Our annual feast of dead bird, fine pigskin, family arguments, cheap electronics, and roughly 200 (of 600) good episodes of The Simpsonsis upon us. And once again, we take a glimpse into the wild world of classic car auctions, sure to be another magnificent family tradition.
Due to the holiday weekend here in the States, this week we look east to Milan for RM Sotheby’s Duemila Ruote 2016, an auction featuring over 400 collectibles — all at no reserve. I loved looking through this catalog. The exotics are awesome, of course, but the relatively pedestrian cars that we just don’t see here are what catch my eye.
In fact, the performance extracted from them was unfathomable even a generation ago. How did we end up at a 500-horsepower Audi, a 640-horsepower Cadillac and 707-horse Dodge? What were once numbers reserved for otherworldly exotics now are found in a pedestrian nameplate.
But this is no new trend, for while the current power war we’re experiencing has generated outlandish performance numbers for a mere average Joe, the recipe of sticking the most punch possible into a sedan for the masses goes back a long way.
It should come as no surprise that some of the most iconic automobile designs have interesting associations in their geneses. Where those associations come from, though, can sometimes be surprising, as companies leapfrog the globe trying to find the talent, technical expertise, and productive capacity to build a new or unique model.
These stories seem to pop up more often when there’s a shift in a company’s priorities or an attempted to redefine its direction or mission. Large organizations can be slow to adjust to these changes, and so often these major manufacturers turned to small teams to produce what have often become standout models from already legendary lineups.
Often, but not always, as we see in this montage of odd couples.
An alternate title I briefly considered: Digestible Collectible: Brexitopia!
I’m not going to pretend that I know anything about the state of international politics beyond what I’ve read here on TTAC, or a few brief articles around the web. While I have my doubts that the world will end because of the “Leave” vote, I’m happy to remain relatively ignorant.
That said, I’m happy to take advantage of the sudden, favorable exchange rate drop, and of course hit the web to see what interesting stuff might be imported.
Earlier this week, we celebrated the new year by looking at a couplecars that are eligible for private import under the NHTSA’s “25 Year Rule” and I figured there were many more possibilities out there warranting a mention. Some of these have become eligible over the last couple years, where some won’t be ready for a year or so.
I’m sure I’ll miss some, either via simple forgetfulness or willful ignorance. (I doubt there are many people chopping at the bit to import a Zastava Florida.)
The reborn sportscar maker TVR says it has “sold out” of its first model since shuttering in 2006, Autocar is reporting. Reportedly, none of the prospective owners, who have deposited £5,000 ($7,700 USD), have seen pictures of the new car.
The new model will be a V8-powered sportscar designed by Gordon Murray, with engine development from Cosworth and production by humans, rather than unicorns. The company said it took 250 deposits six weeks after it began accepting them in July.
The Tyrrell P34 wasn’t Formula 1’s only car to sport six wheels. This six-wheeled Williams-Cosworth FW07D was developed by the team in Grove as a bit of aerodynamic trickery, but sported its extra axle behind the driver instead of in front.
Chevrolet used the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas to introduce what it says is an industry first for the 2015 Corvette, a factory equipped Performance Data Recorder that integrates video, audio and motorsport inspired telemetry recording to improve driver technique and lap times. Tadge Juechter, Corvette chief engineer, said in a statement, “The Performance Data Recorder combines the ability to record and share drive videos with the power of a professional-level motorsports telemetry system. Drivers can easily record and share their experiences driving down the Tail of the Dragon or lapping Road Atlanta. In addition, with the included telemetry software, users can analyze their laps in incredible detail and find opportunities to improve their driving and lap times.” The PDR will be available when the 2015 Corvette goes on sale in the third quarter of 2014 and pricing will be announced closer to launch. (Read More…)
Never forget: people make all the difference. This often overlooked fact in the glamorous world of automotive styling rings true for the life of Mr. Uwe Bahnsen. I froze in my tracks when I heard of his passing on Car Design News. His work at Ford and with the Industrial Design community influenced me, and every American who loved cars in the 1980s.
After seeing today’s Junkyard Find ’75 Vega, the members of the Vega Jihad are doubtless pounding out 10,000-word screeds about The Greatest Car Ever Made (never underestimate the suspension of disbelief required to be a member of the Vega Jihad), and I’m sure that the Cosworth Vega will be mentioned numerous times during said screeds. That’s why it’s fortunate that I have a bonus Junkyard Find today, a genuine, one-of-3,508-made junked Cosworth Vega, which TTAC reader and historically accurate 80s minitruck road racer Jesse Cortez found and photographed at a Northern California wrecking yard. (Read More…)