In the 1970s, there was a short-lived niche market for classic-style automobiles. Several boutique manufacturers such as Excalibur, Clenet, and others set about building modern interpretations of these 1920s style cars in low volumes. Primarily based on full size platforms from GM and Ford, these Neoclassic cars combined classic styling elements with the reliability of a modern (at the time) powertrain.
There are certain elements common to neoclassic cars: they are usually built by hand in low numbers, and have wire wheels, round headlamps, flared fenders, and of course, a waterfall grille. Many of these cars were upgraded with leather, real wood, and other high quality materials that commanded a premium price. The Zimmer Motorcar company, founded in New York in 1978, was one of the leading companies that produced these neoclassic cars.
The company’s star product was the 1920s style Zimmer Golden Spirit, which was based on the Ford Mustang platform. It was their most successful car, with approximately 1,500 units built between 1978 to 1988.
The follow up to the Golden Spirit was the Quicksilver. This car was based on the Pontiac Fiero, a unique mid-engine compact car from General Motors. Fieros were a popular platform for kit cars and customs, due to the fact that all of the car’s body panels could be unbolted and a rolling chassis/tub was easy to build around.
Produced from 1984-1988, the Zimmer Quicksilver was on the tail end of the neoclassic car trend. Its design was noticeably more subtle than other neoclassics of the 1970s and 80s. Gone are the round headlamps, replaced by pop-up headlamps. The step-side fenders common to other neoclassics have been replaced by more modestly flared wheel arches. The car does still have a waterfall grille, and plenty of chrome trim added.
This particular car is a 1986 Zimmer Quicksilver, which came up for auction at the RM Sotheby’s Scottsdale auction in January 2020. According to the listing, this car is a one-owner example with just 464 miles on the odometer. The red leather interior and engine bay shine like new, despite the car being 34 years old. In spite of the car’s old-world look, there is no hiding the fact that this is an 80’s GM car with pop-up headlights and a very square, angular interior.
From a sales perspective, the Quicksilver was not as successful as the Golden Spirit. Whereas 1,500 Golden Spirits were produced, an article on ConsumerGuide.com says that only 170 Quicksilvers were built during the four year production run, making this quite a rare car.
Sotheby’s appraisal estimated the car’s value at $40 to $50,000 dollars. The final sale price at auction was $21,280 (including buyer’s premium), possibly due to an uncertain economic outlook in early 2020, and possibly due to the rarity of the car and collectors who are unfamiliar with the Zimmer name. The value of used neoclassic cars varies wildly, depending on build quality, condition, maintenance, and other factors.
This is an interesting car that is quite possibly the fanciest, most luxurious Pontiac Fiero that money can buy.