Category archives: News

Porsche reveals secret concepts, prototypes at museum exhibition

Part of the new Porsche secrets display | Porsche AG photos
Part of the new Porsche secrets display | Porsche AG photos

‘Project: Top Secret” is the title of the newest special exhibition at the Porsche Museum in Stuttgart, where 16 vehicles – most of which have never been shown before – will be on display through January 11, 2015. The vehicles include previously secret concepts, camouflaged prototypes and one-of-a-kind cars created for experimental testing and record runs.

The 16 vehicles were selected to illustrate what Porsche saw as “the spirit of the times or the corporate context of the respective decade.”

For example, in response to the energy crises in 1973, Porsche created the FLA sustainable research project vehicle. Other projects from the same era include the 924, a speed-record project, and the Type 995, an experimental passenger car.

Seven of the cars are from the 1980s, including the 959 aerodynamic prototype, a 928 cabriolet and the previously secret 984 roadster concept.

Also being revealed is the 965, a high-performance sports car concept powered by a rear-mounted, water-cooled V8 engine.

More. of the cars in the new exhibition
More. of the cars in the new exhibition

Projects from the 1990s include a four-door 989 “family sports car,” a prototype built on a 911 Targa chassis that was used to develop the Boxster/Cayman series.

The display also includes a camouflaged Panamera prototype and a rolling chassis of the 918 Spyder hybrid.

The vehicles are among those produced by the more than 4,500 engineers who work at the Porsche Development Center in Weissach.

“Many great ideas never make it to series production for technical or economic reasons,” Porsche said in a news release. “Nonetheless, they are frequently realized as research projects or concept cars.

“A great deal, of course, goes on in secrecy – because one thing is sure: a great idea is always quickly imitated by others. That is why many of the concept cars and experimental vehicles never leave the premises of the Weissach Development Centre.

“After the completion of the project, they are usually scrapped. The most important or exciting projects, though, were put into the stock of the Porsche Museum. Coming directly from there, they are now being shown for the first time to the wider public as part of this special exhibition.”

For more information, visit the Porsche Museum website.

 

Russo and Steele plays a new hand in Vegas 

A rare 1970 Corvette LT-1 will be among several desirable Corvettes at auction | Russo and Steele
A rare 1970 Corvette LT-1 will be among several desirable Corvettes at auction | Russo and Steele

For its second-annual Las Vegas collector-car auction, Russo and Steele has a revised game plan, said auction CEO and co-owner Drew Alcazar.

Alcazar, the bearded ringmaster of the high-energy auction, said the September 26-27 sale at the New Tropicana will tap more into the fun, on-vacation aspect of Vegas with a broader range of car values that’s tailored to the casual buyers who are there mainly to have a good time.

“We came into Vegas last year with some pretty heavy inventory,” Alcazar said in an interview with ClassicCars.com. “We had a (Mercedes-Benz) 300SL Roadster, a Ferrari Dino. We were able to sell the Ferrari Dino but we were unable to sell the 300SL. That couple kind of show that maybe we were overshooting Vegas a little bit.

Vegas is more of an emotional marketplace.”

“Vegas is more of an emotional marketplace,” he added. “It’s one in which people want to go and have fun and buy midyear Corvettes, and ‘57 Chevys and Cobra replicas. We’ve kept it middle of the road (this year) with some good variety that doesn’t overburden it.”

There are some special cars, he noted, such as Corvettes that include a high-performance 1970 LT-1 and an all-original ’61 “fuelie” convertible that’s coming up for sale for the first time. Or such fine European classics as a 1954 Jaguar XK140 roadster and a 1963 Porsche 356B Super Cabriolet.

But there is also a wide range of entry-level collector cars and lesser classics, he said.

Alcazar described the approach as “maybe more along the lines  of a slice of Scottsdale. In Scottsdale when we have 850 cars, I can have cars all across the board. There are cars that someone can pay five grand for or cars that someone can pay millions for.”

lassic beauties such as this 1949 Cadillac fastback will be available | Russo and Steele
Classic beauties such as this 1949 Cadillac will be available | Russo and Steele

Lessons learned at last year’s inaugural Vegas auction, plus some changes that were made to the higher-end Monterey auction in August, helped spawn the revisions that will be seen at the upcoming sale, he said.

In Monterey, Alcazar said, they shortened each night’s auction program and created a “crescendo effect” in which the most-valuable cars came toward the end of each evening’s program.

“That crescendo effect, where the highest value cars went at the end, that seemed to work out well for us (in Monterey),” he said. “As we worked up to the higher-dollar cars, the excitement in the room kept building. It’s a lot of fun to have that happen. It had a good a good vibe and people were digging it.

“We’re going to do that again in Las Vegas, with the highest-value cars coming at the end of each program each afternoon.”

And yes, he does mean afternoon. While Russo and Steele auctions are traditionally evening affairs, the Vegas auction will move its hours up into the afternoon, starting at 1 p.m. and ending around 7 p.m. There’s a definite reason for this change, Alcazar said, and that has to do with Vegas’ nightlife.

“We came to find that there is some competition in Vegas for that (late-hours) time space,” he said. “People start to head to the casinos and do the night life, and of course, that’s what they’re in Vegas for.

A fine 1954 Jaguar XK140 to be auctioned | Russo and Steele
A fine 1954 Jaguar XK140 to be auctioned | Russo and Steele

“Last year when we went into 10:30, 11 at night, we were kind of infringing on their playtime. We got some feedback from our fan base that they’d like us to get wrapped up a little earlier so they can go out and play.”

Another piece of competition happening at the same time, which Alcazar did not mention, is the rival Barrett-Jackson auction that takes place January 25-27 also in Las Vegas. Alcazar has said in the past that the two auctions do not so much compete as complement each other by attracting their own brands of clientele.

Russo and Steele – which specializes in European sports cars, and American muscle cars, hot rods and customs – will have about 200 cars offered during the two-afternoon auction, Alcazar said, noting that his consignment director, John Bemiss, focused his staff on populating the sale with the broad spectrum of cars that should pique the interest of anyone who walks into the indoor sale space at the Tropicana.

There is another force at play here that affects auction companies searching for moderate-priced cars to offer, Alcazar added, and that’s the growing number of collector-car auctions vying for the same cars.

“Right now of course what I think is happening in a broad generality, there’s a lot of competition for the inventory out there,” he said. “You’ve got Dana (Mecum) trying to put on an over thousand-car auction on an almost monthly basis now, which is really burying the marketplace. It’s not easy to get the quality and the inventory and nice variety of cars. It’s tough.”

As a result, there will be more “contemporary collectible” cars, such as late-model exotics and muscle cars, in the Vegas sale, he said, as there were in Monterey. Although that’s not really the direction he wants to go in.

“We’re supposed to be a collector-car auction,” he said. “We’ve worked really hard to have that variety of cars, where people can come to what’s really a collector-car auction, to keep that flavor we’ve become known for.”

Two pre-war racers each top $2 million mark at Bonhams’ Goodwood Revival auction

This 1936 Lagonda Rapide competed in major pre-war races | Bonhams Auctions photos
This 1936 Lagonda Rapide competed in major pre-war races | Bonhams Auctions photos

A pair of historic racing cars brought the biggest money at Bonham’s recent and record-setting auction at the Goodwood Revival.

The 1936 Lagonda LG45R Rapide sports racing two-seater known as ‘EPE 97’ and raced in major pre-war events by the Fox & Nicholl team set a record for a Lagonda sold at auction, bringing more than $2.54 million at the Bonhams sale.

Also topping the $2-million mark and setting a record for the sales price of a car from OM (Officine Meccaniche) was a 1930 OM 665 SS MM Superba 2.3-liter supercharged sports tourer that won its class and placed fifth overall in the Targa Florio.

The entire sale also set a record for Bonhams at the Goodwood Revival with more than $25 million exchanged in the bidding for 106 vehicles and 172 lots of automobilia. Of that total, nearly $5.7 million was generated by the sale of 10 additional Ferraris and 10 Abarths from the Maranello Rosso Collection. Another Maranello Rosso car — a 1962 Ferrari GTO — set an all-time at-auction record recently when it sold for $38.1 million at Bonhams’ auction on the Monterey Peninsula.

“What a weekend,” James Knight, motoring director for Bonhams, said as the Goodwood Revival meeting ended. “Beautiful weather, fantastic cars and hours of exciting bidding in what has been our biggest Goodwood Revival sale ever.

This 1930 OM Superba was fifth overall in the Targa Florio.
This 1930 OM Superba was fifth overall in the Targa Florio.

“Top lot — the Lagonda ‘EPE 97’ — captured everyone’s attention with its illustrious racing history, but with several star cars, bidders had a huge diversity of motoring to ignite their interest,” he added.

“The auction received attention from all around the globe, with bids coming in from the United States, the Far East, and all over Europe – a great sale to end the summer season.”

Top-10 sales at the auction were a diverse lot, including not only the Lagonda and OM, but cars from Mercedes-Benz, Maserati, Ferrari, Porsche, Lamborghini, Jaguar and Bentley.

 Bonhams Goodwood Revival auction 2014 — Top 10:

  1. 1936 Lagonda LG45R Rapide sports-racing two-seater, $2,547,728
  2. 1930 OM 665 SS MM Superba 2.3-liter supercharged sports tourer, $2,036,669
  3. 1957 Mercedes-Benz 300SL roadster, $1,056,913
  4. 1937 Maserati Tipo 6CM single-seat racing vetturetta, $984,190
  5. 1949 Ferrari Tipo 166 Inter coupe, $911,468
  6. 1993 Porsche 911 Type 964 Carrera RSR competition coupe, $729,661
  7. 1968 Lamborghini Miura P400 coupe, $693,300
  8. 1933 Maserati Tipo 4CM single-seat racing vetturetta, $693,300
  9. 1967-68 Jaguar XKSS replica, $624,213
  10. 1958 Bentley S-series Continental sports saloon, $611,487

(All prices include buyer’s premium.)

Taxi squad: New company specializes in restoration of Checker cars

Housed in the Gilmore Car Museum is the last Checker built, rolling off the line July 12, 1982. | Larry Edsall
Housed in the Gilmore Car Museum is the last Checker built, rolling off the line July 12, 1982. | Larry Edsall

Steve Contarino has always had a fondness for Checkers, a passion he traces to his childhood when his father drove a Checker cab in Massachusetts. Now that passion is turning into a business with the launch of Checker Motor Cars, which at first will restore and sell classic Checkers, but which Contarino hopes will someday produce complete vehicles.

Contarino has been a car collector for more than a couple of decades, and his collection has included Checkers. In fact, he was the person who restored the only Checker Centurian, a 1967 concept car designed and built by Ghia of Italy.

Over the years, Contarino learned he wasn’t alone in his enthusiasm for Checkers, which last were produced in 1982.

“There is quite a following,” he discovered. “There’s the Checker Cab Club, but I didn’t realize there was much more of a following internationally. It’s not just in America. It’s across the world.”

Contarino also learned that there are several businesses that use Checkers to transport guests and clients.

Checkers were fine automobiles and have a neat place in our history,”

— Steve Contarino

 

He shared the story of a hotel in New York City that offers its guests tours of the town in a classic Checker. The hotel owner said those guests ofter return and tell how they felt like celebrities because of all the people taking their picture as they rode along.

The guests are happy, and so is the hotel owner, who doesn’t burst their bubble by explaining that it’s the car, not the occupants, that draws such attention.

Contarino said he’s using the Texas-based DeLorean Motor Company as a sort of template for his new Checker venture. He’s started by providing restoration parts and services, but sees a new Checker car in the future.

“Our goal is to begin by offering restored automobiles that undergo a 200-item restoration process to make them something an enthusiast or a company would be able to use and enjoy,” he said.

There already are several Checkers available for sale, including one with a chopped roof and a Chevy big-block V8 under its hood. Checker Motor Cars also has a couple of Checker wagons and Aerobuses — eight-door, 12-passenger vehicles — available for sale.

“As we progress, we’ll be manufacturing replacement parts. Our ultimate goal is to get to the point where we manufacture everything there is.”

Well, he added, everything but the drivetrain, which just as in the days of the original Checker, came from the General Motors parts bin.

“Checkers were fine automobiles and have a neat place in our history,” he said. “We’re trying to save them, one at a time.”

Contarino also is saving stories about Checkers. Of course, there was his father’s taxi, but he recently heard from another car enthusiast who talked about how a nun would pick him and other Catholic-school students up each morning for school in a 12-passenger Checker limousine.

Checker Motors Cars is based in the 56,000-square-foot facility in Haverhill, Massachusetts, where Contarino has run a public-service vehicle-modification company for more than 30 years, taking various Ford, Chrysler and GM vehicles and fitting them for police, fire and other municipal department duties.

For more information, visit the Checker Motors Cars website.

 

John Moir’s A-to-Z and Jeffrey Day collections heading to RM sale at Hershey Fall Meet

The ABC and XYZ cars from John Moir's collection | RM photo by Darin Schnabel
The ABC and XYZ cars from John Moir’s collection | RM photo by Darin Schnabel

Cars from two very specialized collections will be offered during RM Auctions’ annual sale at the AACA (Antique Automobile Club of America) Eastern Division Fall Meet, October 9-10 at Hershey, Pennsylvania.

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Mullins’ ‘Star of India’ Delahaye acclaimed best of the beauties at new French concours

The Mullins' 1937 Delahaye wins best of show at new French concours d'elegance
The Mullins’ 1937 Delahaye wins best of show at new French concours d’elegance

Concours d’Elegance is, after all, a French phrase, so perhaps it’s only fitting that Europe’s newest concours d’elegance was held in France. The inaugural La Rencontre de l’art & de l’Elegance (Chantilly Arts and Elegance Concours d’Elegance) was held in the gardens of the Domaine de Chantilly and attracted some 10,000 visitors who came to see 100 of the world’s most beautiful automobiles.

Classes included Maserati Racing Cars, Great Bodywork on Maseratis, a Tribute to Bugatti, Untouched (unrestored) Cars, Pre-1905 Ancestors, Pre-1976 Endurance Racers, Sports and Racing Cars of the Inter War Period, British chassis with Italian coachwork, Great French Coachwork of the 1920s and ‘30s, and Concept Cars from the ‘60s and ‘70s.

Mirror, mirror on the wall… Judged most beautiful of all was, no surprise, a French car, the 1937 Delahaye 135 M cabriolet by Figoni et Falaschi, which was displayed by its owners, Peter and Merle Mullin. Peter Mullin is founder of the Mullin Automotive Museum and chairman of the Petersen Automobile Museum.

Known as the Star of India, the Delahaye is one of only three surviving with Figoni et Falaschi coachwork. It was commissioned by Figoni’s friend, explorer and businessman Casimir Jourde and was one of 11 cars built by Figoni et Falaschi for the Paris Auto Salons from 1936 through 1939.

In 1939, the car was shipped to India where it was sold to Prince de Berae Mukarran Jah. At some point the car was sold and disappeared.

It wasn’t until 1982 that the car was rediscovered, sitting on wooden blocks inside a garden shed in Jodhpur. A British classic car dealer had it disassembled and shipped in crates to England, where it was restored.

But the restoration was an as-found effort because the dealer didn’t know changes had been made to the car in India.

The car was displayed at Pebble Beach in 1992, and then was purchased by Mullin who restored it to its original configuration, although not with its original red paint.

 

Ferraris draw big bids at RM London auction, but so do low-mileage original-condition cars

The scene at RM's London sale | RM photos by Tim Scott, Fluid Images
The scene at RM’s London sale | RM photos by Tim Scott, Fluid Images

Ferraris, of course, led the way at RM’s annual London auction, staged in conjunction with the prestigious Concours of Elegance, but other classic and collector cars offered in original and low-mileage condition also did very well.

The sale offered 80 earth-bound vehicles, plus one aerospace artifact. Sixty-nine of the ground-bound cars sold, an 86.25-percent sell-though, for a total of $36,285, 366.

A 1956 Ferrari 250 GT Berlinetta Competizione “Tour de France” model, one of nine built, topped all sales at $8,118,993. The car had a long racing history and twice finished among the top 10 in the race from which it took its name.

The Cobra on the block
The Cobra on the block

A 1966 Ferrari 275 GTB, one of 60 produced with alloy bodywork, achieved $3,266,261. Two other Ferraris — a 2003 Enzo and a 1989 F40 — also were among the top-5 in sales.

The third-highest sale, however, deviated from the Ferrari dominance. It was for a 1964 Shelby 289 Competition Cobra that brought $1,959,756. All prices listed here include RM’s buyer’s premium.

“It is wonderful to be reflecting on yet another remarkable sale,” RM Europe’s managing director Max Girardo said in a post-sale news release. “The London auction has always delivered great cars to the market and achieved strong results, and this year has been no exception. The results, which include a strong 86 percent sell through, are a true reflection of the quality of the vehicles presented.”

Speaking of quality, a 1989 Ferrari 328 GTS in classic Rosso Corsa and beige leather colors — and with fewer than 200 kilometers on its odometer — sold for $261,300, double its pre-auction estimate.

Also, a 1990 25th anniversary Lamborghini Countach with 2,600 k on its odo went for $373,287, well beyond its pre-auction estimate, and a 1984 Peugeot 205 Turbo 16, a Group B World Rally Car, more than doubled its anticipated bids while selling for $261,300.

The 'Tour de France' Ferrari on the block
The ‘Tour de France’ Ferrari on the block

A highlight of the auction was the sale of the world’s fastest serially produced vehicle, a CIAM-NASA Hypersonic Flying Laboratory “Kholod.” Capable of achieving 4,925 miles per hour, the aerospace artifact sold for $63,367.

RM Auctions London, Top-10 sales:

  1. 1956 Ferrari 250 GT Berlinetta Competizione “Tour de France,” $8,118,993
  2. 1966 Ferrari 275 GTB alloy, $3,266,261
  3. 1964 Shelby 289 Competition Cobra, $1,959,756
  4. 2003 Ferrari Enzo, $1,586,469
  5. 1989 Ferrari F40, $1,269,175
  6. 1968 Lamborghini Miura P400, $1,082,532
  7. 1958 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL roadster, $1,026,539
  8. 1937 Bugatti Type 57C Stelvio, $989,210
  9. 1955 Lancia Aurelia B24 Spider America, $933,217
  10. 1970 Ferrari 365 GTB/4 Daytona Berlinetta, $905,221

(All prices include buyer’s premium.)

Some of the cars available at RM's London sale
Some of the cars available at RM’s London sale

 

Mecum auction tops $31.4 million in Dallas

 The top-selling 1969 Corvette L88 convertible is one of two in black-on-black | Mecum Auctions
The top-selling 1969 Corvette L88 convertible is one of two in black-on-black | Mecum Auctions

After the rush of multi-million-dollar Ferraris and other seemingly unobtainable exotics at the recent Monterey collector-car auctions, it’s a relief to see the results of Mecum’s Dallas auction, where Chevys and Fords topped the bidding.

Total sales at Mecum’s fourth annual Dallas auction came to $31,428,039, with 766 of the 1,155 cars going to new owners, a 66 percent sell-through rate. That’s a drop from last year’s sale, which came to nearly $38 million, although that was with nearly 300 more cars crossing the block, including the top-selling 1967 Corvette L88 convertible that went for $3.2 million.

There were no million-dollar sales this year, although another Corvette L88 again led the pack. This one, a 1969 convertible race car that was ordered new by renowned L88 racer Tony DeLorenzo, hammered sold for $680,000, plus auction fees. The high-performance Vette is one of just two finished in black-on-black.

Four modern Ford GTs are among the top-10 sellers | Mecum Auctions
Four modern Ford GTs are among the top-10 sellers | Mecum Auctions

A couple of Camaros fill the next two top-sales slots: The first 1967 Camaro ever ordered by famed Yenko Chevrolet, which reached $300,000 (prices listed here do not include Mecum buyer’s fees), and an award-winning product of Yenko’s performance magic, a 1969 Yenko coupe, which hit $285,000.

Late-model Ford GT coupes, which have gained “instant collectability” status, made up no fewer than four of the top-10 spots at the Dallas auction, with impressive totals ranging from $280,000 to $255,000.

Mecum Dallas auction 2014, top-10 sales (prices do not include buyer’s fees):

1. 1969 Chevrolet Corvette L88 convertible, $680,000
2. 1967 Chevrolet Camaro, $300,000
3. 1969 Chevrolet Yenko Camaro, $285,000
4. 2005 Ford GT, $280,000
5. 1967 Chevrolet Corvette convertible , $270,000
6. 2005 Ford GT, $260,000
7. 2006 Ford GT, $255,000
8. 2005 Ford GT, $255,000
9. 1971 Dodge Hemi Challenger R/T, $250,000
10. 2013 McLaren MP4-12C Spyder, $215,000

Alfa roadster wins England’s posh Concours of Elegance

The best of show 1931 Alfa Romeo 6C 1750 Touring Flying Star | Concours of Elegance
The best of show 1931 Alfa Romeo 6C 1750 Touring Flying Star | Concours of Elegance

Britain’s prestigious Concours of Elegance is unique among such top-echelon classic car events in that its venue changes every year, though it always is held on the grand landscaped lawns of a Royal Palace.

The Concours of Elegance is posh in every sense of the word, with the third-annual gathering last Sunday at one of the UK’s most splendid landmarks, the Fountain Gardens of Hampton Court Palace in Surrey. A special awards presentation was hosted in the Great Dining Hall by concours patron HRH Prince Michael of Kent.

Prince Michael of Kent admires a 1930 Bentley 6 1/2 Litre | Matt Ankers
Prince Michael of Kent admires a 1930 Bentley 6 1/2 Litre | Matt Ankers

A record 10,000 people strolled the historic grounds among 60 of the world’s most rare and exquisite automobiles.

A legendary Italian masterpiece, the 1931 Alfa Romeo 6C 1750 Touring Flying Star, won the best of show trophy. The gleaming white Alfa sports car has been winning important awards since its creation – at its concours debut in 1931, it won the Coppa d’Oro trophy at the Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este – and has been earning praise and trophies ever since.

The Concours of Elegance was established in 2012 with its inaugural event held on the private grounds of Windsor Castle to mark the diamond jubilee of Her Majesty the Queen’s reign. The 2013 Concours took place at the historic Royal Palace of St James in London, when the event raised more than £250,000 (about $400,000) for charity.

Only at the Gilmore: Disney movie set, wood car tires

Nick Chester, 12, demonstrates the scale of the Disney version of a Rolls-Royce | Larry Edsall photos
Nick Chester, 12, demonstrates the scale of the Disney version of a Rolls-Royce | Larry Edsall photos
Here's the real Rolls
Here’s the real Rolls

As you may have noticed through the series of Eye Candy photo galleries we’ve been presenting, the Gilmore Car Museum is known for its classic cars and its historic barns, but there are at least two other things that make the place unique.

The one for which it is most widely known is for being the only place other than Walt’s own studios to have the real set from a Disney movie.

The set is the gigantic Rolls-Royce rear seat used in the 1967 movie The Gnome-Mobile, which starred Walter Brennan as a lumber baron whose grandchildren convinced him to save a redwood forest because it was the home to the “little people,” a group of gnomes.

The movie, based on a book written in 1936 by Upton Sinclair, also starred Ed Wynn as well as Matthew Garber and Karen Dotrice, who earlier had been the children featured in another Disney movie, Mary Poppins.

Back in the days before computerized special effects, Disney used photographic tricks to make the actors portraying the gnomes appear to be only inches tall. One way was to build a set four times scale, including the back seat of a 1930 Rolls-Royce Phantom II Sedanca De-Ville that also was used in the movie.

After the filming, and despite a strict policy never to let any set leave Disney property, Walt Disney offered the set to Donald Gilmore for his car museum in Michigan, where it now sits next to the Rolls that was used in the movie.

Turns out that Disney and Gilmore were friends. Gilmore had a winter home in Palm Springs, California, where Disney had a house on one side of his and Ronald Reagan had a house on the other side.

In fact, Disney and Gilmore were such good friends that when Disneyland opened in 1955, the drug store on the park’s Main Street, USA was labeled as the Upjohn Pharmacy because Gilmore was chairman of the Upjohn Pharmaceutical company.

It used to be that museum visitors could crawl up and get their picture taken on the oversized Rolls seat. That’s no longer offered — too much wear and tear in a one-of-a-kind feature, but the real car and the gigantic rear seat set are at the museum for viewing, along with a continuously running loop of the actual movie.

Donald Gilmore's wooden wheels
Donald Gilmore’s wooden wheels

The other unique though less highlighted feature at the Gilmore museum are a pair of car tires made from wood.

During World War II, many items were rationed for civilian use, including gasoline and tires. Donald Gilmore was among those seeking alternatives. For example, he had a 1927 Ford Model T converted to electric power. He also had four tires made from wood and installed on his 1940 Cadillac.

As you might expect, that experiment didn’t go so well because the tires simply didn’t provide sufficient traction. Undaunted, however, Gilmore simply put rubber tires back on the car’s rear wheels and continued to drive with the wooden ones in front.

Modern tire engineers will tell you to put your two best tires on the rear wheels (regardless of whether your vehicle has front-, rear- or all-wheel drive) because as your front wheels lose grip for steering, the driver naturally slows to compensate and to keep the car under control. (So why not put the best tires up front? Because only the most attuned of drivers — basically, very experienced auto racers — can recognize the moment when rear tires are about to lose their grip and send the car into a spin.)

A sign next to the wooden tires in the museum notes that Gilmore’s staff liked it when he drove on the wooden tires. Why?

“Because they could hear him coming from a mile away!”