Category archives: News

Mercedes-Benz France offering 20 cars at Artcurial’s special auction

Artcurial Motorcars will stage a Mercedes-only auction October 15, and not only will the sale be held at the Mercedes-Benz Center in Rueil Malmaison, Paris, but 20 of the 40 cars on the docket are coming from the private collection of Mercedes-Benz France.

“What an opportunity for an enthusiast to acquire a classic model from the manufacturer itself!” Matthieu Lamoure, Artcurial Motorcars’ managing director, said a news release.

1961 300 SL roadster
1961 300 SL roadster

“Organizing a unique sale with a marque as prestigious as Mercedes-Benz will give collectors the change to immerse themselves in the history of the automobile, an iconic marque synonymous with luxury, strength, elegance and performance.”

Cars on the docket range from a replica of the first three-wheeled 1886 Benz Patent-Motorwagen to a 300 SL Gullwing — and a roadster — and the 500 SL used in the television series Dallas, among others, Artcurial said.

Benz_Patent_Motor_Wagen-6ok

More details and the complete docket will be available at the auction house website.

More than 400 vehicles expected for revival of 1910 hill climb venue

Marshal holds car in place as it team awaits its run up Kop Hill in 2016 | Hill climb photos by Richard Daniels
Marshal holds car in place as it team awaits its run up Kop Hill in 2016 | Hill climb photos by Richard Daniels

Motorcars have been challenging Britain’s Kop Hill since 1910, at least that’s the earliest date for which there are records. Since then, the likes of Malcolm Campbell, Henry Segrave and Count Zborowski have seen how quickly they could reach the summit.

The original hill climb competitions were halted in 1925 because of safety concerns, but in 2009 a group of volunteers convinced local officials to close the public road long enough for yet another go at speed up the hill. The ninth revival of the Kop Hill climb is scheduled for September 16-17 in Princes Risborough.

The event raises money for local causes; last year more than £100,000 (nearly $130,000) was distributed among 32 projects.

Racers, spectators await the start
Racers, spectators await the start

More than 400 vintage vehicles — cars and motorcycles — get to challenge the hill each of the two days of the event, and many more vehicles simply are on display in the paddock car show.

Hill climb entries range from a 1914 German-built Fafnir with a 10.5-liter, four-cylinder aero engine, to a 1957 Ferrari 500 TRC and a ’73 Daytona competition model. Edd China, former host mechanic of the popular Wheeler Dealer television series, also is entered and will take his Casual Lofa Sofa up the hill.

The activities not only include climbs up the hill, but a Soapbox Challenge with teams of youngsters aged 10 to 17 seeing which can cover the greatest distance in their gravity-powered vehicles as they travel down a route that includes a chicane and several obstacles.

 

 

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.

 

 

 

Studio becomes temporary museum to celebrate cars by Gordon Murray

The venue won’t really be a museum, but it figures to feel like one in November when Gordon Murray celebrates 50 years of vehicle engineering and design with a special exhibition featuring 40 race and road cars he’s helped to create.

It is believed that this will be the only time these vehicles — including Brabham and McLaren F1 racers, McLaren supercars, lightweight concepts, one-off specials and city cars — will be showcased together in one place. That place is the new Gordon Murray Design studio in Dunsfold, Surrey, England, where Murray’s newest vehicle also will be unveiled.

While the exhibition is open by invitation only, a virtual online tour will be available at Murray’s website.

“There will also be a host of displays that provide an insight into how these iconic cars have shaped the modern automotive world, as well as the many cultural inspirations for Murray’s work over the decades,” the news release noted.

Murray and the McLaren F1
Murray and the McLaren F1

The exhibition coincides with the 25th anniversary of the McLaren F1 and the 10th anniversary of Gordon Murray Design. Among the vehicles on display will be the 1967 IGM Ford Special, 1978 Brabham BT46B “fan car,” 1981 Brabham BT49C and 1983 Brabham-BMW BT52 world-championship winners, the Le Mans-winning 1995 McLaren F1 GTR, a 1996 McLaren F1 LM, a 2013 Yamaha City Car and a 2016 GTV OX truck-in-a box.

“It will be a very proud and emotional day to see all these cars brought together, as they chart my professional life, as well as my perspective over the decades on complex challenges in vehicle design and engineering,” Murray said.

“Making this event happen presents a huge logistical challenge, as many of the vehicles are in private collections and distributed all around the world. Added to that is the fact almost all the cars are one-offs, and their value is greatly enhanced both by their rarity and, in many cases, by their race-winning pedigree. I am hugely appreciative of the generosity of those owners in granting us temporary custodianship of their cars for this unique event.”

Roof repairs at California museum

As repairs are made to the roof above the California Automobile Museum in Sacramento, the facility has altered its operating hours. It will be open Labor Day from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m., closed Tuesday, September 5, and then open by appointment only through Friday, September 8.

But then comes Classic Car Appreciation Weekend with visitors encouraged to drive to the museum in their vintage vehicles and with a “hoods-up” display of selected museum cars. As part of the weekend celebration, visitors pay only what they want for admission.

The museum is closed except by appointment the following week (September 11-15), then plans to resume normal hours on Saturday, September 16.

Corvette museum offers detailing service

You don’t have to have a vintage Corvette to take advantage of a new service being offered by the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green, Kentucky. The museum’s delivery department and its pre-inspection team, which preps brand new Corvettes for delivery to their owners, will do a professional detailing of any vehicle.

The basic package — exterior wash, dry, spray wax, windows cleaned inside and out, interior vacuumed and tire finish — is $50 for cars and $75 for trucks, vans and SUVs. A premium package with hand wax and interior trim dressing, is $75 and $100, respectively. Carpet and upholstery shampooing also is available.

For details of how to schedule an appointment, see the museum’s website.

REVS Institute opens an Amazon book store

The REVS Institute at the Collier Collection in Fort Myers, Florida, has a huge automotive library that includes many duplicate copies. To make space for new works and to relieve the duplication, the Institute has opened an online Amazon book “storefront.”

To start shopping, so far more than 800 books are offered for sale, visit the special storefront website.

Vintage trucks at the Beaulieu

Mark your calendars

Racer Scott Pruett will be the featured guest November 10 when the California Automobile Museum in Sacramento presents “An Evening With” program.

Some 350 trucks — classics and currents — are expected to be displayed September 9-10 at the British Motor Museum’s seventh annual Retro Truck Show.

“It is hard to believe some of these are over 40 years old as it only seems like yesterday that these trucks were all working for a living on our roads,” Tom Caren, show manager, said in a news release. “We would encourage even those that don’t own a truck to come along and enjoy the nostalgia. Seeing so many magnificent trucks from different decades is a fantastic spectacle.”

Special events this weekend

The Owls Head Transportation Museum in Maine stages its annual Vintage Motorcycle Festival and Antique Aeroplane Show this Saturday and Sunday. A special parking area for vintage motorcycles will be set up for pre-1997 bikes. Those riding in on such vehicles will be admitted to the festival without charge. The museum also will showcase its own collection of motorcycles, including an 1868 Roper Steam Velocipede, 1901 Steffey Motorbike and others. There also will be demonstration flights by vintage aircraft. For details, visit the museum’s website.

This is your last weekend to view the 9th annual Classic Motorcycle Show at the Simeone Foundation Automotive Museum in Philadelphia. The special exhibit closes at the end of the day Friday, September 8.

Because of rain last weekend, the monthly auto flea market and car corral at Muscle Car City in Punta Gorda, Florida, will be held Sunday from 7 a.m. until 1 p.m.

Another High Performance Drivers Education Program takes place today at the NCM Motorsports Park, just across the highway from the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green, Kentucky, where Midwest Track Days for motorcycle riders will be held Saturday and Sunday. This also is the museum’s 23rd anniversary celebration weekend featuring lectures and the hall of fame induction.

The monthly cars & coffee cruise-in is scheduled for Sunday at the Blackhawk Museum in Danville, California, where participants will be reminded of event guidelines regarding behavior. “When the behavior of a small minority of car owners who act in a disrespectful and potentially dangerous manner,” the museum noted, “it is clear that something has to change.” The museum has invited Danville and Contra County police and sheriff staff to attend its shows, where the new guidelines are “Keep it quite. Keep it slow.”

Napier tribute

Britain’s National Motor Museum will be the site of the annual Beaulieu International Autojumble (swap meet) Saturday and Sunday, with a Bonhams collector car auction on Saturday, when one of the featured lots will be an aero-engined 1921 Napier Blue Bird homage to Malcolm Campbell’s land speed-record breaker. The new version is built around a 24-liter W12 Napier Lion aero engine, Delage front axle, Bentley rear, Minerva brakes and has a hand-formed aluminum body. The pre-sale estimated value is in the neighborhood of $350,000.

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.

Is Auburn the last sale for Auctions America?

RM Sotheby’s experiment with an entry-level collector car auction company appears to be coming to a close with the annual Auctions America Auburn Fall sale taking place this weekend at the Auburn Auction Park in northeast Indiana.

Worldwide Auctioneers also has a sale this weekend in Auburn.

Just as with what had been an Auctions America sale in the historic Barker Hangar in Santa Monica, California, this sale is being retitled for 2018, when the twice-a-year Auburn Auction will be presented not by Auctions America but by RM Sotheby’s.

When RM founder Rob Myers and company did the deal to take over what had been the venue for Kruse Auctions a few years ago, RM also launched the Auctions America brand to stage a series of sales geared more to the mainstream of the collector car hobby than to the six- and seven-figure vehicles that tend to fill the RM sales catalogs.

But that was before Myers sold a significant piece of RM to global art auction house Sotheby’s. The RM Sotheby’s joint effort has been a huge success, bringing new customers from the art-collecting world to classic cars as investments that can be appreciated as you use them, not merely as you look at them.

There has been speculation lately that Myers, who has been in the restoration and auction businesses for nearly 40 years, was about to retire, that Sotheby’s would take over full control and that entry-level sales such as those done by Auctions America would not be part of the plan going forward.

Myers said Thursday that the twice-a-year Auburn Auction would continue.

“I’ve been coming her for more than 30 years,” he said, adding that he’s not about to retire.

However, he said, “I hired a new president (for RM Sotheby’s, Ken Ahn, a Harvard graduate and former investment banker/advisor who had been senior vice president for strategy and corporate development at Sotheby’s).

Having someone else as RM Sotheby’s president, Myers said, “means that I can work only 18 hours a day instead of 24.”

He did say that like Santa Monica, the Auburn Auctions would be organized by RM Sotheby’s, and added that a final decision has not been made whether to continue to do any future sales under the Auctions America banner.

Regardless, “we want to upgrade the quality of the cars” on offer in Auburn, he added.

I spent part of Thursday wandering among the cars on the Auburn Auction Park docket. Above are some I’d want were I a collector buying rather than a journalist reporting.

Photos by Larry Edsall

2003 Delahaye Custom Boattail Speedster
2003 Delahaye Custom Boattail Speedster
Created in the style of the French Art Deco era, this custom was built by Browns Metal Mods, and it took four years to create. The curvaceous car — its fiberglass body was designed by Chip Foose — has a modern chassis and a Ford 5.0-liter V8 linked to a C4 automatic transmission. It also has a red leather interior and a removable fabric soft top.
IMG_3312 (1)Formerly part of the acclaimed Lyons Family Collection, this Duesie retains its original LaGrande bodywork, as well as its supercharged engine and chassis. The car’s original owner was Ben Smith, a stock-exchange floor trader known for making a fortune short selling as the U.S. economy entered the Depression. He and his son invested in a horse-racing track in Mexico and the car was part of the deal; it is known within Duesenberg circles as the “Mexico City SJ.”
IMG_3306McFarlans were early but quite advanced vehicles produced in downstate Indiana in the town of Connersville. This original McFarlan chassis and inline 6-cylinder engine wears boattail-style bodywork.
IMG_3287With its Mittelrot (medium red) paint, black leather interior, black convertible top and fuel-injected inline 6-cylinder engine linked to a four-speed manual gearbox, this 220 SE looks like a terrific way to do a vintage car rally such as the Copperstate 1000.
IMG_3282Whomever buys this car will be only the third owner of this sports car with bodywork by Touring. The 4-cylinder engine is topped by a pair of Solex carburetors and is linked to a 5-speed manual gearbox. The consignor had a note on the windshield that five new Borrani stainless wire wheels and hubs were imported from Italy and mounted on the car in 2015; they were an option when the car was new. The consignor added that the original wood box with factory-furnished tools is still in the trunk.
IMG_3310This restored and rust-free truck still has its original inline-6 engine and 4-speed manual transmission. It’s been restored as a wrecker, and for many years was owned by a Chrysler Dodge dealer.
IMG_3293My Dad had a ’51 Pontiac sedan that he bought for his commute to work so my Mom could have the “family” station wagon. This sedan delivery also is a ’51, and has a straight-8 with column-shifted 3-speed gearbox, but it’s way cooler than a station wagon.
IMG_3279This is the stunt car that did a spiral jump over a river in “The Man with the Golden Gun” 007 movie. It looks like a regular AMC Hornet but is built on a race-style frame, and the driver sits in the middle behind a repositioned steering wheel. If I bought it, I’d give it to Andy Reid, our East Coast editor and resident James Bond fanatic.

 

It’s Miami to Detroit for The Drive Home III in January 2018

TDH_III_Map-524x524Some might think that exposing classic cars to winter weather is foolish. But back before they were classics, such cars were daily drivers carrying their occupants to work, to school, to wherever they needed to go, 24/7 and 365.

For the third year in a row, America’s Automotive Trust, via the LeMay — America’s Car Museum, and the North American International Auto Show will join forces to show that vintage vehicles still can take on winter road conditions as they stage “The Drive Home III: Driving The Future,” a 10-day road rally.

The first such event involved three vehicles — a 1957 Chevrolet Nomad, a 1961 Chrysler 300G, and a 1966 Ford Mustang — being driven from the museum in Tacoma, Washington, to the auto show in downtown Detroit. Last winter the same cars took part, but their route began in Boston.

This winter — from January 3-12 — the route starts in Miami and works its way north to the show.

“To keep things fresh, TDH III will feature a set of muscle cars from America’s Car Museum as well as a motorcycle, sports car, resto-rod, and even modern ‘green’ vehicles to tell the story of automotive innovation and competition,” organizers said in their news release.

“The Drive Home is truly a fantastic way to lead into the North American International Auto Show as we connect with automotive enthusiasts across the journey to Detroit,” added Rod Alberts, the Detroit show chairman. “Much like NAIAS, we continue to add new elements and partners to the road rally that keeps it exciting and engaging.”

It was Alberts and the LeMay’s David Madeira who launched the drive home event one evening over scotch and cigars.

“We thought it was a great idea to put vintage cars out on the road in the dead of winter – after all, it’s simply something you don’t see every day,” Madeira said.

“The response has been overwhelmingly positive – the cars bring out feelings of nostalgia, not only in car lovers but everyday people. I’ll never forget how a string of misfortune could have ended the run to Detroit last year, but the community rallied behind us and were instrumental in finding rare parts and getting us on back on the road.”

Wireless tech levels hydraulic suspensions

Level Ride Air Suspension has introduced a new way to control popular pneumatic and hydraulic suspension systems. An Android-based wireless control unit works with a vehicle’s existing adjustable suspension to change ride height by touch or voice.

The new system also stores data in a secure cloud-based server allowing access to diagnostics for troubleshooting from anywhere where a reliable WiFi connection is available.

“The Level Ride Air Suspension system is the culmination of 18 years of industry experience designing, manufacturing and distributing suspension products,” founder/product engineer James Cloke said in a news release.

For the controller, Level Ride Air Suspension uses a stand-alone, Bluetooth-enabled, 5.5-inch touchscreen unit instead of a mobile phone app, allowing for a higher level of control and reliability. For failsafe operation, the system senses vehicle battery voltage and automatically goes into sleep mode as required to prevent vehicle and control-unit discharge.

In addition to the touch-screen controller, the kit includes an ECU, height and pressure sensors, a Valet/Override switch and all required mounting hardware and wiring harnesses and related components.

The kit is compatible with many aftermarket air-suspension systems.

For more information visit www.LevelRideAirSuspension.com.

 

Cover story: London auction catalog mimics style of Underground route map

RM Sotheby’s has done it again, created a collector car auction catalog that is newsworthy, perhaps even collectible, in its own right.

In recent years, the auction house has done some impressive catalogs. Among them, there was the small but brick-thick one for the 2013 sale of the Bruce Weiner Microcar Museum. Two years later, there was the catalog for the Andrews Collection sale, chock full of delightful illustrations by Stefan Marjoram.

Arriving recently was the catalog for RM Sotheby’s annual London auction. While the contents are typical for such a sale, the front and back covers are eye-catching illustrations depicting a classic car (front cover) and a sports car (back cover) presented in the style of those famed London Underground maps.

Tucked between those covers are the 71 automotive lots scheduled to cross the block on September 6 at the Battersea Evolution, located on the south bank of the River Thames, a few blocks west of the tube’s Vauxhall station on the Victoria line.

The front cover of the auction catalog | RM Sotheby's graphic
The front cover of the auction catalog | RM Sotheby’s graphic

The auction is being held in conjunction with Britain’s annual Royal Concours of Elegance, which takes place September 1-3 at Hampton Court Palace.

Among potentially concours-caliber vehicles available at the auction are a 1939 Aston Martin Speed Model C-type, 1935 Hispano-Suiza K6 with cabriolet coachwork by Brandone, 1950 Talbot-Lago T26 Record cabriolet, and perhaps the 1955 Mulliner-bodied Bentley T-Type Continental fastback.

Of the 71 cars on the docket, 14 are Porsches — including a 1973 Carrera RS 27 lightweight with rallying history — and nine are Ferraris.

Among the most unusual are a 1999 De Tomaso Nuovo Pantera prototype concept (styling study) designed by Marcello Gandini, what is believed to be the only — and never raced — 1985 Mazda RX-7 Evo Group B works rally car, a 2014 Land Rover Defender SVX that was part of the cast for the James Bond movie Spectre, and in something of a “future classic” for such a sale, a 2012 Lexus LFA driven only 2,600 kilometers since new.

Immediately after the sale, the RM Sotheby’s team heads to Maranello, Italy, where it stages its Ferrari — Leggenda e passione auction just three days later.

ProFit transmission kit for Ford F100

F-100-5-Speed-524x524

American Powertrain has launched a turn-key ProFit transmission system for 1967-79 Ford F100 pickup trucks, vehicles that have become popular for restro-modification and for pro-touring builds.

The kit features a Tremec TKO 5-speed gearbox with Revolution shifter that allows adjustment for bench- or bucket-seat architecture as well as an X-Factor lightweight aluminum crossmember and poly mount, speedometer solution, DOM steel driveshaft assembly, reverse light wiring, engine specific pilot bearing and a 5-speed shift knob.

As with all of American Powertrain’s ProFit transmission installation systems, each component has been developed specifically for F100 pickups and is covered by a warranty and their customer-first tech support.

Systems retail starting at $3,395 including the transmission.

For details, visit the American Powertrain website.

www.americanpowertrain.com