Thursday, July 31, 2014

Contemporaty Sports Cars at Keeneland

Sports cars made from 1969 through 1999 were part of the Sports Contemporary Class at this year's Keeneland Concours d'Elegance. On display with this group was this 1993 Ford SVT Mustang Cobra. One of the last of these Fox bodied Mustangs ever made, the current owners bought it new and have only put 23,000 miles on it.
Fans of Japanese sports cars couldn't have been happier when they got to see this mint condition 1973 Datsun 240Z. Introduced in 1970 and based on the Nissan Fairlady, this was the first car to be exported in large numbers in an attempt to capture the sports car market. It succeeded, not only here but in Europe.
Often considered the very first supercar, the Lamborghini Miura shook the automotive world when it was released in 1969. This particular 1969 S model continues to do so having appeared on Jerry Seinfeld's show "Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee." It has also been displayed at the Cincinnati Art Museum.
This 1970 Jaguar E Type OTS Series II was one of the last to employ the straight six engine before the V-12 was introduced in 1971. The 4.2 liter XK I6 engine could rocket this car to 130 miles per hour. These cars, with wrap around bumpers, strengthened wire wheels and uncovered headlights replaced the original series in 1968 in an effort to meet newly imposed US safety regulations.
Seen here is a 1984 Porsche 911 Carrera Targa that is both an original owner car and a 100% all original, unrestored model. New for this model was a 3.2 liter engine that generated a surprising, for the time, 215 horse power.
The last car in this group is a 1980 Aston Martin V8 Volante Convertible. With an original cost of $98,000, these were some of the most expensive cars in the world at the time. The current owner bought this car in 1998 and had it converted to "European spec." He has since rally raced it in events such as the Mountain Mile, the Texas 1000, the Carolina Trophy and the New England 1000.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Sports Classics at Keeneland

The Sports Classics class at the Keeneland Concours d'Elegance includes sports cars built up through 1968. This year's class was outstanding and included this1967 Jaguar E Type Coupe. Owner John Mallet told me that he had spent years looking for a perfect example and found it in this one. This was the last year for the covered headlamps and the fake wire wheels.
Here is a 1964 Shelby 289 Cobra that is the only one with a factory Highland Green paint job. This car is exactly as it was delivered. Dave and Lori Wathan are only the second owners of this car which has twice won SAAC's Division One Premiere Award for Authenticity.
Coach builder Pietro Frua's genius really shown through on this 1968 Maserati Mistral Spyder. Named after the northwest wind that blows over the French Mediterranean, only 120 spyders were ever built with about 30 of them, like this one, receiving the larger 4.0 litre inline six engine.
Over 19,000 Porsche 356 Roadsters were built over the course of their run. This 1960 model is number 14. It is believed to be the oldest Roadster in existence. This car has driven all over the country. In fact it is always driven to events and is never trailered.

 Here is a perfect example of a 1957 Chevrolet Corvette. This was the 4909th Vette assembled at the St. Louis factory. This car came with the optional Powerglide automatic transmission in place of the standard manual three speed.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Foreign Collectors at Keeneland

I'm a fan of just about every kind of classic car but the foreign models made up to 1975 hold a soft spot in my heart. It was these models I first read about in the car magazines before and during high school. The Foreign Collector class at this year's Keeneland Concours d'Elegance did not disappoint me. This 1933 MG J2 was pulled from a hay loft in Indiana as nothing more than a bare chassis. It was in such bad shape that a new, authentic body had to be fabricated.
What could be more European than the first car to conquer America. This example is a 1957 Volkswagen Euro Ragtop Sedan. It was still running with a current registration in 1999. In 2003 it started a four year complete restoration.
This 1956 Jaguar XK 140 OTS Special Edition was already showing hints of the styling that would be unleashed on the world a decade later in the E Type. This car was found buried to its frame in dirt and at first it was believed that it couldn't be pulled out in one piece. It was and then totally restored. It received a score of 99.46 out of 100 at its very first Concours event.
When can a 200 cubic inch engine churn out 300 horse power? When it is a 1966 Ferrari 275 GTS. Only 200 of these were hand built in the Maranello, Italy factory. The powerful Colombo V 12 gave this car a top speed of around 160 miles per hour.
This 1953 Nash Healey is truly a blend of international auto making cultures. With England's Donald Healey masterminding it, the car sported the 140 horse power six cylinder Nash drive train and wore a body styled by the great Italian firm Pininfarina. Only 60 of these were ever produced.
While Toyota really opened the American buyer's eyes to Japanese cars, it was this Datsun 240Z that made them think in terms of sports cars. Powered by a 2.4 liter inline six, this car could easily reach 120 miler per hour. This 1972 model has appeared in numerous adds for Nissan, particularly for the 350ZX and the 370ZX.
Sporting the same mechanicals as its spyder brother, this 1966 Ferrari 375 GTB is the closed top gran tourismo that replaced the famous 250 series. Enzo Ferrari admitted he was inspired by the Jaguar E Type and while this car didn't have a great deal of success when it first came out, it is now one of the most sought after models in the world.

Monday, July 28, 2014

American Collector Closed

While last week ended with the open convertibles from the American Collector category, those cars built between 1950 and 1975, this week will begin with the hardtops. First up is this amazing 1964 Lincoln Continental 4 Door Hardtop owned by Tim Wilson. This car has only 1019 original miles. Tim told me that the paint and the interior were also original. This car is a past Keeneland winner as well as a winner at Dayton's Concours d'Elegance.
A rarity in red is this 1957 Cadillac Eldorado Brougham. Almost all of the 400 of these cars made came in black but owner Robert Werner said this was an actual factory option color. The distinctive design of this car featured the massively long bullet bumpers. If you're doing a double take at the people on the left, yes, that is Dennis Gage of My Classic Car ( who was at the Keeneland event shooting an episode of his show.
One of famed designer Virgil Exner's "Forward Look" cars was also on display. This 1956 Chrysler New Yorker sports some of the most innovative and beautiful styling to come out of Detroit during the decade. Only 4115 of these were produced and fewer than 100 are known to still exist.
The marketing and advertising folk claimed that this 1955 Pontiac Star Chief was "new in everything but Pontiac's great name." With clever styling touches that set it apart from its GM brothers, the 287 cubic inch 180 horse power Strato-Streak V8 lurking under the hood changed Pontiac's image from being strictly a family car to a roaring road beast.
The 1972 Ford LTD Brougham was the company's most luxurious full size offering for this model year. The car has 73,000 actual miles. The interior is all original and with the exception of part of the trunk, so is the paint. The car came with every power and luxury appointment Ford offered in 1972.
Perhaps the most recognizable car from its ear, this 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air is a perfect example of the line. With over 130,000 of these cars made it is easy to see them at most any car show but one in this condition is rare indeed.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Open American Collector Cars at Keeneland

I've always been a fan of convertibles and so the American Collector Open class is one of my favorites. At this year's 11th Annual Keeneland Concours d'Elegance this class of beauties made between 1950 and 1975 was filled with some magnificent machines. One example is this brilliant 1960 Dodge Dart Phoenix Convertible. The Dart was Dodge's entry level low cost line of cars but the Phoenix was the top of the line Dart.
Another of the handful of drop tops that didn't fear the rain on this was was this 1957 Chevy Bel Air with its rare factory black on black pain job. In addition to its standard 283 cubic inch V 8 it had a rare factory installed rain sensor that would automatically raise the top. You can see that it was working even in the occasional drizzle of the day.
This 1956 was another Chevy Bel Air on display. Pulled from a chicken house in Maryland where it had spent 25 years, it took the owners three years to completely restore this gem. It has the 327 cubic inch V 8 that can power it to 110 miles per hour. Very fast for its time.
As I said, the weather seemed to scare off a few drivers at this year's event and caused a 1956 Ford Thunderbird to hide under a cover. This 1965 Mercury Comet Caliente Convertible did show up. This number matching car has a 289 cubic inch four barrel V 8. In 2009 it completed a frame off restoration.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Coach Built Classics at Keeneland

This year's 11th Annual Keeneland Concours d'Elegance featured a small class of Coach Built Classics. There were some absolute rarities including this 1934 Duesenberg SJ Speeder. Speed is the word with this one off car as it set the 24 hour world speed record in 1937. Owned and driven by Utah governor Abe Jenkins the car averaged over 134 miles per hour including pit stops. Its 400 horse power Lycoming straight eight engine gave the car a top speed of 170 MPH.
Also on display was this gorgeous 1927 Pierce Arrow Model 80 DeLuxe Roadster. This car has been in the owner's family since it was purchased from a Reno museum in 1969. Since then it has never been on a trailer and has even been on several Glidden Tours.
This 1930 Stutz Lancefield Supercharged Coupe was originally purchased by the Woolworth Brothers. London, England coach builder Lancefield Coachworks bodied five Stutz automobiles. This is the only one that was supercharged and also the only one believed to survive.
The serial number on this 1934 Lincoln KB Cabriolet is "1." Bodied by the Brunn Body Company, it was built for one of the builders and owners of the Plaza Hotel in New York City. In 1985 the owners got to meet the original chauffeur of the car, who at the time was 95 years old.
Coming from the Patterson Collection was this stunning 1947 Talbot Lago T-26 Cabriolet. It was bodied by Figoni et Falschi and was originally owned by Hollywood director George Sidney who made such classics as Annie Get Your Gun, Pal Joey and Show Boat.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

CCCA At Keeneland

The Classic Car Club of America has strict standards for the cars they consider for inclusion in their organization. They were all made between 1925 and 1948, were generally expensive when new and had a limited number made. Of those at this year's Keeneland Concours d'Elegance was this 1938 Cadillac 6167 Convertible Coupe 60 Series. It sported a 346 cubic inch flathead V-8 that produced 130 horse power. Only 146 of these cars were made.
The Super Eight was the name give to Packards larger of their two eight cylinder luxury models. Both used the same 160 horse power straight eight engine as well as other mechanicals. This 1938 model was from the first year the model was available.
By 1929 Indianapolis based Stutz had already made a name for themselves as a manufacturer of high end, reliable, fast, sporty roadsters. This Blackhawk 2 Place Speedster was no exception. This example competed a frame-off restoration in 1913.
This 1933 Lincoln KA 513 Roadster was specially commissioned by Castrol Motor Oil as a gift to Sir Malcolm Campbell as a gift for using their product when he set the land speed record in 1932 and 1933. By the 1960s it was part of actor Fess Parker's personal collection.
Costing $2245 when new, this 1939 Cadillac Series 60 Convertible was designed by up and coming designer Bill Mitchell. This example is no stranger to Concours events, having won its class at the 2004 Keeneland event.
Here is a very rare, all original 1927 Pierce Arrow Club Brougham Series 80 2 Door. Even the wooden frame which was used to attach the aluminum skin is original. Only five of this model was ever made.
This is a 1935 Auburn Boattail Speedster. Due to the Great Depression, very few of these cars were ever produced but one did wind up in the Hollywood movie Desire starring Gary Cooper and Marlene Dietrich.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Keeneland Vintage

As with all of the classes at this year's Keeneland Concours d'Elegance, the Vintage group was well represented. Eligible cars were made between 1925 nad 1949 and this year's selections included this 1941 Chevrolet Model 41 Special Deluxe 2D cabp-5P. It has its original interior including the wood grain on the dash. Though it was driven across the country in the 1970s it has only 33,000 original miles.
This 1929 Ford Roadster Model 40 A was originally purchased by the current owner's father in 1937. Both the owner and his brother learned to drive in this car which was actually used for farm chores as late as the 1960s. It had a four year total restoration.
The owners bought this 1926 Chrysler G-70 Roadster in 1986. It had been sitting idle in a barn since 1961. In 1991 they started a frame off total restoration that was concluded in 1996. Since then they have been touring the car to the tune of 11,500 miles.
Though Ford is known as the most successful mass producer of automobiles in history, there were only 7000 of these custom 1931 Model A Deluxe Phaetons ever made. The custom body was made by Briggs Body Company to Ford specs. This example was in daily service as a Buenos Aires taxi through 1986.
As seen above, not all Fords were identical. Such is the case with this luxury edition of the 1930 Model A. The car came with mohair interior for the added comfort of the five passengers along with various other options. And while the average Model A sold for $370, this one checked in at $670.
Robert Lutz, a past Chairman of General Motors once owned this very 1934 LaSalle Convertible. The car was priced $1000 less than GM's other luxury car line, Cadillac. A 1934 LaSalle was chosen to be the pace car for the Indianapolis 500.
This is a 1934 DeSotto Airflow SE and was the first uni-body steel construction car ever made. A model of this car was actually tested in a wind tunnel owned by Wilber Wright. It claimed to have 25 features that had never been seen on automobiles before making it one of the most innovative and futuristic cars of its time.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Keeneland Antiques

The Keeneland Concours d'Elegance has rapidly turned into a premiere destination of car owners and enthusiasts. Both owners and guests are treated as if they were royalty. Now in only its 11th year, Keeneland continues to grow and raise money for the Kentucky Children's Hospital.

Antiques are traditionally the oldest cars on display and Keeneland brought in some magnificent examples from this era, including the 1907 Franklin shown at the top of this article. Very expensive for its time at $1850, it had a four cylinder 1.8 liter engine that produced 12 horse power. Next on hand was this 1906 Auto Car Type 10 Runabout that had a two cylinder engine that produced 11 horsepower. Interestingly, the car had wooden brake shoes.
Also braving the weather was a 1911 Maxwell 1911 AB that sported a 14 horse power two cylinder opposed engine. Costing $600 new the Maxwell motto was "Perfectly simple, simply perfect."

This 1923 Duesenberg Model A was the first car manufactured with hydraulic brakes. The basic chassis cost $6500. With the Sport Phaeton coachwork seen here the car cost $9000, more than many houses of the day.
Indianapolis based Stutz built cars to race and this 1912 A Series Bearcat is a perfect example of sports roadster of its day. With a four cylinder engine generating 50 horse power, the example seen here originally cost about $2000 and is number one of one made.
When a car is one of only six examples ever built and is considered the oldest sports car in America it's little wonder it is sought out by shows around the country. This 1907 American Underslung Roadster had a 476.3 cubic inch four cylinder L-Head engine. It's original cost was $3750.
A barn find, this 1913 Renault Type DM Touring was purchased by current owner Jerry Huffman in 2004 and underwent an extensive off-frame restoration. Jerry told me that even though there was a lot of wood, including in its frame and its wheels, there was absolutely no rot when he bought it. The cowl lights were fueled with alcohol rather then lamp oil.