Pick of the Day: 1951 Ford F1 pickup truck

The Ford F1 pickup looks to be in fine, restored condition
The Ford F1 pickup looks to be in fine, restored condition

Ford recently celebrated another milestone, the 100th anniversary of its first work truck, the Model TT. Essentially a big-boned version of the Model T automobile, the TT set the stage for generations of purpose-built workhorses that continue through today’s F-Series pickup, for many years the best-selling vehicle in the U.S.

The Pick of the Day is a 1951 Ford F1 pickup, one of the Dearborn automaker’s post-war redesigns as the economy got booming again and tradespeople sought out trucks that were not only job worthy but modern and stylish. Continue reading

Pick of the Day: 1987 BMW 3 Series

M3, Pick of the Day at 2016 Legends of the Autobahn | Nicole Ellan James photo
M3, Pick of the Day at 2016 Legends of the Autobahn | Nicole Ellan James photo

What happens to the race cars that are replaced, the cars that become outdated, ineligible to compete, or that never saw much success? Some may go into collections or museums, while others get a second life through vintage racing.

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Pick of the Day: 1988 Porsche 924S

The Porsche 924S was powered by the engine and transmission of the upmarket 944
The Porsche 924S was powered by the engine and transmission of the upmarket 944

It seems that everywhere you look, people are talking about the four-cylinder, front-engine Porsche transaxle cars. The 924 and 944 quite literally kept Porsche in business during a rough patch in the 1970s and ’80s. They were affordable Porsches, and they made great first Porsches for many people to introduce them to the sports car brand.

Like any Porsche aimed at the lower end of the market, they depreciated badly, to the point where you could buy for one as little as $3,500. And like other budget Porsches, such as the once-ridiculed and now wildly popular mid-engine 914, they have started to appreciate and are finally considered collectible Porsches, with prices rising accordingly. Continue reading

Pick of the Day: 1937 Ford street rod coupe

The Ford retains the vintage details of a 57-year-old street rod build
The Ford retains the vintage details of a 57-year-old street rod build

Authenticity is important criteria for any collector car, whether it’s an all-stock classic, a vintage race car or a custom street rod. Which is what makes the Pick of the Day so appealing, a 1937 Ford coupe that was tastefully hot rodded 57 years go, and presents today as a window into how such things were done back in the street rod heyday.

“Built and painted in 1960!” declares the advertisement on ClassicCars.com placed by a dealer in Mount Vernon, Washington. The ad does not include a detailed history of the Ford, other than to note it was featured in the September 1960 issue of Rod and Custom Magazine. Continue reading

Pick of the Day: 1980 AMC Eagle

The all-wheel-drive AMC Eagle was based on the humble Hornet wagon
The all-wheel-drive AMC Eagle was based on the humble Hornet wagon

AMC was struggling against the power of the Big 3 when it pulled out its ace-in-the-hole. That wild card came from AMC’s ownership of Jeep and its famed four-wheeling technology, which the Kenosha automaker’s engineers and stylists adapted to create the first mass-produced passenger car with full-time all-wheel drive.

The Pick of the Day is a 1980 AMC Eagle from the first model year of the bold experiment. While all-wheel-drive cars and trucks are fairly routine today, the Eagle 4X4 was revolutionary in 1980, combining as it did the trail-ready capability of a Jeep with the comfort and versatility of a car-based station wagon. Continue reading

Pick of the Day: 1967 Shelby GT500

1967 Shelby GT500
1967 Shelby GT500

Mustangs have been on my mind a lot lately. Between my quest for a new daily driver and my social media feeds exclusively displaying all things Mustang, and the upcoming Team Shelby Monterey trip, I couldn’t help myself from browsing ClassicCars.com to see what was listed.

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Pick of the Day: 1992 Aston Martin Virage coupe

The Aston Martin Virage is from the last of the revered marque's classic era
The Aston Martin Virage is from the last of the revered marque’s classic era

Aston Martin. The name brings up images of exotic locales, racing victories and, of course, James Bond.

Aston Martin motorcars have always been some of the most exclusive and desirable in the world, and so prices for these automotive works of art are quite high, often costing more than the average house. Continue reading

Pick of the Day: 1964 Ford Falcon Sprint convertible

The Falcon Sprint convertible is an eye-catching red-on-red with period-correct sport wheels
The Falcon Sprint convertible is an eye-catching red-on-red with period-correct sport wheels

Shortly before the advent of the Mustang as a midyear 1964 model, the hot ticket among compact Fords was the Falcon Sprint. The monster success of the Mustang overshadowed the freshly redesigned Falcons -– from which the pony cars were derived -– but today, the 1964 Falcon has a dedicated fan base all its own.

The Pick of the Day is a top-of-the-line 1964 Ford Falcon Sprint convertible, of which just over 4,200 were built that model year. The Sprint served as a halo model for Falcon, its 260 cid V8 putting a performance spin on the economy brand, but this one has been updated with the later 289 V8 and Mustang C4 automatic transmission. Continue reading

Pick of the Day: 1950 Mercury custom show car

Ultra Modern Merc's styling is somewhat polarizing
Ultra Modern Merc took nine years for its builder to complete

The story of the Ultra Modern Merc is one of the most fascinating tales of custom-car building during the 1950s. It tells of how a young, obsessed novice in Southern California enlisted the help of the legendary George and Sam Barris –- who taught him welding, metal shaping and show-car promotion -– and secured backing from the Ford Motor Co. to build his dream car over the course of nine years.

The young builder was Leo Lyons, who was 20 when his endeavor started in 1950. His creation was completed in 1959, and it went on to become a well-regarded show winner and magazine cover car.

Leo Lyons learned to shape metal ti build  his Merc
Leo Lyons learned to shape metal to build his Merc

Considered to be the last of the great 1950s Mercury builds, the Ultra Modern Merc is the Pick of the Day, advertising on ClassicCars.com simply as a 1950 Mercury custom. Offered by a dealer in Sarasota, Florida, the remarkable automobile is also one of the most interesting classic car “barn finds.”

After falling into obscurity for decades, it was rescued in 2013 by Geoffrey Hacker, an author and automotive historian who has dedicated his life to finding and rescuing hand-built custom cars of the post-war era as head of his Forgotten Fiberglass project. Hacker reunited the Merc with Lyons in 2014, shortly before the builder’s passing.

Since Hacker and other like-minded enthusiasts restored the Merc, it has appeared at the 2015 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance in a class for custom Mercurys, and at the 2016 Amelia Island Concours in a class of unique private-build prototypes that was organized by Hacker.

The styling is evocative but polarizing
The styling is evocative but polarizing

“This car is the most radically customized ’49-51 Ccstom Mercury built in-period, and has been recognized as the last significant custom Mercury built in the ’50s,” the seller notes in the ad description.

Lyons originally intended the Merc to be the prototype of a run of identical specials built in period. But by the time the car was finished, interest in producing any more of them had waned.

Other than the chassis, there’s very little Mercury remaining in the Ultra Modern Merc, limited pretty much to small sections of bodywork, the windshield, wipers and exterior door handles.

Most of the body was hand-formed by Lyons, with the hood, doors and roof made by the famed fabricators at California Metal Shaping. The 322cid V8 engine, Dynaflow transmission, headlight rims and Dagmar bumpers came from Buick; hubcaps from Studebaker; and rear trim from Pontiac.

The interior was entirely handmade with extensive rolled-and-pleated seats, dash and panels, and Studebaker gauges and steering-wheel parts from Ford – the steering-wheel center displays the Ford emblem.

The bright interior is uniquely detailed
The bright interior is uniquely detailed

The unique piece of Southern California custom-car history looks in the photos to be in restored condition, although there is no mention in the ad of whether it runs or its roadworthiness. Not that you’d be likely to go joy riding in this Merc; it belongs on the show field or in a museum.

The seller has put an asking price of $159,900 on this unusual find. Whether you favor or fault the innovative styling, this one-man’s-vision creation from the heyday of car customizing is deserving of respect and preservation.

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

Pick of the Day: 1973 Volkswagen Thing

The VW Thing has the same chassis and mechanical parts as a Beetle
The VW Thing has the same chassis and mechanical parts as a Beetle

Say you want a classic car that you can show and take to events, but also drive on the beach. That could be a classic Jeep or a dune buggy, or this one from Germany, which was marketed when new as the Car That Does Everything: the Volkswagen Type 181 Thing.

The Pick of the Day is a 1973 Volkswagen Thing, a fun car that can do a lot of what a vintage Jeep does, and based on the tried-and-true VW Beetle chassis and mechanical parts. Continue reading