverbial it. And if you wanna talk overall French automotive history/production, this is – in our humble opinion – second only to the EX1 Excellence. It’s that extraordinary.

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SM Présidentielle

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In 1972, Chapron had a very special task at hand: coming up with two stylish, humongous presidential limousines for Georges Pompidou, one of the best love statesmen in French history. The coachbuilder delivered, and two stunning Opéra like 4 door convertibles were born, beginning an illustrious career of driving important folks around like the Queen of England and the Pope, a career which extended itself until Jaques Chriac’s inauguration in 1995 .

Despite the 2 Présidentielles still being property of the French government, they’re out of service…at least for now. However, if you think these are the most badass convertibles you’ve ever seen and you just have to have one, you’re in luck cause there’s one out there somewhere for you to find! Back in the early 00’s, Crescia SA in Switzerlad, a Lancia and Citroen restoration specialist, built an accurate copy of the Présidentielle at a reported cost of almost half a million Euros. Subsequently, this very fine copy (which you can see here in the pictures) was sold by Bonhams for only 155.000.

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Pictures used: SM / SM

Opéra / Opéra

Mylord; Présidentielle

 

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29 12 2016

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Few artistic movements can claim to have had an impact anywhere near as significant and lasting as the one achieved by les “Arts Décoratifs” between the mid 20’s and very early 40’s. Long before the Decorative Arts were popularly immortalized with the designation “Art Deco”, a mostly cohesive movement in art, design, architecture, fashion, publicity and many other fields, they were simply a reaction to the times and a new way to look at the world.

Between the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Art Nouveau was queen. Extremely elaborate and inspired by nature, Art Nouveau reached dizzying heights of complexity and intricacy, a tendency that began to find resistance by the mid 20’s. The year was 1925; in Paris, the “Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes” showcases a new stylistic ideal to the world. It’s the birth of Art Deco. The sobriety of the humble straight line was elevated to artistic expression, replacing the complexity of the Art Nouveau organic shapes. The nature inspired elements of the previous years were replaced by geometric patterns and simple clean forms in which function was the superior concern.

The machine age itself was also greatly celebrated in Art Deco, with the new designs favoring efficiency, aerodynamics and of course, speed. And on this note, we come to the inescapable automobile. Despite the Model T having democratized the concept of owning a car for a lot of people in the US, things in Europe were still quite different and of course, customization (in the sense of one-offs, special builds, custom bodies) was still a thing reserved only for the super rich on both sides of the Atlantic.

However, the 1930’s brought the customization phenomenon to a personal level. Cars were no longer just a functional commodity or a curious little novelty; they were becoming expressions of personality not from the coachbuilders alone, but from the owners themselves. The Art Deco period with its streamline concerns and appreciation of long swooping lines, its love of aviation, strategic use of chrome and extreme attention to detail produced truly extraordinary cars which stand to this day as some of the finest, most attractive, most complex rides ever created. To end the year in style, AV brings you what we consider to be 8 of the finest examples of the Art Deco influence in car styling and conception, 7 of which made in the – obviously fantastic for car design – year of 1938.

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Phantom 1

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Deco Detail Phantom 1

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(1925) Ushering in the Art Deco era by taking a flame thrower to the door and roundhouse kicking it open while still in flames, the Phantom 1 Jonckheere Coupe is undoubtedly one of the biggest punches ever thrown at an established automotive culture. It didn’t just rock the status quo, it picked it up by the collar and shook it to death.

Easily one of the most stunning and extraordinary things to ever to be put on 4 wheels, the Jonckheere Coupe is pure, unadulterated Art in motion. Picture this car next to a Ford of the same period; not only do they look like their function is nowhere near the same, but like they don’t even belong on the same planet. It’s enormous, it’s glorious, it’s the most “Rolls Royce” ever created.

So where did this stylish behemoth come from? Well, before it could terrorize small children and large animals, the Jonckheere Phantom started life as a Hooper bodied Cabriolet, nothing too extraordinary  (when in comparison to other Rolls of the period). However, things changed dramatically when the Raja of Nampara got his hands on it and – probably – said something like “no no no, this won’t do”. The Raja’s solution was to ship the car off to Belgium where Jonckheere and Jonckheere Jr. (Henri and Joseph) went all out and created the masterpiece we absolutely had to go with as first pick for this article.

After its life as a royal ride, the Phantom traveled to the US where it made a career as – we kid you not – sideshow attraction. Finished in gold, it would cost you a buck to check it out. A dollar well spent we’d say. After becoming a kind of barn find in the 80’s, the car was sold and eventually found its way to the prestigious Petersen Museum where it can be appreciated today. Thank goodness for that!

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Phantom

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Deco Detail Corsair

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(1938) We already did a full article on the Phantom a while back (which you can read here) so we’ll keep it nice and simple. A one-off stunning creation, the Phantom Corsair was idealized by Rust Heinz (of the Heinz ketchup family) and had a projected price of 15 thousand dollars! The body was naturally all hand built (aluminum) and the interior can sit 6 in total comfort. The V8 engine on Phantom had the ability to get it all the way up to 115mph…wonder when was the last time anyone tried that!

Sadly Rust Heinz died in a crash at 25, leaving this as the only example of his automotive genius.

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Alfa

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(1938) The 2900B is a rare and very impressive car in any of its forms, but the Touring Spider is the height of beauty for these naturally gorgeous Italians. The background of the 2900B is set firmly in the most hardcore racing event of its day, the Mille Miglia. This means Alfa had the handling and performance down by the time the 2900B began production (if you can call it that with so few made).

For these super luxurious grand tourers, Alfa dialed down the performance and upgraded the comfort. Still, the 2900B had a very respectable 180hp at its disposal, courtesy of an amazing straight 8 engine.  Built only for 2 years and with a grand total of just 32 units assembled, the 8C 2900B is a rare bird; with reportedly just 12 examples made of the 2900B Touring Spider (there was a choice of short – “Corto” – and long – “Lungo” – chassis; respectively 5 and 7 examples made of each), this is one of the most coveted incarnations of this special Alfa.

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Atlantic

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Deco Detail Atlantic

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(1938) This is the car which defined Bugatti, the car with which the French manufacturer is still measured today: the 57SC Atlantic.

The “S” (“surbaissé” – lowered) variant of the type 57 is rare enough on its own, but the SC (supercharged) takes the cake with only 3 units ever made (a 4th one was supposedly lost).

The Atlantic is without a doubt striking, but it is also really odd. You may notice that the car is riveted instead of welded. This I because a strange creation deserves to be made of a strange material. The body of the 57SC is composed of “Elektron” (seriously though, how amazing is that name?), a magnesium alloy which is very light but also extremely flammable, so welding it wasn’t the best idea. Because of this little issue, the 57SC Atlantic got some very stylish fins for all the rivets that give it its signature aeronautic look; this way, the body panels could be joined and catastrophic fires prevented, a win-win.

Super light, aerodynamic and featuring a supercharged inline 8, when new, the 200hp 57SC could reach 123mph. Not bad at all for 1938.

Because they’re so ridiculously rare and the universal symbol for Bugatti, these cars are also ludicrously expensive. The one featured here belongs to Mr. Ralph Lauren whom we feel needs no introduction and is worth an estimated 40+ million dollars. Yikes.

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540

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(1938) As is the case with the Phantom Corsair, we love the 540K so much that we already did a piece on it a while back; you can read it here.

Hands down the most stunning pre war Mercedes (actually, we’d argue it’s the most beautiful car Mercedes ever made, but the 300SL Gullwing puts up some strong competition), the Autobahnkurier is another one of a kind creation and let us tell you, this thing had an extraordinary life! Just because it’s gorgeous it doesn’t mean it became a garage queen, not even close.

The 540K’s owner took it on a long tour across Northern Africa, testing the mechanical abilities of the – then – bran new Mercedes. The car ended up being shipped back to Spain (the owner was a Spanish doctor, ophthalmologist) from Egypt, remaining in the same family until the early 00’s. Afterwards and under new ownership, it went on to win best in show at Villa d’Este 2008.

The really cool part about the 540K’s legacy as a one family car is that when the Barraquer family finally let go of their stylish ride it was for a cause. The sale of the Autobahnkurier financed the Fundácion Barraquer, an institution dedicated to providing ophthalmic treatment in impoverished areas of the globe.

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165

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Deco Detail 165 2

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(1938) When most people think of Art Deco style rides they think of Delahayes and it’s not hard to see why. The company didn’t just build some of the most elaborate, complex shapes of the period, but also heavily influenced designs even after the artistic movement (Art Deco) itself had winded down; case in point, the surreal 1947 Franay Bentley MK6 Convertible.

Delahaye perfected what we like to call the “hovercar” look. Covered wheel wells complete with stunning chrome accents became a calling card of the manufacturer. Honestly there are a few Delahayes from this period to choose from and they all have this “hovercar” look to them. However, from the lot, our personal favorite has to be the 1938 165 Cabriolet. Beautifully balanced but still outrageously Deco, the 165 is quite simply the embodiment of style. The gorgeous Figoni & Falaschi body was coupled to a 4.5L 12 cylinder engine, making sure the 165 didn’t just look fast but could deliver as well.

This particular car didn’t only have the responsibility of looking good and going fast, it gained a bigger purpose; the 165 Cabriolet became a showcase for the style and class of an entire country. You see, this fetching Delahaye was picked by the French government to represent the nation at the 1939 New York World Fair and well, it very unsurprisingly stole the show.

Due to WWII, the car was stuck in U.S. customs for 8 years, eventually being sold and having its 12 cylinder replaced by a Cadillac V8. Restored in the 80’s, the 165 Cabriolet regained its 4 lost cylinders and continues to steal shows today just like it did back in 39.

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Xenia

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Deco Detail Xenia

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(1938) At the start of this article we mentioned how the Deco years really allowed for a car to become the expression of an individual’s personality. That was certainly the case with the Hispano-Suiza H6C Saoutchik Dubonnet Xenia Coupe Streamliner; say that 3 times fast…A big name for a great car. Hispano-Suiza was already a well established company by the time the Xenia was conceived, producing luxury models appreciated by Europe’s elite. However, cars weren’t all Hispano-Suiza made; during the war, the company built airplanes and of course, the knowledge gained in the field of aeronautics turned out to be pretty useful for the automobile business.

Cue André Dubonnet, an extremely wealthy professional badass, flying ace, race car driver and inventor. André came up with a suspension system aptly named the “Dubonnet System” which he sold to GM. Dubonnet teamed up with designer Jean Adreau to create something extraordinary; after buying an Hispano-Suiza chassis and having coachbuilder Saoutchik craft the stunningly futuristic body the two visionaries had dreamed up, the Xenia was born.

An ode to aviation and aerodynamics, the Xenia is the most futuristic looking car on our list and it just seemed very appropriate to end our little article with it. Reportedly André’s 5th attempt at designing his ideal ride and christened “Xenia” after his late wife Xenia Johnson, the Dubonnet Coupe is a thing of wonder and nowadays it resides at the Mullin automotive Museum in California where it can be properly appreciated. For a real up close look at the Xenia, we highly recommend a video the great Mr. James Muir Leno did on it a while back.

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Images Used: Phantom 1 – rebrnmotorlegendloveisspeed

Phantom Corsair – carnewsm – commons.wikimedia – motortrend.ca

Alfa Spider – carbase.comultimatecarpage.comconceptcarz

Bugatti 57SC – imgurv12-gtjalopnik

540K – Automotive Viewspinterest

Delahaye – imgur youresofetch

Xenia Coupe – wikipediaautowp

 

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