During the space race of the 1960s, Americans were captivated by the idea of space travel. It permeated every aspect of our culture, from songs and TV shows to magazine articles and an explosion of science fiction entertainment. Automotive manufacturers were quick to hop on the bandwagon, giving their latest models out-of-this-world names like Ford Galaxie, Mercury Meteor, and Oldsmobile StarFire.
After the moon landing in 1969 and the final Apollo mission in 1972, the country’s burning interest in the space program was reduced to a flicker. However in the 1980s, there was a resurgence of space-inspired names as a whole new generation of vehicles adopted galactic monikers. Here are a few examples:
Following the carefree fifties and the rebellious sixties, the 1970s were a decade of uninhibited excess. This was the decade that brought us leisure suits, disco music, and brutalist architecture. For the most part, the 1970s are remembered as a dark age of design, and cars were no exception.
During this decade, cars got bigger and heavier, less fuel efficient, and in many cases uglier due to a combination of Federally-mandated 5mph impact bumpers and the prevailing styles of the times. There is perhaps no other automobile on earth that embodies the lavish excess, the indulgence, and the absurdity of the seventies quite like this 1972 Stutz Blackhawk. Continue reading →
“Shoot for the moon and if you miss, you will still be among the stars.” – Les Brown
At the time of this writing, California-based Fisker Automotive is in bad shape and if they don’t get a miracle, they are going to go under.
In case you haven’t been following the Fisker saga, let me fill you in. Fisker Automotive was founded in 2007 by Henrik Fisker, a Danish-born designer who also penned the Aston Martin DB9, the Aston Martin V8 Vantage, and the BMW Z8. The new company was to launch a luxury plug-in hybrid car in 2009. After multiple setbacks and delays, customers finally began taking deliveries of the Karma sedan in late 2011. Continue reading →
When I was a kid, there was a show on TV called “Before They Were Stars.” The show looked at popular celebrities to see what they were like before they became famous. Some of them had humble careers working in menial jobs for low wages – and of course, they would always dig up an embarrassing high school yearbook photo.
In the same way, most car enthusiasts have heard of the DeTomaso Pantera, the Ford-powered, Italian-styled, mid-engine sports car from the 1970s. Before DeTomaso hit it big with the Pantera, they tested the waters with a car that is relatively unknown today: the Mangusta.
The Mangusta was the Pantera before it got its teeth fixed, its hair combed, and changed its name. Like an up-and-coming celebrity, the Mangusta was a little rough around the edges before it became a big shot.
When I visit a classic car show, there is never a shortage of Fords, Chevrolets, Chryslers, and other American muscle cars. However, it’s rare to see a Studebaker at the local cruise-in night. Why is that? The simple answer is that Studebaker just didn’t build a whole lot of cars.
Take this 1963 Studebaker Gran Turismo Hawk for example. It is one of just 4,009 produced in 1963. In that same year, Ford sold 63,313 Thunerbirds and Pontiac sold 72,959 Grand Prixs. As you can tell, this car was definitely not a big seller, which makes it all the more special to have spotted this GT Hawk at the Scottsdale Pavilions.
By a show of hands, how many of you have heard of the British supercar manufacturer Noble Automotive? Not very many. Well then, even less of you have heard of the Noble’s sister car, the Rossion Q1. This is a pretty unusual car that deserves some attention, but before we delve into the Q1, it is necessary to cover a little backstory first.
What is it that makes certain cars more collectible than others? Certainly the car’s condition, its documentation, and any unusual factory options can affect a car’s value. However, I think the most important factor is rarity. The less common a car is, the more valuable it becomes.
Sometimes car manufacturers deliberately make small runs of cars, ensuring that they will become instant collectibles. Take a look at some recently produced exotic cars and their prices:
Lexus LF-A Supercar – 500 units – $375,000 each
Aston Martin One-77 – 77 units – $1,000,000 each
Lamborghini Veneno – 3 units – $3,000,000 each
It boggles my mind that automakers can produce a run of $1 or $3 million dollars cars and have no trouble selling all of them. However, it wasn’t always this way. There was a time when automakers had a hard time finding buyers for hyper-expensive cars. One of the first manufacturers to create a ridiculously high-priced supercar was none other than the Hudson Motor Company.
Okay, I know what you’re thinking: when was the last time you heard the words “Volvo” and “sports car” in the same sentence? Volvos are famous for being some of the safest and most reliable cars on the road, but they’re also quite boring. However, it wasn’t always this way. Volvo did make a sporty little coupe that was introduced back in 1960: the P1800.