This week, the deep-pocketed guys and girls of the car collecting world will descend upon the state of Arizona for the annual collector car auctions. From the televised glitz of Barrett-Jackson to the white-gloved stratosphere of RM Sotheby’s, there is something on the docket to fit everyone’s taste.
For years, I’d watch the events on television or follow the sale prices online with a certain amount of apoplexy. “They paid how much? For that?!?” I’d routinely fume, reliably waking my spouse and buying myself yet another night in the guest room.
A couple of years ago, though, I had a minor revelation.
One of the recurring comments that enthusiasts make when the issue of making Lincoln into a success comes up is why didn’t they ever put the trio of concept cars they introduced about ten years ago, the Mark 9 and Mark X coupes of 2001 and 2004 and the Continental flagship sedan concept of 2002 (see here and here). All three cars were meant to evoke styling cues from successful Lincolns of the past, particularly the 1961 Continental and the personal luxury Marks of the late 1960s and early 1970s. All three could have been made, but never made it to production, much to the chagrin of a lot of folks cheering for Lincoln to turn things around. Though they never made it to production you’ll now be able to buy a couple of them, including the stunning ’02 Continental concept.
Malcolm Pray's "French Mistress" 1939 Delahaye 135 Roadster by Figoni Et Falaschi Sets Amelia Island Auction Record: $6,600,000
Malcolm Pray at the wheel of his “French Mistress”. Full gallery here.
At the New York World’s Fair in 1939, eleven year old Malcolm Pray Jr. came down to the city from Grenewich, Connecticut to attend the fair. At the French pavilion, a Delahaye 135 Roadster with a body by Figoni et Falaschi, one of twelve made, caught the boy’s attention and he admired it so much that he made a sketch of its lines and kept the sketch, never forgetting the car. He went on to graduate from the University of Virginia and did a stint in the U.S. Air Force before moving back to Greenwich where he got a job selling Volkswagens for Morlee Motors on West Putnam Avenue, the same street where he would eventually operate a group of foreign car dealerships.
Let’s say that you’ve had a large enough measure of material success that you have budgeted fifty thousand dollars for a car that befits your socio-economic status, something that makes you feel good while announcing to others that you’ve arrived at a certain social station. Perhaps the obvious choice would be a 5 Series BMW. The base 528i starts at $49,500, though that means you get a 2.0L turbocharged four cylinder engine. For fifty grand you can also get a 2014 Cadillac CTS with an option package or two, but that also comes with the now ubiquitous turbo two liter. Those are both nice cars and at that price point you have many other choices, but for the same $50K, you could have gotten something with considerably more panache, cachet and exclusivity than you can garner with a new Bimmer or Caddy.
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.
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