In 1981 the CART/PPG Indy Car series was in its third year. Formed in 1979 by racing teams who had split from the previous sanctioning body, USAC, over how races were promoted, the way that television contracts were handled and what they believed to be the small size of the winners’ purses, the ‘81 PPG Indy Car World Series had 11 races on the schedule and featured drivers like Rick Mears, Johnny Rutherford and Mario Andretti. In time the series would go on to become the sole sanctioning body for all of Indy Car racing, but in 1981 the series was still in its infancy and, despite having Indy Car as a part of it name, did not even include the Indianapolis 500 among its officially sanctioned events. Read More >
Elon Musk, the real-life Tony Stark of our times, has quite the extensive résumé: Founder of PayPal, SpaceX, and Tesla Motors; billionaire investor of projects and businesses such as SolarCity and the preservation of Nikola Tesla’s lab; inventor of the Hyperloop rapid mass transit concept; 007 cosplayer…
Yes, you read that right: Musk is a huge fan of the man who loves his martinis shaken and his women to have double entendre naming schemes. So much so, in fact, that he now has one of Bond’s most awesome vehicles ever conceived.
It was once hypothetical, but now that the City of Detroit has filed for municipal bankruptcy, and since no legislation has been passed in Lansing to prevent it, it’s possible that a bankruptcy judge will order that city assets, including the art collection of the city owned Detroit Institute of Arts, estimated to be worth $2.5 billion or more, be sold to satisfy creditors, mostly public employee unions and city pensioneers. A less well known collection of artifacts more closely related to Detroit’s role as the Motor City, and perhaps nearer to the hearts of our readers (not that you’re Philistines who can’t appreciate fine art, but this is not The Truth About Art), could also be sold off to give creditors a few more pennies on the dollar.
One of my favorite Formula One memories is from the inaugural (and only) Dallas Grand Prix, in 1984, involving my favorite team, the Colin Chapman era Lotus (though by 1984 Chapman had already died) and one of my favorite drivers, Nigel Mansell, forever shattering a stereotype of F1 drivers as prima donnas. Now you can own the Lotus 95T that he drove that day. Today’s F1 cars have a Drag Reduction System, DRS, as well as being able to use energy recovered with regenerative braking by the Kinetic Energy Recovery System, KERS. Both allow the driver to push a button and go faster, not entirely unlike IndyCar’s “push to pass” system that momentarily increases engine power. Twenty-nine years ago this week, Mansell had no such technical aids. Instead of push to pass, he pushed, literally, until he passed out. Read More >
As our esteemed colleague Mr. Baruth pointed out, it’s not every day that you can buy dealer fresh 50 year old Chevys, referring to the upcoming auction of over 500 cars owned by Ray P. Lambrecht, now 95 years old, who with his wife Mildred and a single mechanic ran Lambrecht Chevrolet, a small rural dealership in Pierce, Nebraska from 1946 to 1996. The collection includes a startling number of new old stock cars, time-capsules that were never sold or registered as well as trade ins that Lambrecht and his Mildred decided to keep. Though it’s not on the scale of Barney Pollard’s massive inventory, I suspect that in time, as with former Pollard cars, the provenance of being a “Lambrecht Chevy” will be a factor in those cars’ collector value. A number of comments to Jack’s post wondered what the story was behind the collection. Fortunately, the auction description at VanDerBrink’s Auctions website was written by the Lambrechts’ own daughter, Jeannie Lambrecht Stillwell, who gives the human side to the Lambrecht Chevys:
The Man Behind the Legend
The Story of Ray P. Lambrecht and Lambrecht Chevrolet Company
by Jeannie Lambrecht Stillwell
Urban legends speak of a former Midwest Chevy dealer with a collection of hundreds of vehicles hidden away in a rural setting. Rumors abound regarding this man and the mystery of that collection. The man behind that legend is my father, Ray P. Lambrecht. Dad owned and operated Lambrecht Chevrolet Company from 1946 until 1996, selling new Chevrolets to multiple generations of families all over the Midwest and beyond. This is his story. Read More >
What percentage of new cars sold this year in the United States have European badges?
A rear-wheel-drive four-door hatchback with staggered wheels and a mere 2,579 pounds distributed 45/55. From the folks who gave us the Evo. Sounds awesome, doesn’t it? But the Mitsubishi i-MiEV (conversationally referred to as either the “i” OR the “meev”) isn’t that sort of car. Its focus is just as narrow as the Evo’s but could hardly be more different: the cheapest, most energy-efficient electric car you can buy in the United States. How cheap? The i-MiEV’s low-20s price (after a $7,500 tax credit) isn’t much higher than that of a Toyota Prius c, the cheapest, most energy-efficient hybrid.
When over 60 dealers are looking at the same vehicle at the same time, your chances of a finding a good deal at an auction decline dramatically.
That 2009 Nissan Versa that you like? At least five large-scale buy-here pay-here dealers will be fighting for it along with two other wholesalers that have a warm relationship with a Nissan dealer.
The scuffed up low-end Impala with over 200k on it? A public auction on the south side of town will be all over that. As will many other used car dealers who finance older vehicles in the urban areas of Atlanta. Don’t even think about buying that car as a cash flipper these days; because financing is the new elixir of older, popular used cars.
But an 11 year old Buick? Midsized? Unpopular? Well cared for? That’s my niche!
A 1997 Ford Escort is not exactly a rolling testament to the dreams of auto enthusiasts.
But for $300, it beats the ever loving snot out of a Schwinn.
This LX model was a trade-in from one of my customers. Did I rip them off? No. Not at all. One of the cylinders was dead. The interior was as dirty as Hugh Hefner’s mind, and with 221k miles coupled with a 5-speed, it wasn’t about to go on the front line.
But where should I put it?
I get a lot of emails from auto enthusiasts. About 60% of what I get comes down to this question.
“Can you get me a high demand vehicle at a disgustingly low price at the auctions?”
The short answer is no. Just as an athlete can’t contradict the laws of physics, I can’t control the free market aspect of a dealer auction. In my world a car is bid on by dozens of professionals until the last man pays the most. If you want a Toyonda or the latest and greatest wheels that are based on yet another ‘”Fast & Furious” ripoff, then you have to pay the premium.
As for unpopular cars, they are a different story.