1987 Lerini Armaretta Custom Coupe

In the mid-1930s, the Mercedes-Benz 500K was the cutting edge of automotive technology. These cars offered unparalleled performance, styling, and luxury. These were the undoubtedly the best cars available at the time, and were such incredible vehicles that they are still very expensive and desirable today. The 500K and similar Mercedes cars from the era are the benchmark, the standard for a generation of “neoclassic” automobiles that began to appear in the U.S. starting in the 1970 and 1980s.¬†

Like the originals, neoclassic cars typically have large, round headlamps, full curving front fenders, and exhaust pipes exiting through the fenders behind the front wheels. While these replica / tribute cars of the 1970s pay homage to the design of these historic Mercedes roadsters and grand tourers, they were built on mass-production platforms from Ford, General Motors and other manufacturers.

Most of these neoclassic cars like the Excalibur, Zimmer, Gazelle, and others look very similar to one another. The 1987 Lerini Armaretta is a completely different type of neoclassic car. Instead of copying the look of a pre-war Mercedes, the Lerini is a replica / recreation / homeage to the Cord 810 and 812 automobiles of 1935-1937.

The Cord 810/812’s unique styling is referred to as a “coffin nose” design. Seen at the 2017 Arizona Concours d’Elegance. Photo by: Trevor Freeman.

The Cord had a unique design called a “coffin nose.” It was an American made car (built in Indiana) and very different from the cars Mercedes was building at the time. The Cord did not have lots of flashy chrome or big, round headlights like the Mercedes. There are no trumpet horns or fender-mounted spare tires here. That’s why this car looks so different from the other Neoclassics I have featured on this site. Still, it is a neoclassic car.

I saw this vehicle at a car show in Scottsdale, Arizona. The seller’s description was as follows:

“Armaretta coupe. Professionally built in 1987 by Lerini Coach of Reseda, CA. Built on a Monte Carlo chassis with wheel base extended to 129″. Has small block Chevy power train with power steering, power brakes, power windows, and air conditioning. Very low production with only 30 to 40 cars being built. Price new was $49,995.”

The seller was asking for $16,500 back in January 2016. I do not know if the car sold or what happened to it. This is not my car and this post is not an advertisement. Please don’t comment asking to buy the car. This information is provided only for reference.

I just think it’s interesting that neoclassics are not limited to Mercedes replicas, and that someone chose to recreate a 1930s car using a 1980s Monte Carlo. Definitely something you don’t see every day!