Random Thoughts – 7/24/14

I wonder if any aging rock bands ever toured in disguise as a tribute band to themselves.

Sometimes the muse is a broken axle.

Last week I picked up a Starfleet application at a Russian sub shop in the Richmond.

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What I’m Watching: Auctions America Burbank Jul 31 – Aug 2

Burbank is one of my favorite auctions to watch. It has a wide variety of cars, many of them going up without reserve. Some real bargains can be had. With many auctions I find it hard to find enough cars to write about. With the Burbank auction the problem is pairing down my interest list so as not to overwhelm the reader. Below are my favorite five.

Thursday Jul 31

Lot No. 1015
1969 Winnebago Motorhome
No reserve
As the owner of a Winnebago, and a long-time resident of Iowa, the Mini Brave holds a special place in my heart, and this is a nice one. A definite part barge.

The estimate is 10 to 12 thousand. At a big RV show you could easily get much more than that, but at collector car auctions RV’s have not been doing well. While it has a nice vintage aura I’m not sure people will pay that much for a gimicky vehicle. I’m thinking it will go closer to 8 thousand.

Lot No. 1018
1967 Citroën 2-CV Truckette
No reserve
I have wanted one of these these since I saw Peter Sellers drive one in one of the Pink Panther movies. The 2-CV is cool enough but add that covered truck bed and the thing reeks of unlimited potential. The French blue puts it over the top.

The estimate is 10 to 15 thousand. It may be my affection, but I’m guessing it will go closer to 15 than 10.

Lot No. 1062
1967 Solyto Break Camping
No reserve
Like the Truckette this is a vehicle of unlimited potential. Though I’m not sure it would prove a rugged as the Truckette, being based on a scooter rather than designed from scratch as a car.

The estimate is 10 to 15 thousand which is interesting as this very car sold for $20,700 last year at the Minicar Museum auction. I think the estimate is closer to its real value.

Friday Aug 1

Lot No. 2010
1972 Honda Z600
No reserve
How far has the lowly Honda risen. When hitting the streets in 72 I laughed at this silly little car. Now here it sits in a collector car auction and my much more mature self would love to own it. Such a tiny car with a Honda motorcycle engine and a four speed is a blast to drive anywhere except maybe the interstate.

The estimate is 8 to 10 thousand. Given it’s historical significance I might have thought higher, but after some research I think the estimate is correct. While Japanese cars are growing in esteem collector-wise they still don’t match their European counterparts.

Saturday Aug 2

Lot No. 3088
1956 Chrysler Plainsman Concept Car by Ghia
This car runs completely counter to what I’m usually interested in, but some cars are uber-cool now matter how expensive and ridiculous they are. If it’s true that one of the signs of genius is the ability to take risks that result in some monumental mistakes then the folks at Ghia proved their genius with this one.

A cross between a plain old American station wagon and Buck Rogers’ rocket. The airplane-style sliders on the dashboard give me a driving woodie. It is so wrong, yet so right, in a wrong sort of way.

The estimate is 150 to 200 thousand. That seems like a lot for a car that needs piles of work, but my knowledge of the value of factory prototypes is rather limited, so I can muster no reasonable argument against it.

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Random Thoughts

Sometimes the muse is an old man with a shotgun counting to three.

It’s taken me more than half a century but I can finally own up to the fact that someday I WILL OWN A STUDEBAKER!

You solved the invention. Here is a gold star.

Sell me your blank pages and I’ll tell you where she’s hiding.

I try to write in black and white.

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The essence of competition

24 Hours of LeMons Renault vs. Humber hand-crank …: http://youtu.be/-VYieR_3AJ8

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Mecum Auction, Harrisburgh, Jul 24 – What I’m Watching (Updated with Results)

The odd thing is all the cars that catch my eye go up on Thursday. Wonder why?

t57 – 1963 Ford Econoline Pickup
170 CI, 3-Speed
Custom beer keg fuel tank
Twice I almost bought one of these. Both times I backed out because I judged it to be a mostly usesless vehicle. Less rugged than a real pickup truck and less practical than a van. Judging from how few of them were built and sold I’m guessing that I hold a popular opinion. The good thing about useless vehicles is that as time passes they often become rare and cool.
My estimate is about $15,000
Result: $6,500 (My worst estimate EVER!)

t92 – 1976 AMC Pacer 
258 CI, Factory Air
The AMC Pacer was designed and built to be one thing, then was marketed as something that it wasn’t. The end result is one of the most maligned cars ever built. The 258 is one of my favorite engines, powering three of my previous vehicles, but strap on the mid 70′s emissions crap and and air conditioner and your left with no power and worse gas mileage.
On the other hand, it has cool wheels.
Pacers have been doing well at auctions lately and this seems like a nice one.
Estimate: $12,000
Result: $14,250 (I guess the wheels were even cooler than assumed.)

t180 – 1980 Triumph TR8 Convertible 
Another car suffering from unrealistic expectations. Yes, it’s a British roadster with what was originally an American V-8, but no, this ain’t no Cobra. The wedgie style of the TR-7 was too different from it’s ancestors. It just didn’t have the aura of the traditional sports car. This would have been forgiven if the car was exceptional, but it wasn’t. In an attempt
to boost sales British Leyland stuffed in some of the 3.5 lite V-8′s that had laying around. This engine started life as an early 60′s Buick but was too small for the muscle car era so it got farmed out to England. The end result was a pretty decent car, but again, not amazing enough to spark much interest.
With the low mileage this may go for as much as $15,000
Result: $13,000 (Probably would have gone higher if it had cooler wheels.)

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100 Words – Weeping

Where were they? I needed them and they weren’t there. Or I needed them but I wasn’t there. Why do they weep? I see them now in the mirror of nostalgia and see that I missed them and they me but such is life and we all must move on. Should I weep for them? Is that what the past is? Tears for the ones we should have known? Are they sad because they see me now and wish they knew me then? I wasn’t this me then. I was a previous, inferior me. I had nothing to offer them.

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Russian Redneck Racing

Russian Flying Tractor Racing 2014 – Offroad Race…: http://youtu.be/cE5WDl_YNbU
Americans aren’t the only ones with dumb motorsports

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The purest form of motor sport

24 Hours of LeMons Renault vs. Humber hand-crank …: http://youtu.be/-VYieR_3AJ8

If only I still had the Hillman

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Random Thougts – Early June Edition

Weebles wobble but they don’t fall down, unless they’re near a cliff.

Weekend kid quote #1: Don’t be such a sprout! (sister yelling at brother)

Weekend kid quote #2: Alvin, where are your clothes? (mom to naked boy on a strider bike)

For breakfast I had an awful felafel waffle.

I saw the moose covet his neighbor’s cow.

Creepy dolls in wooden boxes have taught me nothing. You?

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Mecum Seattle June 13 – 14, What I’m Watching (updated results)

Mecum brings its muscle car menagerie to the Pacific Northwest full of the usual suspects
but with a couple oddballs that caught my eye.

Lot F153
1961 Mercury Comet Wagon (No Reserve)
Exterior paint is awesome and has matching mostly original vintage interior (I love the phrase, “mostly original.”)
My grandfather bought a Mercury Comet two-door sedan in 1961 and had it until he died over 20 years later. Straight 6 with a three-on-the-tree, what more could you want. His was grey but had the same red interior.
My estimate: 5-7K
Result: $6000 (Nailed it!)

1980 Plymouth Arrow Pickup
Has all the options I can think of. Old pickups have jumped in value, mostly American but older Toyotas have started to creep up in price. I don’t know know if it’s time yet for little old Mitsubishis to jump on the bandwagon. However, if any are it would be this example.
My Estimate: 4K-6K
Result: Reserve not met at $14,000 (Did not nail this one.)

Lot F255.1

2007 Maserati Quattroporte
This is a tough one because the car is just so cool, and by technical definition is a muscle car, but it just doesn’t seem to fit with its auction surroundings. That could be a good thing. It sticks out. On eBay these go for 30K or so. I’m not sure which way it will go, but I think if the bidding goes past 25K it won’t stop till about 35K.
Result: $37,500 (I was just a bit short on this one.)

Lot S67

1986 Zimmer Golden Spirit
There are cars I like. There are cars I don’t like. Then there are ones like the Zimmer. I become physically ill and weep for the future of humanity when I am forced to realize that there are people with so little taste or self-esteem that they purchase these monstrosities. I don’t even mind that it’s just a mid 80′s Ford piece of crap with shiny bits bolted on. The problem is what was charged and paid for the shiny pieces of crap. I have no idea what this will sell for but I will have a vomit bag and suicide hotline number standing by just in case.
Result: Reserve not met at $29,000 (I weep for humanity.)

Lot S86

1949 Triumph 2000 Roadster
Here in America we think of Triumph as a lower-end sports car maker. Models like the Spitfire and TR7 were capable and fun little cars, but not all that special. However, right after WWII, the Triumph Roadsters were designed to take a bite out of Jaguars market share. It was a good car but couldn’t compete with Jaguar’s design and engineering steamroller. Overshadowing aside, the 2000 is a wonderful little car that couldn’t be bettered for a relaxing ride in the country. Based on recent sales and how nice this red beauty looks, I’m guestimating that it will go for about 40K.
Result: Reserve not met at $42,000 (I guess I think more like a bidder than a seller.)

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