Without question, the face of BMW is their ever-popular 3-series. The first 3-series rolled off the production line some 43 years ago, and since that day, the 3-series has been racking up awards left and right. Recognized by Car and Driver on their annual “Ten Best” list for 22 consecutive years (1992-2014), the BMW 3-series has been dominant in its respective segment for quite some time. It seems odd then, that in the current red-hot state of the classic car market, that the earliest of BMW’s 3-series would be skipped over by collectors. To be fair, the e21, BMW’s first 3-series, probably wasn’t the best of the bunch. They’re prone to rust, and likely because of the big US-mandated impact bumpers, which weren’t pretty, many weren’t as well taken care of as they could have been. After an eight year production run, the e21 was replaced by the globally-adored e30. So why is the e21 so overshadowed in the BMW community? Could it really be that the e30 is that much better? Well, here in the US, the e21 was only available with a somewhat anemic four-cylinder, while Europe had a 141hp six-cylinder option in the 323i. That brings us to this, a true hidden gem in the vintage BMW lineup, the Euro-market 323i. Read more
The year was 1952, Cadillac’s 50th anniversary year. In preparation for the 1953 Paris Salon Show, Cadillac sent four chassis to Derham Body Company (Rosemont, PA) to be custom built to commemorate the anniversary. Commemorative styling included gold cast emblems and a through-the-bumper exhaust system, which tucked the tailpipes out of plain sight. Read more
The late 1950s through early 1970s were a bright time in automotive interior design, both literally and figuratively. Read more
Vintage steering wheels: Take a look at an old Nardi or Momo wheel, they’re just gorgeous. Simple yet elegant, vintage steering wheels have a real charm to them. When looking at the interior of a classic car, the eye is immediately drawn to the centerpiece, the steering wheel. No longer. Airbags rained on their parade. Read more
A few months back we received a call from a man who told us he had an “old Mercedes” tucked away in a storage unit in Mississippi. Of course even with the as-vague-as-could-be description, we started getting excited about the possibilities of what the car could be. The seller gave us a brief run-down of the car’s history; he had driven it while working on oil rigs in the 1980s, stationed in Mississippi. When he was forced to relocate, the seller could not take the car with him and decided to hand it off to one of his engineers. The car remained in Mississippi until we got the call and shipped it up to Chicago. Read more
The Chicago Car Club was proud to co-sponsor The “Drive to Defeat ALS” event, which brought dozens of people together to raise awareness for ALS while having some on-track fun behind the wheel of today’s most advanced sports cars.
This TR3a is one of our favorites here at CCC. We found the car in a garage almost twelve years ago now, the car having sat underneath a cover for twenty years before we got to it. As soon as we peeled back the car cover we knew this was something special. The car’s original windshield had been replaced with low profile windscreens and it was optioned with the desireable wire wheels, just how we would have spec’d it out ourselves. Thanks to the heads-up move by the previous owner of storing the car underneath a cover, it was fairly well-preserved and rust-free.
The owner was thrilled to see our excitement in pulling back the car cover; his children had not expressed any desire to own the car and he was clearly very happy to see the car go to proper enthusiasts who would appreciate the car for what it is. The owner told us that he’d sell us the car under one condition, that we never deny anyone who asks for a ride in the car. We’ve kept true to his wishes, keeping the car in our private collection and taking it out for a spirited drive a handful of times every year, appreciating every second of time behind the wheel. We have just recently listed this car for sale, as it deserves to be enjoyed more than just a few times a year.
“Ask the man who owns one” – Packard sales moto
Thanks to a tip from a friend who frequently drops by CCC to talk cars, we unearthed this beautiful Packard from a home in the Edgewater neighborhood of Chicago. The car sat in the corner of a dusty body shop for nearly twenty years before we were made aware of it. We were blown away by the originality of the car, and especially by the fact that the motor still turned over. The car was 99% original, still wearing it’s original black paint and broadcloth seats.
The car had originally been owned by a wealthy woman who had the jump seats removed, as she would not be driving the car, but rather, shuttled around by her chauffeur. When she passed away, the car was given to a museum in Northern Ohio, where it sat on display from 1951-1963. In 1963 the museum went belly-up, forcing them to liquidate their entire collection. As the Packard was heading to a local auction to be sold to the highest bidder, Charles Millner (Millner’s Cafeteria – Urbana, OH) literally chased the car down and bought it before it went across the auction block. He paid $600 for the car, an all-original museum piece. At the time, Charles had a large car collection, which, over time, was narrowed down to only 3 cars; a ‘35 Ford Phaeton, a Model-T Roadster, and this ‘38 Packard Super 8.
In 1998, Charles sold the car to a man named Wally in Chicago. Wally installed an electric fan and temperature gauge in the driver side glove box and parked the car, storing it in a garage here in Chicago for the better part of the last two decades, where we discovered it. Upon purchasing the car, we rolled it onto a flatbed and brought it to CCC, this being the first time the car had seen sunlight in nearly twenty years. We poured some Marvin’s Mystery Oil in the cylinders and let the car sit overnight. In the morning, we gave the car some fresh gas and fired it up. Much to our surprise, the car’s straight-8 ran fairly well. We have since gotten the car running and driving as it should, and take every opportunity we can to get the car out in the public eye.
*Many thanks to Dave Millner (son of Charles), for giving us such a neat history lesson on this stunning Packard.
This truck had been trapped in a garage in a suburb of western Chicago for about five years after a downed tree cut off access to the garage. We dragged away the tree, rolled the truck out of the garage, and gave it a once over. The truck looked great, original wood and decals were perfectly intact and the frame did not show any significant corrosion. We purchased the truck from the family of the gentleman who had owned it since the early 1980s, who were happy to free up some now-accessible garage space.
We rolled the truck onto a trailer and brought it over to the shop. We cleaned the ignition points and put some fresh gas in ‘er, and she fired right up.
We were so drawn to this truck because of the interesting history of the “Lil’ Red Express”…..in 1978 this was THE FASTEST AMERICAN PRODUCTION VEHICLE FROM 0-100 MPH as tested by Car and Driver. An amazing feat for a vehicle, let alone a pickup truck, with aerodynamics not much better than that of a refrigerator. Because of a loophole in emissions regulations, the 1978 Dodge Lil’ Red Express Trucks did not have catalytic converters. What they did have was a special High Performance 360 C.I. 4-barrel small block (EH1), which was a modified version of the 360 police engine (E58) producing 225 horsepower @ 3800 RPM. The package also included Hemi style mufflers with a crossover pipe breathing through two chrome stacks located behind the cab, a special 727 transmission, and 3.55:1 rear gearing.
We sold the truck to an enthusiast who loves the truck dearly and is in the process of restoring it to its original condition.