Ford GT 40 for under $16,000. Now worth 3 million
Ford GT 40.
The road-going and now legendary GT 40 was once hard for Ford to sell through
To be able to race the GT 40 at Le Mans required FIA homologation which meant
that a certain number of the cars had to be sold as road cars. To move the 20 or
so cars built for homologation purposes, Ford promoted the car with a dealer
roadshow and discounting, eventually clearing its inventory with very little (or
perhaps no) profit.
The Ford GT 40, designed to beat Ferrari, captured overall victory at Le Mans
from 1966 through 1969, and won scores of other races in Europe and the United
Race cars do not become instant success as road cars. Entry and exit was
challenging for those dressed in street clothes, and the World Registry of
Cobras & GT 40s, 4th Edition, describes entry and exit from the GT 40 as a
The challenges of owning a GT40 as a daily driver didn’t end there, either. The
doors needed a wide opening to negotiate across the wide sill, requiring owners
to park on the outskirts of parking lots and hope for the best. Rear-side
visibility was limited by enormous C-pillars, ventilation was provided only by
small rectangular windows cut within the door glass (which also made paying
tolls a challenge), being built in the UK, the car came only in right-hand
drive, again a problem for the American potential customers. While customers
could configure the GT40 with a number of options (including air conditioning),
the starting price for a production road coupe was said to be in the
neighborhood of $16,000.
By early 1967, Ford’s accountants were growing concerned with the significant
amount of money tied up in homologation GT 40s, all of which were the Mk I
variant. (Bean counters are still a problem.)
To stimulate cash flow, Ford initiated the Mk I Promotion and Disposal Program,
which kicked off in February of 1967.
The “disposal” part of the program came in pricing, and dealers were advised to
drop the sticker price of participating cars from $16,000 to $12,000, less if
the car had been previously used. While records are a little incomplete, most
cars sold through the disposal program changed hands at prices between $8,000
and $11,800 (in 1967, this was enough to buy two 390 V8 Mustang fastbacks).
This particular GT 40, Chassis P/1065, was built as a production road coupe,
completed in December of 1966. Finished in Azure Blue, the car was equipped with
a 289 V8 with Weber carburetors, which would have put output in the range of 390
horsepower and 315 pound-feet of torque. Shifting through a ZF five-speed manual
transmission, 0-60 mph would have taken around 5.3 seconds, on the way to a top
speed of 260 km/h.
Chassis P/1065 was one of seven selected for regional tours, and in November of
1967, it was invoiced to Al Grillo Ford in Lynn, Massachusetts, for $10,000.
P/1065 did not remain on the showroom floor for long, as records show it
licensed to an owner in Dallas, Texas, before the end of 1967.
In 1969, this GT 40 Mk I went to Shelby collector Andy Harmon in Hattiesburg,
Mississippi. Like his Cobra and Shelby Mustangs, the GT 40 was repainted in
turquoise with white pinstripes and white side stripes. Harmon also added Mk III
style rear windows, rear fender flares and “Mk IB” lettering on the nose, though
no such model variant existed.
The GT 40 didn’t remain in Harmon’s collection for long, as records have it
turning up in England the following year. There, its first owner painted the car
purple with white stripes, and it remained in this livery until a 1984
restoration saw it painted red with black trim.
In 2000, the car was purchased by Bellevue, Washington, collector John McCaw,
who returned it to the United States. It changed hands again in 2002, but
remained in the United States until 2004, when it sold to a collector in the
United Kingdom. In 2008, it was sold to an American owner, who retained
possession of the car until 2012, when it sold at a Gooding & Company auction in
Pebble Beach for $1.65 million.
Prior to its sale at Pebble Beach, P/1065 was given a “substantial” mechanical
and cosmetic restoration, including a rebuild of the original engine,
transmission, brakes and suspension, and a repaint in the original Azure Blue.
Now it has less than 6,000 km showing on the odometer, though the car was simply
described in the catalog as “displaying remarkably low mileage.”
This time around and four years later, Gooding & Company is predicting a selling
price between $3.2 million and $3.6 million. While hardly inexpensive, it’s
considerably less than the record-setting $11 million paid in 2012 for chassis
P/1074, the GT 40/Mirage with a competition history used as a camera car in the
filming of Le Mans.
Investing in classic cars is showing a much better return than real estate for
example, with this one showing 100 percent increase in four years! However, I
have noticed that many cars I have owned have turned into classics – after I
sold them – as up till then they were only thought of as old bangers.
Another propulsion method unveiled
A Liechtenstein-based car company called nanoFlowcell is unveiling a car that it
claims uses an entirely new energy source to drive.
NanoFlowcell describes electrolyte fuel as “metallic salts in aqueous solution”
with one salt solution positive charged and one cell negative charged. Fluid is
circulated around the barrier separating the two cells, which produces an
electrical current that powers the motor. Similar situation to maglev as far as
I can see, and remember this car is yet to prove its capabilities.
But it looks wild and will be shown at the Geneva motor show in March.
We had only just said good bye to the crash prone Venezuelan Pastor Maldonado,
after his millions of dollars sponsorship dried up, but now hot on his heels
comes another make-weight in the F1 teams.
The new driver is 23 year old Rio Haryanto who will make history by becoming the
first Indonesian to compete in F1 and joins Germany’s Pascal Wehrlein in an
all-rookie line-up for the season that begins March 20 in Melbourne, Australia,
driving for the Manor team.
“Melbourne will be a huge moment for me, my country, supporters and fans and I
want to thank everyone who’s been with me since I started in single-seaters,”
Haryanto said in a team statement issued on Thursday.
“2016 is my chance to reward that faith and represent Asia in F1.”
The second race seat at Manor was the last vacancy among the 11 teams for 2016,
and Haryanto’s appointment completes the driver line-up.
Haryanto has spent the past four seasons racing in the GP2 series and has had
commercial backing from Indonesia’s state oil and gas company Pertamina.
Manor owner Stephen Fitzpatrick said Haryanto is “tenacious on and off the track
and made a big impression on last year’s GP2 battle”.
“Rio’s huge following in Indonesia is great for the team and for F1. They are
keen to see him on the grid and we’re confident that we’ll see him enjoying some
exciting battles in the year ahead,” Fitzpatrick said.
The appointment of Wehrlein and Haryanto means there is no place for American
driver Alex Rossi, who raced with the team last year and had been hopeful of
retaining his place (but his piggy bank wasn’t big enough).
Haryanto’s links to the Manor team can be traced back to 2010 when he drove for
the team’s GP3 squad. He continued with Manor in GP3 in 2011, before graduating
to GP2 in 2012.
He partnered Max Chilton that season and the pair both earned their super
licenses at the young driver test at Silverstone with Marussia. During the GP2
campaign, Haryanto was comprehensively outperformed by Chilton, finishing over
130 points behind his teammate.
While Chilton graduated to F1 and then to Indycar in the US, Haryanto continued
in GP2 finishing 19th in the standings in 2013, 15th in 2014 and fourth in 2015.
Haryanto gained further F1 experience at the end of 2015 when he completed 56
laps at Pirelli’s post-season tyre test in Abu Dhabi with Manor.
Manor’s switch to a Mercedes engine this season had raised hopes of a more
competitive showing for the team, which entered the sport in 2010 as Virgin and
I hope they spend the Indonesian Rupiah wisely, and not all in the same shop.
Last week I mentioned there has been only one car not designed for road racing
which took part in a world championship Grand Prix race. Who drove it, in 1959?
It was a Kurtis midget driven by Roger Ward.
So to this week. Which driver owed his start in F1 to a two month jail sentence?
For the Automania FREE beer this week, be the first correct answer to email
[email protected] or [email protected] Good luck!
Full steam ahead
George Stephenson was the brilliant designer whose steam engines once ruled the
On Sept. 27, 1825, railroad transportation was born when the first public
passenger train, pulled by Stephenson’s Active (later renamed Locomotion), ran
from Darlington to Stockton in the UK, carrying 450 passengers at 24 km per
hour. Following the success Liverpool and Manchester interests called him in to
build a 64 kilometer railroad line to connect the two cities. To survey and
construct the line, Stephenson had to outwit the violent hostility of farmers
and landlords who feared, among other things, that the railroad would supplant
horse-drawn transportation and shut off the market for oats. (That reminds me of
my grandmother who covered electric power points as she was sure the electricity
would leak down the wall and discolor the wallpaper!)
Singer 9 Le Mans.
At the opening of the Liverpool-Manchester line in 1829, a competition was held
for locomotives; Stephenson’s new engine, the Rocket, which he built with his
son, Robert, won with a speed of 58 km per hour.
Whilst steam seemed the way to go for the railways, steam engines were not the
only engines used in early automobiles. Between 1832 and 1839 (the exact year is
uncertain), Robert Anderson of Scotland invented the first electric carriage.
These first electric cars used rechargeable batteries that powered a small
electric motor. The vehicles were heavy, slow, expensive, and needed to stop for
recharging frequently. Both steam and electric road vehicles were abandoned in
favor of gas powered vehicles. Electricity found greater success in tramways and
streetcars, where a constant supply of electricity was possible.
And do not forget that Dr. Porsche built the first hybrid vehicles with electric
in-wheel motors with a small petrol engine turning a dynamo to produce the
necessary electricity for the batteries.
If we had only ventured further down the electric road, the world would not be
controlled by the pimps at the pumps!
An “Auto” Biography
I’ve had a lot of cars. Even a quick count has the total over 100.
However, as I have been besotted by cars all my life, this means there is a fair
swathe of time that covers.
My first motoring memory was a wonderful BRG Singer 9 Le Mans sports car which
my father bought post WW II. He said it was one of the three Singers entered at
Le Mans, and even though it had huge headlights with stoneguards, it probably
wasn’t one of the team cars. Dad was known to tell a few fibs, but I loved that
car. I cried when it was sold.
Five pound Fiat.
The next family car was a 1933 Morris Minor sedan. What a come-down from the
racy Singer, but at least I was allowed to drive it on the deserted country
roads of Scotland. The fact that the accelerator was in the middle, for some
peculiar reason known only to William Morris (later Lord Nuffield), made driving
the next car a problem till I got used to the normal position for the go pedal
being on the right. The Morris was sold to the wreckers with a slipping clutch
in 1953. I cried when that one went as well.
The first car I actually “owned” was a 1949 Austin A40 Devon. This model is
distinguishable from the 1950 A40 Devon, in that it does not have quarterlights.
I’m sure you will be on the lookout from now on. It does not really deserve to
be remembered, other than the fact that I had to learn auto repairs to keep it
running. My father bought me a Haynes manual, my automotive bible.
By this stage in my ‘auto’biography I had joined the MG Car Club (after beating
an MG TF with the A40 in an unauthorized road race!) and I bought a BRG 1949 MG
TC. I really was the starving medical student, working as a night watchman at
the Red Cross Blood Bank and pumping petrol at the weekends and convinced a bank
manager to give me a loan for “Textbooks”.
Having been seconded to a hospital in the Australian outback as a medical
student, my next vehicle was a 1953 Ford V8 Customline. A lazy flat-head, side
valve, huge lumbering beast that wallowed along the red dirt roads of western
Queensland. It eventually disgraced itself by breaking a front stub axle and
gently turned turtle on a suburban back street.
Buying another rather tatty Customline in 1964 for $50, I transferred all the
good bits and traded it in for $175 on my next car, a black 1955 MGA, complete
with a slipping clutch and a new one in a box on the passenger’s seat. Another
Haynes manual later and the MGA now had a clutch and numbers on the doors with
white shoe polish and my racing career began.
A working trip to the UK and Europe in 1966 saw my first Mk VII Jaguar in the
garage, followed by another Mk VII M. Just like the Customlines, I cannibalized
the two cars, kept the best one (VII M) and sold the tatty one.
After two years in the UK and Europe I received an offer I couldn’t refuse for
the VII M Jaguar and then bought a Fiat 1100 to last me for the final three
months of my stay in the UK before taking up a position as a ship’s surgeon for
the voyage back to Australia. It cost five pounds, drank oil, produced a
smokescreen that could bring out the fire brigade, but it lasted the 12 weeks. I
parked it on Tilbury Docks in London and threw the keys in the water. (If it is
still there, you can have it.)
On my return to Australia I bought a Mini 850 (sliding window variety) and a
1965 MGB roadster and an MGB fire damaged shell. Once again, cannibalizing the
MGBs I built the first of the Super Bee series MGB race cars, which I drove for
the British Leyland Works Team in Australia.
To tow the race car, a Chrysler Valiant ex-ambulance was purchased. What a great
vehicle this was. All sorts of nooks and crannies to store tools, a stretcher to
sleep on after we all took turns at driving the outfit the thousands of
kilometers between home base Brisbane and race meetings in Sydney New South
Wales. This had an added advantage that cars in front would see an ambulance
bearing down on them and get out of the way, to be left perplexed as an
ambulance with a trailer and a race car would rocket past!
When British Leyland pulled out of Australia, I was offered a very special
one-off Mini Clubman GT 1275. What a wonderful pocket rocket that was! But oh,
the quality, or lack of. Gearbox mountings, door handles, wipers, seat mounts
etc etc etc all broke. After two years, Mini Clubman GT was traded in on the
first of my Citroens, a new GS 1220 Club.
Thankfully it came with a warranty, as it was back at the dealership with no
front brake pads after 3,000 km. The inboard discs were a swine to get at, and I
only kept the GS for 12 months, replacing it with my first Japanese car. A
friend sold Toyotas and I said I would buy one if it was faster than the
Citroen, so a fully optioned Toyota Crown with air-conditioning that even had a
crutch blower, in case the dangly bits got overheated, was next in the garage.
It was a lovely car to drive, but really too pedestrian for me, and as I had
returned to racing cars, the Crown had to go. So what came next? I’m afraid you
will have to wait for another day, as there are lots more to come!
Aston Martin DB4GT worth $20 million?
The most expensive DB4GT Zagato.
The gigantic sums of money that classics are commanding these days is just
nothing short of amazing. At the recent Sotheby’s auction in New York, a 1962
Aston Martin DB4GT Zagato fetched $19.92 million. The price set a new record for
a British car at auction, previously held by a McLaren F1.
When it was made in 1962, the DB4GT cost $11,600, twice as much as the average
British house. It was originally built to take on Ferrari in the World Sports
Car Championship, but the Aston Martin did not trounce the Ferraris.
Aston Martin sent the model to an Italian coachbuilder, Carrozzeria Zagato, from
which it emerged with a new body shape, and with many of its steel panels
replaced with aluminium, helping to save 50 kg from the car’s weight. An
additional 12 bhp was found from the 3.7 liter engine, taking the total to 314
bhp. Weight was now 1225 kg, giving acceleration times of 0-100 km/h in 6.1
seconds, and a top speed of 246 km/h.
This car is number 14 of only 19 DB4GTs created by Zagato. The original plan had
been to build 25, but demand was not as strong as expected.
The car was delivered to Australia, the only one of its kind sold there, where
it competed in motorsport events. Its first owner, Laurie O’Neill from New South
Wales, is reported to have also owned Ferrari and Porsche racing cars, as well
as grand prix cars.
It was later sold to Colin Hyams, who displayed it at the 1965 Melbourne Motor
Show, and then three years later to Alex Copland, who left it in storage for the
following 20 years.
In 1993 it was brought to the UK and was acquired by G.K. Speirs of Aberdeen,
and was restored, before competing at events such as the Goodwood Festival of
Speed. The car was later purchased by Peter Read, who described it as like “a
tailored suit. It’s agile, sophisticated, and equally responsive. It’s a truly
beautiful car to drive.”
Under Mr Read’s ownership, the car underwent a complete restoration over two
years, with specialists from Aston Martin and Zagato helping to bring it back to
It has since been shown at some of the world’s biggest car shows, winning a
number of trophies, including overall victor at the Louis Vuitton Concours at
the Hurlingham Club in 2002.
Prior to the sale, Rob Myers, chairman of RM Sotheby’s, said: “Never mind being
the greatest Aston of all time, this is one of the greatest GT cars ever
produced. It is an absolute jewel of a car.”
While this Aston Martin marks the most expensive British car ever sold at
auction, it still falls short of the overall record holder, a 1962 Ferrari 250
GTO that fetched 32 million in 2014.
Last week I asked you to take a look at the Quiz photo and identify the two cars
please! They were a BMW on the left (double kidney grille gave it away) and a
Tatra on the right (the fin over the rear was the give-away).
So to this week. There has been only one car not designed for road racing which
took part in a world championship Grand Prix race. Who drove it, in 1959?
For the Automania FREE beer this week, be the first correct answer to email
[email protected] or [email protected] Good luck!
2 (electric) horses
The Citroen 2CV came from very humble beginnings to become a national icon for
France. Whilst now officially dead from Citroen’s point of view, it has been
resurrected by Florent Dargnies the CEO of 4 Rous sous 1 Parapluie (4 Wheels
under an umbrella) as an electric 2CV.
The origins of the previous humble (very humble) 2CV came from the requirement
for a low-priced, rugged “umbrella on four wheels” that would enable four small
farmers / peasants to drive 50 kg of farm goods to market at 50 km/h, in clogs
and across muddy unpaved roads if necessary. The car would use no more than 3 L
of gasoline to travel 100 km. Most famous, was the design brief requirement to
be able to drive across a ploughed field while carrying eggs, that the envisaged
smallholder customer would be taking to market, without breaking them.
Production began in earnest after WWII and continued through till 1990 with the
early models being completely austere, with a pull-cord starter and a fuel
dipstick and only battleship grey paint being available (remember the black
Model T Fords). Wipers, electric starters and a fuel gauge all came later.
However, the 2CV has been resurrected as a city car, most likely Paris, where an
electric version of the 2CV will be whizzing round the Route Peripherique on the
way to the Eiffel Tower.
Anti-roll technology for buses
With it would appear, a weekly bus rollover, the powers that be here are
pointing the finger at the double-deckers to cut down the road toll. However, in
the US, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has (NHTSA) had it
legislated that ESC (Emergency Skid Control) must be fitted to buses.
It was said that Emergency Skid Control (ESC) in buses could reduce rollovers by
84 percent, preventing between 5,300 and 9,600 deaths annually and up to 238,000
injuries a year once all vehicles are equipped with it.
Around 10,000 people a year die in rollover accidents, even though just 3
percent of crashes involve rollovers.
NHTSA noted that two types of stability control systems have been developed for
heavy vehicles. A roll stability control system is designed to prevent rollover
by decelerating the vehicle using braking and engine torque control, while ESC
includes all of the functions of an RSC system plus the ability to mitigate
severe oversteer or understeer conditions by automatically applying brake force
to help maintain directional control of a vehicle.
Heavy trucks - especially loaded ones - are more likely to rollover because of
their higher center-of-gravity height.
The National Transportation Safety Board has urged NHTSA to do more to prevent
heavy truck crashes, including requiring adaptive cruise control, collision
warning systems, active braking and electronic stability control saying they
“hold great promise in reducing accidents.”
NHTSA first proposed the regulation in 2012 but has made changes to the
electronic stability tests that vehicles will need to pass in the final rule.
This is the latest action on larger vehicles by the safety agency. NHTSA is also
working on regulations to require speed limiters on heavy trucks and is also
reviewing underride guards. It is also looking at whether to require vehicle to
vehicle communication on heavy trucks - as it plans to do with cars and SUVs.
In 2013, NHTSA finalized long-delayed regulations that will require lap and
shoulder seat belts on commercial buses. But the agency decided not to require
existing buses to be retrofitted with belts.
NHTSA has debated requiring seat belts on motor coaches since 1977. The new
rules will take effect in 2016 on commercial buses that typically travel fixed
routes between major cities, to tourist destinations and for other commercial
The rules don’t apply to school buses and don’t affect the 29,000 commercial
buses already on U.S. roads. Seat belts also won’t be required on most public
transit buses - those with “request-a-stop systems” - but some public intercity
buses that act like commercial motor coaches will need belts. NHTSA is also
excluding from the rules airport shuttle buses that transport passengers to
parking lots or rental car facilities.
The Good Old Days
A Classic car.
How often do people regret the passing of the Good Old Days? The Rotary Club of
Phoenix Pattaya is presenting a Classic Car Show on Saturday February 27 at the
Holiday Inn from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. followed by a parade of the Classic cars along
There are different ways of classifying cars in age groups, and my TBX Escort
fits in the racing Retro (pre 1985) group. We are planning on being there, but
much will depend upon our racing schedule.
If you have any interest in older cars, this will hold much interest for you.
Should manufacturers be in F1?
It was just over one year ago that Automania’s Editor at Large, John Weinthal,
died in KL. John had a very keen sense of value, which prompted the following
discourse from him. With Renault returning as an F1 team, John’s words are
certainly appropriate. I present an edited version here.
“Four of the first eight cars in the final Grand Prix of 2010 were
‘Renault-Powered’; two were called Red Bull and two Renault.
No 2010 F1 cars were called Toyota, Honda or Jaguar although each of these names
had some F1 prominence during the past decade, if little success.
Honda quit and its outfit became Brawn which in its first year cleaned up the
Manufacturer and Driver Championships. Brawn became Mercedes-Benz for 2010. The
new owners shelled out megamoney to come 4th in the Manufacturers’ Championship
having spent much of the year explaining the failed efforts of their seven times
world champion No. 1 driver who spun himself out of the final race on the first
lap and ultimately scored roughly half the points of his junior partner.
Jaguar became Red Bull about 5 years ago and won both titles in 2010.
BMW pulled out of F1 but got a free kick for 2010 when the Ferrari-engined
Saubers still had to be referred to as Sauber-BMWs – ain’t F1 a nonsense at
times! (A small bottle of correction fluid would have fixed that, but F1
certainly has its head up its A at times – Dr. Iain.)
Toyota quit and refused to share its ball with any of the other kids.
I’m not sure ‘so what’, but I am coming to believe that F1 is NOT a good medium
for car makers, even when they are successful. At best it is probably
irrelevant; at worst it can actually damage a reputation. I can find NO evidence
that it impacts short-term at least (say five years) on global sales one way or
I think Renault is the best example of this. I find it incredible, in the sense
of lacking credibility, that many people, especially the general car buying
public, would see any beneficial link - technology or image-wise - between
Renault F1 and showroom Renaults.
Renaults are just not perceived as either racy or prestigious, I aver.
I know a tad more about the Malaysian and Australian markets than I know about
the rest of the world. Both these countries are fixtures on the F1 calendar.
Both have extensive TV and media coverage of the whole F1 season. Both have a
solid core of keen followers of F1 who, one might expect, would be seen by many
of their family, friends and colleagues as somewhat more knowledgeable about
cars than most - the very people to enhance or damage product reputations by
word of mouth.
These core folk will have seen Renault rise and fall, but more often than not be
successful either directly or as engine-supplier. But Renault has struggled -
and that’s being kind - to make any impact, much less money, in either Australia
or Malaysia. Renault maintains a marketing presence but the punters seem
I have NEVER seen anyone wearing a Renault cap or anorak!
Renault from my own experience makes some appealing cars, but none that shout
“buy me” - a USP is missing almost across the range. The image is akin to Nissan
or Seat; above Proton, possibly on a par with Fiat but definitely below VW and
most of its brands (Seat and Skoda possibly excepted).
F1 is good for Ferrari without any doubt, but does it help parent company Fiat?
Sales figures and ‘image’ would suggest a singular lack of flow on.
In fact, in Australia, apparently the Renault sales and resale values are not
high at all. The millions of Euros spent to keep the Renault name ‘up there’
have not been translated into dollars at the Australian cash registers down
In fact, it would not surprise me if none of the sponsors could really show a
direct flow-on from being involved in motor sport and their core business.
Having the letters RBS on a Williams F1 car has not made me feel I should open
an account with Scotland’s Royal Bank, nor do I look out for a Petronas fuel
station when the needle gets low. My local Caltex is fine, thanks. And Ferrari
can keep their ‘Mubadala’, whatever that is.
No, I can see justification for small stakes in motor sport, Asian or anywhere,
but it is difficult to see real value in mega dollar sponsorships.
(That was John Weinthal’s impression five years ago now. I am sure he wouldn’t
be excited about the name Renault returning to the fold this year. I believe
this could be an even more embarrassing 12 months for the French marque than the
Last week I mentioned a special finish for a Grand Prix team in 1914 that was
never repeated until 1924 and then again in 1928. Even today, that finish cannot
be equaled by the current F1 cars. I asked why? It was because the finishes were
a 1-2-3 and current GP regulations only allows two cars per team.
So to this week. Take a look at the Quiz photo. Identify these two cars please!
One is easy, the other is not!
For the Automania FREE beer this week, be the first correct answer to email
[email protected] or [email protected] Good luck!
Mormon Meteor wins again!
Mormon Meteor (Photo by David
Hemmings group in the US reports that the Mormon Meteor, a
1935 Duesenberg Special once owned by the legendary Ab Jenkins, may well be the
most desirable Duesenberg (if not the most desirable prewar American car) on the
A multiple land speed record holder, the car claimed Best in Show honors at the
2007 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, becoming the first competition car to do
so. Last weekend, the car continued its winning ways for owner Harry Yeaggy of
Cincinnati, Ohio, capturing a Duesenberg class win backed up by a Best of Show
award at the 2016 Arizona Concours d’Elegance.
Harry Yeaggy acquired the car at auction in 2004, paying $4.45 million for the
Duesenberg and setting a then-record price for an American car in the process.
Since Jenkins and the car had parted ways in 1945, it had only passed through
three additional owners, and had received a pair of partial restorations over
That’s not to say it was in original condition, and one of Yeaggy’s first goals
was to return the open-top Duesenberg to its as delivered 1935 condition. (And
that was after paying the thick end of four and a half million!) This was
necessary as both Jenkins and subsequent owners had altered the car to suit
their needs and expectations. For land speed record attempts, Jenkins had once
fitted a 750 horsepower Curtiss Wright Conqueror V-12 up front, christening the
car the Mormon Meteor II in this configuration.
After setting speed endurance records in 1935 and 1936, Jenkins “retired” the
car after the 1937 season. At this time it was converted for road-going use,
with the original 420 cu.in., 400 horsepower supercharged SJ engine replacing
the aircraft V-12. The driver’s head fairing was removed (the passenger head
fairing had been deleted shortly after Jenkins took delivery of the car), the
exhaust was rerouted to allow the fitting of doors, and the car was resprayed in
red instead of its original (and now familiar) pale yellow. In this
configuration, Jenkins enjoyed the car during his tenure as the mayor of Salt
Yeaggy had long studied the car before its purchase, and he understood the
extensive amount of fabrication that would be needed to return the car to its
original state. Entrusting the work to Classic Car Services of Oxford, Maine, a
firm that had previously restored Yeaggy’s 1937 Bohman & Schwartz Convertible
Coupe, the project began with even more research of the car in its as delivered
to Jenkins state. The three-year project began with the review of as many
in-period photos as Yeaggy and Classic Car Services owner Chris Charlton could
unearth, with the assistance of Duesenberg historian Fred Roe.
Disassembly revealed that the prior restorations had been partial in scope, and
not nearly as thoroughly researched. One attempt returned the car to a yellow
hue, but a much darker shade than the factory paint. With accuracy being the
primary goal of the restoration, the original shade of pale yellow was
replicated from both period accounts of the car and from traces of the original
paint left on brackets not removed during previous work.
Both driver and passenger head fairings were replicated, and the straight
exhaust was fabricated after the now original body with no doors was fitted to
the chassis. The straight-eight engine, which produced 80 horsepower more than a
standard SJ courtesy of a revised supercharger, ram’s horn intake manifold, twin
Stromberg UU-3 carburetors and custom camshafts, had already been rebuilt to a
high standard, but was refinished to match the rest of the car.
Since taking top honors at Pebble Beach, the Mormon Meteor has also won at
Amelia Island and graced the field at the 2012 Glenmoor Gathering of Significant
Automobiles. As its win last weekend demonstrates, the Duesenberg Special
remains a force to be reckoned with even eight-plus decades after its creation.
Other cars in the running for Best of Show included a 1956 Ferrari 250 GT
Zagato, owned by David Sydorick of Beverly Hills, California; a 1931 Chrysler
Imperial CG LeBaron dual-cowl phaeton, owned by Aaron and Valerie Weiss of San
Marino, California; and a 1932 Rolls-Royce Phantom II Continental Pillarless
Berline with Figoni et Falaschi coachwork, owned by Don Williams of Danville,
(Reading about the range of classic cars available in the US and the UK would
make an enthusiast weep. I am sure a Hilux will never be a classic!)
Natter, nosh and noggin
The Pattaya car club meets at Jameson’s Irish Pub on Soi AR next to Nova Park.
The next meeting is on Monday February 8 at Jameson’s at 7 p.m. A totally
informal meeting of like-minded souls to discuss their pet motoring (and
motorcycling) loves and hates (plus lies and outright exaggerations). Come along
and meet the guys who have a common interest in cars and bikes, and enjoy the
Jameson’s specials, washed down with a few beers. A couple of the members are
scrutineers at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, so they often have some scuttlebutt
about the F1 scene, and one is just back from driving around Australia towing a
caravan! Always a fun night. Be prepared to laugh a lot at some of the antics of
the members (when they were younger)! The Car Club nights are only on the second
Monday of the month (not every second Monday)!
Last week I asked what is the link between Prince Chula
Chakrabongse, HG Wells, Rudolf Valentino, the Shah of Iran and the Sultan of
Morocco? They all had Voisin C7’s.
Incidentally, Peter Eades, a regular quiz entrant found there was another
identical E-Type hearse a couple of weeks back in a movie called Johnathan
Livingstone, 2013, a film by Francois Curlet. Here is the link
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j_F28RIoPL8 &feature=youtu.be You deserve two
beers for that, Peter!
So to this week. A special finish for a Grand Prix team in 1914 was never
repeated until 1924 and then again in 1928. Even today, that finish cannot be
equaled by the current F1 cars.
For the Automania FREE beer this week, be the first correct answer to email
[email protected] or viacars @gmail.com. Good luck!