Pick of the Day: 1984 GMC Caballero

The Chevrolet El Camino is an iconic piece of classic car fandom, part of the lore being its regal Spanish name. The car/pickup truck based on Australian “utes” was first brought out by Chevrolet as a 1959 model, a gorgeously Rococo design based on the Impala.

It wasn’t until 1971 that GMC dealers got their own, nearly identical version to sell. But it was marketed with a decidedly unsexy name, Sprint, which compared poorly with the glamorous El Camino brand.

Finally, GMC came out with an evocative Spanish-language name for its 1978 car-based pickup: Caballero. Although the literal meaning in English is horseman, Caballero is generally used by Spanish speakers as the equivalent of gentleman. That’s soundly appropriate since the Caballero (and the El Camino) was designed to be a gentleman’s pickup truck.

The GMC pickup looks very clean under its hood

The Pick of the Day is a 1984 GMC Caballero, electric blue with racy white stripes, that has been resto-modded with upgrades that should make it a fun and reliable pickup.

The original 305 cid V8 has been replaced with a 350 with a mild performance cam, headers and Flowmaster dual exhaust, according to the Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, dealer advertising the Caballero on ClassicCars.com.

The pickup is in good running condition, the ad says, with automatic transmission, a new set of brakes (discs up front) and nearly new BF Goodrich T/A radials.

The interior looks original and in decent condition

The actual mileage in unknown because the dashboard was replaced with modern electronic gauges at the same time as the engine swap, with the tachometer showing 3,300 miles since the transition.

The Caballero looks clean and presentable in the photos and would make for a fine cruiser, especially in its fairly rare GMC configuration that differentiates it from the more-common Chevy version.

The asking price seems reasonable at $15,000. Ownership plus: watching the puzzled looks as you tell folks that you drive a Caballero.

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

Lexus LFA: Buy it now — while it’s still affordable

Like the heralded Toyota 2000GT, the Lexus LFA is rare and fast — and just starting to accelerate in the collector car marketplace.

Every once in a while, sheer brilliance comes from an unexpected place. Take, for example, Richard Branson. On paper, he is a dyslexic who, when leaving school, without a college degree, was told he would either end up in prison or as a millionaire. Well, we all know how that ended up.

Flash back to the year 2000. The internet industry was about to implode, and Toyota announced the year before that it was entering Formula One competition.

Toyota also had also started work on a world-beating supercar. Despite the dismal performance of the racing program, the supercar project continued. The company needed a “halo” car, and at the 2005 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, it unveiled the Lexus LFA “design study.”

At the time, Toyota fibbed and said there were no plans for a production version. We had to wait until 2009 and the Tokyo show, but the production version of the concept was there and ready for sale.

One of the reasons for the delay was that the engineers initially built the car with an aluminum subframe. However, they found even that lightweight material to be too heavy to meet their goals, so they switched to a carbon fiber tub, which meant a complete redesign and rethink.

The LFA was a study in perfection, showing everyone that despite what happened in F1, Toyota and its Lexus division could take on the world’s best when it comes to advanced engineering and performance. In typical Lexus fashion, the LFA features build quality and attention to detail that are all but unequalled in the supercar category.

The LFA is powered by a 4.8-liter V10 with 553 horsepower, making the car capable of a 0-60 time of 3.9 seconds and a top speed of 202 mph. This all makes for a serious supercar that is in no way your father’s Lexus.

When new, the sticker price of the LFA was an astronomical $375,000, or $55,000 more than the Ferrari 599.

People thought this was an insane amount, but Lexus soon sold all of the 500 cars and then ceased production, something that doesn’t always happen with limited-edition supercars.

As it turns out, the LFA has emerged as a seriously collectible, perhaps the successor to the most cherished of Japanese collector cars, the Toyota 2000GT of the late ‘60s.

LFAs are just starting to cross the auction block. RM Sotheby’s recently sold one at its London auction for more than $404,000 and earlier this year, another sold at Mecum’s Monterey auction for a strong $357,500.

So much for any used-car depreciation.

The LFA is a very special car that has one of the world’s greatest modern engine sounds and supercar performance delivered in a package that not only looks amazing, but that has the build quality you expect from Lexus.

The other thing that the LFA has is a bit of character. It uses a standard key, even the doors have slots for the keys.

It also has a fantastic dashboard with all the supercar video-game type controls you could want.

It lacks any semblance for a cup holder. It also lacks an automatic hood prop, instead using a carbon fiber stick that completely detaches from under the hood to hold it up.

Such things like these make cars even more interesting. It is the oddities that sometimes make cars more special, and the LFA has these.

Finally, the LFA is a serious car that does not suffer poor drivers well. This is that other thing that make enthusiasts fall in love. You have to bring your A game as a driver to really explore the limits that the LFA can deliver. I have driven a LFA and it is a serious driver’s car that only suffers from steering that it is a bit vague. The song of the engine alone makes you forget that quickly, though, and these are awesome cars to drive on a track or on a cross country jaunt, say from NY to LA at substantial speed.

Yes, the LFA is a Lexus and, yes, it still has the Lexus badge on the front, just like some nice but mundane sedans and sport utilities. But astute collectors of supercars who have the requisite money needed should strongly consider acquiring an LFA for their collections. Remember, there are only 500 of them on the planet.

Also remember that the 2000GT became a $1 million car at auction.

LFA prices are not likely to ever come down. This is a car that collectors are likely to wish they had purchased at its 2017 prices.

Ephraim Hillclimb steps back in time, but does it have a future?

Ephraim Hillclimb wants to become a Goodwood-style automotive festival, but after three years, it’s future may be in doubt.

“Traditional” is an overused adjective, but in the case of the village of Ephraim, Wisconsin, it truly applies. The village was founded in 1852 by Norwegian Moravians and things have been slow to change. It wasn’t until last year that the village allowed alcohol sales, but on a trial basis. It’s to be expected that any motorsports activity in the village would follow traditional themes.

The third annual Ephraim Hillclimb oozed tradition when held one recent weekend. The three-day event offered classic and vintage sports car owners a tour, hillclimb and concours in the Great Lakes peninsula nicknamed “The Cape Cod of the Midwest.”

The driving tour on a Friday took in art galleries, boutiques and wineriesthe length and breadth of finger-shaped Door County. As with the famous Pebble Beach Tour d’Elegance, participants accrue points toward the concours.

The tour was incident-free except for some overheating issues on Robert Hawley’s 1960 Fiat Multipla, which introduced just enough adversity to rally the assistance of the other drivers and to make for animated conversation at the elegant Stone’s Throw Winery.

Hillclimb preparations Saturday morning closed Church Street, which led directly up the glaciated bluff from the waterfront Village Hall. Jersey barriers were erected on the ¾-mile course and were disguised with period-appropriate hay bales. SCCA corner workers in safety gear lined the hill.

The event began with six escorted parade laps of the run, which served as an opportunity for the estimated 4,000 spectators to view all the cars in motion while familiarizing the drivers with the winding, uphill course and forested return route. It also helped to burn off any excess adrenalin; the course was fast and curvy enough to be thrilling while being safe.

Runs were not timed, but relied on the good sportsmanship of the driver and the discretion of the course workers to maintain safety over speed. Fortunately, there were no incidents apart from a few small mechanical issues.

Following the hillclimb, David Cooper of Cooper Technica in Bristol, Wisconsin, spoke about the early days of Porsche sports cars, subject of his forthcoming book. After the lecture, the historic Village Hall was transformed into an evocative dinner and dance party, featuring a big band and wonderful period attire, circa 1946.

The goal of the event organziers is to become as historically immersive as the Goodwood festivals in England.

The concours Sunday morning straddled the green space around Eagle Harbor, just across from the Ephraim Village Hall. What the concours lacked in quantity, it made up for in variety, with not one but two Amphicars deciding to go in for a dip in Lake Michigan via the nearby marina. The skipper of one motored by a pier full of onlookers, deadpanning, “Pardon me, but do you have any Grey Poupon?”

On land, Bob Lederer’s 1926 Sunbeam 3.0 Liter SuperSports took Best of Show Pre-War, having no doubt impressed the judges with the previous day’s climb. Best of Show Post-War went to a 1958 AC Bristol owned by Douglas Stuart, a much-admired car amongst all the participants.

Hillclimb stalwarts Tod and Wendy Willson won the Sportsmanship Award for driving their topless 1958 XK 120M Jaguar 260 miles from Evanston, Illinois, to the event in intermittent rain.

However, as successful as the three-year run of this event has been, its future is in doubt.

“Our contract with the village is up, so it’s wait-and-see,” said organizer John Baker Welch. Additional funding is being sought from local businesses and innkeepers or a larger corporate sponsorship to continue.

It is very telling of a locale – be it Key West or Carlsbad – when residents make it a point to set their watches for sunset, and gather outdoors as these participants did for a toast in the waning light of day over Eagle Harbor. Truly an elegant motorsports event, wrapped around an elegant vacation. We hope it continues.

Gallery photos by William Hall, unless noted

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.

British museum relaunches apprentice program, and the first one is female

Forty years ago, Doug Hill, now manager and chief engineer of the National Motor Museum in England, was the last graduate of the museum’s apprentice program. To keep alive the skills needed to preserve the museum’s 250-vehicle car collection, he’s relaunched the program — and its first apprentice is 18-year-old Emily Leese.

She had been a museum volunteer since she was 14. She has spent the last two years studying engineering at Sparsholt College. In addition to training with the five-person staff in the museum’s workshop, she will spend time with Rolls-Royce and Bentley specialist P&A Wood, working on Level 2 and 3 diplomas in classic vehicle restoration.

“I think I fit in quite well so far and all the guys have been really good,” Emily said in the museum’s news release. “I definitely feel like part of the team.

Working on an engine

“I get involved in whatever projects are being worked on, from cleaning and polishing to putting things back together. Recently, I helped to re-fit the engine to our 1930 ‘Blower’ Bentley.

“I don’t know why I love cars so much, but I have ever since I was about 3 years old. Fixing things is my passion. I was always playing with toy cars when I was a child and wanted to be an AA (British equivalent of Triple A) lady! Even then, I decided that I wanted to have the knowledge to fix a broken-down car.”

The Beaulieu apprentice program is overseen by the Heritage Skills Academy and its engineering apprenticeships program, with funding from Beaulieu One Hundred group members, the Federation of British Historic Vehicle Clubs and others, including the Worshipful Company of Coachbuilders and Coach Harness Makers of London, and with equipment donated by Draper Tools.

You can follow Emily’s work on her blog on the museum’s website.

Automotive Hall of Fame creates information hub

The Automotive Hall of Fame, based in Dearborn, Michigan, but slated to move into a new facility in downtown Detroit as soon as funding is secured, has launched a new website that, it notes, will be “the new information hub of automotive history.”

“Our goal for the new Automotive Hall of Fame website was to establish the most comprehensive collection of automotive stories about the people who helped move the world forward,” the museum says on the site.

“To that end, we have updated our Inductee database with a plethora of new content including exclusive videos, extensive biographies and thousands of images. This website will serve as vast resource for everyone from casual car fans to automotive aficionados.”

Here’s the link: www.automotivehalloffame.org.

LeMay seeks vehicles for upcoming exhibit

LeMay — America’s Car Museum in Tacoma, Washington, still needs three vehicles for the “Through the Lens; Cars Defined by an American Century” exhibit scheduled to open in November. The exhibit will feature one vehicle from each decade from 1910 to 2010 and will ask visitors to consider which best defines the history and culture of its period.

However, the museum still needs three vehicles — a 1972-79 Honda Civic, a 1984-90 Chrysler minivan and a 1991-94 Ford Explorer. It isn’t looking for show cars, but seeks daily drivers that retain their original equipment with few aftermarket accessories.

If your car qualifies, you can contact the museum at exhibits@americascarmuseum.org by October 15.

In other news relating to the LeMay, America’s Automotive Trust, comprised of the museum, the RPM Foundation, the Concours Club and Club Auto, has hired Adam Langsbard as chief executive and promoted David Madeira to vice chairman, where he can focus on strategic planning.

Langsbard had been chief marketing officer at the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles and before that worked in marketing in the entertainment industry.

Beaulieu gets Doctor Who’s Bessie

Doctor Who’s Bessie enters museum display

The LeMay may be looking for some cars, but the National Motor Museum of England has landed a famous one, Bessie from the Doctor Who television series has joined the museum’s On Screen Cars display.

“The Earth-based transport for Jon Pertwee’s third Doctor was a bright yellow vintage car replica which starred in many episodes of the cult sci-fi show across two decades,” the museum said. “Bessie was fitted with space-age modifications fit for the Doctor’s adventures.

“The Siva Edwardian, built on the chassis of a 1954 Ford Popular, first appeared in the “Doctor Who and the Silurians” episode in 1970 when the Doctor was stranded on planet Earth and exiled by the Time Lords without the use of his TARDIS. With a need to stay mobile in his fight against monsters and villains, the Doctor adopted Bessie as his four-wheeled transport.”

The museum also noted that the car’s fiberglass body by Siva Engineering was available as a kit from 1969 into the mid-‘70s. In addition to the four-seat tourer, a two-seat roadster was produced by the Dorset-based company.

Sebring Orange is next special Corvette color

The National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green, Kentucky, shares colorful news about the 2018 car. No, it’s not about the location of the engine, but that Sebring Orange Tint Coat will be the special color for the fiberglass-bodied sports car, replacing Black Rose. The orange hue was shown to visitors at the museum’s recent anniversary celebration.

GM Design developed the orange color in 2015 and has been waiting for an opportunity to showcase it on a vehicle.

“It matches an Orange Crush can,” said Wendy Miller of the Corvette model option team.

The new shade will be available for order in mid-October with production during December.

Smithsonian magazine museum day = free admission

Several automotive museums will participate in Smithsonian magazine’s Museum Day Live! program Saturday, which means free admission at many of them. To discover which ones, go to the special Smithsonian website, select your state and see which museums are participating, and then print out your free admission tickets.

Special events this weekend

The Saratoga Automobile Museum in upstate New York hosts its annual Saratoga Auto Auction, Saturday and Sunday at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center.

It’s Demo Day on Saturday at the Simeone Foundation Automotive Museum in Philadelphia, where the them will be David vs. Goliath — small cars that beat the big guys. Among the cars from the museum’s collection being “exercised” in the parking lot are an MG K3 Magnette, BMW 328, and Alfa Romeo 6C 1750

Muscle Car City in Punta Gorda, Florida, hosts its monthly flea market and car corral Sunday from 7 a.m. until 1 p.m.

The Ford Piquette Avenue Plant, where the first 12,000 Model T’s were produced, and now a museum preserving that history, will open a re-creation of Henry Ford’s “Secret Experimental Room” to visitors for the first time Sunday at 11 a.m. The secret room is where Ford spent months behind closed doors creating his “universal” car. The museum will be open free to visitors on Sunday as it celebrates the Model T’s 109th birthday with Model T rides, music, refreshments and family oriented games. The plant is located at 461 Piquette Street in Detroit.

Sunday, the Petersen Automotive Museum offers the world premier of Climbkhana: Pike’s Peak, a movie featuring Ken Block. But before the 6 p.m. showing, the museum will host a custom car show starting at 4 p.m. and inside the museum, the Xbox driving simulators will allow visitors to drive their favorite Hoonigan cars.

Saturday is Family Steam Day at the LeMay, where your family can design and build a vehicle that will keep an egg safe in a crash. To prove your design works, you’ll actually crash your creation and see how the egg survives.

The MX-5 (Miata) Owners Club’s National Rally is scheduled for Sunday at the British Motor Museum.

Mark your calendar

The Petersen’s 23rd annual gala, scheduled for October 14, will honor “His grace, the Duke of Richmond, Lennox, Aubigny and Gordon” — formerly known as Lord March and officially Charles Gordon-Lennox — with the museum’s Automotive Icon Award in recognition of contributions include the Goodwood Festival of Speed, the Goodwood Revival and the Goodwood Member’s Meeting held on the grounds of his British estate.

“For decades, the Duke has been a wonderful ambassador and proponent of the hobby, embodying the type of enthusiasts this institution hopes to inspire,” Terry Karges, the museum’s executive director, said in a news release.“He is exactly the type of person we had in mind when this award was established.”

 

Carlisle lists Showcase vehicles for Fall auction

Showcase vehicles for Carlisle Auctions’ next sale, scheduled for September 28-30, range from a 1930 LaSalle 340 Phaeton to the 2012 Confederate x132 Hellcat motorcycle prototype, and with much in between.

Carlisle Auctions expanded its Spring sale to three days and will do the same for its Fall auction at the Carlisle Expo Center in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. The auction is being held in conjunction with the Fall Carlisle vehicle show, September 27-October 1.

The auction house notes that consignments for the sale are sold out, in part because of the “free unless sold” guarantee for consignors of vehicles 25 years or older.

Showcase vehicles for the sale include:

  • 1930 LaSalle 340 Phaeton, designed by Harley Earl, with Fleetwood bodywork, and with CCCA full-classic status.
  • 1939 Ford restomod inspired by the moonshine runners and with a Keith Craft Ford 427cid all-aluminum stroker small-block V8 and original steel Ford body on a Roadster Shop Pro G Stage 3 chassis.
  • 1953 Buick Skylark convertible driven less than 40,000 miles since new and fully restored.
  • 1955 Chevrolet Corvette, a NCRS Top Flight winner powered by a 265cid V8.
  • 1956 Austin Healey 100-4 BN2 recently restored in black over green leather.
    1963 split-window Chevrolet Corvette.
  • 1963 Corvette resto-rod roadster with a 465-horsepower LS3 engine, Tremec 5-speed gearbox and 3.73:1 rear on a cutom tubula chassis.
  • 1956 K-Code Ford Mustang, a restored 28,000-mile car.
  • 1968 Corvette convertible with a 427cid V8.
  • 1968 Shelby GT350 Ford Mustang convertible, one of six produced in Lime Gold and with factory air.
  • 1969 Dodger Charger R/T with a 426 Hemi and four-speed manual
  • 1969 Ford Mach I Mustang with a 428 Cobra Jet V8 and Drag Pack option.
  • 1971 Chevrolet Corvette LS6 coupe with Bloomington Gold and NCRS Top Flight certification.
  • 1986 Porsche Kremer 930 wide-body cabriolet showing only 11,675 miles.
  • 1999 Ferrari 360 Modena with a 6-speed manual.
  • 2002 Ferrari 575 Maranello showing only 9,300 miles.
  • 2003 Shelby Cobra continuation series roadster.
  • 2006 Ford GT driven less than 1,900 miles.
  • 2012 Confederate x132 Hellcat Prototype No. 1 motorcycle from the collection of Team Confederate speed record-holder James Hoegh.

 

Classic cars rated top ‘passion’ investment over the long run

From major newspapers and the International Investment newsletter to Musical Instrument Professional, the Coutts Passion Index 2017 has been getting a lot of attention recently. Since 2005, Coutts has tracked various “passion” investments and in its latest report notes that, “Classic cars have provided the healthiest returns (among all ‘passion’ assets) since 2005, with average prices rising more than fourfold.”

However — ah, doesn’t there always seem to be a however? — “after increasing rapidly in 2013 and 2014, returns for Classic Cars fell in both 2015 and 2016.”

Based in England, Coutts has “looked after clients and their wealth for over three centuries,” it notes on its website, adding that during that time it has progressed from bank to investment house to now go “beyond traditional wealth management to explore with our clients the enjoyment of their passions.”

One of those passions is owning things that increase in value while you enjoy them. The Coutts Passion Index, offered annually, tracks such things as “trophy property,” which includes leisure (second or “holiday”) homes and what it terms “billionaire” properties. Also included are collections of watches, jewelry, rare musical instruments, rugs and carpets, classic cars, coins, stamps, fine wine, and art. Within art, Coutts includes four genre — traditional Chinese, post-war and contemporary, old master and 19th century, Impressionist and modern.

Since 2005, classic cars have increased in value by 331.9 percent, Coutts reports. Next-best investment over that 12-year period has been coins (224.6 percent), followed by wine, jewelry, watches, stamps, billionaire properties (those worth 10 million British pounds or more), and Chinese art. On the other hand, Old Master and 19th Century art has fallen 42.1 percent and rugs and carpets 21 percent.

While coins are the only category that has increased in value every year, the fastest growth in value in the last year has involved rare musical instruments, up more than 16 percent after falling nearly 11 percent the previous year. “Volatile” is what Coutts called the rare instrument market.

The collector car marketplace also was featured recently — in the Arts section of The New York Times.

The article noted that 26-year-old British singer/songwriter Ed Sheeran recently loaned his new Aston Martin DB9 to his manager’s wife soon after he purchased the car. Turns out Sheeran didn’t like the car’s design. The article quotes Kristian Aadnevik, a Norwegian fashion designer and car collector, as saying that the new supercars “all look the same.” Aadnevik is 39. None of his eight cars is newer than a 1971 model.

The article notes that while Gen X and Millennials have become more active buyers than Baby Boomers, what they want tends more toward experience than possession. For example, it’s not so much that what they wanted but couldn’t have while in high school — perhaps they got everything they wanted? — but in enjoying a spirited Saturday morning drive with friends.

The article also notes that online auctions are growing in popularity and that Sotheby’s has linked not only with RM but more recently with ifonly.com, an “experience marketplace.” Thus at the recent RM Sotheby’s sale in Monterey, one of the lots was a 2 1/2-hour sail with America’s Cup champion Brad Webb. It sold for $9,375, and it doesn’t need a garage or insurance.

“Owning a luxury car with a top speed of more than 180 mph is no longer quite enough,” the article concludes.

Speaking of Sotheby’s, news.artnet.com reports that the auction house will stage its first contemporary photography auction September 28 in New York, “tapping into a newly hot market,” perhaps so new that it isn’t even included — yet — in the Coutts Passion Index.

“Photography is one of the most accessible collecting categories today and offers dynamism and immediacy for collectors,” Emily Bierman, head of Sotheby’s photographs department in New York, told artnet News. “We live in a world where today’s collectors have never known a world without photography.”

Sotheby’s expects the 94-lot sale to generate more than $2 million in sales, and perhaps more than $3 million.

Just a week after the auction, Sotheby’s will stage a previously scheduled photography auction featuring works ranging from the 1840s to the modern era. That sale did $2.9 million last year but is expected to generate as much as $5.5 million this fall.

Meanwhile, Christie’s will be doing a primarily online auction of more than 400 photographs from the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

The article noted that photography prices tend to be considerably lower than paintings or sculpture.

 

 

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

Pirelli expands tire line for cars of the 1950s, ‘60s and ‘70s

Pirelli is expanding its range of tires for classic and vintage vehicles. The Pirelli Collezione line is designed to add new and technologically advanced compounds into its classic tire sizes but with the classic look car owners want for their vehicles.

Pirelli notes in its news release that the tires are created to allow “peak performance on today’s street or track while still paying homage to the car’s original character and authenticity.”

Among those tires are a brand new size for the Cinturato CA67, created in tribute to the 60th anniversary of Pirelli’s equipping of the Lancia Flaminia back in 1957. The tire is a 175 R400 89H.

Pirelli said its Collezione range fits many cars produced during the 1950s, ‘60s and ‘70s, including Ferraris, Mercedes-Benz 300SLs, Lamborghini Miuras, Porsche 911s, but also Volkswagen Beetles.

“In particular,” the tire maker reported, “the range serves the air-cooled Porsche community, with five homologated Porsche sizes among the Pirelli Collezione with the Cinturato CN36 and P7 compounds. These tires were built in close collaboration with Porsche and were factory homologated to create the ‘perfect fit’ in terms of style and technical performance.”

Pirelli noted that its engineers consulted Porsche archives to “faithfully recreate the tire characteristics that complement each car’s original suspension set-up and dynamics, resulting in the ‘perfect fit’ tire for contemporary driving situations.”

Cinturato CA67 detail

However, new materials are used to enhance tire construction and detailing, including Pirelli’s high-performance, racing-derived nylon in the dual-ply caracass and high-tensile steel wire in the bead geometry.

“Combined with a dedicated undertread compound, Pirelli Collezione tires ultimately offer greater grip and water expulsion for a safer driving experience,” Pirelli said. “The tire tread compounds also conform to the latest environmental standards (unlike their original counterparts).

“From a design perspective, the tires retain the original sidewall lettering to maintain authenticity down to the smallest details.”

The upgraded Pirelli Collezione product range includes:

  • The Cinturato CA67 – ’50s – “The first textile belted radial tire developed by Pirelli, it contains all-new materials in the classic shape: four longitudinal grooves in the ‘a greca’ style with a cut shoulder and wide siping.” The tire fits the Aston Martin DB5, Ferrari 250 GT and Mercedes-Benz 300SL. Prices range from $273 to $397 per tire, depending on size.
  • The Cinturato CN72 – ’60s – “The CN72 tire tread pattern was developed for standard high-profile sizes, originally equipping the entire Ferrari range, Maserati 4000 and 5000, and other models,” as well as Aston Martin DB6, Lamborghini Miura P400 and original Maserati Ghibli. Price are $423 per tire.
  • The Cinturato CN36 – ’60s – “Created in 1968 specifically for the Fiat Dino, the CN36 was Pirelli’s first standard production steel radial tire. It was HR rated with notable sport features that marked Pirelli’s re-entry into rallies, including an ability to absorb impact and prevent aquaplaning.” It has been repurposed with new technology and is available for such cars the Porsche 911, Ferrari and Fiat Dinos and Mercedes 280 range. Prices are $253 to $409 per tire.
  • The Cinturato CN12 – ’70s – “This tire features a tread pattern created for low-profile sizes after the commercialization of 60- and 70-profile tire sizes.” Fitments include the Lamborghini Miura, Maserati Bora, Aston Martin DB4 and Jaguar E-type. Prices range from $412 to $464.
  • The Cinturato P7 – ’70s – “Launched in 1976, this tire was an important innovation for the racing world with its nylon, zero-degree belt and ultra-low profile geometry.” The new versions fit Porsche 911 G models, including the Carrera Coupe. Prices are $297 to $332 each.
  • The Cinturato P5 – ’70s – “Developed for Jaguar in the late ’70s to equip its luxury sedans, today it can equip those same cars, including the classic Jaguar XJ40 model.” Pricing is $445 per tire.
  • The  P7 CORSA Classic range offers both wet and dry versions for vintage rallying “by combining Pirelli’s latest tire structure and tread pattern with the traditional sidewall appearance. The P7 delivers maximum performance in greater safety.” Fitments include the Ferrari 308, Fiat 131 Abarth, Audi quattro GrB and others. Prices are $236 to $473 each.
The Pirelli stand at The Quail previewed the new tires

The Pirelli Collezione is available through the Pirelli P Zero World, the brand’s flagship showroom in Los Angeles, and (in the five Porsche-homologated N-sped CN36 and P7 sizes) through U.S. Porsche dealerships.

For more information, visit the Pirelli Collezione website.

She’s 79, but her cars make her feel like a teenager again

“You always want what you don’t have,” said Carolyn Sikes, who grew up without even a family car. But while there was no car in the family until she was 12 years old, on October 1, Sikes will display four of her collector vehicles at the Atlanta Concours d’Elegance.

And those are Sikes’ own cars, cars she picked and purchased even before her late husband, Marvin, died a year ago.

Sikes’ father died when she was 18 months old. Her mother couldn’t afford a car so they walked or rode the bus. But Sikes loved cars, and remembers as a child being able to identify them by make and model as they drove past the tiny duplex where they lived.

“When I was in high school, I started dating someone who wound up becoming my husband,” she said. “He was from the ‘other side’ of Houston, if you get my drift. He had the most beautiful car, a 1955 Ford Crown Victoria — brand new, red and white — and he also had a 1952 Jaguar XK120 sports car.

“His mother drove a brand new Lincoln. His father drove a brand new Cadillac. My stepfather had a Plymouth, a small little ugly Plymouth.

“My husband’s friends told him I only dated him for his cars — and that may have had a little bit to do with it,” she adds with a laugh.

“Years later,” she added, “I teased him the only reason he was still married to me was because of my cars.”

1954 Chevrolet Corvette

At the Atlanta concours on the golf course fairways of Chateau Elan in Braselton, Georgia, Sikes will show her 1954 and 1955 Chevrolet Corvettes, her 1955 Studebaker President Speedster and her supercharged 1963 Studebaker Avanti R2.

Often, she’s also invited to show her V12-powered 1972 Jaguar E-type 2+2, which has won a succession of survivor-class awards. Other cars in her collection include has a 1964 Avanti R1, a 1956 Ford Thunderbird, a 1960 Jaguar Mk2 and a 1961 Corvette. She also has a 2007 Mercedes-Benz CLK 350 convertible.

While Sikes was eager to become a classic car owner, she had to wait a while even after marrying Marvin.

“When we got married, we had a very strict budget, and then children came, we had four. We couldn’t afford what we’d love to have, a classic car or two. But whenever it was time for me to get another car, I would always look at him and smile, remembering the XK120.

“You know,” she’d tell Marvin, “I’d love to have a Jaguar sports car, but we can’t get four children in a tw0-seat sports car,’ and I’d usually wind up with a used station wagon.”

But then came the day she saw the 2+2 version of the E-type. “I thought it would hold four (children),” she said, picturing herself behind the wheel. “one in the passenger seat and three in the back seat.”

At the time, the Sikes had moved to Arkansas, where Marvin worked for a truck leasing company. They lived on a small “ranch,” where they also had 90 head of cattle. They loved their life and small-town lifestyle there. But then came the day that Marvin called to say he’d been offered a big promotion, but they’d have to move to Atlanta.

Knowing how much Carolyn loved their Arkansas ranch, he called one day, from Birmingham, Alabama, to say he’d bought her a car, a ’72 Jaguar 2+2.

1955 Chevrolet Corvette

On the drive home, however, Marvin was tired, so he pulled over and got out of the car to stretch his legs. It wasn’t until he went to get back behind the wheel that he realized he’d left the car running — and locked the doors when he’d gotten out.

Of course, a policeman arrived about this time. He couldn’t get the door open either, but was willing to drive back to his station to get something to break a window. While he was gone, Marvin realized he had his own keys in his pocket and started trying each of them on the Jaguar’s door.

Finally, Carolyn recounts, Marvin was able to manipulate an old file-cabinet key just so and the Jaguar’s door opened and he continued his drive home.

Carolyn has stories to tell about each of her cars. Take, for example, the ’55 Corvette.

She wanted a ’55 with its small-block V8 engine, but couldn’t afford one at the time, so she bought the ’54 with its inline 6 instead. Hers was such an excellent example that she’d been invited to show it at the Pinehurst concours. She was getting ready for the pre-concours tour when she noticed a man staring at her car.

The man finally spoke, telling her hers was probably the best ’54 Corvette he’d seen. She thanked him, told him the car’s name was Marlyn (she names all her cars), and, as she was pulling away, she mentioned that she really wanted a ’55.

The man said he had one. She asked if he’d sell it, but she didn’t hear his response as she accelerated away to join the parade of cars leaving on the tour.

The next day, at the concours, she saw the man again. He was one of the judges going over her car “with a fine tooth comb.”

1955 Studebaker President Speedster

After the judges were finished, a group of women approached and asked about her car. One of them said she was the man’s wife, and she mentioned that he was getting more involved with Corvette racing cars and had been thinking about selling his ’55, a car which he’d loaned to a museum in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, and before that had been displayed at the National Corvette Museum.

A phone call later, the Sikes were headed to Tennessee with their trailer to bring home what was now Carolyn’s ’55.

It turns out that Carolyn isn’t the only one with stories to tell about her cars. Recently, she mentioned that the fastest she’d ever driven her V12 Jaguar was 90 mph. Her 55-year-old son confessed that when he was 16, and his parents weren’t home, he’d taken the keys to that car, driven out to a new Atlanta-area highway that had been built but was not yet open to traffic, and saw 140 mph on the speedometer.

“But I could feel the front end start to lift and knew that if something happens to this car, Mom will kill me,” Carolyn recounted his story.

“I was very calm on the outside,” she remembers, “and I said, Marty, had you wrecked the car and not been killed, I would have killed you!”

Another confession: One of her daughters admitted driving the Jaguar to school one day soon after she turned 16, while another daughter was granted permission to use the car for a high school homecoming parade, although Carolyn probably hadn’t planned on all six cheerleaders being packed into her precious car — several of them riding beneath the open rear hatch.

During her years of collector car ownership, Carolyn Sikes has noticed many things. For example, women car owners get more sentimentally attached to their cars then do men, she said. She also said she’s observed that the sexes are attracted to cars of certain colors — men to red, women to yellow.

Regardless of their color choices, “The wonderful thing about any of the car events — concours or not — is that you meet wonderful people that love cars or they wouldn’t be there,” she said. “You already have a lot in common.”

1963-64 Studebaker Avanti

“I try to tell young families that, yes, money is tight, but if they go to a wrecking yard and find an old car and on weekends you and your children work on that car, it’s the best bonding process you can have, and it instills in them a love of cars, too.”

She also advises anyone who is invited to show a car at a concours to consider themselves a winner just for that invitation.

“Do not expect to win an award,” she said. “When your children are grown, sometimes your cars become like your children. You’re very proud of them. You consider them the best of the best. But you’re on that field with perhaps 10 of the best of the best. To get an invitation, you’ve already won, but it’s a hard lesson to learn.”

Another lesson: “When you get ready to buy a car, you need to do your research,” said a woman who can share extensive historical and technical details about the cars she owns, such as why her ’64 Avanti has ’63 headlamps.

For someone who didn’t have a family car until she was 12, Carolyn Sikes has come a long way around from her stepfather’s “ugly” Plymouth.

At age 79, she said, when she sees her reflection in a rear view mirror or car window, she realizes, “I’m just an old lady in an old car.” However, “If I’m in one of my cars and I’m driving and I don’t look at the rearview mirror or see my reflection in the window, I am 16 years old again and driving a brand new car again.”