All posts by Bob Golfen

Bob Golfen is a longtime automotive writer and editor, focusing on new vehicles, collector cars, car culture and the automotive lifestyle.He is the former automotive writer and editor for The Arizona Republic and SPEED.com, the website for the SPEED motorsports channel. He has written free-lance articles for a number of publications, including Autoweek, The New York Times and Barrett-Jackson auction catalogs.A collector car enthusiast with a wide range of knowledge about the old cars that we all love and desire, Bob enjoys tinkering with archaic machinery. His current obsession is a 1962 Porsche 356 Super coupe.

Porsche ‘Outlaws’ head for high country

Every year, the Porsche 356 Registry picks a Sunday to declare national Drive Your 356 Day, slotted at the end of summer  so that no matter what part of the country you find yourself – from the arid Southwest to the frigid Northeast — there’s a shot at decent weather for a spirited run in the more-than-half-century-old sports cars.

Central Arizona’s roasting hot summer started cooling off just a couple of days before last Sunday’s trek, when Arizona 356 Outlaws club members roared up Route 87 from the Phoenix area to Payson. The drive, which I led in my 1962 356 Super coupe, went up into Arizona’s mountainous Rim Country, where the Alpine weather is always a cool respite from the desert temps around Phoenix and Scottsdale.

It was a refreshing drive for about a dozen of the tough little air-cooled Porsches, plus a handful of 911s and a 912, through some of Arizona’s most-luscious scenery, where saguaro cactuses give way to tall pines.

The Porsches parked near the lodge at Natural Bridge State Park | Bob Golfen

AZ 87 is a fast four-lane highway well-suited to a Porsche 356’s sporting aspect, including come enjoyable twisties, although some of the steep grades along the way can be challenging for the four-cylinder tubs, and can make oil-temperature gauges climb.

After lunch in Payson, the group continued up 87 to visit one of the Rim Country’s most impressive attractions at Natural Bridge State Park, where we took group photos of some of the participating tubs.

There were no debilitating mechanical problems reported among our group, unless you count the failure of a valve-cover gasket on one lovely 1962 Cabriolet, which resulted in a haze of blue smoke trailing behind it, as well as a gooey engine compartment. But the driver and the silver convertible made the entire trip, although a couple quarts of oil were added on the way.

There were plenty of good action-shot photo ops along the way, and my ever-patient wife Marci took pictures by hanging out the window at 65-plus miles per hour. I think she eventually got the tangles out of her hair.

Pick of the Day: 1948 Packard Super 8

Yes, I admit it, I do admire cars that look like inverted bathtubs, thus my affinity for the Porsche 356. In the late 1940s and early ’50s, that was an aerodynamic trend, and there’s something about the styling of that era that just does it for me.

The Pick of the Day is a prime example of great bathtub design, a 1948 Packard Super Eight two-door sedan, the first year that the automaker produced the controversial styling; some saw it as sleek and modernistic. Others, not so much.

The paint and chrome look to be in very good condition

After World War II, Packard struggled to maintain the brand’s rich luxury heritage. Packard, which started producing cars in 1899, created some of the world’s most luxurious and desirable classic cars before the war, as well as a lineup of high-quality mid-range automobiles, all sold under the famous slogan, “Ask the man who owns one.”

But money was tight for Packard in the late 1940s, and redesigns were expensive. So the 1948-50 models were rebodied versions of the earlier cars, although that was not necessarily such a bad thing. The styling was a bold attempt at bringing back Packard’s relevance as an innovator.

Particularly attractive on this model-year Packard is the chrome slotted grille that wraps around to the front wheel wells. Very elegant.

The interior appears to be restored to original

“As a true appreciator of rare, valuable classics you will certainly enjoy taking a look at this 1948 Packard Super Eight Coupe,” according to the private seller in San Gabriel, California, advertising the Packard on ClassicCars.com. “It features a beautiful and stately body style that offers a nostalgic remembrance of a simpler era, laced with classic authenticity.”

The Packard proved its mettle on a recent tour, the seller wrote: “It just successfully participated in the well-known 2017 San Marino Motor Classic.”

The two-door styling is rarer and better-looking than that of the four-door sedan, and this one looks very clean, with an attractively original interior.

Power is provided by a 427cid flathead straight-8

“The crème-and-dark-green custom paint is complimented by whitewall tires and a beautifully maintained creme/brown and burlwood-trim interior,” according to the ad. “Powered by a 327 straight-8 engine that is paired with a 3-on-the-tree, this charming Packard is eager to get out on the road for an enjoyable driving experience.”

The car has fewer than 44,000 miles showing on the odometer, the seller notes, with
extra effort put into its care and restoration.

“Copious amounts of time and energy have been invested into maintaining its original look and luster,” the ad says. “The body has been fully restored and it comes with many highlights, such as its factory radio, chrome trim and many more.”

The asking price for the Packard is a modest $21,000, so you wouldn’t really have to worry about taking bath on the deal.

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

Mecum Auctions muscling into Louisville

Big-block muscle dominates as Mecum Auctions rolls in to Louisville, Kentucky, for the second year with an expected 700 collector vehicles crossing the block at the Kentucky Exposition Center from September 21-23.

Coming off the annual Dallas auction that resulted in $22.2 million in sales and a 70 percent sell-through rate, Mecum will offer a wide variety of muscle cars, classics, street rods, custom and sports cars during the three-day sale. Last year’s inaugural Louisville auction resulted in $13.4 million in sales, not including auction fees.

The 1969 Dodge Super Bee is powered by a 440 Six-Pack V8

The 2017 Kentucky auction will feature a triumvirate of top-drawer muscle cars from the Big Three:

A sunfire-yellow 1967 Chevrolet Corvette coupe (Lot S124) with original L68 Tri-Power 427/400-horspower V8 and M21 Muncie 4-speed manual transmission, is a two-time NCRS Top Flight winner with full documentation including its original tank sticker.

A 1969 Dodge Super Bee coupe (Lot S96) powered by a date-code-correct 440 six-pack V8, totally restored in Blue Metallic with just 48,135 miles on its odometer.

The 1969 Shelby GT500 Fastback is fully documented

A 1969 Shelby GT500 fastback (Lot S119) in Acapulco Blue, powered by the 428cid Ram Air Cobra Jet V8 and documented with two build sheets, a copy of the Shelby window sticker and a Marti Report.

For information about the Louisville auction, visit the Mecum website.

Pick of the Day: 1971 Fiat 124 Coupe

If you are looking to add a rare Italian GT car to your collection, the average going rate starts at around $30,000. That kind of money gets you an Alfa Romeo GTV or a Lancia Fulvia. Both are great cars, but what if you are looking for something more affordable and perhaps even a bit rarer?

The Pick of the Day, a 1971 Fiat 124 Coupe, should fill the bill. It’s advertised on ClassicCars.com by a dealer in Miami, Florida, who assures us that the store and inventory remain intact after Hurricane Irma.

The Fiat wears a good-looking set of non-original wheels

The ad for this car had literally no description but the pictures show a car that looks to be remarkably rust free and in what you would call nice driver-level condition.

The Fiat 124 Coupe is a car that for various reasons is often forgotten. One of the reasons is they can rust virtually everywhere. As a result, there are far fewer 124 Coupes left than there are Alfa GTVs and Lancia Fulvias.

The 124 Coupe has the same running gear as the 124 Spider, making for inexpensive parts prices and easy servicing, with the exception of body parts, which can be difficult to source if needed.

The interior looks to be in very nice shape

This is a second-series car, featuring modernized front-end styling and a larger displacement 1,608cc engine, along with four-wheel disc brakes and a five-speed manual transmission.

All the 124 coupes were styled in-house at Fiat, which is amazing when you see how nicely they look, offering a nice mix of design cues from both the Alfa and Lancia.

From behind the wheel, the 124 coupe is very much like the Alfa GTV, offering the same front-engine/rear-drive live-axle layout as the Alfa. Also like the Alfa, the Fiat has a double-overhead-cam engine, designed by legendary Ferrari engine designer Aurelio Lampredi.

The car offers good and forgiving handling with enough engine performance to be entertaining, and will leave an MGB in the dust while offering more comfort than any British car at this price point.

The Fiat 124 Coupe offers a level of rarity and exclusivity that no other Italian car at this price point delivers. If you take this car to Concorso Italiano in Monterey, you could well have the only 124 Coupe on the entire show field, no mean feat for a car with an asking price of only $15,900.

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

Pick of the Day: 1955 Chevrolet pickup

During the 1950s, the hot setup for four-wheel-drive Chevy and GMC pickups came from NAPCO, which provided the Powr-Pak 4X4 Conversion as a bolt-on package that turned a regular rear-drive truck into a capable and durable off-roader. The conversions started as dealer-installed options but later were installed at the factory.

The Pick of the Day is a 1955 Chevrolet half-ton pickup restored to how an original NAPCO-equipped truck would have come from the dealer. The lofty stance was part of the 4X4 conversion, so while it might look as if a modern lift kit has been applied, this was actually how they came.

The pickup stands tall with the NAPCO conversion
The pickup stands tall with the NAPCO conversion

This step-side pickup looks like a time capsule from a Forest Service past, in Air Wing Gray with painted rather than chromed bumpers and grille. It is powered by a 235 cid six-cylinder engine hooked to a four-speed manual transmission with “granny” first gear, which provides slow but mighty takeoff power from a dead stop.

From the Tucson, Arizona, dealer’s description in the ClassicCars.com advertisement, the truck has just over 51,000 miles on its odometer and is apparently ready to hit the dusty trail. The NAPCO conversion includes a dual-range transfer case that is rubber mounted for smooth operation.

The simple interior of a work truck
The simple interior of a work truck

The dealer makes no mention as to whether this was an originally optioned NAPCO pickup from the era or if it has been converted in more-recent times – there are several companies that advertise NAPCO installations for vintage GM pickups. That would affect the value but take nothing away from the ownership experience.

Whatever the case, this is a good-looking classic Chevy that’s nicely equipped and offered at the reasonable price of $25,997. The question now would be whether to subject the well-painted pickup to the potential dents and scratches of off-road exploits, or merely use it for cruising around and showing off.

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

 

 

Classic Morgan sports cars converge for weekend of motoring tradition

Morgan are well-known as the most-traditional of traditional British sports cars, still built by hand in the original Malvern factory using time-honored techniques, and still keeping with the pre-war roadster style while other British marques such as MG and Jaguar moved on to more-modern designs.

Three-wheeled Morgans parades from the Malvern factory
Three-wheeled Morgans parades from the Malvern factory

The Morgan Motor Company hosted more than 1,500 Morgans recently in its Run for the Hills reunion celebrating the company’s 108-year history, which includes the iconic three-wheelers that harken to the beginning, and which are being produced by Morgan once again.

The Run, held at the Malvern Three Counties Fairground just a few miles from the Pickersleigh Road factory, was organized by the Morgan company along with the Morgan Sports Car Club.

The three-wheeler parade was led by patriotic flag waver
The three-wheeler parade was led by patriotic flag waver

As well as scores of three-wheelers, Morgan owners brought along their Plus 4s, Plus 8s, Aeros and other sports car models, new and old, for display and driving tours.

A highlight of the weekend was a drive from the factory to the fairground by more than 50 0f the sporty three-wheelers, and witnessed by about 5,000 spectators. The oldest models were built in 1909 by H.F.S. Morgan, while the newest model had rolled off the assembly line that week.

Morgans enter the fairgrounds
Morgans enter the fairgrounds

The parade was led by the new all-electric EV3, driven by Morris managing director, Steve Morris.

“We are continually blown away by the unrivaled passion that our owners and enthusiasts have for the marque,” Morris said in a news release.

 

Old Car Festival, splendor in France, and new upcoming events

The Old Car Festival, known as the longest-running antique car show in America, takes place at one of the most significant automotive locations in America, Greenfield Village, where Henry Ford gathered together historic buildings from around the nation to create his own idyllic small town U.S.A.

Located in Dearborn, Michigan, Greenfield Village hosts two key classic car gatherings every year: Motor Muster in the spring and the Old Car Festival in the fall. This year, Old Car Festival takes place September 9 and 10, featuring a host of cars and trucks that “offers a raucous ride of vehicles that epitomize the earnest optimism of the American Dream,” according to the event website.

With vehicles ranging from the 1890s through 1932, the festival presents an interactive sweep of automotive history, with live demonstrations, startups and a parade of vehicles powered by gas, electricity and steam.

Greenfield village
Spectators watch an antique during the Old Car Festival parade | Old Car Festival

“Wander through the village, and talk to owners about their treasured vehicles,” the website says. “The ongoing Pass-in-Review parade is a car lover’s dream, as electric, steam and gas-powered engines are constantly in motion around you. Watch drivers engage in games of skill, see a Model T assembled in just minutes or just sit back and enjoy our experts sharing ‘car talks’ while historic vehicles cruise.”

Special this year is a centennial celebration of the founding of Lincoln Motor Company, established during the First World Car in August 1917 by Henry Leland, who named the company after the first president for whom he cast his first vote, Abraham Lincoln.

For more information, visit the event website.

The Classic Auto Show has announced that it will stage its second event at the Los Angeles Convention Center on March 2-4, 2018, with never-before seen collections and vehicles from more than 65 Southern California car clubs, and expanding to a pair of new stages and expansion to two complete floors.

“Back by popular demand will be the Grand Boulevard, which will provide show-goers with a historical walk-through of automotive history, with a stunning display of the finest classic and historic vehicles from all eras,” the show organizers said in a news release.

Vintage rides, custom cars, parts, vendors, demonstrations and famous celebrity faces will be featured in the jumbo-size event.

“We are pleased with the features and elements we’ve created for the 2018 show based on the enthusiastic feedback we received from our 2017 attendees,” said Michael Carlucci, senior vice president at Clarion UX, the show’s producer.  “We’ve brought back our fans’ favorites and added more talent, cars, exhibits and interactive areas for our fans to experience.”

For more information, visit the event website.

From the nation that invented the concours d’elegance comes the fourth annual Chantilly Arts & Elegance Richard Mille on September 9 and 10 at Chateau de Chantilly in France. Featured this year among all the vintage cars, new cars and concepts, fashion displays and artworks will by the 70th anniversary of Ferrari with 30 significant models on display.

Pure elegance at the Chantilly concours | Mathieu-Bonnevie
Pure elegance at the Chantilly concours | Mathieu-Bonnevie

The event is threefold, with a Concours d’Elegance for manufacturers and their concept cars, Concours d’Etat for classic car collectors from around the world, and Grand Prix des Clubs, which is a juried “garden party” organized around various marques.

For more information, visit the event website.

The inaugural Super Run Classic Car Show will be hosted by Mesquite Gaming and the Las Vegas Cruisin’ Association from September 22-24 at the Casablanca Resort and Virgin River Hotel in Mesquite, Nevada.

The new event comes on the heels of the 2017 Mesquite Motor Mania at the resort, which attracted more than 1,000 vintage, hot rod, muscle car and custom vehicles, and prompted the organizers to add a second show.

The Super Run will include a variety of fun car events, including competitions and demonstrations, concerts and films, and the Classic Car Show with awards and prize drawings for participants.

For more information, visit the event website.

More concours and events

The 17th annual Radnor Hunt Concours d’Elegance takes to the field September 10 at the Radnor Hunt Club in Malvern, Pennsylvania, with its main feature focusing on Art Deco automobiles. For information, visit the event website.

The Vail Automotive Classic will be held September 8-10 at Vail Village in Vail, Colorado, sponsored by Barrett-Jackson collector car auction. For information, visit the event website.

A Mercedes 300 SL roadster is awared at the Danville Concours
A Mercedes 300 SL roadster is awared at the Danville Concours

The fifth annual Cobble Beach Concours d’Elegance returns to the Cobble Beach Golf Resort in Kemble, Ontario, Canada on September 16 and 17. For more information, visit the event website.

The Danville Concours d’Elegance takes place September 16-17 in Old Town Danville, California. For more information, visit the event website.

The Hemmings Motor News Concours d’Elegance moves to a new location for its weekend of events September 15-17 at Charles R. Wood Park in Lake George, New York. For more information, visit the event website.

Primo classic, muscle-car collections featured at Mecum’s Dallas auction

The 33-car Bruce Church collection of pre-war classic cars (and a handful of more-modern cars) highlights the seventh annual Mecum Auctions sale in Dallas. One thousand muscle cars, classics, rods, customs and exotics are expected for the auction at the Kay Bailey Hutchinson Convention Center from September 6-9.

A Wilkesboro, North Carolina, businessman who died in 2016, Church’s 35 years of collecting will be reflected in the Dallas auction by an enviable group of restored collector cars from 1929 through 1940 and several street rods built from cars of the same era.

Featured among the Church cars are “several comprehensively restored CCCA Full Classic and AACA Senior award-winning Packards, among them a 1934 Packard Eight 1101 Coupe Roadster that was displayed at the Boca Raton Concours in 2011 and a 1932 Packard Eight 902 Coupe,” according to a Mecum news release.

Mecum Auctions Dallas 2017
The 1970 Buick GS Stage 1 from the Matt Wagoner collection

A number of classic Fords in original and street-rodded condition are also available from the Church collection, including a 1940 Ford Deluxe convertible and a 1934 Ford Deluxe Phaeton.

The Dallas auction also will feature cars from a few other standout collections, such as that of Matt Wagoner that boasts four spectacular examples of premier GM muscle cars: : a 1970 Chevrolet Chevelle SS454 LS6, 1970 Oldsmobile 442 W-30, 1970 Pontiac GTO Ram Air IV and a 1970 Buick GS Stage 1.

Some of the collections to be auctioned in Dallas are offered entirely without reserves, including the Kingston collection of 21 American muscle cars and modern supercars, 17 cars from the estate of Freddie “Mack” Widmer and 11 vehicles from the James Hoyo collection.

Mecum Auctions announced last week that the Dallas auction would proceed as planned despite the devastating flooding in Houston and nearby Gulf Coast areas. The Dallas area was not hit by Hurricane Harvey.

For information about Mecum’s Dallas sale, visit the auction website.

Flood victims: Thousands of classics likely ruined by Harvey

We’ve all seen the terrible pictures coming out of Houston and surrounding areas, of neighborhoods turned into lakes of murky brown water, most often with the flooded remains of cars and trucks barely visible above the surface.

It is estimated that 500,000 vehicles were ruined by flood waters in the Houston metropolitan area, adding to the devastation of people’s lives as the result of Hurricane Harvey. Being immersed in water, especially filthy flood water, essentially destroys a vehicle, leaving it prone to a myriad of mechanical, electrical and structural woes, such as uncontrollable rust.

But what of the thousands of classic cars and trucks in the Houston area, those kept in garages or parked in driveways in flooded areas? What heartbreak awaits those vintage-vehicle enthusiasts when they are finally able to return home and assess the damage?

“It kind of depends on where they’re at, whether it’s salt water or fresh water, how high the water got, as far as the vehicle being totaled,” said Jonathon Klinger, a spokesman for Hagerty, the nation’s leading collector car insurance and valuation company. “Of course, we also have water seeping into the mechanical components, the engine and transmission.”

A Porsche 911 and Toyota Supra are hip deep in water in this Facebook photo
A Porsche 911 and Toyota Supra are hip deep in water in this Facebook photo

Although the flooding is gradually receding in the Texas communities, it still will be awhile before classic vehicle owners or the insurance companies are able to tally up what all has been lost.

“It’s still very early yet, from a car standpoint,” Klinger said. “There are an awful lot of people who have not been able to get back to their houses yet.”

Nearly five years ago, when Hurricane Sandy slammed New York and New England, an estimated 8,000 to 10,000 classic and specialty vehicles were lost. Harvey’s toll could be comparable.

“It’s going to be on par (with Sandy),” Klinger said. “Whether there are more vehicles lost to Sandy vs this, we won’t have that answer for a couple weeks, at the very minimum.”

An inundated vintage Mercedes-Benz | Courtesy of USA Today
An inundated vintage Mercedes-Benz | Courtesy of USA Today

But at this point in the Texas disaster, Klinger notes, the fate of collector cars takes a back seat to the people who are endangered or have had their lives so badly disrupted.

“First and foremost, we’re most concerned about people’s personal safety and well-being,” he said. “The cars are special and all that, but they’re secondary compared with people’s lives.”

Classic car dealers in the Houston area are bracing for the influx of owners seeking assistance with flood-damaged vehicles.

“I would imagine that as things kind of clear up here, I’ll start getting calls from people looking for help,” said James Stanley at Gateway Classic Cars’ Houston locations.

Stanley said their business was fortunate in not having any flood damage to the showroom or collector vehicles.

“When we came in yesterday, we were relieved that we didn’t have any damage to anything,” he said.

Once car owners are able to get back to their homes, or what’s left of them, there are some things that should be done immediately if they want to save their vehicles.

“The big thing is getting it dry, getting the rust out of there, make sure no rust is settling in,” Stanley said. “The one thing that kills a classic is rust.”

A flooded Houston neighborhood | Courtesy of the Houston Chronicle
A flooded Houston neighborhood | Courtesy of the Houston Chronicle

Klinger suggested that those returning to their homes also need to give their flooded cars some attention amid all the household chaos.

“You want to minimize further damage,” Klinger said. “That’s critical because if your car is flooded, chances are your house is flooded and the car might get a lower priority. But if you want to fix the car down the road, there are simple steps you should do now to minimize further damage.

“The first thing you want to do is to disconnect the battery. Once the electrical system is under water, damage is happening. And roll down the windows if you can or leave the doors open, start to get some ventilation to it.”

Rugs and other movable interior and trunk items should be taken out, since these things can hold moisture against the vulnerable metal parts of the body and frame.

Since water can enter and mix with the oil and other fluids in the engine, transmission, differential, fuel tank and brake-system hydraulics, drain them as soon as possible and replace the fluids. Do not attempt to start or drive the vehicle until after the fluids have been changed.

Once the flood waters have gone and other priorities are dealt with, the vehicle owner will have to decide what to do with the water-damaged classic.

A sports coupe abandoned in the flood | Courtesy of the Houston Chronicle
A sports coupe abandoned in the flood | Courtesy of the Houston Chronicle

“Anything can be fixed, by the way,” Klinger noted. “Cars that were flooded in Katrina and Sandy got fixed, but you have to literally tear the car apart to the bare body, have it chemically dipped and have it rebuilt back up.

“What determines if a vehicle has been totaled is how much it’s going to take to repair it relative to what the vehicle is insured for.”

If the car is declared totaled, the owner has two choices: take the insurance-company check and hand over the car or truck to the insurer for disposal, or if the owner wants to repair it regardless, keep the car and receive a check minus the salvage value of the vehicle.

On that note, Klinger added that policy holders always need to make sure their classics are insured for their full value, which in the case of most classic-vehicle insurers, involves a declared value that’s agreed upon with the owner.

“If it’s underinsured, it’s totaled relative to its insured value,” he said. “All of a sudden it gets totaled for what it’s insured for rather than what the car is worth. That’s not a situation you want to be in.”

About 500,000 vehicles are estimated to have been lost in the flooding
About 500,000 vehicles are estimated to have been lost in the flooding

Many owners who opt to keep their flood-damaged vehicles do so because they are highly valuable, into the six figures or beyond where the cost of restoration makes sense. Or else they do so because the classic has sentimental value, or is a family heirloom, in which case the owner is willing to go under water financially as well as literally.

The collector car losses due to Harvey are expected to be similar to those incurred from Sandy, with most vehicles being in the lower end of market values because those are the ones more-likely to be stored at people’s homes in typical neighborhoods. Ford Mustangs, Chevrolet Corvettes and Camaros were the most-reported flood-damaged cars after Sandy, according to insurance industry reports.

“The vast number of losses will be entry-level type cars, cars with less than $50,000 value,” Klinger said. “Once you get to higher-end vehicles or people who have large collections, more thought goes into where the vehicle is stored, meaning it’s not in a low-lying flood zone.

“There might be some higher-end vehicles impacted, but it’s not going to be the majority of them.”

Looking further down the road, potential buyers of classic cars or any used cars must be on the lookout for vehicles that have been inundated in floods, and most likely will turn out to be lemons. Although titles for insured vehicle are branded with salvage notations for flood cars, fraudulent sellers will ship cars through various states where the brand can be lost, and the vehicle appear to be an undamaged.

Flood cars that have never had insurance claims could also be sold with unbranded titles.

As with the used-car market after Katrina and Sandy, there are expected to be thousands of flood-damaged cars offered as undamaged used vehicles in the coming months. The National Crime Insurance Bureau issued a warning Thursday to consumers regarding flood cars.

“NICB warns that buyers be particularly careful in the coming weeks and months as thousands of Harvey-damaged vehicles may reappear for sale in their areas,” according to a news release. “Vehicles that were not insured may be cleaned up and put up for sale by the owner or an unscrupulous dealer with no disclosure of the flood damage.”

To detect whether a vehicle has been in a flood:

Sit in the car with the doors and windows closed and taking a good sniff, which could reveal the scent of moisture or mold. Also look and smell for any air freshener that could be masking the musty smell.

Look for obvious signs of dirty water being present in the interior, such as on rugs and upholstery (beware of replacements), or silt under the seats and behind the dashboard.

Examine under the hood for signs of water. Use a flashlight to check behind mechanical parts and in crevasses for signs of silt or debris accumulation. Do the same in the hidden areas of the trunk.

Check any exposed metal parts for unusual signs of rust, such as screw heads, as well as under doors, body sills and wheel wells. Once a car has been under water, it can rust unseen from the inside out.

Look for droplets of condensation inside headlights and taillights, dashboard gauges and interior lights.

While those checks will provide some assurance, bringing a vehicle to a reputable mechanic for a more-thorough inspection would be the best course of action. If the seller refuses a mechanic’s inspection, then walk away.

And that includes collector cars and trucks. So even for a love-at-first-sight dream car, beware of the flood-damaged classic vehicle that could turn into a total nightmare.

 

 

 

Dune buggy as modern art: LA art auction has one for sale

The dune buggy is one of the coolest expressions of the West Coast lifestyle, and about the most fun you can have on four wheels.

But is it an objet d’art? Apparently so, since dune buggies are included in the collections of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and the Museum of Modern Art.

Now, adding to its artistic allure, a dune buggy will be among the lots offered by a Los Angeles auction company that specializes in modern artworks, from paintings to furniture, created by some of the world’s most famous artists and designers.

A period advertisement for the Bounty Hunter
A period advertisement for the Bounty Hunter

The screaming-yellow 1969 Bounty Hunter dune buggy built by Glass Enterprises of Burbank, California, will be on the auction block among the modern-art finery presented by Los Angeles Modern Auctions during its October 27 sale at its showroom in Van Nuys, California.

“We are extremely excited to have this uniquely styled and customized piece of ’60s pop culture,” Peter Loughrey, director of Modern Design & Fine Art at LAMA, said in a news release. “Not only does this design work to add to the overall auction content, but it enumerates our ability as an auction house to sell any medium of modern and industrial era art.”

Dune Buggy
Dune Buggy

The Volkswagen-powered Bounty Hunter is based on the iconic Meyers Manx dune buggy that debuted in 1964 after being hand-built in a Newport Beach garage by the legendary Bruce Meyers. The Meyers Manx was one of the first vehicles honored by inclusion into the National Historic Vehicle Register of the Library of Congress.

The dune buggy concept was refined for Bounty Hunter by owner/builder Bill Lazelere, who took a year to complete his version, according to LAMA. Extensive attention to detail makes Lazelere’s dune buggy stand out, the news release says, and the car comes to auction in as-new original condition.

“The car has remained in mint condition since its completion, and is a timeless classic,” LAMA says.

The estimated auction value for the Bounty Hunter is $30,000 to $50,000. For information, visit the auction website.