A land-speed record-setting 1951 Vincent ups the ante for motorcycle auction prices

A land-speed record-setting 1951 Vincent ups the ante for motorcycle auction prices

Vincent Black Lightning

1951 Vincent Black Lightning. Photoraphs courtesy Bonhams.

Although the Jack Ehret-raced 1951 Vincent is not the most expensive motorcycle ever sold, it is the most expensive motorcycle ever bought at auction, commanding a stratospheric $929,000 at Bonhams Las Vegas Motorcycle Auction on January 25. Probably the second-most-recognizable Vincent Black Lightning ever made–behind the 1947 Vincent HRD that was ridden by a barely dressed Rollie Free on the Bonneville Salt Flats in 1948–this impressive example set the Australian land-speed record at 141.5 mph in 1953.

The bike was a special-order unit built in the Vincent factory in Stevenage, England, for export to Australian Tony McAlpine. It is one of only 30 special order Black Lightnings ever produced. McAlpine sold the bike to rider Ehret who, after setting the new speed record, continued to race the bike to several victories down under.

Vincent Black Lightning

The $929,000 price tag eclipses the record set by the Steve McQueen-owned 1915 Cyclone that sold for 825,500 at Mecum’s March 2015 auction in Las Vegas, as part of the E.J. Cole collection.

Vincent Black Lightning

The aforementioned Rollie Free bathing suit bike, a 1947 Vincent, was last sold in 2011 for $1.1 million; however, this was a private sale and hence ineligible for an auction record. The current owner has generously allowed this bike to appear at several venues since its purchase.

Vincent Black Lightning

The 1951 Vincent Black Lightning was owned for more than 50 years by racer Ehret, and sold in original unrestored running condition (although it was given a careful once-over by Vincent restoration expert Patrick Godet). It takes its place as the fifth-highest price ever paid for a motorcycle, behind the Captain America chopper, the gold-plated 1970 Speedway Racer Triple Crown Special, the Rollie Free Vincent, and a 1925 Brough Superior SS100. All those bikes were sold in private sales.

Other sales of note from the Bonhams Las Vegas auction included:

1926 Brough

Lot 138–a 1926 Brough Superior SS80 that sold for $126,875.


1939 Brough

Lot 168–a 1939 Brough Superior SS80 that sold for $120,500.


Vincent Black Prince

Lot 135–a 1955 Vincent Black Prince that crossed the stage at $104,650.


Vincent Rapide

Lot 133–a rare red 1950 Vincent Rapide Series C sold for $92,000.

Full results of all the motorcycles, parts, and ephemera sold in Las Vegas are available at the Bonhams website. A full list of the top-ten selling motorcycles is also online at the Vintagent website, but it has not been updated to reflect this sale.

Source: www.hemmings.com/blog

The Stoner T: How to build a hot rod in 10 years (and impress people), part 10

The Stoner T: How to build a hot rod in 10 years (and impress people), part 10

Stoner T

My T coupe and all its influences. When I look at this collection of cars that I’ve loved for the entirety of my own consciousness, I pause and just marvel at what this purely American phenomenon has produced over the last 70 years. Just amazing. All photos by the author, unless otherwise noted.

Ever reach the point, when you’re working on an old-car project, where you just get…stuck? You’ve tapped-out all your credit cards, you can see the bottom of the drawer where you keep your slush fund, and you can actually hear your own echo in that one corner of your bank account that you swore you’d only use for car parts. And then you can’t figure out the fuel-system fittings. Or why the doors just refuse to line up and gap correctly. Or maybe the steering is buckling and you screwed up the geometry. These are the things that can stop me dead in my tracks, but I thank all that is holy in the Temple of Hot Rod that I’ve got a shaman like Conder to fearlessly guide me through these moments when I feel my own car-guy mortality. He’s like that wizard on the rocky hilltop with the lantern on that Zeppelin album cover, silently floating over the rocks as I follow along behind on my bloody knees. Understand? I’ll bet you do.

I’m at that point with the T. Really, it just comes down to money. I’m lucky that I can’t swing a dead cat without hitting so many great, if not historic, hot rods here in Northern California, so all that inspiration keeps me focused. So, while Tim and I are figuring out the rest of the punch list on this car and gathering more epicness to share with you, I thought I’d take a breather, clear off those two stools over by the workbench, crack two cold ones, and dig into some of my –– and, consequently, this car’s –– inspiration with you. I think you’ll dig it.

Pure Hell

Rich Guasco built this early Fuel Altered Bantam drag car, piloted by Dale Emory. This thing still lives in the northern California town of Pleasanton with Rich, and they both can still be seen at car shows and drag strips. One of the most well-known Altereds, it’s a national treasure, for sure. Photo: Stephen Justice.

Rich Guasco’s “Pure Hell”
In January of 1963, Rich Guasco was running a front-engine dragster (FED) at Northern California’s Fremont drag strip when the rear end came apart. In those days, an FED was either a “legs under” or “legs over” car –– meaning that the driver either sat with his rear end on top of the rear-end housing or the housing sat in his lap –– neither of which is a smart place to be if something in that rear end breaks loose. When exactly that happened to Rich, the once-stationary aluminum rear-end housing started spinning as fast as the wheels were turning. And they were turning pretty fast in mid-pass down the track. The accident just about vaporized Rich’s hips and made quick work of some fairly vital organs.

But, that accident didn’t seem to do much more than give Rich some time on his back to think about his next dragster. The next year, he called on a young race-car-chassis fabricator, Pete Ogden, to build a chassis for a Bantam-bodied racer to campaign in the newly minted AA/FA (double A, Fuel Altered) class. The thing ran well into the 8-seconds with not much tinkering. “Ogden tells me that he said, ‘Guass, that car is pure hell –– you ought to name it that.’ But, you know, I used to say that damn near everything was ‘pure hell’ back then,” Rich remembers about the naming of his new car.

I love everything about Pure Hell: the crazy stance and wacky proportions make it look as mean as it was squirrely as it was fast. I should say, “is:” the car –– and Rich –– are still running around his stomping grounds in Pleasanton, California, and I’ve had the good fortune of knowing Rich. Matter of fact, he traded me a pair of rare 17-inch magnesium spindle-mount American Racing front runners from the Bantam-bodied AA/FA car for the 15-inch versions I have on the T: he needed my wheels for his restoration of the Pure Hell Funny Car that replaced it when the Fuel Altered class was killed off by the NHRA in ’69. I just about passed out when I got my hands on such an irreplaceable piece of drag-racing history, but it turned out one wheel was a Ford spindle and one was an Anglia –– a mismatched pair from a wreck that Pure Hell survived in its first few years of racing. Totally unusable for me, but Rich was such a kind and understanding soul about it, and we reversed the trade. I’m still running my 15-inches, but Rich owned them for a hot minute. How cool is that? I’m such a fanboy, I can barely stand myself sometimes.

Red Baron

The Red Baron brought all kinds of influences of its age together in one car: the German helmet and “iron cross” were symbols of outlaw biker culture in the late ’50s and ’60s; the World War I flying ace idea was also picked up by Snoopy in Peanuts; and the show-car circuit had the potential to be a fairly good income for anyone with the right, seemingly mysterious idea for a car that could also become a model kit. Ah, the Good ’Ol Days… Photo: Tom Daniel.

Chuck Miller’s “Red Baron”
The Red Baron started life as probably the most popular plastic model kit ever conjured by Monogram –– that Pillar of Plastic that took most of my hard-earned allowance through the ’70s and early ’80s. Tom Daniel, who designed a fair share of the most popular model kits ever sold, actually conjured the Red Baron in time for a toy fair in Chicago in 1967. A car-show promoter named Bob Larivee Sr. saw the kit at that show and worked out a deal with Monogram to allow him the privilege of building a 1:1-scale version of the German-helmeted T-bucket and drag it out at his car shows. The Baron was an instant hit at the Autorama the next year –– perfect timing, since the idea of a purpose-built “show rod” was all the rage in the late ’60s.

A giant, silver World War I German helmet on top of a T-bucket hot rod with twin machine guns mounted to the cowl and six baloney-sliced megaphone headers lined up in front of them, accented by iron crosses all over the damn place, and wee, chromed German helmet air cleaner cover hovering over the carb? YES. PLEASE. All day long. This thing was built and campaigned two years before I was born, but as far as I’m concerned, it’s now a timeless design. Also, in a world of muted-color “traditional” hot rods, I say candy-metalflake the entire planet and then top it off with show-chrome. All of it. This stuff is supposed to be fun, man. Seriously.

Druid Princess

By the time the Druid Princess (named by none other than artist, Robert Williams) made the scene, things were getting truly wacky on the hot-rod show circuit. But, it could be argued that this is just what happens when Hollywood picks up on an idea and shoots it through its own psychedelic wormhole. Photo: Darin Schnabel, courtesy RM Sotheby’s.

Ed “Big Daddy” Roth’s “Druid Princess”
My all-time favorite Ed Roth car was also probably the most unique of all his bubble-topped, rounded-off weirdo cars. Roth had originally contracted with the folks behind The Addams Family TV show to build his answer to the wildly popular “Munsters Koach” gothic behemoth that George Barris had built for its rival, The Munsters. The Princess was more of an 18th-century Baroque royal-carriage-meets-Dandy Dick Landy’s Dodge Big-Block-meets-Ken Kesey’s surfboard. Larry Watson had laid down the purple ‘flake over the white pearl base paint and, by the time he, Jim “Jake” Jacobs, Dan “Milk Truck” Woods, and Roth were finished with it, nobody would’ve guessed the Druid Princess had started out as mere plywood sheets with plaster gingerbread stuck to them. The car never made it to the small screen, though –– as Hemmings’ own Dan Strohl reported a few years ago, Roth said the show was cancelled before it was ready for prime time. No matter, he dispatched it to the show circuit and it probably would’ve become a favorite model kit of the era, too. No idea why that never happened, but maybe it had something to do with the actual child’s coffin mounted in the rear as the fuel tank.

You can probably make the leap of Roth’s influence on my T: those sharp angles and proportion look like an early Ford “center-door” Model T on angel dust and I just think it’s the coolest car he ever built. You can also see the influence that Top Fuel drag racing had on Roth at the time. The non-functional Enderle bugcatcher mechanical fuel injection perched on top of a 6-71 blower make the Dodge 383-c.i.d. big-block V-8 look all race, yet the rest of the car is fairly shag-a-delic. The height of Roth Studios’ fantastic odyssey, if you ask me.

Drag-U-La was my favorite car to ever come out of George Barris’ Barris Kustom in North Hollywood. It wasn’t as popular as the Batmobile or the Munsters Koach, but a coffin with a bubble-top and slicks? C’mon, man… Photo: Brett Barris and Barris Kustom.

Barris Kustoms’ “Drag-U-La”
Let’s stick with the show cars of the shows, for a minute, shall we? By the mid-’60s, camp met drag racing in Hollywood. The drags were not only one of the most popular American sports, but the kids were wild for it, and TV and movie studios figured it out in ways only they could. As if a dysfunctional family of horror movie monsters couldn’t be more of a stretch for a TV sitcom, The Munsters’ producers figured adding a drag-racing element to it made perfect sense, too. Why not, right? In addition to the gargantuan “Munsters Koach,” George Barris was also tapped to build “Drag-U-La”: a front-engine dragster made out of a gold-bombed fiberglass coffin, complete with a gravestone perched over a suicide front-end up front and a bubble-top canopy out back. The thing looked like a Top Fuel dragster, sorta, and it even pulled the wheels in an episode of the show when Grandpa raced the Koach to win it back for Herman Munster, who’d apparently raced for pinks…and lost.

See a pattern yet, with these cars? The story goes that, since it was illegal to sell a coffin without a death certificate, Barris’ man, Korky Korkes, made a midnight deal with a local funeral home and was able to abscond with this fiberglass unit, which arguably became the most famous gold coffin in the history of gold coffins. That gothic look, mixed with seemingly gobs of dragster speed parts and topped off with a set of wicked cathedral organ pipes, makes for such a killer look. Pardon the pun. In the first sketch of my T that illustrator Jeff Allison made, it featured a set of vertical pipes a la Drag-U-La and he dubbed it, “The Pipe Cleaner.” While the car won’t feature those style pipes, I sure do love them on Barris’ coffin dragster. So good.

Scotty Strebel’s hot-rod pickup was a big, modern-day influence on me, because of its stance and those ever-present slicks-n-slicers. First time I saw it, the truck was in its Army drab livery. I remember the day I got the call that he’d wrecked it. One of the great San Francisco hot-rod stories, and it’s still a real “Kennedy” moment for many of us who remember where we were when the accident happened. Don’t worry, Scotty is still with us, ruling hard. Photo: Scott Strebel.

Scott Strebel’s ’30/’31 Model A truck
Here’s what I’d call a “real-world” influence that informed my opinions of hot rods: Scotty Strebel’s Model A pickup. This is one of a few historic San Francisco hot rods that makes me proud to live in The Sucker Free. Scott’s buddy and owner of California Hot Rods, Mike Smith, helped lay out this truck and it had all the right cues: wide-white drag slicks on the rear, 18-inch American Racing magnesium spindle-mount front runners, no fenders, cowl-strapped 4-2-1 headers, Deuce grille with perfectly positioned headlights, and a wicked little stance. When Scott first started showing the car in 2001, it was red oxide primer, but soon was painted drab Army green with a white stenciled military star on each door and one in the middle of the grille. He wrecked the truck one fine Frisco evening and it ended up back at California Hot Rods. Today, the car is still alive and well, but as a pale-blue chopped Model A coupe that Smith still drives to car shows.

As far as true spindle-mounts-n-slicks hot rods go, Scott’s truck was one of my absolute favorites. And, it was an early influence for me, as I embraced the idea of my own hot rod –– which was a real departure from my power-ballad mid-60’s custom aesthetic I’d harbored as a natural-born East-Coaster. This truck was a short wheelbased, rip-snortin’ red-blooded hawt rawd in every sense of the word: street-driven, but with no front brakes and big slicks in the rear, it was squirrely, quick, and loud. Just like a hot rod is supposed to be, in my estimation. I don’t want to hear about gas mileage, practicality, or how much luggage can be stored in a hot rod. Those things don’t compute. That’s not the language of Hot Rod. On the other hand, Scotty’s truck was fluent in it.

Purple People Eater

Probably the most influential hot rod of the last 30 years, Marky Idzardi’s Purple People Eater is still in one piece, still owned by its builder, and still making passes on quarter-miles all over the world. I know it sounds corny, but this car makes me proud to be a member of the generation that redefined hot-rodding in ways not seen in 40 years. Photo: Mark Idzardi.

Marky Idzardi’s “Purple People Eater”
If you’ve been paying attention to hot rods at all over the last, say, 25 years, you know the Purple People Eater. Built by Marky Idzardi and his Shifters car club out of Orange County, California, in the early Aughts, the car was nothing less than a spaceship that landed on the sleepy, old-guy air-conditioned street-rod scene, and started blasting lasers all over the place. When Marky and his brother, Alex, found a ’56 Pontiac 316-c.i.d. V-8 for sale at the March Meet in Bakersfield, California, in ’97 or ’98, they picked it up, quick. Turned out, the motor was hogged out to 450 cubic inches and had some good drag-racing history: It ran in an Altered-bodied rail between 1959 and 1961, and held a track record at Riverside for a supercharged, gas class. As they cracked it open and ran through it, they found all kinds of early speed equipment and the truly historic motor is probably the earliest supercharged Pontiac engine still in working condition, much less existence. The Shifters got to work and hacked up a Model A sedan and built a hot rod based on a Sixties-era Altered dragster: short wheelbase, HUGE motor perched way up in the air for weight transfer on launch from the starting line, skinny spindle-mount front wheels with no brakes, racing slicks on the rear, a solid-mounted rear end, no radiator, and gobs of attitude. The car was, by all accounts, like nothing that had been seen in some 40 years. When it showed up at the West Coast Cruisin’ Nationals car show in Paso Robles,California, the next year, people LOST THEIR MINDS. Freaked out. Babies were crying, women were rushed to safety, windows were shuttered, the National Guard was called out, and the hot-rodders in attendance quietly ate themselves to death. When Marky, surrounded by his club’s cars, showed up on one end of the park in the center of town that year, he described it as “the leaning of the park,” as everyone’s attention shifted to, well, the Shifters.

When the motor showed up on the cover of one of the most influential hot-rod magazines of the era (presumably because there was no room for the rest of the car in the shot), it was game-over: our generation had officially taken over hot-rodding, breathed new life into it, and turned it into a popular culture heavy. Loved that car ever since I first saw it at that Paso show. And the insane proportions had a profound impact on me. People swore it couldn’t run. It did. They were convinced it would blow up. It didn’t. Nobody thought it could be raced. It was. It’s still running, I still love it, and I’m proud to consider myself a member of the generation that created this genre of hot rod. God bless America.

Boot Hill Express

The Boot Hill Express was the monster truck of its time: fetishized by the kids, loved by the show promoters, questioned by parents, and lauded by the model-car kit brands. While Ray Fahrner’s Boothill Caravan traveling circus is long gone, the original Express can still be seen at the Speedway Motors Museum of American Speed. Photo: Darin Schnabel, courtesy RM Sotheby’s.

Ray Fahrner’s “Boot Hill Express”
In the midst of the Summer of Love, what do you do with the funeral wagon that supposedly delivered a member of the outlaw James Gang to his final resting place on Boot Hill? You turn it into an injected Elephant Hemi-powered show rod, of course! Such was the case with Ray Fahrner’s Boot Hill Express –– another favorite model-car kit, show-circuit winner, and all-around mindblower. The body was, in fact, an original horse-drawn hearse built in the mid-19th century. And, in the age of the Bunk Bed Rod, the Bathtub Rod, and the Hard Hat Hot Rod, it just seemed logical that an antique funeral coach might be stuffed with a 426 Hemi, velocity stacks shoved through the roof, Volkswagen steering repurposed for the stagecoach driver, 18-inch magnesium spindle-mount pizza-cutters up front, deep (15 x 12-inch) Cragars on Goodyear Blue Streaks in the back, and one of the most wicked rakes of any show rod every built. Fahrner dragged this thing all over the show circuit in the late ’60s, much to every squealing kid’s delight, before a fiberglass copy was built and campaigned at drag strips –– I guess that rickety, old 1850 Cunningham coach just wasn’t built for quarter-mile passes. Weird, I know.

Once again, that sharp-cornered, gothic look, beset by a mean rake and extreme proportions of wheel and tire combination was a theme that I’d always gravitated toward. It’s a look that came first from Top Fuel dragsters in the early ’60s to get the most traction at the drive wheels and the least rolling resistance from the fronts. The short-lived Fuel Altered dragster class doubled-down on that approach, and it’s jut the coolest when hot rods pick up and run with it. The Boot Hill Express was also turned into a wildly popular model kit, complete with a cowboy-hatted skeleton that wore a six-shooter around its pelvis. Because, hallucinogenics.

The one and only “Uncertain T.” When Steve Scott built an addition to his mom’s house so he could start building this car in high school, I don’t think he had plans to change the world. And, now that I think about it, it’s hard to imagine under what circumstances a high-school kid might do some modern-day version of the T. More to come on this one… Photo: Steve Scott.

Steve Scott’s “Uncertain T”

Ah, the granddaddy of them all, Steve Scott’s Uncertain T show rod. Probably the biggest influence of all these cars for me, Steve built this thing in his mom’s garage in the San Fernando Valley, finished it in early 1965, and then ruled the world with it for a few years before it disappeared. The signature feature of the car –– the wildly proportioned Model T body –– was hand-formed by Steve out of fiberglass, and then mounted atop a really short custom frame and a 322-c.i.d. Nailhead V-8 from a ’55 Buick. Another distinguishing feature of the car, that neither Conder nor I was aware of till just recently, was the torsion bar front end that Steve fabricated! Had no idea he’d done that and it never occurred to me to even research that front suspension, even though I’d seen plenty of photos of the body off the chassis from the mid-’60s. Once Steve finished the car and started showing it, the model kit was soon to follow, which just made it even more of a sensation in those pre-digital days. Lucky for all of us, there was plenty of photographic evidence of Steve and his Uncertain T: at car shows all over the country, promotional photos of the car for its model kit, at drag strips, and in magazines. But, the car that, in some ways created the idea of the purpose-built show rod, disappeared by the ’70s.

In 2008, I tracked down Steve, living in Hawaii. I was determined to produce a magazine feature on my favorite show car of all time. It took me a few months to find him, but find him I did. We became fast friends and I consider my 10 years of friendship with Steve not only one of the great accomplishments of my career, but a personal highlight of my life, too. His Uncertain T –– a car he drew a 1:1-scale version of on his mom’s garage wall when he was a high-school senior and ruled the world with for a glorious few years during the Golden Age of hot-rodding –– was one of the biggest influences on me for my own car. When Conder first drew his version of my T coupe, he hadn’t been thinking about the Uncertain T at all, but it was the first thing I saw and immediately fell in love with it. Sometimes, the stars just line up that way, right?

So, these are my hot-rod influences. Like I said, you can probably see the consistencies among all of them: that fueler slicks-n-slicers wheel and tire combination, a mean rake, big motor, no fenders, no front brakes, some sort of gothic-inspired vertical shape in the body with sharp edges and right angles, all wrapped up in an unmistakable attitude. The art-school grad in me is driven by the aesthetics of these cars, and Conder and I bonded as builder/customer over his own approach to choppers: “They’re supposed to be dangerous, man. If your butt doesn’t pucker just a little when you light it, you’re wasting your time.”

Back to the build next week, friends. Thanks for taking a breather with me and talking about inspiration –– it’s important, if hot-rodding is going to survive.

To catch up on other installments of the Stoner T build, click here.

Source: www.hemmings.com/blog

Hemmings Find of the Day – 1948 Chevrolet COE

Hemmings Find of the Day – 1948 Chevrolet COE

Editor’s note: The purpose of the “Find of the Day” is to promote interesting cars from our classifieds. These are not the actual ads, so to view more images or contact the seller with questions, click on the hyperlink (underlined green text), which will take you to the classified ad itself.

Mobile pizza truck built atop a 1948 Chevrolet COE for sale on Hemmings.com. From the seller’s description:

Renovated Classic Truck…outfitted to cater in the most unique style.

This truck is meticulously restored and built to suit, it includes everything necessary to cater large weddings and events. Equipment included is a 2 door 60″ True Cooler and a 2 door Beverage Air keg cooler that can be utilized for food or beer when needed. Please call me with questions, this is one of the finest catering trucks you will find.

Equipment Includes:

*Mugnaini 120 Oven
*60″ True Commercial Cooler
*60″ Beverage Air Keg Cooler
*3000 Watt Generator with custom slide
*custom reclaimed wood folding tables, breakdown and store on the truck in transit
*stainless steel hand washing sink
*fresh & waste water
*wood storage box
*silverking refrigerated topping box



Location Marker

mount pleasant, South Carolina

Magnifying Glass


See more Chevrolet trucks for sale on Hemmings.com.

Source: www.hemmings.com/blog

Australian automotive auctioneer Mossgreen folds

Australian automotive auctioneer Mossgreen folds

Photos courtesy Mossgreen.

The Australian auction house that last year aimed to set a record for the most expensive car sold in Australia – and prior to that, claimed the record for the most expensive Australian car sold at auction – has folded after a brief period in administration, according to Australian news outlets.

Founded as an Australiana and art auction house in 2004 by Paul Sumner and his wife Amanda Swanson, Mossgreen began a rapid expansion process over the last few years, a process that Sumner told The Guardian happened too fast, thus leading to its voluntary administration by BDO Australia in late December. BDO’s assessment found that Mossgreen owed $12 million to about 400 total creditors and had just $2.8 million in assets.

Part of that expansion included Mossgreen’s Motoring department, which formed in 2014 with a former Christie’s automotive director at the helm, and which became the official auction house for the annual Motorclassica car show in Melbourne. Last year’s Motorclassica auction promised a whopper: a 1955 Jaguar D-Type once owned by Duncan Hamilton that Mossgreen billed as “the most expensive car to ever go to auction in Australia.” In a pre-auction press release, Sumner said that it “no doubt will set new records on auction night.” Estimated to sell for $7 million to $8 million, it ultimately attracted a top bid of just $5.5 million and did not sell.

That came after Mossgreen had heavily hyped a 1977 Holden Torana A9X that privateer Bob Morris famously drove to the 1979 Australian Touring Car Championship, beating the heavily funded factory teams. The Torana, which went to auction in Sydney in May of last year, was predicted to be the first Australian car to sell for more than $1 million. Instead, it sold for $705,000, and while that selling price was short of the $850,000 low end of the pre-auction estimate, it still managed to set a record for Australian-built cars at auction, beating out the first Australian-built Holden 48-215, which sold for $672,000 in 2013.

(Another Holden, the first Holden Dealer Team-prepped 1969 Monaro GTS, was similarly predicted to become the first million-dollar Australian car last fall, but ultimately sold for $500,000.)

While BDO appeared ready to pursue a restructuring plan last month and keep the auction house operating, the administrators announced “an orderly wind-down” to Mossgreen following a creditors meeting earlier this month.

While Sumner had previously promised to make good on Mossgreen’s debts, the collapse of the company – reportedly triggered by one of its primary investors backing out – appears to leave all but its one secured creditor out of pocket. BDO has promised to return any property consigned for future auctions.

Source: www.hemmings.com/blog

Century-old competition cars to get their own exhibition racing series

Century-old competition cars to get their own exhibition racing series

Millers at Milwaukee. Photo by Jim Donnelly.

The definition of a sports car typically centers on little European roadsters built in the middle few decades of the Twentieth Century. It typically leaves out those big, primitive racing machines built prior to World War I even though both fundamentally focus on driver-oriented, no-frills motoring. To bring the latter into the former’s fold, in a way, the Sportscar Vintage Racing Association has scheduled a series of exhibition races for pre-1920 race cars.

According to an SVRA press release, the series will coincide with three of the SVRA’s 2018 events: the IMS Brickyard Invitational, the U.S. Vintage Grand Prix at The Glen, and the Sonoma Historic Motorsports Festival. Organizers of the series are looking for 15-20 cars per race. Eventually, they intend to expand the schedule beyond the SVRA calendar and to concours events.

“We believe that doing justice to these rare vehicles by giving them their own run group will attract spectator interest,” said Brian Blain, whose Blain Motorsport Foundation has partnered with Hagerty and the SVRA to produce the series.

In addition to giving the cars a chance to stretch their legs, the series will also take on a Goodwood Revival vibe, with drivers in period attire and paddocks – open to spectators – decked out in period-correct tools, equipment, and accessories.

In total, the SVRA’s 2018 schedule includes 13 events from February to November. While the SVRA’s class structure does not include anything specifically for pre-World War I cars, other vintage race events, such as the Monterey Motorsports Reunion, do have classes for early cars.

For more information on the SVRA and the pre-1920 race series, visit SVRA.com.

Source: www.hemmings.com/blog

Hemmings Find of the Day – 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air

Hemmings Find of the Day – 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air

1957 Chevrolet Bel Air

Editor’s note: The purpose of the “Find of the Day” is to promote interesting cars from our classifieds. These are not the actual ads, so to view more images or contact the seller with questions, click on the hyperlink (underlined green text), which will take you to the classified ad itself.

From the seller’s description:

1957 Chevrolet Bel Air 2dr Hardtop, 57,000 mile mostly original paint, unrestored survivor. Dusk pearl/white top, 283 powerpak, 3 spd std trans with OD and 4.11 ratio rear. Elec wipers, reverse lights, drivers side spotlight/mirror combo. Door edge guards, nail guards. Radiator bugscreen, no ps, pb. Known owner history with orig Klamath Falls Oregon lady owned from new to mid 90s. Orig glass, chrome, interior and T3 headlights. Some orig assembly line tags, stickers, paint daubs from new. More detailed photos available. Lots of restored cars available, very few originals.

1957 Chevrolet Bel Air 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air



Location Marker


Magnifying Glass


Find more Chevrolets for sale on Hemmings.com.

Source: www.hemmings.com/blog

How women’s experience with the automobile fundamentally differs from men’s

How women’s experience with the automobile fundamentally differs from men’s

From a 1941 Ethyl Gasoline Corporation ad, via Plan59.

[Editor’s Note: While we reviewed Katherine J. Parkin’s Women at the Wheel: A Century of Buying, Driving, and Fixing Cars in the January 2018 Hemmings Classic Car, we also found that it deserved a little more recognition, so we’ve excerpted the below section with permission of the University of Pennsylvania Press.]

Living in the suburbs in the late 1950s, author Betty Friedan preserved her writing time by having a taxi transport her children to school. Friedan realized that driving did not free her from the yoke of domesticity she so famously exposed in her classic, The Feminine Mystique. Instead, she recognized that for most women the car was principally a tool in service of the type of never-ending domestic work expected of them. Not only did women not find liberation on the road, but they also found themselves targeted by spurious stereotypes of “women drivers.” These myths, including a belief that women were excessively cautious, spatially inept, and fundamentally incompetent drivers, persisted with little change over the course of automobile history.

Yet at the same time, in spite of these negative associations, women needed cars. The country’s shift to the suburbs, facilitated by the emergence and eventual dominance of the automobile, meant that women had to go out and get products and services once delivered to the home. While one historian contended that driving “represented liberation from the household,” home economist Christine Frederick noted that moving to the countryside meant that in addition to all of the farm production she was responsible for, she also had to serve as a chauffeuse. Most women discovered that to facilitate everything from daily milk delivery to doctor’s care, they needed to drive. Their work also included taking their husbands to the train or their jobs and their children to school and activities. Across the century, even those women with the means to drive did so almost entirely in service of their domestic responsibilities and identities.

Most twentieth-century white, middle-class, American women found their lives defined by domesticity, and the use of their car principally affirmed their gender identity. Friedan’s decision to pay someone to drive her children to school reflects the insights she brought to bear on a nascent feminist movement. Few have questioned, as Friedan did, the value of having women spending hours behind the wheel chauffeuring their husbands to work and their children to school, practices, and lessons. Yet women discovered that driving mirrored their other domestic responsibilities, as it was structured around others’ needs, it was rote, and it was never-ending. For millions of women, their experience with the car fundamentally differed from that of men. The car was for most men an assertion of masculine identity, predicated on power, control, and freedom. Even when men drove in more mundane circumstances, ferrying their families or driving to work, their ownership and default position behind the wheel of the car left them with more authority than women could generally assert.

Most women found their legitimacy as drivers compromised by a cultural expectation that placed men in the driver’s seat and relegated women to the passenger side of the car whenever both were present. The cultural representations of men’s control of cars served to dissuade women from assuming an identity as a driver. Women’s historical association with the car, therefore, was primarily as a passenger or as a driver in service of their work as wives and mothers. The number of women who found independence when they slid behind the wheel was relatively small.

In part because of their customary role as passenger, some women also found themselves vulnerable to men who had control of an automobile and whisked them away from the watchful eyes of their families and communities. Moving beyond the front porch or the neighborhood created both opportunity and vulnerability for women. From their earliest experiences with cars, young women were taught to be wary of men, especially those offering rides or assistance. Cautioned about the risks of predators and the “devil wagon,” most women, into the twenty-first century, had a much more circumscribed automotive experience than men.

One need only look at the language used to describe drivers. In the nineteenth century, a professional woman who challenged gender expectations and entered a male field received a gendered title, such as “doctress” or “lawyeress.” As women took the wheel when automobiles emerged in the late 1890s, however, no new word emerged to describe them. With the introduction of mass production and the growing embrace of cars in the early 1900s, both men and women became known as “drivers.” A gender-neutral identity was possible, but instead the language that emerged identified women with a gendered qualifier. They were “woman drivers,” “lady drivers,” or “female drivers,” with a host of pernicious assumptions surrounding them. Conversely, we see no deployment of terms such as “man drivers,” “gentleman drivers,” or “male drivers.” Even in countless newspaper and magazine accounts of men causing automobile accidents, the gender qualifier did not appear. While the novelty of women driving dissipated over time, the desire to delineate who was driving and demean women with these monikers persisted into the twenty-first century.

Contemporaries of the first women to drive cars generally did not consider their actions significant, or even positive. More than a dozen men laid claim to being the inventor of the American automobile, dating to 1893, and countless more sought acknowledgment as the first to break driving records for speed and distance. Before the emergence of the women’s movement in the 1960s and 1970s, however, few women celebrated their vehicular accomplishments as the first American woman to drive a car, be licensed, or drive long distances. While some have imagined the role of cars as transformative, in truth cars only offered women “a wider range of possibility in their everyday lives.”

Manufacturers sought out women drivers in the early twentieth century by assuring them that their cars were easy to drive and reliable. This 1904 Haynes ad drew on the popularity of a vaudeville performer to explain why a woman would need a vehicle to take her “far from home and count on getting back without trouble.”

Indeed, it was a man who made one of the earliest claims of a woman behind the wheel. Automobile inventor and manufacturer Elwood Haynes proclaimed that his secretary, Mary Landon, had been the first woman ever to drive, in 1899. Businessmen like Haynes needed to grow the number of drivers nationally; into the 1920s, only a small percentage of women drove. His story line was clear: Driving is so easy and safe that even women have historically done it, and he either resurrected or created a story about Landon’s adventure. Highlighting Landon in 1928, though, also revealed how short-lived her automotive independence was, as she no longer drove and had not even owned a car for twenty years.

Driver’s licenses also helped establish the identities of early women drivers. Life magazine ran an article in 1952 on the woman they claimed had been the first to be licensed in Washington, D.C., Anne Rainsford French. The author praised French’s independence motoring a steam car in 1900 but noted that she stopped driving in 1903 when she married. After living without a car for ten years, when the couple did finally acquire one, French’s husband proclaimed to her and their children, “Driving is a man’s business. Women shouldn’t get soiled by machinery.” The article, ostensibly written to demonstrate that French was a woman of accomplishment, concluded that in response to her husband’s contention that cars were only for men, the capitol’s first licensed female driver replied meekly, “Yes, Walter.” Even in a popular national magazine’s article on the significance of early women drivers, the underlying message to readers was that women should not identify with the car as a source of pride or freedom.

This type of backhanded acclaim pervaded the attention accorded to early women drivers. As Kokomo, Indiana, residents celebrated their centennial in 1965, they revived the claim that Mary Landon was the first woman driver. A newspaper article celebrating her history and participation in the festivities, however, still concluded that the explanation for her revolutionary turn behind the wheel stemmed from the fact that she was “tricked into it” by Haynes. Even as the local media granted Landon recognition and thought her story newsworthy, they simultaneously characterized her as “duped into driving.”

As with Landon, it was only on the fifty-year anniversary of Alice Ramsey’s pioneering 1909 cross-country adventure that people began to credit her, as well. The trip from New York to San Francisco had also been a promotional affair for the Maxwell-Briscoe car company. Traveling with three female companions, a young friend and her husband’s two sisters, Ramsey drove nearly 4,000 miles, heralding the ease with which even a woman could handle the car and its reliability over thousands of miles and difficult terrain. The 1909 journey of “Mrs. John R. Ramsey,” a married, wealthy woman, generated only a handful of small notices appearing in local papers en route and a few longer pieces celebrating the launch and Ramsey’s triumphant arrival on the West Coast. Ramsey’s more extensive media coverage began in the late twentieth century when the visually driven media relished the wonderful pictures of Ramsey in her duster, accompanied by brief stories that heralded a pioneer whose husband did not like to drive and acknowledged that she had left behind her year-old son to undertake the trip. Accounts of the trip still maintained a fiction about her single-handed ability to manage repairs and navigation, relying principally on her own 1961 account of her trip, written more than fifty years after the fact.

Newspaper and magazine articles, and even obituaries in the 1960s and 1970s, touted the accomplishments of early female drivers, perhaps inspired by the feminist movement that was asking of history, “What was her story?” In addition to highlighting national figures, local papers began to feature the first women to drive, maybe not in the country or across the country, but certainly in their town or city. The 1961 obituary of Frances Senteney Carey, for example, proclaimed that she “was the first woman to drive an automobile in Hutchinson, Kansas.” These later twentieth-century accounts uncovered women’s early embrace of the automobile and positioned them as progressive and accomplished. Second-wave celebrants touted women’s heroism in asserting their equality in this new arena.

Most women, however, did not find dignity and independence in driving. Any attempts to develop their automotive acumen and disrupt the prejudice against them challenged cultural definitions of women’s gender and sexual identity. The evidence suggests that the only kind of woman believed to be good at driving or repairing a car would be one without a man. The phenomenon of women taking the wheel could have been empowering, as many proved their mettle as drivers and mechanics, but in spite of occasional celebratory reflections, the broadest, most frequent response to women driving has been mockery and dismissal. For most women, characterized as terrible drivers, harping passengers, and naı¨ve mechanics, the car represented not freedom and power but only the likelihood of ridicule. The emergence of the car, therefore, led to an expectation across the century that women would buy cars, drive them, and fix them, but not be good at any of it. Even as the car became an increasingly important part of American life, women found themselves isolated on the fringes of this national obsession.

Automobiles became a defining aspect of American culture and identity, and the many stereotypes that existed adapted to drivers and passengers. Just as the public and the police made reflexive conclusions about cars and drivers based on race, so too has the nation made parallel assumptions based on gender. A quick glance informed attitudes about the motivations and aptitudes of those at the wheel.

Women have often been behind the wheel, but when it comes to directing the cultural conversation, men have done the driving. This story of American automotive history reveals a long-standing pattern of according men respect and women disdain. When it came to automobiles, people continuously evaluated cars and drivers on the basis of their gender. One of the earliest assumptions came with the early contest for supremacy waged among inventors of steam, electric, and gasoline cars.

History has principally told the story of gas- and electric-powered cars, but women and men also drove steam-powered cars in the early twentieth century, as in this 1901 Toledo ad.

The conceit that women only drove electric cars persisted even though historians have only a loose grasp on how many people of either sex drove, and even less on what kind of car, in the first decades of the twentieth century. Historian Clay McShane found in his analysis of early 1900s car registrations that “women owners preferred more powerful, heavier cars.” While historian Virginia Scharff contended that advertisements in the first two decades of the century targeted electric cars to women, it is not evident that women predominated in driving electric cars or that women forsook steam or gasoline cars. The suggestion that men only drove gas cars and women only drove electric cars inaugurated a mythical belief in gendered automotive preferences.

While various automobile models vied for dominance in the early years, including the long-forgotten steam cars, Henry Ford’s introduction of the gas-powered Model T in 1908 led to a staggering rate of adoption in the United States. In 1900, there were about 8,000 registered automobiles. Historian James D. Norris discovered that, by as early as 1910, the automobile had moved beyond a “passing fad or an expensive plaything for the rich.” By 1923, more than half of the nearly 23.5 million American families owned an automobile, far more than paid federal income tax or owned a telephone. According to historian Margaret Walsh, “Those who owned these vehicles were likely to be white and middle-class. Only small percentages of minority families owned cars.” In the middle of the Depression, in 1935–36, 15 percent of African American families had a car, as compared to 59 percent of white families.

Still, understanding that the American driver was most likely to be white and have reached the middle class does not reveal women’s relationship to the number of cars produced, automobile registrations, number of licensed drivers, or what analysts call VMT, Vehicle Miles Traveled. Walsh points to women’s embrace of the car, noting their pleasure in it and asserting its importance to them. In a 1920 interview, one woman explained her family’s decision to buy a car before installing indoor plumbing: “Why, you can’t go to town in a bathtub.” While we know, too, that African Americans drove, including women like cosmetics entrepreneur Madam C. J. Walker, who used the car to both acquire and showcase their wealth, their relatively small numbers left a historical record with little trace of their role in shaping the automobile experience.

While it is nearly impossible to know how many women were car owners and drivers, the historical record suggests miniscule numbers that grew slowly across the first half of the twentieth century. Breaking down the larger population into likely owners is revealing. According to a 1921 report in the Automotive Manufacturer, only 5 percent of nativeborn, white men of voting age owned a car in 1912. Even by 1920, only 42 percent of those Americans imagined to have had a car, wealthy, white adult men, apparently did so. Analyzing these numbers, informed by women’s relatively smaller population, compounded by their reduced social and financial power, it becomes clear that driving a car persisted as being an exceptional activity for women. A 1920 article in the Literary Digest found 15,000 women licensed to drive in New Jersey. With a total population greater than three million, this made women drivers a mere half a percent of all drivers in New Jersey in 1920. While the author extrapolated to imagine about 300,000 female drivers nationwide, the social map of the United States—with many western states such as Wyoming and Nevada boasting populations with 10, 15, and 20 percent more men than women, and with much more rural, unpaved terrain—does not support this conclusion. Still, increasing suburbanization, greater affordability and accessibility of the car, and women’s growing public responsibilities all led to increasing numbers of women drivers, and by 1963, the ratio of male-to-female licensed drivers stood at 60:40. The numbers then accelerated rapidly, with the number of women drivers growing 39 percent between 1980 and 2000. By 2012, there were more women than men licensed as drivers in the United States for the first time.

Across the automotive age, images and stories of women and cars filled internal industry newsletters, automotive periodicals, and popular media. What may have seemed a universal experience is revealed to have been a distinctive one for women. From their earliest efforts to learn to drive to their attempts to secure driver’s licenses, women generally found taking control of cars to be fraught with aspersions of their competency and appearance. Automobile companies used magazines and advertisements to shape the discourse. In the process, they played two opposing roles, seeking both to legitimate women as car enthusiasts and to reify men as “natural” drivers.

The next step for women, after learning to drive and securing their licenses, was to acquire a car to drive. Most automotive companies expressed continual surprise when they discovered evidence of women’s economic power, and they consistently approached women as a narrowly defined, monolithic market they could ignore. This reveals an inherent contradiction: Although automobile companies did occasionally seek out female consumers, their fundamental inclination was to ignore them. This pattern is perhaps easiest to understand at the point of purchase. Women buying an automobile did so in a decidedly male space and, into the twenty-first century, faced a consistently uninterested reaction from the salesmen. While other industries that sought female customers invested money in women’s media, car companies were reluctant to do so. Only designating paltry advertising budgets of 3 percent or less and creating intimidating, sexist showrooms hampered the already limited number of marketing approaches the automotive industry believed key to winning women’s business.

Many auto enthusiasts and companies then and now condescended to women by crediting them with making cars more comfortable and practical, but, in truth, throughout the car’s evolution people always sought to improve the car. From the complex, wide-ranging efforts to create the car itself, to the continuing endeavor to make the best car possible, there has been a constant quest for improvement. Windshield wipers, heaters, turn signals, and seat belts emerged, not because women demanded it but because competition for consumers of both sexes inspired it. As exceptions became the rule, more innovative features developed to further improve the automotive experience. Often initially attributed to women, once unique, significant technological developments quickly became de rigueur for a modern automobile.

Driving a car was perhaps the most visible way that someone was identified as a “woman driver.” Women faced the reality that although driving a car could offer freedom, real and perceived vulnerability also shaped their driving experience. From the day-to-day concerns of seeking out gasoline stations with “Rest Rooms” to the prospect of facing sexual violence in cars, women’s experiences behind the wheel shaped their national experience as drivers. Beyond their individual driving experiences, women also faced the perennial question, asked from the earliest days of automobility: Who were the better drivers, women or men? This question permeated the debate and helped perpetuate the myth of men’s superiority. Unlike other racial and ethnic assertions of inferiority that became gauche and self-evidently false, it remained acceptable, for more than one hundred years, to persist in asking the gendered question of who was better. Moreover, the question principally served to continually assert that men were superior drivers, in spite of evidence to the contrary.

While we might imagine maintaining a car historically to have been men’s work, women in the first decades of the twentieth century quickly found themselves responsible for their family’s car care. Solicitous companies assured women that taking care of a car was just like taking care of a child, with the presumption that this type of knowledge was “natural.” In general, though, the small number of women who mastered their own cars’ mechanical makeup discovered that they risked their femininity. For most women, tasked with selecting a garage to perform the work and knowing what services and costs were appropriate, they discovered that they were rarely afforded respect even in their quest to find others to care for the car.

Although the culture featured a number of stereotypes regarding women and cars, one of the most enduring associations concerned identity. Americans considered the car to be female, regularly referring to the automobile as a “her” and “she,” adorning the car with feminine markers, and sometimes naming it. The car’s female identity, then, gave rise to a number of unexpected outcomes, including the love and even lust that men, in particular, felt for their cars. With both women and cars having bodies, car talk often blurred the lines between the two.

In spite of the many changes in women’s lives, the historical evidence reveals a significant continuity of cultural and behavioral impulses regarding American women’s experience with cars. Patriarchal attitudes and assumptions of male superiority continue to dominate our understanding of the car and inform our study of history. By focusing their analyses on changing trends, historians have underappreciated the permanencies of ideological power in American culture. Automobiles offer an opportunity to analyze the ways this power has been wielded to great effect. Principally looking for change over time in such attitudes obscures their longevity. Asking different questions about women’s experiences offers insights into what it was like for women at the wheel.

Katherine J. Parkin’s Women at the Wheel: A Century of Buying, Driving, and Fixing Cars is available on Amazon or directly through the University of Pennsylvania.

Source: www.hemmings.com/blog

Hemmings Find of the Day – 1991 Ford Mustang GT convertible

Hemmings Find of the Day – 1991 Ford Mustang GT convertible

1991 Ford Mustang GT convertible

Editor’s note: The purpose of the “Find of the Day” is to promote interesting cars from our classifieds. These are not the actual ads, so to view more images or contact the seller with questions, click on the hyperlink (underlined green text), which will take you to the classified ad itself.

Low-mileage, unmodified 1991 Ford Mustang GT convertible for sale. From the seller’s description:

Gorgeous triple white GT convertible, 5.0L with only 34,000 miles. This is a wonderful pampered Mustang that comes with an automatic transmission, power windows, power steering, power locks, a/c, new pony floor mats, am/fm cassette with clock. No rust, dings, scratches, or dents. Just one awesome car! Runs and drives like new. Interior is gorgeous white with no rips or tears and is extremely clean. Never smoked in, top is excellent and goes up and down with no issues. The pictures don’t do it justice. It has been kept in climates controlled garage and covered. I have had several 1991 fox body mustangs and this is truly one of the best that I have had. Triple white color combo is awesome and turns heads every time I take it out. This mustang has not been driven hard and is simply a great car.

1991 Ford Mustang GT convertible 1991 Ford Mustang GT convertible 1991 Ford Mustang GT convertible 1991 Ford Mustang GT convertible



Location Marker

Winfield, Pennsylvania

Magnifying Glass


Find more Fords for sale on Hemmings.com.

Source: www.hemmings.com/blog

Four-Links – Ford’s Techna, GM’s mechanical heart, how the Rubicon was saved, NAIAS 1989

Four-Links – Ford’s Techna, GM’s mechanical heart, how the Rubicon was saved, NAIAS 1989

An interesting tidbit in this Mac’s Motor City Garage story on the 1968 Ford Techna: It’s apparently the first vehicle ever described as a “concept car,” and not as as a dream car. Beyond that tidbit, it’s also a pretty advanced vehicle, with cantilevered doors, a honeycomb steel unit-construction floorpan and other neat features.

GM, of course, was responsible for many a technical innovation as well, including a mechanical heart in the early 1950s, as we learned in this New York Times article.

In 2001, it looked as though the world-famous Rubicon Trail might get shut down for good in an effort to preserve Lake Tahoe. That didn’t happen thanks to an effort by the Friends of the Rubicon, as Del Albright recently wrote for Modern Jeeper.

With the Detroit Auto Show in full swing this week, the Detroit Historical Society unearthed some video of the 1989 edition of the show, complete with a lot of neon paint, neoprene, and plastic cladding.

* Making the rounds this week is this Caffeine and Octane video featuring Chuck Beck, a name that should be familiar to anybody who’s ever looked into building or buying a replica or kit car.

Source: www.hemmings.com/blog