1986 Zimmer Quicksilver Neoclassic Car

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 The step-side fenders common to other neoclassics have been replaced by more modestly flared wheel arches.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.


1986 Zimmer Golden Spirit Neoclassic Car

zimmer-golden-spirit-frontHaving written about nearly every other type of neoclassic car, I was excited to see my first Zimmer at the 2015 Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale auction. Like other neoclassic cars, the Zimmer combines the reliability of a modern, fuel-injected powertrain with classic styling. The prominent waterfall grille, exposed headlamps, full-length running boards, and bustleback style rear end are all design characteristics of pre-war American cars.

While there have been many companies that produced cars in this style, Zimmer was one of the most successful. Founded in Florida, the company built over 1,500 cars during their peak years of 1978-1988.

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Spartan II Neoclassic Car

Based on the picture, you may be thinking “Oh boy, here comes another lame kit car!” But if you lump the Spartan II in with the Excalibur, Gazelle, Tiffany, Zimmer, or any other neo-classic automobile, you would have made a serious mistake.

You see, reproductions of old-timey cars are often built around cheap mass-market vehicles such as a Ford Pinto or a Volkswagen. While this arrangement makes a neoclassic car practical to own, it also places them at the low end of the performance spectrum.

The Spartan II is different. While its rounded headlamps and swooping front fenders may harken back to the early days of motoring, it’s a completely different story under the hood. That’s because the Spartan II is actually based on the Nissan 300ZX, a compact sports car from Japan! With its front-engine, rear drive layout and 2+2 seating configuration, the Spartan II is a bit sportier than you might expect.

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Classic Motor Carriages Gazelle Kit Car


Although I feel my automotive proficiency is fairly well-rounded, there are a couple gaps in my knowledge. I understand that nobody is perfect, so I try not to beat myself up over the fact that I can’t make myself get into anything European or Japanese made before the mid-eighties, I’m not up to date on current supercars (hypercars? what are they calling them now?), and street rods all just look like the same ZZ Top album cover to me.

I also have a bad habit of  calling everything that that looks really old but not American either an Excalibur or a “Cruella de Vil Car”, depending on whether I am talking to a car guy or not. So when I saw this old lady barreling down the 17, with a death grip on the steering wheel and, I’m imagining, a cartoonish twinkle of determination in her eyes, taking a folding card table somewhere, wearing a rain poncho underneath her jacket, on a very hot, very dry day in Phoenix, I just assumed that I had just seen an Excalibur. A Cruella de Vil car.

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I caught this one a while back, out in Scottsdale, most likely around the time of all the car auctions that go on out there in the beginning of the year. When I saw it coming, I assumed it was some sort of Lincoln concept car for some reason, or possibly some kind of horrifying body kit slapped onto a Cougar, with sort of a Toronado Trofeo flavor. I was struggling to get my phone out of my pocket to get a picture and wasn’t really able to get a good look at it. It wasn’t until I got home and looked at the picture on the computer that I realized how obviously Fiero-based this thing was.

The car is actually a Zimmer Quicksilver, based on an stock 2.8, automatic Fiero. Only 170 of these atrocities were ever built.