All posts by Andy Reid

Andy Reid’s first car, purchased at age 15, was a 1968 Fiat 124 coupe. His second, obtained by spending his college savings fund, was a 1966 Ferrari 330 GT 2+2. Since then, he has owned more than 150 cars, “none of them normal or reasonable,” as well as numerous classic motorcycles and scooters. A veteran of film, television, advertising and helping to launch a few Internet-based companies, Reid was a columnist for Classic Motorsports magazine for 12 years and has written for several other publications. He is considered an expert in European sports and luxury cars and is a respected concours judge. He lives in Canton, Connecticut.

Pick of the Day: 1967 Ford Thunderbird

The Ford Thunderbird embodies the look of mid-century Jet Age design
The Ford Thunderbird embodies the look of mid-century Jet Age design

The Ford Thunderbird has gone through many iterations during its design and market focus. The original two-seater ’55-’57 cars were very much personal-luxury GTs, and the second and third generations were more family-car oriented, flashy yet able to carry four people.

While I am recently converted fan of the first-generation T’birds, I have never been fond of the so-called square birds or the bullet birds that came after. Strangely, the Thunderbirds that I like the best are the Jet Age-inspired fifth generation Thunderbirds that came after. Continue reading

Pick of the Day: 1941 Cadillac Series 61

The fastback styling of the 1941 Cadillac inspired  designers for such classics as the Bentley Continental
The fastback styling of the 1941 Cadillac inspired designers for such classics as the Bentley Continental R

Of all pre- and early post-war American cars, the Sedanette cars from Cadillac and Buick are some of the finest automobile designs of any era. You can see the design language all through the acclaimed Bentley Continental R fastbacks of the 1950s.

The bonus is that they cost a fraction of what the Bentley does, and they offer exclusivity and elegance along with the low operating costs of an American classic. Continue reading

Pick of the Day: 1979 Volkswagen Beetle Cabriolet

The Volkswagen Cabriolet is a preserved survivor with  only 14,000 miles on its odometer
The Volkswagen Cabriolet is a preserved survivor with only 14,000 miles on its odometer

Model year 1979 marked the end of importation for the beloved VW Beetle. After being produced in Germany continuously since 1946, this was it for the U.S.-legal version.

It also was the end of an era, and Volkswagen celebrated by offering the Cabriolet as it’s single Beetle offering for ‘79. These cars were still handmade by the Karmann factory, and fit and finish were superb.

The interior looks to be in decent condition
The interior looks to be in decent condition

The Pick of the Day is a silver-over-black 1979 Volkswagen Beetle Cabriolet in time-warp condition with only 14,000 miles showing on its odometer. The VW is offered by a private seller in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, who has owned the car since the 1990s, buying it with 12,000 miles and driving it sparingly ever since.

The car has been consistently garage kept, the seller says in the listing on ClassicCars.com, and the photos show a car that appears to be in very good driver condition.

The final edition Beetle Cabriolet was based on the Super Beetle, which offered improved suspension and more storage, as well as a bit more performance. These last cars also offered fuel injection, which makes the car more drivable and easier to maintain.

The convertible tops are masterpieces of craftsmanship, equal to the top on a Rolls-Royce Corniche. That makes it both a nice open car and a very civilized closed car when the top is up. With this century’s Beetle now in its second generation, the market for the original, rear-engine cars is likely to continue their popularity.

A final-edition Beetle Cabriolet makes a perfect first-time classic car that delivers fun and affordable ownership in equal proportions. Every part is available and just about anyone can work them with a decent set of tools and John Muir’s How to Keep Your Volkswagen Alive guide to maintenance and repair “for the ‘compleat’ idiot.”

During the past decade, VW convertibles have done well at auction, and low-mileage cars like this one tend to sell for serious money at such auctions as Barrett-Jackson and Mecum. The asking price for this VW is a reasonable $14,500 or best offer, and it looks like a good deal for such a low-mileage example.

According to Jay Leno, every classic car collection should have at least one Volkswagen, and this car would be a good candidate to fill that Beetle-sized hole.

To view this listing on ClassicCars.com, see Pick of the Day

Eye Candy: 100th Gathering of the Faithful

The Gathering of the Faithful was held for the 100th time | Andy Reid photos
The Gathering of the Faithful was held for the 100th time | Andy Reid photos

Since the 1960s the New England MGT Registry has held an event called the Gathering of the Faithful.

I first read about this event in Road & Track when I was a kid. This was in 1980 and the issue I was reading was from 1973. It documented a road trip a journalist took in a MG TC to attend the Gathering. I was hooked and have wanted to attend ever since, but was not willing to do so until I actually owned a T series MG. Continue reading

Pick of the Day: 1957 Morgan Plus 4

The Morgan Plus 4 has been well-maintained, the seller says, and driven just 53,000 miles
The Morgan Plus 4 has been well-maintained, the seller says, and driven just 53,000 miles

Since I returned from the New England MGT Registry Gathering of the Faithful event, I’ve been thinking a lot about classic British roadsters. And what could be more classically British than a Morgan.

Morgan cars are still built in Malvern Link, England. They are built by hand, one at a time, and still use ash wood in their construction. As a result, even the newest Morgan could be considered a classic British roadster. Continue reading

Eye Candy: Lime Rock Historic Festival

Vintage Trans-Am cars race around Lime Rock Park during historic festival | Andy Reid photos
Vintage Trans-Am cars race around Lime Rock Park during historic festival | Andy Reid photos

The Lime Rock Historic Festival at Lime Rock Park racetrack in Connecticut celebrated it’s 34th year last weekend and this mixture of race, concours and car club activities continues to be one of the signature vintage sports car weekends in the United States. Continue reading

Pick of the Day: 1964 Austin Healey Sprite Mk2

58288-1964-austin-healey-sprite-std
1964 Austin Healey Sprite MK2

Have you always yearned to own a classic British roadster but you think you can’t afford one? Well, I have some good news for you and some no-so-good news. If you have always wanted one of these open-topped, dual SU carb-equipped marvels from the UK there is a car that fits the bill and, even better, that costs less than $10,000 to buy and a pittance to keep running. It’s the Austin Healey Sprite.

Pick of the day is this 1964 Mk2 Austin Healey Sprite located in Stratford, Connecticut. Continue reading

Pick of the Day: 1968 Triumph TR250

The Triumph TR250 has a distinctive stripe across its hood
The Triumph TR250 has a distinctive stripe across its hood

British cars in the late 1960s were all about taking what they already had and rearranging it into a sort of stopgap measure to provide performance to their customers without incurring the increased costs of redesigning their old cars. Some of these efforts were weak but others were nothing short of brilliant.

Such as the Pick of the Day, a 1968 Triumph TR250, in which the company took the aging TR4 and TR4A and increased performance at minimal cost. The designers at Triumph thought that by adding an inline-6 to the TR4, they could get a proper sports car up to the task of modern expectations. Continue reading

Commentary: Monterey auction rewind by the numbers

The beautiful 1939 Alfa Romeo 8C 2900B Lungo Spider sold for nearly $20 million | Larry Edsall
The beautiful 1939 Alfa Romeo 8C 2900B Lungo Spider sold for nearly $20 million | Larry Edsall

Lessons learned in Monterey:

1. You do not sell nearly 90 Porsche cars at the same auction.

2. If you have a very-rare, high-dollar car, you do sell it at auction.

3. If you have a sub-40,000-dollar car, you do not sell it at auction in Monterey

4. For more-common Enzo-era Ferraris, the market is flat as it is for 308s and Testarossas.

5. If you have a truly important historic racer, you sell it nowhere else than at Monterey. Continue reading

Eye Candy: Concours d’Lemons

As if one Peugeot isn't bad enough, this one pulls another | Andy Reid photos
As if one Peugeot isn’t bad enough, this one pulls another | Andy Reid photos

According to its website, the Concours d’Lemons is a celebration of “the Oddball, mundane and truly awful of the automotive world.” But I would call it more of the island of misfit cars. This fun and zany event has been going on in Monterey for a number of years and draws those cars that have no place else to go, mainly because no one wants them anywhere else.

What you will find there year to year is anyone’s guess, but you can usually expect to see a Yugo or two, a Pontiac Aztek, a number of products created by AMC (all of which explains why they are no longer in business), as well as other cars that when new were less than wonderful. Think Chevy Vegas, unloved microcars, and cars from Renault. Continue reading