Auction Time: Choice #3

If I were a Rich Phartte and thus able to visit this auction, I would already have purchased a beach house (because New Wife loves the sea more than I do), probably somewhere in Maine.  Accordingly, said beach house would have to have a car in residence, to be disconnected and left there during the winter.  It wouldn’t have to be much, its duties pretty much relegated to trips to the supermarket, into town or for short sight-seeing trips along the coast and so on.  Which makes my third choice simple:  the 1966 Austin Mini Moke.

Longtime Friend Knal N. Domp (from the old website) had one of these, and many’s the night we were to be found driving it around Johannesburg at breakneck speed during the late 1960s and early 70s.

And as for simplicity, try this:

Just so you know how badly I want one of these, it was nearly my #1 choice.

There are a couple of competitors — the Renault Jolly comes to mind:

…but I’d only get that one if the beach house was in the south of France.

Auction Time: Choice #2

1968 Iso Grifo GL Series I:

For those not familiar with this monster, here’s the background (from Sotheby’s):

The Iso Grifo was created by a powerhouse of Italian engineering talent, including former Ferrari chief engineer and “father of the GTO” Giotto Bizzarrini; designer Giorgetto Giugiaro; and revered coachbuilders Bertone. A muscular gran turismo, its Bertone-built coachwork surrounded an advanced chassis with de Dion rear axle and inboard brakes, a configuration that reduced the unsprung weight compared to a live rear axle. Power was provided by a Chevrolet 327 V-8 of the same specification used in contemporary Corvettes, endowing the Grifo with ample performance and fine reliability. The model remained in production into the early 1970s and saw a total run of 413 examples in all configurations.

Excuse me, but “engineered by Bizarrini, designed by Giugiaro and built by Bertone”  just about checks all my boxes.  Also, “Chevrolet 327 V-8”  means I could get its oil changed at the local Chevy dealer for $50 instead of paying two grand to have the same thing done by Ferrari on one of their engines.

And it’s beautiful.  Good grief, I would get a tingle just from seeing it parked in my garage when I went out in the morning — even if I wasn’t going to drive it.

Finally, note that the interior is wonderfully devoid of all the modern electronic shit that confuses, clutters and just subtracts from the MTBF (mean time between failures).  And a stick shift… performance, simplicity and elegance all in one package

Auction Time: Choice #1

I promised to reveal my top 5 choices, following on from Saturday’s Auction Time post.  Here’s #1, the 1993 Land Rover NAS Defender 110:

I don’t know if I’d ever need to go off-road for any reason, but it’s nice to know that if I did, I’d have one of the best-ever vehicles for the task (with a proper 4-wheel drive, not that “all-wheel” nonsense) at my disposal.  (Maybe I’ve been influenced by Doc Russia’s Doom Wagon — here and here — just a little.)

Also, Mr. Free Market has one of these LWB 110s, and when I was Over There we put many  mile on it, en route to the various shooting ranges.  Apart from the kidney-shattering ride, I loved the experience — and it sure was nice to be able to throw muddy boots and such into the back without any misgivings about damage or dirt to the interior.

So yeah, that’s my #1 choice.  Its only serious competitor (in the utility vehicle category, that is) was the FJ Company’s (smaller) Toyota FJ43:

…which would be my backup pick should the Landy’s price get bid out to the stratosphere.

The rest of my choices will follow over the next four days.

Auction Time

There are times when I’m glad I’m not a Rich Bastard (a.k.a. Powerball winner) because I just know that after I’d bought a decent house, traveled a bit, bought a few guns (stop laughing) and settled down, I would undoubtedly get drawn into the world of car auctions.

So here’s this weekend’s “just suppose” game, assuming that your circumstances are as above.

You have several (hundreds of?) thousands of dollars that are burning a hole in yer wallet, and one day you come across this fiendish event.

Wait awhile to browse this page, while I outline what we’re going to be talking about today.

One of the things I like about events of this nature is the variety of stuff to be auctioned, because it takes away the usual “Which Ferrari would I pick?” question.  Here, you could indulge your taste not just for the exotic, but for the historic, eclectic, or even weird, e.g.:

And so, Gentle Readers, the only question to be asked is this:

In order of preference, which five cars or motorcycles would you bid on?

Remember, money is no object — we’re talking about scratching a lifelong itch, or checking off an item on Ye Olde Bucquette Lyste.  So go ahead and make your selections, and assume that all are in roadworthy condition and could be driven home, if need be.  You could decide on five supercars;  one supercar, two vintage and a weird car;  three saloon cars, a supercar and a one-of-a-kind car;  or a campervan, two sports cars and two motorcycles — whatever, the five choices are all yours.

(Note:  if you click on a car to read about it, you have to use the “Back” ( <– ) button to return to the main page.)

Starting on Monday, I’ll be revealing my five choices one at a time, one per day, with reasons.

Come Onnnn Powerball

Oh good grief.  Just when I thought I was over my Alfa Romeo infatuation comes this creature:

“Now Kim,”  you may well ask, “WTF were you thinking about — if Alfa Romeos are generally unreliable, pre-WWII Alfas practically define the genre!”

Aha.  But this isn’t  a pre-WWII Alfa.  To paraphrase the sales brochure:

Factory-approved recreation with 1968 Alfa Romeo Giulia underpinnings (1,570-cc inline four-cylinder; five-speed manual transmission).  Beautifully outfitted with retro-inspired aluminum coachwork by Zagato.  Finished in striking Rosso over Nero leather.

In other words, all you have to worry about is 1960s-era  Alfa unreliability.  That’s so  much better.

Anyway:  no airbags, no useless fucking doodads like lane change warnings, electrically-operated wing mirrors, and all that modern computerized shit that adds cost but not much else.

Like me, this Gran Sport is completely and utterly useless in today’s oh-so modern world.

I don’t care.  I’ll drive it, and die like a man.  With my pre-WWI gun strapped to my belt.


Little Beauty

Loyal Reader Dave S sends me this missive from his gun-filled bunker deep in in the wilds of The Old Dominion:

“In your quest for beautiful sports cars I’ve always wondered why you’ve never mentioned what is for me the epitome of the class, that unlike its British brethren runs, isn’t a mechanic’s hobby, and hasn’t lost itself in the American quest for Moar Power:  the Honda S2000.”

And it’s a damn good question, for which I have no answer except increasing senility.

The little S2000 was, I think, one of Honda’s best-ever cars, with a loyal and devoted fan base;  and to this day I cannot fathom why they stopped making them in 2009 — especially as Mazda still makes their Miata to this day,  to the delight of many.

I don’t accept that S2000 sales were anemic, by the way, if that’s given as the reason.  I think that S2000 was killed by the Dreaded Bean Counters (may they all sprout assholes in their elbows and shit in their food each time they reach for the salt).  These bloodless pencil-pushers looked at the numbers and decided that unless a car sells more than million units a year, it should be done away with.  “Why,”  they would exclaim, “should the mighty Honda corporation cater to a few fools who want to drive with the wind in their hair, when all said fools need to do is lower the windows of their Civics and Accords to get the same result?”  (Maybe it sounded better in the original Japanese.)

I’m not sure that’s what actually happened, but I’ll bet it’s closer to the truth than saying that Jeffrey Epstein committed hara-kiri.

Herewith a few more S2000 pics, to make up for my earlier omissions:

2008 Honda S2000

Fie on them.  If Honda still made this little beauty, I’d have it on the shortlist for New Wife’s next car, well ahead of the Miata or the Fiat 124 derivative.

And of course, this wouldn’t be the first time Honda discontinued a fine car for no apparent reason (NSX coff coff coff ).

Reader Dave sent me a pic of his own S2000, but the pic included his hot wife with her hair and clothing all windblown and tousled (no doubt because of a long trip taken in the Honda) so I used pics off the Innerwebs instead.  I’m old-fashioned that way.