Tuesday, November 8, 2011

1960 Chrysler 300F Convertible

One of just 248 "F" convertibles made in 1960, this one happened to be a factory 'Toreador Red' car, and was in concours condition with 76 miles since restoration.  These were expensive cars when new and have been steadily appreciating in today's market.  Part of the appeal is the fabulous 413 Cross Ram motor, a design that would have been aesthetically outrageous if it were not so effective - a 300F won the Daytona Flying Mile in 1960 with a speed of 145mph.  Six were entered, they placed 1st - 6th.

I didn't put many miles on this car for a couple of reasons;  the low odometer and the car's high value.  I did, on one occasion, put my foot about halfway down and it was enough to raise the hairs on my neck.

This car was completely correct in detail, show quality throughout, and represented entry into an exclusive circle of 300F convertible owners, of which 78 are left worldwide.  Sold for $170K to a collector in Kentucky.

1956 Land Rover

This Land Rover went through a nut and bolt restoration, featured a Series II drivetrain, safari roof, and a fantastic matching trailer.  This was the type of setup that would capture the imagination of any red blooded male, anywhere in the world.  My 10 year old son was very sad to see this one go - sold for 18K to an enthusiast in Maine who knew a bargain when he saw one.

1950 Oldsmobile ROCKET 88

Here's a '50 Olds 88 that you won't see everyday. Finding a nice '50 is difficult, finding one that has all the authentic Period Custom details is even harder. Finding one that is running a historic GM experimental engine has got to be a once in a lifetime opportunity.

This rare 288ci engine is from Oldsmobile's Experimental Motor Group, led by Charles "Boss" Kettering. In the late 1940s, this motor laid the foundation for what was to be the first new engine design since WWII, the venerable Olds 303. The 288 continued to be built by GM Research up until 1954 and was sold to petroleum companies for high compression testing. Just 30 were built, 4 are known to still exist, this was one of them.

This motor was discovered in Kansas City in the late 70s and was later acquired by '50 Olds expert Eddie Rezac. Eddie matched up a low mile '50 Club Coupe with the motor, bolted in a '37 Cad/LaSalle gearbox, added a dealer display hood and this one-of-a-kind Custom Olds was born.

This was a Rod & Custom Magazine feature car and wow, it would have been great to keep this one a little longer.  Sold for 45K to an old school hot rodder who flew in from CA and drove the car back....at night.

1957 Mercedes 220S

Mercedes from the 50's have an altogether different feel than the cars that came in the following decade.  These cars have a coachbuilt feel to them,  you can definitely tell they were assembled mostly by hand.  This '57 was in need of paintwork when I bought it, mechanically it was great, and the interior was good although it needed a new top.  Tackling those jobs was not an easy process.  Fortunately I have one of the best interior shops in the Pacific Northwest right next door - Guy's Interior Restorations has done dozens of these Ponton bodied cabriolets, and deftly took care of this one.  These tops are complex; German canvas on the outside, a wool headliner on the inside, and a duvet like pillow in the middle.

For the paint work, I enlisted Tom Black's Garage, who shot the beautiful paint in DB728, 'Beige Grey Metallic', one of my favorite MB colors.  Prepping the car beforehand wasn't easy.  There's an abundance of chrome trim on these cars and the base metal is actually brass, which as you know is prone to damage.  I took all of the trim to be straightened before plating, there were 24 pieces in all, each one carried a stamping of the car's Karosserie number of '575'.  Local metal guru Harold Wallace worked his magic, then Oregon Plating triple dipped it to perfection.

At the end of the day the car came out looking great, it sold for $77,500 to a gentleman in Ohio who appreciated quality.  In the process, I gained a new appreciation for the craftsmen who built these cars.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

1966 Ford Country Sedan Wagon

This is an all original 66 Ford that I bought on eBay out of California.   I used this car as my daily driver for about a year (a long time for me) until the gas mileage finally got the better of me.  Still miss the car though.  It had all original paint and was just as nice as can be, really just the way you want to find them.  Started at the flick of the switch and had a beautiful, balanced idle.  This was the type of car you'd stretch out in, rest your right arm across the seat back and steer with one finger.

My family and I went on a few camping trips in this car.  On our way out one day, we were driving down I-5 and I noticed a Suburban coming up on the left and slowing to match our speed, it was an older gentleman and his wife, just smiling.  I later realized that our little crew must have looked like a total time warp back to the 60s:  I was stretched out, my wife was in the passenger seat knitting, and our 10 year old son was in the back seat reading a comic book.  All of our camping gear was in the back along with some firewood.  We had inadvertently painted a moving picture of the nuclear family.

12mpg be damned, I should have kept that car.  Sold for 11K to a guy my age who flew up from LA and drove the car home without a hitch.