Random thowts

Writing is a closet that I forgot I had. The contents were covered with mold and mouse poop but nothing of value was ruined.

Best super hero obit headline ever: “Pinata Man Whacked

My ultimate goal is to be self-unemployed.

“Beware thunder on the dawn of April.” – Ostridamus, the fortune telling ostrich

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This car is worth it for the doors alone



I’ve seen a lot of cars with a lot of doors but must admit that I’ve never seen this arrangement before.

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More random thoughts

There is no problem that beer can not solve and/or cause.

Where dwells success? The cabinet over the toaster? Or in the eyes of a broken doll?

How geeky am I? My first crush was on Edith Hamilton.

The famous unknown wake. Old ravens fly away. Nostalgia sheds a tear.

Lying naked on the bed. Gentle breeze cools my skin. Wanting nothing but your touch.

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Never have I coveted a car so much

Unfortunately I have no garage and can’t afford what the shipping would cost.

This car is a tinkerer’s wet dream. Its history stretches across more than a century, but because it doesn’t fit what the mainstream car folks would not call coolectible. So its value is far below what a name brand from the same era would demand. To me though it’s much more interesting than any mass-produced contraption.


For the details; It started life as a horse drawn buggy built by the Moon Brothers. While the brothers did later go into the car business, they built the cars from scratch rather than converting their buggies. Sometime later someone motorized it and added the most elaborate drivetrain I have ever seen. Much later than that someone replaced the old engine with a Briggs and Stratton and tried to make it modern road-worthy. My guess is it started with a Wisconsin engine because most of the identifiable parts are from the upper midwest, and the Wisconsin was a favorite of tinkerers.

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What I’m Watching – Auctions America – Ft. Lauderdale – Mar 14-16 – Updated

Auctions America – Fort Lauderdale – March 14-16

1990 Bentley Turbo R Saloon
Their Estimate: 20,000 – 25,000
My Estimate: 20,000 – 25,000
This estimate fits for recent sales for this condition
70,000 miles, two previous owners.
I love Bentleys because they’re almost a Rolls Royces but they’re not.
(The website does’t show the selling price.)

1991 Alfa Romeo 164L Sedan
Their Estimate: 12,000 – 16,000
My Estimate: 7,000 – 10,000 (Based on recent sales)
The last Alfa Sedan in America. It shared a platform with the Saab 9000, but had different engine and suspension.
High bid: $5,500 (Not too far off.)

1958 Packard 58L Sedan
Their Estimate: 24,000 – 28,000
The last Packards were not actually Packards, but Studebakers with some old Packard Clipper trim bits grafted on. I include this car because I fell in love with one when I was a kid. It was a wreck up on blocks but it was a Packard. Even then the name was magic.
High bid: $16,000 (I guess my memories don’t always equal value to others.)

1967 Excalibur SS Roadster
Their estimate: 38,000 – 42,000
My estimate: 35,000 – 40,000 (Just to be ornery)
Another Studebaker bastard off-shoot. Designed by Brooks Stevens. The prototype used a Studebaker 289 engine. Went into production with Corvette 327. Series one was a sport car but each subsequent revision brought bloat. Which interestingly a newer fatter example is up for auction with a much higher estimate.
High bid: $34,000 (So close)

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What I’m Watching – Gooding Amelia Island Auction (Mar 7) – Updated

Gooding & Company – Amelia Island Auction – March 7

Lot 28
1960 BMW 700 Coupe
No Reserve
Their estimate: 12,000 – 18,000
My estimate: 20,000 – 25,000
Update: Selling Price – $40,700 (While my estimate was closer to the selling price than the auction company’s, it was still so far off I don’t think I can brag too much.)

Race-Specification BMW K100 Engine and Five-Speed Gearbox. Competition Brakes, Roll Cage and Suspension. Accompanied by Original Matching-Numbers Engine.

This is the last in a long line of BMWs being auctioned. A niche car in search of a niche owner. I think there are more potential buyers than the auctioneers expect.

Yes, that’s it. A single car. Apparently I’m not the target market for this auction.
While this car breaks so many of the rules of the world of collector car auction quoth, It would be so much fun to drive and so much fun to show off at any kind of automotive event.

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The mylights of the RM Auctions Amelia Island event (Mar 8, 2014) – Updated

RM Auction Amelia Island March 8, 2014

Lot 101
1978 Transition MK II Electric Prototype
Prototype seems a bit grand for a Harley frame with Golf Cart works couple to a 4 speed automatic. The Batteries and motor exposed to the elements. Would like to excuse the primitive nature but electric bikes have been around for a century.
As expected the motor has piles of torque but no mention of range.
The “Danger, High Voltage” license plate is my favorite part.
It was however formerly part of the Brooks Stevens Collection.
No reserve
Their estimate: $25,000 – $35,000
My estimate: $5,000 for most people
OR $10,000 for someone who collects electric motorcycles
OR $15,000 for a severe Brooks Stevens fan
It would be much higher if anything was developed beyond this prototype.
Selling Price: $11,000 (Somebody collects electric motorcycles.)

Lot 102

1971 Mini Moke
Only 17,000 miles
Previously owned by Ed Hemming and Bob Snodgrass of Brumos Porsche.
The Moke was an attempt to make a jeep out of a mini. It might not have been up to military snuff but it’s the most fun short of a Morgan 3-wheeler
No reserve
Their estimate: $25,000 – $35,000
My Estimate: $15,000 – $25,000
Trying to balance the famous owners vs. the lack of actual usage. If this has always been a trailer queen it could take some work/money to make it road-worthy. While this is a great example, I don’t think it warrents the estimate which is way above what most nice Moke sell for.
Selling Price: $49,500 (I missed this one by a mile!)

Lot 130
1930 BNC Type 527 Voiturette
This car is way above my usual price interest range but some cars are just too cool to ignore. It has an amazing history and how can you resist a fine French racer with a flathead Ford V-8? The question is how much is this mutant of a car worth to someone?
I desperately hope that the buyer wants to race it in vintage events.
Their estimate: $170,000 – $220,000
My estimate: $100,000 – $150,000
Selling Price: $181,500 (I’ll never underestimate a flathead again.)

Lot 148
1986 Lamorghini Countach 5000 Quattrovalvole
Their estimate: $325,000 – $375,000
My estimate: It may go higher
Lets face it, the Countach was a terrible car. It’s lack of handling, comfort, driveability and reliability are legendary. However, the people who grew up with posters of this car on their walls are now grown up and some of them have too much money. This is the ultimate mid-life crisis mobile. Therefore, if there are enough dreamers in the audience this could turn into quite a fight.
Selling Price: $319,00 (Once again the baby-boomers fail to live up to their potential.)

Lot 193
1938 Simca Cinq Cabriolet
The French Fiat 500
No Reserve
Their estimate: $35,000 – $50,000
My estimate: With the current popularity of old Fiat 500s it’s hard to argue with their estimate. Since this is the last car in the auction though you always run the chance that the serious bidders have gone. On the other hand, this relatively cheap car may be tempting for someone who hasn’t bought anything yet.
Selling Price: $55,000 (Someone didn’t want to go home empty-handed.)

Summary: My estimates need work.


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K1 League Feb 14

My first race of the year, having missed the January round due to the flu, and I managed a top ten finish. OK, so there were only ten of us, but that’s still a top ten.

Having not driven a kart since the first weekend in December I was quite rusty. Worst yet was the fact that we were racing the track forward which I haven’t driven for over a year. It took several laps before I got my line and braking to be not woefully slow.

I wasn’t surprised that I finished last. Everyone else was moving quite spritely. My time was only .8 seconds off the fastest. And oddly, my average lap time was the fourth fastest.

The second qualifying session went less well. I wound up in ninth but was actually slower than in the first session. My kart’s front tires were rather new in not worn in too well yet so the kart understeered more than I could cope with. As I’ve said before, understeering is my biggest weakness as a driver. Ah well.

We had a standing start which I love even though my weight is a big disadvantage. As expected the other karts shot away, but as often happens when the first corner is a hairpin, several of the karts got tangled. I tip-toed around the outside and was in 8th by the second corner.

I managed to hold 8th for several laps even though the karts behind me were obviously faster. Finally the ninth place guy got tired of being held up and shoved me wide going into a corner. A few corners later the 10th place guy got by me coming out of the hairpin. A wonderful pass.

Not to blame that kart, but it just didn’t have the umph to keep up with the other karts. It wasn’t all that slow. My best time was only .6 off the winner’s best and my average was only .5 off the winner’s.

So if I’m going to have any chance at placing in the championship I’m going to have to get my game together.

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What would our lives be like if Thomas Edison hadn’t killed all those dogs?

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The mylights of the RM Auction in Paris (Feb 5)

These are the cars that interest me in this auction. Surprisingly they aren’t all the cheapos that usually catch my attention. I guess the setting is throwing off my sensibilities.

Lot 3 - 1966 Alfa Romeo Giulia Super ‘Polizia’
A wonderfully green police car version of this classic Italian sedan. The estimate is 15 to 20 thousand Euros. With its placement so early in the auction it’s hard to say how it will be received. It’s certainly not on the level of the million dollar babies to follow, but it might just catch some collector’s whimsy. See for yourself

Result: Sold for 28,000 Euros. Estimate was off by 40%. Not great.

Lot 16 - 1971 Mercedes-Benz 600 ‘Six-Door’ Pullman Landaulet
What me, in love with a Mercedes? What will the other proles think? Yes, while I’m a lover of good cheap cars and want to subvert the classic car auction world from within, some cars are just too great to deride. The 600 is just about the greatest limo built in my lifetime and this is at the top of the 600 food chain. A six door with a convertible top over the very back seat. If that doesn’t reek over power nothing does. Best of all though, it needs a whole pile of work which brings the price estimate down out of the nosebleed section to a reasonable 80 to 120 thousand Euros. See for yourself.

Result: Sold for 537,600 Euros. That’s 448% over the top estimate. I knew it was a cool car.

Lot 41 - 1980 Alfa Romeo 179B Formula One
Recently at one of the big buck American auctions an ex-Schumacher Ferrari F1 car went for over a million dollars. This Alfa is a bargain at bargain at the estimate of about 100 thousand Euros. It might not have the pedigree or record of the Ferrari but from an actually using it for vintage racing it’s a much better prospect. For one it won’t take an army of factory mechanics to just make it run. See for yourself.

Result: Sold for 168,000 Euros. 68% above the top estimate.

The Usual Suspects – These cars are right up my alley but they have become almost auction cliches. What’s an auction without some vintage little Fiats?

Lot 2 – 1963 Fiat 500 D (19,600 Euros)
Lot 35 – 1956 Fiat 600 (14,000 Euros)
Lot 53 – 1957 Fiat 600 Multipla (33,600 Euros)

Update: The auction company estimates were way low. That might have been intentional in an attempt to encourage bidders looking for a bargain but it makes them look like they don’t know what they’re doing. Next time I’ll come up with my own estimates. How hard can it be? (As Jeremy Clarkson says.)



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