Investment Grade

Here are ten cars which fetched ridiculous prices at auction last year — most of which are unlikely ever to leave the garage for longer than a few minutes because of their now-rarified [sic]  prices.

Ignoring the prices, though, I have to say that I like most of them — we all know of my fondness for the Dino 246 GT, especially — but the Merc 300 SL and Porsche 928 are also quite toothsome.

The sky-high prices, of course, are largely owing to the low mileage of each car — the Dino was calculated to have done an average of 289 miles per annum over the past 48 years — which, as I said earlier is why they’ll all be wrapped in silk and stored in a climate-controlled room somewhere.

Feel free to offer up your top 3 picks of the ten listed — ignoring the silly auction prices thereof, of course — in Comments.


Blogging has always been fun.  It’s fairly easy for me to write about, well, anything, and when all else fails, there’s always this:


…or this:

In these times, however — the times that try men’s souls (to coin a phrase) — there seems little incentive to pass comment about what just happened to us, and what is likely to happen to us.  All I feel is sullen rage, resentment and a burning desire to bite the head off a rattlesnake.

I wish sometimes that I could be a Lefty, and take to the streets, burn shit down and in general act like a 10-year-old child;  but I can’t do that.  The very thought of causing destruction to innocent people’s property, or beating people up in the streets, or doing any of that crap that the Left are so fond of doing when they feel aggrieved — well, I’m not going to do any of it.  Futile gestures are not my thing.

But at the same time, I feel like I’m living in some kind of hellish limbo.  I know, this is no doubt how the Left felt after Hillary Clinton lost;  but the difference is that while Trump was never going to put homosexuals into concentration camps, or overturn Roe v. Wade, or start deporting people en masse, there is every reason to suspect that the new crop of Lefties really are going to raise our taxes, try to confiscate our guns, muzzle our voices and fuck up our economy under the guise of “saving the planet” or some such bullshit.

So please forgive me if over the next few days or so the quality of this blog seems to head downhill, wherein I seem to be just mailing it in instead of giving it the gas.

Normal service will resume shortly, probably with even more invective and loathing than before.  Right now, however, I just feel like tying George Soros to a chair and beating him to death with a baseball bat.

And I may just reconfigure this blog somewhat, with a new, less self-pitying name.  Watch this space, and content yourself with this thought:


When you set yourself up as judges to discover the “Greatest Sports Car Of All Time“, you need to use a decent track for the test.  Which the guys at Road & Track  did, choosing the lovely Lime Rock Park circuit in northern Connecticut (which I’ve driven round a couple times before, once in a BMW 3-series, and again in a restored ’65 Mustang), and the track is perfect for the task (right-click to embiggen).

However, in such a competition you can always count on amateurs such as I to question the choices of the finalists.  Which in this case were:

  1. 1949 MG TC
  2. 1954 Mercedes-Benz 300SL
  3. 1965 Shelby 289 Cobra
  4. 1967 Porsche 911 S
  5. 1988 BMW M5
  6. 1995 McLaren F1
  7. 2001 Acura Integra Type R
  8. 2020 Mazda Miata MX-5

I have no problem whatsoever with the first four cars and the last car on the list:  all five are excellent choices, and are almost perfect sports cars.  Now for the bad news.

The Beemer M5 is a fine car — I once owned a “detuned” 525i myself — but by no stretch of the imagination could it ever be called a sports car, because it has four doors.  No.  Just… no.

Ditto the Acura.  I think that the selection committee for this exercise got carried away with engine performance which, need I remind anyone, might be a prerequisite for a track car or race car, but that’s not in the sporting tradition (as I once mentioned here and here ).

In similar vein, the MacLaren doesn’t belong here, just as the Porsche 918 or Ferrari 458 would be out of place in this company.

So scratch those three imposters from the list.  Which begs the question:  what three (actual) sports cars should take their place?

I don’t think that anyone would argue against the 1960s-era E-type Jaguar as my #1 choice for inclusion.

…even though its performance takes it perilously close to the “supercar” definition (and in its time, it certainly was).

No list of “Best Sports Cars” would be complete without at least one Ferrari (with the “supercar” reservation as above), and I think the 1960 Ferrari 250 California Spyder might pip all others –even the more modern ones — in the marque:

My third replacement would be the 1966 Alfa Romeo 1600 Spider Duetto:

Finally, as a concession to my Murkin Readers, I might be persuaded to substitute the 1965 Ford Mustang for one or the other of the cars — but while the Mustang is a undoubtedly fun car, I don’t think it’s really a sports car, when compared to the above.

Honorable mentions should also go to the 1959 Aston Martin DB4, the 1955 Ford T-bird, the Porsche 356, the Morgan (any year, although the Morgan is really just a perfected version of the MG TC), the Honda S2000 and the BMW 507.


If you go along with my rejection of the two 4-door models and the outright supercar, then which three cars (not necessarily listed here) would you substitute?

Persuasive Argument

As everyone knows, I love me my old cars more than the  modern wind-tunnel designed mass-produced homogenized blobs we see on our roads today.  But there’s a problem:

Classic cars are wonderful, wonderful things. They look incredible, smell incredible, and make incredible noises. We will never see vehicles like them roll off production lines ever again.
And this is a good thing, because along with all the good stuff, they’re a massive pain in the arse.
They leak, they break down, they’re inefficient, and they’re not all that quick. You have to be committed to a classic. They need constant love and attention to make sure they run well. You can be their nurse, which requires lots of hardcore knowledge, or you can have a specialist to do it for you. And they’ll be grateful, as you’ll put their kids through college.

All true, and it’s the reason why (apart from the upfront cost) that I’ve never been that keen on getting one of the old cars that I love, e.g. a 1950s-era Jag Xk120:

I have also stated that I won’t drive an electric car.

However, it’s a fool who won’t change his mind when confronted with a different reality, and here’s the reason I could be persuaded to change my mind.  (Read this before continuing.)

I foresee great things for this.  It might be Lunaz’s climb towards Elon Musk-style wealth, or it could end up being a way for classic car manufacturers to get their foot into the EV market.

So allow me to alter my precious stance on electric cars.

Would I ever drive a Prius?  No.

Would I drive an electric, rebuilt Dino Ferrari?

I think we all know the answer to that one.  And if Ferrari were too slow to the party, then:


In Comments, list your top three favorite cars that you would drive as EVs, assuming they were affordable.


I’m not so sure I believe this one:

Carmakers will increasingly find themselves in a race to shut, switch or sell factories producing vehicles with internal combustion engines to avoid being left with “stranded assets”, as regulators set a course for a decade of electrification to reduce carbon dioxide emissions.


The year 2020 will be seen as key for electric cars because of new EU regulations that mandated a limit on average carbon dioxide emissions of 95g/km across all cars sold.
The UK has committed to carrying on its emissions regime at an equivalent or stronger level after the Brexit transition period ends on 1 January 2021.

I am really curious about this, because the Grauniad  article strangely seems to omit any actual numbers of carmakers reducing their regular engine production.  Instead, all sorts of “analysts” are quoted as saying stuff like:

Philippe Houchois, an analyst at Jefferies, an investment bank, said carmakers’ share prices will be in large part dependent on their ability to avoid losses on fossil fuel assets. “If you want to be a better valued carmaker you need to find a way to shrink your assets faster than a gradual transition to electric vehicles would suggest,” he said.

And yet:

Volkswagen has already conceded that it will miss its 2020 target, incurring a fine estimated at around €270m (£248m).

Given VW’s size, that’s not such a big deal, especially as it can be written off against taxes.  And one of the other big guys seems strangely un-panicked:

BMW announced on Sunday it would build 250,000 more electric cars than it had previously planned between now and 2023. Oliver Zipse, the company’s chief executive, said he wanted roughly 20% of cars it sells to be electric by 2023, up from 8% this year.

For the mathematically-challenged, that means that regular cars will still account for 80% of BMW’s sales.

And all that activity is in Europe and the U.K., where distances are not vast and there’s always a public transport option as a last, albeit expensive and inconvenient resort.

How about Over Here?  Forget about it.  As much as the Biden / AOC Greens would like to do what the Eurotrash are doing, that shit isn’t going to fly in North America, because

  • we Murkins loves us our gasoline-driven cars because freedom;
  • setting up an infrastructure to deliver the amounts of electricity needed to power the jillions of proposed American electric cars is so big, nobody has yet actually dared to state its cost — especially when we have abundant supplies of oil (which the Euros do not) to fall back on;
  • we don’t actually have the power generation capacity to deliver the juice even supposing we had the above infrastructure, as California is going to realize very soon;
  • battery manufacture is worse for the environment than using gasoline-powered cars (when you look at the total amount of energy and resources needed to make the infernal things), and at some point even the addle-headed Greens may come to realize it;
  • the U.S. automobile market is so big, most car manufacturers would be happy to “settle” for just producing their regular cars for our market and their electric wagons in Europe.

And now, let’s talk about the Third World, because for yet another strange reason the Grauniad  article doesn’t.

In places like Asia (India, China and South-East Asia specifically) and Africa, not only is there insufficient power generation capacity — they can barely power their light bulbs let alone millions of cars — but there is no industrial capacity capable of putting in the electric automotive infrastructure.  Just the geography alone is daunting — Africa because of the distances and fragility of the countries’ ability to prevent sustained vandalism (I won’t even talk about the endemic African corruption as a brake to progress), South-East Asia because jungles, and China doesn’t have the cash.  As for India and Pakistan… oy.  Even the Russians would have a better chance of success than the Indians, and nobody’s talking about them either.

The only countries in the Eastern Hemisphere which would have anything like a chance of setting up a European-style automotive electrification infrastructure are Japan, New Zealand and Taiwan (small size and islands), and South Korea might have an outside shot at success.  Australia?  Tiny market and vast distances.  Ain’t gonna happen.  (I note in passing that Japan’s Honda has quit supplying engines to the F1 market, giving as a reason that they want to concentrate their resources on electric automotive technology, but it’s also true that their F1 engines are markedly inferior to those of Mercedes, Renault and possibly even Ferrari;  and even Honda might think that chasing success in Formula 1 — i.e. increasing the existing $100 million annual spend — isn’t worth it.)

So while the Guardian’s breathless headline (“Race is on as carmakers shut, switch or sell combustion engine factories“) may make one nervous — which I think is its purpose — a little reflection shows that in this case anyway, Europe and the U.K. are quite possibly going to be the outliers for the foreseeable future of automotive production, large a market as they are.

And unless the Euro (and even Japanese) carmakers can sell their electric cars at the same rate as they sell their regular cars in the U.S. (don’t hold your breath), they’ll face even harsher financial consequences than just paying taxpayer-subsidized fines.

Think about it:  what if Toyota suddenly announced that they were only going to be selling Prius models in the U.S., and not Corollas, Camrys, RAV4s, Tundras, Venzas, Land Cruisers, Tacomas, and all the others?  Think Prius could pick up the slack?  (That’s a rhetorical question, of course.)  Now repeat that scenario for BMW’s I3 and all the other manufacturers’ electric offerings.

Ain’t gonna happen.  Not now, not soon, and quite probably, not ever.  Despite what the Guardian wants to believe, and us to believe.

Singular Beauty

Whilst wandering around and getting lost in the Dark Forests of Internet Car-Dorkery, I stumbled on this vision, the Maserati A6/54 2000 Zagato Spyder:

It’s not too horrible from the rear, either:

And its interior is blissfully simple and devoid of modern geegaws, like airbags and seatbelts.

It was made in 1955, and even if you were to win the biggest lottery around, good luck finding it.  “It?”

They made one.  One.