Category archives: Features

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ex-Coulthard, Hakkinen cars headed to auction

Cars driven by former McLaren F1 teammates David Coulthard and Mika Hakkinen will cross the block Thursday at Coys’ Thoroughbred & Vintage auction Thursday at Fonwell House, just up the road from the Goodwood Revival meeting in England.

One car is a 2008 Mercedes-Benz CL65 AMG that Hakkinen drove after he retired from F1 competition. The other is a 1958 Austin A35 that Coulthard drove up the hill in the Goodwood Revival in 2016.

2008 Mercedes Benz
Mike Hakkinen’s post-F1 driver

“The Coulthard-Hakkinen partnership was synonymous of McLaren racing in the late 1990s and early 2000s, and now these two cars driven by them will share the share the spotlight at Coys auction,” Coys chief executive Chris Routledge said in a news release. “This is a rare opportunity to own cars with genuine provenance and a special piece of motorsport history attached to it.”

In addition to Coulthard’s run up the hills at Goodwood, the Austin was driven at the Silverstone Classic Celebrity Challenge earlier this year by boxer Carl Froch, and frequently has carried its drivers to the podium at vintage racing events.

Coys notes that the car was built in 2016 to HRDC Academy racing series regulations using a 1958 donor vehicle. The recent build and rules “make it highly competitive and easy to drive,” the auction house promised.

The racing suit worn and signed by Coulthard is included in the car’s sale.

The ’08 CL65 AMG also bears Hakkinen’s autograph.

Jay Leno drives Vanderhall Venice

Jay Leno recently hosted a three-wheeled auto-cycle, the Vanderhall Venice, and the vehicle’s creator, Steve Hall, on an episode of “Jay Leno’s Garage.” Jay has a number of three-wheeled vehicles, including a classic Morgan, in his own collection.

During the show, Jay quizzed Steve on camera about the process of bringing an auto-cycle to market. Steve explained that as a three-wheeled vehicle, the Venice can be licensed as a motorcycle. It complies with EPA and CARB emissions regulations, carries a 17-digit VIN and is listed with NADA and Kelly Blue Book, allowing dealers to obtain bank financing for Venice buyers.

Leno quizzed Steve about the wheel and drive configuration. The company’s first prototype was rear-wheel drive, Steve replied, and used a motorcycle engine. This setup was very unstable, however, not unlike the infamous three-wheeled Reliant Robin of Great Britain.

But one of Steve’s primary goals was to capture a vintage-roadster feel in a more-reliable package. Eleven major redesigns by Vanderhall ultimately yielded two front wheels/front-wheel drive and 70/30 weight distribution to replicate the handling characteristics of a mid-engine sports car.

The Venice’s GM 1.4L turbocharged four-cylinder engine was chosen for its packaging, reliability, American sourcing and power; it delivers 180 horsepower in the featherlight, 1,350-pound Venice.

Following the in-garage walk-around, Hall joined Leno for an in-the-wind drive in the Venice (Helmet laws vary by state. California has a helmet exception for enclosed three-wheelers). The pair took off together inside the Venice, which Steve designed to provide ample legroom for people his size (Hall is 6-foot-6-inches tall).

“It’s built by Americans using American parts, which is always a big selling point in the United States,” Leno noted. “It feels incredibly stable, and it’s a lot of fun to drive, with just enough horsepower that you can get yourself in trouble.”

To view the show, check out “Jay Leno’s Garage” on YouTube. For more information on the Vanderhall Venice, call (949) 420-9007 or visit www.vanderhallusa.com.

6,725 hours later, Pininfarina’s Jaguar is reborn

What may be the rarest Jaguar on the planet recently rolled from its restoration to the awards presentation area at the 67th Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance.

The car was the 1954 XK120 SE by Pininfarina, a one-off version of a classic British car by a famed Italian design studio, first shown at the 1955 Geneva and Torino motor shows before being sent to Max Hoffman in New York and then on to its owner.

Hoffman worked with Batista “Pinin” Farina on the design of the XK120 SE.

The Jaguar on the Pebble Beach show field.
The Jaguar on the Pebble Beach show field.

Although the early history of the car after Hoffman delivered it to its initial owner may be lost, the car was in Germany from 1979 to 2015, when it was acquired by employee-owned Classic Motor Cars of Bridnorth, England, which undertook the car’s restoration.

“There is little trace of the car’s history, but we are certain that Hoffman was the supplying dealer, then first owner of the car and that there was only one XK120 by Pininfarina produced, which makes this one of the rarest Jaguars in existence,” David Barzilay, chairman of the Classic Motors Cars operating board, said in a news release.

The Classic Motor Cars team put 6,725 man hours into the car’s restoration.

“Some of the original parts were impossible to find so we had to remake items such as the bumpers and chrome work by hand from photographs,” Barzilay said. “We had to scan the front and rear end of the car and make mock ups of the lights, which were then scanned and 3D printed. Smaller missing parts were also 3D printed in-house.

“The rear window was missing so we also had to scan the window aperture and have a new rear screen made from the scan data.”

There also was the challenge of determining and reproducing the car’s original paint color.

“During the pre-restoration inspection, it was found that Pininfarina had used the original XK body as a basis, and that, at some point in its life, the car was painted Burgundy and had the seats covered with tan leather,” the Classic Motor Cars’ news release noted.

“There were no signs of the original paint color and it all came down to the last nut and bolt,” Barzilay said. “When the front screen was removed, we discovered a small section of original paint and used it as a color match.

“The interior trim door cards were missing, along with the carpets and the original color of the trim, but we discovered a small sample of original Ochre tan leather when we stripped the car down. This was color matched and the original type and color leather was used to recreate the interior.

“The shape and pattern of the door cards was created by looking at similar Pininfarina designed cars from the period.”

Second in class award presented
Second in class award presented

During its work, the team did a full-body restoration including new front end, rear quarter panels, inner arch panels, boot floor, sills and door skins; full chassis repair and repaint; remade front and rear bumpers, remade 80 percent of the original chrome work; remade rear screen and surround; full interior re-trim; full engine and gearbox rebuilt; and refurbished suspension components to return the car to original Jaguar equipment specification.

“The car was admired all day and we are delighted to be bringing a trophy home as a further testimony to the skills, dedication and attention to detail that we have in our business,” said Neumark. “A great result!”

The car was awarded second place in the Postwar Closed class at Pebble Beach, where the class winner was another one-off vehicle, the 1955 Alfa Romeo 1900 CSS Boano Coupe Speciale owned by Tony Shooshani of Long Beach, California.

Vintage racing: 87-year-old racer wins Spirit of Monterey honors

Lee Talbot, who at age 87 is much older than the 1967 Ginetta G4 sports car he races, received The Spirit of Monterey award at the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion during the recent Monterey Car Week.

Lee Talbot

Talbot, a professor of environmental science and policy at George Mason University in Virginia, was honored for “the same spry enthusiasm” he has exhibited throughout his racing and scholarly careers, according to the race organizers at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.

Talbot’s Ginetta finished 22nd among the 42 cars that started the race for 1961-1966 GT cars with engines of less than 2,500cc displacement. The race was won by Porsche factory racer Patrick Long in a 1968 911 T/R

The Reunion actually was a two-weekend event that started August 11 with 27 vintage racing cars driving from Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca to Alvardo Street in downtown Monterey in advance of the Pre-Reunion racing program that drew 300 cars the weekend before Car Week.

More than 500 vintage racing vehicles then participated in the Reunion, where additional highlights included demonstration laps by Tom Kristensen in an Audi R8 LMP1 and by Mika Hakkinen in the McLaren M23B that Emerson Fittipladi drove to the 1974 Formula One championship.

Featured during the Reunion was the Diamond Jubilee World Tour of Formula Junior cars, with 64 of the cars running in two separate race groups.

Showcased in the Laguna paddock were 12 cars pertinent to the 60-year history of the track, including the Ferrari Testa Rossa that Pete Lovely drove to the overall victory at the track’s inaugural event in November 1957.

Race winners were:

Pre-1940 sports racing and touring cars: Luca Maciucescu, 1934 Ford Granite State Special
1927-1951 racing cars: Paddins Dowling, 1934 ERA R2A
1955-1961 sports racing cars over 2,000cc: Dyke Ridgley, 1960 Chaparral I
1974-1981 FIA, IMSA GT, GTX, AAGT: Bruce Canepa, 1979 Porsche 935
1947-1955 sports racing and GT: Dave Zurlinden, 1953 Tatum GMC Special
1970-1984 sports racing cars under 2,100cc: Timothy de Silva, 1978 Osella PA8
1963-1973 FIA manufacturers championship cars: Chris MacAllister, 1973 Gulf Mirage
1981-1991 IMSA GTP: Charles Nearburg, 1989 AAR Eagle MkIII
1955-1962 GT: Kevin Adair, 1959 Austin Healey 3000 S
1958-1960 Formula Jr. (front engine/drum brakes): Chris Drake, 1961 Elva 300
1961-1966 GT cars under 2,500cc: Patrick Long, 1968 Porsche 911 T/R
1963-1966 GT cars over 2,500cc: Lorne Leibel, 1965 Cobra AC
1961-1963 Formula Jr. (disc brakes): Danny Baker, 1963 Lotus 27
1955-1961 sports racing cars under 2,000cc: Cameron Healy, 1953 Porsche Cooper Pooper
1973-1991 IMSA GTU, GTO: Bill Ockerlund, 1991 Chevrolet Duracell Camaro

HSR and Stand 21 launch raceway line

Historic Sportscar Racing and Stand 21 of France have announced a partnership to produce custom HSR, Classic 24 Hour at Daytona and Classic 12 Hour at Sebring “Pistons and Props” branded race wear.

Shoes, gloves, racing suits, shoes and other race wear was designed to exceed safety and medical standards required by FIA, SFI and Snell Foundation, Stand 21 and HSR said in a news release.

Stand 21 also produces such special gear in conjunction with the Le Mans Classic, Monaco Formula One Historics and the Rolex Monterey Reunion, among others.

The third Classic 24 at Daytona is scheduled for November 8-12 with the second 12 at Sebring November 29-December 3.

Lotus 49 lives again at Beaulieu Autojumble

Lotus 49 will roar again at Beaulieu Autojumble

To celebrate the 50th calendar-year anniversary of the huge International Autojumble (swap meet) at Britain’s National Motor Museum, the famed 1967 Lotus 49 that is part of the museum’s collection will rev its 2,993cc V8 engine for all to hear.

The Formula One car is chassis No. 3 and was driven by Graham Hill. The Lotus 49 is a late replacement for the 1950 BRM V16 which was supposed to roar back to life but has some technical issues yet to resolve. The 51st Autojumble takes place September 2-3.

 

The Thermal Club: Leave your golf clubs at home

Outside of Palm Springs, amid the country’s legendary golf courses, exists a private facility for well-heeled petrol heads. Situated on 344 acres, the Thermal Club provides its members everything they need to live a car enthusiast’s dream.

Combining on-track thrills with the grandeur of a country club, Thermal Club features a luxurious clubhouse, a Motorsports Village plaza, an athletic facility, spa, pools and tennis courts. Buildings showcase contemporary Spanish architecture.

The Thermal Club has three race tracks | Photo courtesy of Thermal Club

Becoming a member affords access to amenities and racetracks, and qualifies you to purchase a home site within the club’s grounds where you can build your dream home built to your own desires and preferences.

Villas are not only luxurious vacation homes, but car galleries— where you can display 15 or more vehicles in a garage and still find room to park an RV. Ranging between 6,000 to 15,000 square feet, most villas have three to five bedrooms and offer views of the track. The design of a villa can mimic the Spanish mission architecture of the club, although custom homes can also be commissioned. Most villas are located around one of the club’s three racing circuits, with a selection providing direct access to a track.

Each racing circuit is distinguished by unique features and can be combined to create a 5.1-mile loop. The tracks incorporate state-of-the-art safety measures. Each circuit designed by acclaimed track designer Alan Wilson.

While racing is the keystone of the community, the experience goes well beyond. The Member’s Club houses a European-inspired spa, café and bar. Large family and kids rooms are available. Two outdoor pools offer an escape from the desert climate. The facility also features basketball, tennis and pickleball courts.

At the center of the club is Motorsports Village, a collection of buildings that support the racing operation. The Village’s main garage has a professional shop with lifts, tools, diagnostic computers and skilled mechanics. The shop not only prepares a member’s racing car, but services and details personal vehicles as well.

Directly across from the shop is a climate-controlled, secure garage where members store cars and the club’s racing crew prepares for on-track action. When track time ends, the crew will perform a systems check, make repairs or adjustments, and then give the vehicle a wash and detailing.

The Clubhouse

The crown jewel of Motorsports Village is the clubhouse, which offers meeting spaces and a large dining room with racing-inspired paintings on every wall. A viewing tower offers a visual vantage of the tracks, as well as the Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains.

Further details and information about membership can be obtained at www.TheThermalClub.com

Club, Community, Caring: Old Tin Rods knows what’s up 

Ronnie Perrin is owner and fabricator at Old Tin Rods in Elwood, Indiana. He used to work in information technology. Then he became part of the Road Kings Car Club and it was off to the races.

Why’d you start Old Tin Rods?

I started Old Tin Rods because of my passion for metal shaping, Model A’s, and other cars of the ’30s.

I knew there were many different styles of cars in the ‘20s and ‘30s. Getting body panels for a lot of them is not an option. With my abilities in metal shaping, I get to work on cars I would never dream of being able to locate, not much less afford, if I were doing this as a hobby.

Dragster build for Butch

How did you come to have such a love for metal shaping? Was there an ah-ha moment?

I have always enjoyed the cars that, for the most part, you cannot get panels for. I’d buy an aftermarket panel, only to have to rework it to make it fit or do what I wanted it to do, so I started making small panels from scratch. As I gained experience through the years, it just became easier to make larger panels. The more panels I build, the more more fun it gets.

Why these vehicles/this scene?

I simply have a passion for cars of the ‘20s and ’30s. There are many other cars up into the ’50s that I enjoy and even work on, but concentrating on these cars, I can really grow my experience and skills in the era that I really enjoy.

The people that drive a ‘20s to ‘30s hot rod are a breed of their own. Most I have met are great people that still dream of a better place and time when hard work, hot rodding, and racing really thrived.

What’s your ideal project look like?

My ideal project would be a ‘32 3-window body coming through the door with lots of metalwork needed. I love saving these old cars and very much enjoy watching the creativity of the owner as they take their body home to get started on their own dreams.

How do you approach new projects?

I listen to the customer on their thoughts and give them my thoughts. If the thoughts mesh I take the project on.

Building a hot rod has a lot to do with one’s vision. If the builder and customer have a common goal it is a lot easier to complete that task. There are many different style of hot rods, rat rods, etc.. Along with that, there is a builder out there with your vision, style, and goals in mind.

How have things changed — with the scene, with your business — since you started?

The scene hasn’t really changed for me. My scene is full of cool cars, my family, and fellow Road Kings C.C. members. I can always rely on that to stay consistent.

Clubs are family. Care to go on the record with why Road Kings CC is your family?

I have a great wife and two great children that mean the world to me. My fellow club members are the closest thing to me next to my immediate family. Here is a recent post I put on the Jalopy Journal. It’s a pretty good example of what my club means to me and the lengths I’ll go for its members.

Ronnie Perrin, Old Tin Rods

What do you know now that you wish you knew then?

I am constantly trying to learn as much as I can about my field. If I had anything to change it would have been to really hang out and listen more to the older guys in this scene.

It seems everyday we are losing another great guy from the generation that started all of this. There is a wealth of knowledge out there regarding any number of things related to hot rods and racing and most of it is still in the hearts and minds of our elders.

What should we be doing to prepare the next generation of gearheads?

Get engaged with a good car club full of hot rodders. If requirements of the club are to have a car and you don’t have that kind of money — you still have options. Get your ass over there and mow, pull weeds, or whatever it takes to show them you are the young, hard working individual they need to keep the club going for years to come. If they’re the right club your hard work won’t go unnoticed.

Chevy C10 suspension salvation – Two brothers show us how

Chevy pickups from the 1960s, ‘70s and ’80s are becoming more popular than ever as enthusiasts are picking up these timeless trucks and turning them into high-performance street and track machines.

How can you get an old ranch truck to handle better than a new Corvette? The Harmola brothers from Aldan American Suspension in Los Angeles, California, set out to answer that question.

The Harmola brothers at work

Starting with a 1971 C10 Super Cheyenne bought off eBay, the brothers used this truck as their canvas for developing a streetable, track-ready pickup truck.

“My brother and I have always been into trucks and decided to build our first race truck as a platform to test and develop new coilover, shock and suspension products for Aldan American,” said Garrett Harmola, president and owner of Aldan American.

There are several ways to improve a vehicle’s suspension. One method is to run an adjustable coilover shock setup. Coilover shocks allow greater adjustment of a vehicles ride-height, along with fine tune shock damping adjustments (the speed at which the shock operates) allowing for better handling and control. Aldan American coilovers are fully adjustable and allow the ability to interchange coilspring rates for different track types and road conditions.

For the Harmola Brothers’ C10, one primary goal was to remove the stock suspension and convert to a coilover suspension with disc brakes and drop spindles for a lowered stance and drastically better handling. Using the highest quality, U.S. made parts and components on the suspension was a must for these California-born brothers.

Scotts Hot Rods C10 Aldan

Updating the stock C10 suspension to use Aldan coilovers, the Harmolas chose a Scott’s Hot Rods independent front suspension (IFS) for the front of their C10’s suspension. The Scott’s kit is designed to run coilover shocks, drop spindles and offers stiffer sway bars and tubular control arms – delivering greater performance gains over a stock IFS.

For the rear suspension on the C10, a custom trailing arm setup was developed using parts from Performance Online.

“We used POL’s custom trailing arms and adjustable crossmember to help us achieve the rear ride-height we were looking for. I fabricated brackets to run the Aldan coilovers on the outside of the frame allowing greater clearance and traction by getting the shocks as close to the rear tires as possible,” said Spencer Harmola.

C10 rear end coilover

To dial in the perfect ride height, and to keep their ultra wide tires planted at speed and under heavy cornering, the brothers’ set up the front and rear suspension with Aldan’s Regulator Series, single adjustable coilover shocks. Made in Los Angeles, Aldan’s Regulator Series coilovers offer 11 positions of rebound adjustment, which allows fine-tuning of the shock speed.

Controlling the shock damping helps the shocks keep the tires planted on the ground for better traction and improved ride quality. Aldan’s high travel, cold wound coilsprings were fitted on the coilover shocks. Coil spring rates were selected for a comfortable street ride and will be swapped out for heavier spring rates for autocross and road course events in the future.

Regulator Series coilover
Regulator Series Coilover

A Watts-link setup was installed on their built 12-bolt rear end to help keep the rearend centered under heavy cornering. With the suspension install completed, next up was installing the WilWood disc brakes and performing an LS motor swap with a T-56 6-speed manual transmission out of a late-model Chevrolet Camaro. Wheels and tires were mounted and the truck was sent off to paint and final assembly.

For more info on coilover shocks, suspension and updates on this custom C10 build, check out www.aldanamerican.com

Monterey auctions post $317 million in total sales

A 1991 Ferrari Testarossa is on the block at Russo and Steele's Monterey auction | Bob Golfen photo
A 1991 Ferrari Testarossa is on the block at Russo and Steele’s Monterey auction | Bob Golfen photos

After four days, six auctions and 1,277 vehicles across the block, the final hammer has fallen on the 2017 collector car auctions on the Monterey Peninsula and the total tote stands at $317 million according to Hagerty, the classic car insurance and vehicle valuation-tracking company that provides daily updates from major auction venues.

Hagerty reports that while that $317 million figure is better than was expected by its marketplace experts, it falls 6 percent short of 2016 results for Monterey auctions. And it also figures to increase slightly as post-sales transactions are included when the auction companies report the official results in the coming week. Continue reading

In a risky business, passion for collectors is crucial

Of the last 15 Pebble Beach best of show winners, 11 are AIG clients | Larry Edsall photos
Of the last 15 Pebble Beach best of show winners, 11 are AIG clients | Larry Edsall photos

The numbers are impressive indeed, but as impressive as they may be, they don’t tell the real story. Nonetheless, it is impressive to learn that of the last 15 winners of Best of Show honors at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, 11 of them have something in common. And they share it with the owners of 18 of the 39 Ferrari 250 GTOs.

What all of those car owners share is that they are insured by the Private Client Group division of AIG, which has grown from its founding in 1919 as American Asiatic Underwriters to become the American International Group, a major and multi-faceted global insurance company. The company’s business for fine art and vintage vehicles is overseen by Ronald Fiamma, senior vice president and global head of private collections. Continue reading