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I spotted an (insert obscure car name here) classic car today!



  • andys120andys120 Loudon NHPosts: 16,592
    Scottsdale AZ becomes the old car capital of the world every third week in January when the big auctions roll into town. There are thousands of interesting old cars to be seen ranging from "who would collect those?" to multi-million dollar one-of-a-kinds. Aside from Amelia Island and Monterey there is nothing like it.

    A few impressions of this year's crop

    -Loads of Shelbys of all kinds, perhaps drawn out by the passing of Carroll Shelby. Small block
    289 powered Cobras (my favorite) were especially prominent, I saw at least a dozen different ones including a continuation car made by Shelby American in 2012 to commemorate the 50th Anniversary. I didn't see any Daytona Coupes or original GT40s. Most of the Shelby Mustangs seemed to be '67 or '68 models.

    -Last years events featured a lot of microcars like the BMW Isettas but I didn't see very many of those or too many of the interesting little oddballs like the Citroen 2CV or DKW 3=6. There were a lot of Fiat 500s and all sorts of Fiat Abarths including an Autobianca Bianchina-Abarth :confuse:

    -Where have all the rat rods gone? A couple of years ago the intentionally distressed stripper street rod with steel rims and dog dish hubcaps was the thing to have. Now it seems like they've all gotten glossy repaints, flame jobs and chromed dubs. :(

    -There's a similar phenomenon that cropped up last year. They're auctioning rare cars in "Barn-Found" condition. I saw a Lancia Aurelia B24 Spider and a silver E-Jag that were covered with dust, dirt and even mud but oddly had only surface rust and minor dings for sale.

    -The best places to see the classic Euro sports cars I favor are the Bonham's and Gooding Auctions These aren't that big, they each cram a few dozen to-die-for classics into an area about the size of a super market parking lot. To me that's more impressive than the 16 acres of cars at Barret-Jackson, which is just too many to process properly IMO.

    Porsches, particularly 356 variants and early 911s were particularly prominent. There were lots of big Healeys, most of which were Mk.II BN7 models. I didn't see any of the later BJ8 Mk III types which is odd. There were Jaguars of all kinds, they seemed to be everywhere, including lots of nice Mk. II sedans, XK-120s and E-Types.

    MY favorite this year was a wine-colored '64 or '65 E-Type 3.8/S1 Coupe. I've never seen this color on an XK-E but it might be the most beautiful road car I've ever seen.

    2000 BMW 528i, 2001 BMW 330CiC

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    LOL @ thread title.

    Car looks good but brings back nightmares from ours. We had a lighter red I think.
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 21,846
    Okay, I'll bite, what were the weakenesses of the '76 Cadillac engine?

    I think Shifty was just being facetious there. Now I've heard that in the 1977-79 425, Caddy cheaped out in the valvetrain. I forget what, exactly, maybe the rocker arms or something? IIRC, it was something that, instead of being a thick, solid piece of metal was just a thin piece that was crimped over to double it up?

    I don't think there was anything inherently bad about the 500 though, except that in later years, it was choked down and didn't put out much power for its size. I'm sure it was a guzzler, but in the context of the times probably competitive. And, I'd imagine the fuel injected versions added some complexity.

    Just for kicks, I googled "Cadillac 500 weakness", and the only thing that popped up was a vague reference to the valvetrain.
  • uplanderguyuplanderguy Kent, OHPosts: 7,494
    The only complaint I've ever heard about the 500 over the years was that they could only squeeze 190 hp out of 500 CID!
  • uplanderguyuplanderguy Kent, OHPosts: 7,494
    edited January 2013
    This exact car is a regular at local cruise-ins around me during the summer. The guy was employed at Lordstown when he bought the car. It's a '72 and has the nice (IMO) black cloth Custom Interior.

    I think the wagons need the roof rack, though!

    Personally, I like the '74-75 styling best and the '76-77 a close second. The bumpers and mirrors on those early Vegas seem so doll-house diminutive, I actually like the 5 mph aluminum bumpers better.
  • stickguystickguy Posts: 14,140
    I agree about the bumpers. The Vega did look better balanced with the later ones and the slant nose.

    Vega always did look like a miniature Camaro though.

    2013 Acura RDX (wife's), 2007 Volvo S40 (when daughter lets me see it), 2000 Acura TL (formerly son's, now mine again), and new Jetta SE (son's first new car on his own dime!)

  • fintailfintail Posts: 33,496
    Yeah the white letter tires work with a "sporty" model, and I would prefer cloth too - so long as it didn't have any age-related rot and was in danger of splitting when someone dares to sit on it.
  • uplanderguyuplanderguy Kent, OHPosts: 7,494
    There's another guy on this forum who agrees about the early Vegas looking a bit 'fragile'. Some folks think they're the best-looking though, and that of course is OK.
  • fintailfintail Posts: 33,496
    I am surprised there would be real oddballs like Fiats there at all - they must sell better at home. But I guess if someone wants it, the shipping isn't a huge deal.

    I am curious as to what auctions and markets will look like in another 20 years, when boomer demographic changes really take hold.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,403
    Do you know what that '64 (or was it '65) Porsche 356 Cabriolet C sold for? Gooding had it up but haven't posted results yet.

    RE: VEGA -- I wouldn't mind having a Vega wagon. I wonder if an Astre engine would work in there? Did they made an Astre wagon? Is there one left on earth?

    RE: '76 Cadillac---yeah, I was being facetious--just picked another '76 car out of the hat; however, as uplander mentioned, that was pretty pathetic HP out of such a huge engine. You know, some people like 'em, but those people are usually between 90 and 107 years old. :P


  • uplanderguyuplanderguy Kent, OHPosts: 7,494
    The Astre and the Vega had the same engine at the Astre's introduction, but Astre later went to the "Iron Duke"--I think in '76. The Vega wagon that was called "Monza" had the "Iron Duke" engine in '78 and '79 so the engine must fit right in there. You could also get V6 engines in the (Vega) "Monza" wagon from the factory.
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 21,846
    RE: '76 Cadillac---yeah, I was being facetious--just picked another '76 car out of the hat; however, as uplander mentioned, that was pretty pathetic HP out of such a huge engine.

    One thing that's an extra slap in the face, is that in 1976, if you specified a 454 in a full-size Chevy, it had 225 hp. The Caddy 500 only had 190 with the 4-bbl carb. If you coughed up another $600, you got fuel injection, which bumped that up to all of 215 hp.

    That year's Pontiac 455 put out 200 hp. The Olds put out 190 hp, but there was a 215 hp option for the Toronado. And Buick's 455 was rated at 205 hp.

    Chrysler's 440 was rated at 205 hp that year, while the Ford 460 was at 202. So, it seems like the Caddy 500 had the worst hp-to-CID ratio of any of the big engines out there. I wonder if it at least had a torque advantage?

    Oddly, it looks like the Mopar 400 was about the strongest engine around. My old car book is listing it as offering 240, 255, and 260 hp variants, in addition to the more common, choked down 165-175 hp or so versions.

    I wonder if that's a mis-print? Or, if those are copcar 400's? Or, copcar 440s mis-labled as 400s? Consumer Guide doesn't always do the best job in the world at proof-reading their work!
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 21,846
    The Astre and the Vega had the same engine at the Astre's introduction, but Astre later went to the "Iron Duke"--I think in '76.

    While I have the old car book out, I thought I'd look. According to it, the Iron Duke came out for 1977, and was standard in the Astre hatchback and wagon, as well as all Sunbird models. The 140 CID aluminum engine was standard in the Astre "sedan" (their term for it, not mine), with the Iron Duke being optional.

    For '78, the Iron Duke replaced the aluminum engine completely.

    Also, looks like the Vega never got the Iron Duke. The aluminum engine was the only 4-cyl offered in the Monza for '75-77, and went to the Iron Duke for '78.

    Olds and Buick tried to be a bit upscale, making the 231 V-6 standard on the Skyhawk and Starfire for '75. For '77 though, they made the aluminum 4 standard on the Starfire, then the Iron Duke for '78. Looks like the Skyhawk stayed with a standard 231 V-6 for its entire run. Even when the under-sized 196 version came out, Buick saved that for abuse use on the larger Century/Regal.
  • uplanderguyuplanderguy Kent, OHPosts: 7,494
    Thanks for confirming that the Astre still had the Vega 140 in '76. I was so used to seeing it in ads referred to as "Vega's Dura-Built 140" I couldn't remember when Pontiac stopped using it. I knew there was at least one year when the Vega had the aluminum engine and the Astre didn't.

    When they made Vega-based "Monza S" hatchbacks in '78 and '79 too (I think--our dealer hardly got any), plus "Monza" (really, Vega) wagons in '78 and '79, they were all Iron Dukes or the optional V6 (I'm thinking 3.2 liters). The "Sunbird" (Astre) wagon continued into '78 and possibly '79 as well.
  • fintailfintail Posts: 33,496
    On the road today - BMW clown shoe M coupe, ~75 Ford big wagon, not a woody, but looked relatively nice.
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 21,846
    spotted from a distance, parked behind a building. Most of it was blue, but it had black fenders, and looked rough in general, but useable. There was a Ford product of similar vintage parked next to it, but I didn't get a good look at it. Looked like it might've been a Mercury.

    Also saw an old Ford medium-duty flatbed truck on the road. Not sure of the year, but it looked kinda like this:

    I think they pretty much looked like that from 1967-79. I know the pickups were redesigned for 1973, but I don't think the medium-duty trucks were.

    Seems like those Ford medium-duty trucks were everywhere for the longest time... school buses, delivery trucks, light-duty dump trucks, and so on. But, other than today I can't remember the last time I've seen one.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,403
    You don't see 'em anymore for the same reason you don't see many old commercial vehicles---they were worked to death. This is also why you so rarely see the base model 4-door "stripper" sedans anymore. They were used and discarded, and never looked upon as much more than utilitarian.


  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 21,846
    Yeah, that's why I was surprised to see one still in use! It looked like it was in good shape, too. The red paint of the cab was faded, but it wasn't dented, rusty, or anything.

    There's a Mack dump truck still running around locally. In fact, the last time I had driveway gravel delivered, it was the truck that brought it. Not sure how old it is, but it looked like this:

    I think they called this the R-series. Seems like these were all over the place at one time too, but again, now you hardly ever see them. Apparently they had a really long run though. According to Wikipedia, they were built from 1966-2005!
  • fintailfintail Posts: 33,496
    Speaking of commercials, I saw a 70s looking GM "Top Kick" big dump truck on the road today, condition looked OK but it was smoking a bit. Also a nice early MR2 and a pastel blue Festiva.
  • stickguystickguy Posts: 14,140
    I like old FS trucks like that for some reason. Always had a soft spot for the round fender IHs, going back to when I was little and visited my Grandparents in Vermont. And those were everywhere out in the country. That was also another one that changed very little over a few decades.

    2013 Acura RDX (wife's), 2007 Volvo S40 (when daughter lets me see it), 2000 Acura TL (formerly son's, now mine again), and new Jetta SE (son's first new car on his own dime!)

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