When you spend as much time in fast-turnover self-service wrecking yards as I do, you get this lesson over and over: Nothing depreciates like high-end German luxury cars. Once the interior gets a little rough, or the cutting-edge elaborate electrical system gets a bit confused, or the next generation of engine makes an additional 50 horses… well, your big A8 or 7-series or S-class passes through a sequence of increasingly budget-challenged owners, and then there’s another $700 repair needed, and here comes the tow-truck to take it to U-Wrench-It. Mostly I don’t pay much attention to these cars, because the yards are paved with German luxury, but the numbers of discarded V12 E32s peaked about 5 years ago and they’re getting harder to find now. Here’s one that I saw yesterday in a Denver-area yard. (Read More…)
“I believe that anyone who is worth their salt should drive a V12 once before they die.“
Actually, I didn’t write that. But that line was actually spoken (spake?) by David E. Davis, a man who we know never let reality stand in the way of a carefully constructed image. I tend to give the opposite advice when it comes to V12s. Those who aren’t fortunate enough to return their V12 powered automobiles after a 12 month long-term loan (or, a week) must live by the maxim “if you can’t afford it new, you can’t afford it used”. This is advice I frequently dole out when people ask me about buying a BMW 850i, since the words “two Inline 6s joined at the hip” somehow isn’t sufficiently scary.
Those are the words of Antony Sheriff, managing director of McLaren, who spoke to a Dutch publication regarding the future of its supercars. The new Mclaren MP4-12C, with its compact, turbocharged V8, is an impressive machine, but Sheriff may be exaggerating the demise of exotic, multi-cylindered engines.
Wait, straight, unrusted XJ-Ss get crushed? Yes, indeed, I see solid examples of Jaguar’s V12 statusmobile at self-service junkyards all the time. This car listed at $39,700 when new (nearly 80 grand in 2012 dollars), but couldn’t even fetch above scrap value at an auction today. (Read More…)
Need an engineering project? Got 1,200 hours to kill with nothing to do? Take a tip from this heroically patient Spaniard, and hand-machine your own tiny (12 cc displacement) V12. This would be amazing feat of handwork even if it weren’t fully operational (using compressed air injection), but the fact that it works, runs and was made without a single CNC machine is nothing short of astounding.. If, as the book suggests, Shop Class is Soulcraft, this guy is like an engineering bodhisattva, inspiring us with his precision, patience and skill. In a world where not much is made by hand anymore, this achievement is worth taking a few minutes to marvel over… [Hat Tip: Dean Huston]
This car is a jaw-dropper, a true classic, and a lucky find that rivals the CC logomobile, but it’s misnamed. By all rights, it should be the Edsel American. It was Edsel Ford’s fine taste and encouragement that made the original version of this trend-setting car happen, and in the process created a car that set the template that every American personal luxury coupe/convertible has been trying to measure up to ever since. An aggressive face on a very long hood, a close-coupled body, a short rear deck, and dripping with the aura of exclusivity and sex: a timeless formula. All too few of the endless imitators got the ingredients right, or even close, as our recent Cougar CC so painfully showed. But that didn’t stopped them from trying, just like I never stopped looking for this Continental after I first saw it almost two years ago. It was well worth the effort. (Read More…)