Welcome to Rare Rides Icons, a spinoff of Rare Rides where we take a more in-depth look at those particularly interesting cars throughout history. Today’s large and luxurious Icon is the first time we present a Daimler in this series. The DS420 was the flagship of the brand; a car for heads of state. And in fact over 50 years after its introduction, it’s still in use as an official state limousine in several nations.
I’ve been visiting car graveyards since I bought my first hooptie for 50 bucks in the early 1980s, and one thing about American junkyards has remained constant during the following four decades: the presence of 1970s British and Italian sports cars. Maybe they were a bit less weathered in 1987 or 1994 or 2006, but a steady trickle of discarded MGBs, 124 Sport Spiders, X1/9s, Jensen-Healeys, Spitfires, Midgets, and TR7s into U-Wrench yards has flowed at about the same rate throughout. That’s why I wasn’t surprised to discover this allegedly rare 1976 Triumph TR7 Victory Edition in a Denver-area yard last month.
Vanden Plas. It rolls off the tongue the same way as other luxury words, like Ferrero Rocher. And right now you’re thinking of chocolate, a Jaguar, and walnut tray tables.
But today’s Rare Ride has only one of those characteristics. Presenting the 1966 Vanden Plas Princess 4 Litre R.
Every once in a while, a car surfaces from the vast internet that truly deserves the title of “obscure.” It happened previously with a beautiful Gordon Keeble, and now Rare Rides is proud to present another very obscure British two-door.
It’s a Midas Gold, obviously.
Rare Rides returns again to De Tomaso, shortly after it covered the obscure Guarà Barchetta. This time, the subject vehicle is a British-designed Mini, rebodied by Bertone, then sported up by De Tomaso. Quite a pedigree.
Presenting the 1978 Innocenti Mini De Tomaso:
You read the title correctly. There’s a Triumph TR8 for sale in the urbane and international city of Tampa, which is in Florida. Miraculously, the sporty convertible has traveled just 90 miles since 1981.
It’s beige, malaise, and showroom fresh, so let’s have a look.
BMC and then British Leyland churned out MG Midgets and near-identical Austin-Healey Sprites for 20 years, with the final example coming off the Abingdon line in 1980. Because project-grade Midgets still clutter garages, driveways, yards, and fields throughout the land and they’re not worth much, the clock runs out for many of them every year.
The next stop, usually, is among the Sephias and Jettas of the IMPORTS section at a self-service wrecking yard. Here’s a forlorn ’79 I spotted last week in California.
In all of my decades of visiting junkyards, one thing has remained constant: I’ll see a handful of Fiat 124 Sport Spider s and MG MGB s every year, about the same number in 2018 as I saw each year in 2001 or 1987. Here’s the latest: a red ’76 convertible in a self-service wrecking yard in California’s Central Valley.
During my 35 years of poking around in car graveyards, one thing has remained constant: MGB s keep showing up. Not in large numbers, but the rate at which these lovable-but-not-particularly-valuable British sports cars get discarded has remained about the same during that period. Here’s a purple model, from the darkest days of the British Leyland era, that I shot last week in a San Francisco Bay Area self-service yard.