When in the market for a classic or collectible vehicle there are a number of areas that, if properly studied and understood, will instill great confidence in you as a buyer and ensure a wise investment. While the excitement of purchasing a car you’ve always lusted over is often overwhelming, you must not let that excitement cloud your judgment. It is important to remember that proper due-diligence will be the difference between an expensive headache and the euphoria of making a good buy. It’s all too easy to convince yourself that a particular car is the right car for you. My professional experience as a vintage car buyer has taught me that when in the market, you’re better off pursuing a specific level of quality or condition, rather than trying to make a certain car meet your desires. You must understand that sellers of classic and collectible vehicles tend to believe their car is nicer than it actually is; this is not because they are trying squeeze every last dollar out of you, it is because of the sentimental value many classic vehicles carry. The ability to see through the sentimental value of a car and ensure a good purchase relies heavily on your preparedness as a buyer. In this overview we will thoroughly examine the critical points of evaluating a classic or collectible vehicle prior to purchase, in an effort to ensure your next classic is well-bought. Read more
Prior to the widely-acclaimed debut of the Lamborghini Miura’s rolling chassis at the 1965 Turin Auto Show, the mid-engined layout was reserved for racing specials; never before had a production sports car had the engine mounted just behind the front seats. The radical design of the Miura created quite a stir in Turin; show-goers were placing orders for the car having only ever seen the chassis. The following year, at the Geneva show, the public got their first glance of the full product, the Miura P400 prototype. With then-25-year old Bertone protege Marcello Gandini’s sleek, flowy styling and the revolutionary mid-engined design, the Miura was an instant hit. It captured the hearts of show-goers and the automotive press alike, and in doing so, effectively created the “supercar” segment as we know it today. Read more
Who wants a free Bimmer? Anyone assembling a LeMons team? We have a 1978 BMW e12 530i Automatic that isn’t doing us any good just sitting here. It’s a rusty non-runner, but it’s largely complete and hey, it’s free. We’d love to see it go to somebody that’s going to have fun with it, rather than let it continue to be a lawn-ornament. There’s a couple holes in the floor pans; it’s not quite Flinstone-mobile level but it’s worth noting. Seats are torn, dash is cracked…ya know how it is. We’re not interested in parting out – somebody just come take the thing!
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