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Au Revoir, Rétromobile!

As Charlie’s Parisian travels have now come to an inevitable close, enjoy a final serving of the many wonderful sights and experiences through his eyes from Rétromobile. While Charlie is traveling home soon, you can still catch up with him and find out much more about his trip and the many opportunities and new friendships he has gained during this whirlwind trip via email at charlie@worldwideauctioneers.com.

Crowds growing as the weekend approaches.

C’est cheese! No journey to Paris can possibly be considered complete without a taste of French cheeses. My mouth is watering with just the mere sight of this wonderful selection!

The highly unusual pair of voiturettes shown below are extremely rare surviving examples of the short-lived Bédelia marque. Produced by Henri Devaux and Robert Bourbeau from 1907 to 1914, the Bédelia was an innovative car for the masses with unusually narrow dimensions and tandem seating. Displayed courtesy of Les Amis de Bédelia, they are just one of so many fascinating displays at Rétromobile!

Sporting the flowing curves and flamboyant colors so emblematic of the prewar era in France, this 1939 Panhard X81 Type 140 Parisienne features equally advanced engineering. Available with either 2.5, 2.9, and 3.8-liter 6-cylinder powerplants and 7 body styles, it featured the sure handling of torsion-bar suspension and the safety of dual-circuit hydraulic brakes, which were only in widespread use by the latter part of the 1960s.

Any mention of the greatest elite Grand Touring cars of the postwar era must include the mighty Facel Vega. Featuring Chrysler V-8 power and purpose-built for effortless long-distance, high-speed touring, they are highly sought-after whenever they come to market. This example is especially attractive in this sophisticated color combination.

This bare display chassis is yet another fascinating exhibit at Rétromobile.

Artists in attendance, creating new works in this highly creative environment.

A closer look!

 

 

Milestones, Racers, and Record-Setters at Rétromobile

With so much to see and so little time, we present to you another fascinating selection of Charlie’s images and observations as his journey to Rétromobile in Paris continues to unfold. Catch him while you still can by email at charlie@worldwideauctioneers.com today!

Oooh La La!

Shown au naturel, just as it was first displayed some 50 years ago, the Lamborghini Miura display chassis pictured above is just as stunning as the car is when fully clothed.

One of the final masterworks from Turin, Italy’s Carrozzeria Touring, the stunning Lamborghini 4000 GT Flying Star marks yet another rare and thrilling discovery at Rétromobile.

Representing the record setters is one of the very first – “La Jamais Contente,” French for “Never Satisfied” Based on an electric-powered Jentaud chassis, young Belgian Camille Jenatzy applied quite possibly the first aerodynamically streamlined body to a motorized vehicle in his quest for speed during 1899. Resembling a one-man submarine, the car reached a then-stunning mark of 65.79 mph over the flying kilometre.

Grand Prix fans were electrified by this comparison of McLaren F1 cars – one from the high-wing days of 1970 and in the foreground, a 2016 McLaren, looking as though it came off the set of a science fiction movie.

 

 

 

 

 

It Just Gets Better and Better Every Day at Rétromobile!

We are happy to have received Charlie’s latest images and observations from Rétromobile, and while the automobiles on display are the main attractions there, this event is an amazing experience with so much to offer. Join us for today’s latest post, and we hope you will engage with Charlie there and with Worldwide Auctioneers on his journey.  Meet up with him via email at charlie@worldwideauctioneers.com and join in the fun!

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. In Paris, crèpes are mandatory and yummy, especially when filled with Nutella and served with Grand Marnier!

Fashion is also a Parisian staple, and Charlie eyed some elegant jackets, gentlemen’s accoutrements, and even some driving shoes at the show.

Celebrating the 100th Anniversary of France’s Gnome & Rhone company, which was normally asssociated with powerful aircraft engine design and production, is this dashing 750 X motorcycle, complete with sidecar. The holder of 20 world records in 1937, the 750 X was capable of hitting nearly 90 mph and about 70 mph with sidecar attached, making for a thrilling and very stylish ride by any standard.

Here’s Charlie with more friends – Don and Mary Swanson and Jerry Watson.

So many wonderful collectibles – something for everyone and every budget. Decisions, decisions…

Oh, what do you think of this comical display piece below – that’s one way to get a classic car for sure!

A Celebration of Automotive Icons at Rétromobile

If you want to feast your eyes on many of the world’s greatest automobiles ever conceived, Rétromobile is the place to be! Enjoy this guided tour of some of the show’s highlights with Charlie, our irrepressible lead specialist at Worldwide Auctioneers. We are sure you will enjoy the ride!

Quite likely, Citroën’s DS is one of France’s definitive motorcars of the postwar era. An almost complete departure from anything preceding it, the DS remains instantly recognizable for its avant-garde styling, not to mention its advanced engineering. Quite surprisingly, the DS proved particularly adaptable to the design interpretations of France’s remaining custom coachbuilders as well. This 1960 Citroën DS Décapotable is just one example of these stellar vehicles, fit for cruising along the Riviera with the top down. This image is just a partial depiction of the landmark Citroëns on display at Stand 1F018, in honor of the marque’s landmark centennial era.  For more details, see the official Rétromobile website at https://www.retromobile.com/Visitors/The-show/Actualites-du-salon-Retromobile/The-2019-Retromobile-car-manufacturers

Designed by Sir Alex Issigonis, the Austin Mini and Morris Mini-Minor and their many variations rank among the greatest automobiles from either side of the Atlantic and regardless of the era. Compact and affordable, yet offering startling performance, handling, and the benefits of front-wheel drive, the Mini also stands as one of the world’s greatest rally and circuit-racing cars of all time, with a multitude of epic victories to its credit. The cutaway display Mini below forms a wonderful study of the greatness built into this enduring charmer.

Fascinating Mini display cutaway, showing designer Alec Issigonis’ design brilliance to full advantage.

Speaking of design brilliance, the Pininfarina-designed Lancia Aurelia, in all its many forms, deserves mention. A breathtaking design, its leading-edge features included a wraparound windscreen, potent V-6 power, and a chassis purpose-built for fast touring with comfort and control in one beautiful package. At the other end of the spectrum, Lancia’s raucous and rowdy Stratos marks the automotive equivalent of a high-school delinquent in serious need of anger management. However, the Stratos redeemed itself by taking the 1970s rallying world by storm with its prodigious victory tally, until it was eventually succeeded by increasingly potent versions of Lancia’s 037 and blindingly quick Delta rally cars.

In between all the automotive indulgence at Rétromobile, one can never guess who you might see there. Today, Charlie bumped into some of the folks from Sports Car Market magazine and his friend, Stephen Murphy. It’s moments like this that remind us all of how wonderful the classic-car hobby truly is!

Following a well-deserved rest, Charlie will be back at the Place de Versailles tomorrow, wearing out shoe leather and bringing his perspective on this wonderful event to us. Email him at charlie@worldwideauctioneers.com and join in the fun!

What a Show! Dispatches from Charlie at Rétromobile

It’s rightly been said that a picture is worth a thousand words, so we hope you will enjoy Charlie’s ongoing photographic and video essay from the famed Rétromobile show in Paris. He is well underway meeting his many colleagues and friends there, but the week is still young. Connect with Charlie via email at charlie@worldwideauctioneers.com to join in the excitement and become a part of his journey today!

Let us begin the latest post with Charlie getting up close and personal with the original monster truck, the Berliet T100, better known as “The Desert Giant.” It is one of the featured attractions of this year’s edition of Retromobile. See the official link at https://www.retromobile.com/Visitors/Exhibitions-and-events/Events-2019/The-return-of-the-Desert-Giant-the-Berliet-T-100-at-the-2019-Retromobile-show for full details of these immense wonders and of the intricate effort to get them there.

Hmm…I’ll take 4 of these tires for my pickup truck! Wonder if I can get them to fit…

Thought lost for decades, this beautiful, wood-hulled speedboat was built in the late 1950s with BMW 507 V-8 power! Just the ticket for Lake Como, the shores of which host the BMW-sponsored Concorso d’Eleganza at Villa d’Este in Italy.

Check out the wonderful details, including the steering wheel, intake ports, and iconic side vents borrowed from the BMW 507 sports roadster. Rediscovered in 2014, it was restored to its current beauty by the original builder! See more about this stunning BMW-powered speedboat at www.bimmerlife.com: https://bimmerlife.com/2019/01/26/bmw-classic-to-roll-out-rare-metal-for-retromobile-in-paris/ 

Not your old uncle’s Citroën!

Modern designs are celebrated at Rétromobile too, including this visually stunning Citroën concept supercar.

Whew! Time for lunch. Check out this wonderful charcuterie board! It pairs nicely with a good glass of wine or European beer. Elegant and delicious!

Stay tuned and follow us on the Worldwide Auctioneers blog and social media for more photos and fun from Charlie’s excellent Parisian adventures. If you want to meet up with him, he’s always never more than an email away at charlie@worldwideauctioneers.com

Charlie’s Arrival at Rétromobile

When Worldwide Auctioneers’ Charlie Kühn arrived at Rétromobile on the evening of Monday, February 4th, the large crowd of spectators there gained an early preview of the event and the many exhibits there. Here are a few snapshots from Charlie, which embody the spirit of this time-honored gathering, and we hope you will enjoy them.

Charlie with the sizable crowd of classic-car enthusiasts waiting for doors to open at 7:00 PM.

 

Christmas in February and it’s just the beginning of this automotive fantasyland! Overhead view of the collectibles and models section.

Rétromobile draws visitors from Europe and around the world. Soon after arriving inside the event hall, Charlie met his good friend from Holland, Mr. Tony Paalman.

You say you need a repair manual? Well, step right up…you’ve come to the right place!

Stand by for the next day’s festivities at Rétromobile. Again, be sure to email our man in Paris at charlie@worldwideauctioneers.com and be sure to meet up with him this week at Rétromobile!

Hello, Paris!

After an exciting start to our auction year at Scottsdale in January, we’re now Paris-bound! Charlie Kuhn, our intrepid Senior Car Specialist, is making his way to France for the next of the season’s world-renowned classic events, Rétromobile, held at the Paris Expo at the Porte de Versailles from February 6-10.

If you plan to be there yourself, Charlie is ready and looking forward to meeting you there in person. If not, you can kick back and enjoy the highlights, heritage and history of this great show with him virtually as he blogs his way around the salon.

Email Charlie at Charlie@worldwideauctioneers.com or keep up with his Rétromobile adventures online at worldwidewideauctioneers.com by clicking the “Charlie’s Adventure” tab at the top right of the page.

À bientôt!

Automotive Love at First Sight

GM PR Image from the Public Domain supplied by the Automotive History Preservation Society (AHPS) Archive.

Ask anyone to shout out the first thing that enters their mind about the late-1970s Pontiac Trans Am, and they will likely answer “Smokey and the Bandit.” While the Pontiac ponycar’s use in the wildly successful Burt Reynolds/Hal Needham movie franchise cemented its iconic status in the public imagination, the Trans Am was my dream car long before the popular movie’s 1977 release.

What’s not to love? The Firebird and its various models, including the Esprit, Formula, and Trans Am, held the line as high-style, high-content cars with a strong performance identity during the turbulent 1970s. I loved how most of the auto industry struggled to meet fuel economy, emissions, and safety legislation, yet Pontiac’s engineering wizards somehow managed to make the second-generation F-Body Firebird not only keep pace but stand proudly as the fastest American car alongside Chevrolet’s Corvette. While the Firebird was indeed available with a thrifty six-cylinder engine, the performance-oriented Formula and top-echelon Trans Am were available with several versions of Pontiac’s 400- and 455-cid V-8 engines, with the 400 and Oldsmobile 403 V-8 making their final appearances in 1979. The WS-6 performance option, available from 1978 through 1981, added performance-tuned underpinnings and 4-wheel disc brakes for outstanding handling and stopping power – ideal for these true driver’s cars.

As a kid, I was captivated by the Pontiac’s magical combination of performance and image – just like millions more throughout North America. Sales were brisk, thanks to high-profile movie and TV placements, including the gold mid-’70s Firebird piloted by James Garner every week on “The Rockford Files.” Friends and I could only wonder as to what engine was under the hood of that car, which was the perfect match for Mr. Garner’s stylish and highly likable TV character.

During my grade school and high school years, I dreamed of owning a Firebird of my own. My opportunity came in May 1984, when I had accumulated enough money to buy a 1979 Trans Am. Not just any Trans Am, mind you – a 10th Anniversary Special Edition Trans Am. It had been used pretty hard by the owner’s son until the keys were quickly revoked and the car was parked. It had a few door dings, but I saw the potential. Or drank the Kool-Aid, as some close to me thought at the time. Anyway, I had to have it. Years of pent-up desire and saving left me no choice. I was hooked.

Thoughts of grateful friends and swooning young ladies swirled in my head as I handed the money to the seller and dutifully made my way to the local license office to get my new plates for the car. All after leaving class and before 5:00 pm! The car had an Olds 403 and automatic transmission, and I planned some choice tweaks to unlock a bit more power. However, the engine’s strong torque output and Safe-T-Track limited-slip rear end were surprisingly adept at breaking the nearly-bald original-style Goodyear Polyglas radial tires loose with a little prodding. Attention naysayers: 185 Net horsepower + limited slip + youthful silliness was a perfect algorithm for squealing tires and plenty of high-speed fun. That power rating sounds punky now, but during the emissions- and economy-crazy mid-1980s, I was at the wheel of a pretty fast and quick road machine.

I loved that car. From its relative rarity (about 8,000 10th Anniversary cars built) to its special silver-and-charcoal paint finish, multi-color pinstripes, huge hood decal, and silver leather interior with matching deep-pile carpeting, it was my dream machine. Every power option available was standard on this ‘bird. Just the GM/Delco 40-channel CB radio was optional. I was intent on keeping my car factory-stock in homage to GM and Pontiac. I even left the factory AM/FM 8-Track stereo system alone. Friends and relatives sympathized with my madness, giving me several cases of 8-Track tapes for the car, featuring plenty of the finest works from Boston, Journey, Led Zeppelin, ZZ Top, Supertramp, and even a few surprisingly good K-Tel compilations of late 1970s and early 1980s hits. Carole King’s Platinum-selling  Tapestry and Boney M’s Nightflight to Venus – complete with the infectious disco hit Rasputin – were unlikely and very guilty pleasures.

Many good things come to an end, however. For me, it was university and a brand new and wickedly quick Ford Mustang LX 5.0 hatchback. Something had to give, and I sold my beloved Trans Am to a young couple who were also afflicted with Trans Am fever and had an insurance settlement in hand to replace their wrecked 1978 black-and-gold Special Edition car. I never forgot my Trans Am and while I was considered not very cool during my ownership of it, I had many happy times in that car and fond memories of it remain today. Happily, during the 2017 Festival celebrations in downtown Auburn, I spied this very nice 1979 10th Anniversary Trans Am on a side street near the epicenter of the celebrations.  I dragged my ever-patient and supportive wife and three teenage kids over to the car, which was far nicer than mine ever was, clearly benefiting from some 15 years of single-owner care and enjoyment.

A very nice 10th Anniversary Special Edition Trans Am spotted at the 2017 Auburn Labor Day weekend Festival celebrations in beautiful downtown Auburn, Indiana. The owner told me he has owned the car for 15 years, and given its great appearance, it showed! I was thrilled to see it.

What was your first “special” car? Comment here and tell us about it!

Glamour Time! Starring the 1966 Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud III Drophead Coupe

A true motoring icon as sought-after today as when new, this 1966 Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud III Drophead Coupe strikes a dramatic pose. The choice of movie icons, top celebrities, and the world’s richest buyers, it is one of our early feature consignments to our upcoming January 17, 2018, Scottsdale auction.

Aimed primarily at America’s famous and wealthy, the Silver Cloud III remains a stylistic icon and one of the all-time finest motorcars ever to come from Rolls-Royce. In fact, it’s cutting-edge styling, luxury, and impeccable engineering make it an ideal classic car for touring enjoyment today. In addition to the “standard” (if that term ever applied to a Rolls-Royce) Saloon, a limited number of coach built examples (328 on the normal-length chassis and 47 on the long-wheelbase chassis) also graced the Silver Cloud III chassis. While quite rare, the Drophead Coupe by H.J. Mulliner Park Ward is even more rare, with just 101 built in all. This example is one of just 52 produced with left-hand drive.

Debuted at the 1963 Earls Court Motor Show in London alongside the Silver Cloud III 2-door Saloon, the Drophead Coupe was coach built by H.J. Mulliner Park Ward. This special model retained the general design language used by Vilhelm Koren for the prior Silver Cloud II and Bentley S2, refined and modernized with a new canted four-headlamp arrangement harmonizing nicely with Rolls-Royce’s signature Greek Temple-inspired radiator shell up front. Now, as when new, the Silver Cloud III continues to epitomize style and luxury and marks the end of an era as the last Rolls-Royce model other than the Phantom VI limousine to utilize traditional body-on-frame construction.

Numbered LSC39C, this original U.S.-specification 1966 Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud III Drophead Coupe is one of just 52 left-hand drive examples produced, according to the definitive book, “Every Cloud Has a Silver Lining,” by Davide Bassoli. A late-production, “Series C” car, it benefits from all the running updates applied to the Silver Cloud III chassis during its relatively brief production run. Additionally, the original details for LSC39C are listed by Lawrence Dalton in “Rolls-Royce: The Classic Elegance,” as well as copies of the original Rolls-Royce chassis card provided by the Rolls-Royce Foundation.

Built to order, LSC39C was delivered to H.J. Mulliner Park Ward to receive its special Style 2045 coachwork (Body No. Z.91) on October 11, 1965. On November 24, 1965, the chassis was tested by the Rolls-Royce factory, with UK Registration Number JGF34D. Following completion, LSC39C was shipped to Rolls-Royce Inc. in New York and then delivered via Ascot Imported Cars on April 4, 1966, to its first owner in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The original equipment was comprehensive, supplemented by a desirable FrigiKing air-conditioning system, most likely a dealer-installed option in period for year-round comfort. The glove box contains the original Owners Handbook, plus registration documents and a handwritten note by the original reading, “11-12-76 Installed all new muffler system 17,800 miles.” The next documented owner of LSC39C acquired the car on March 25,1991 at 37,870 miles. The Consignor, a longstanding Rolls-Royce Owner’s Club member, and marque collector acquired LSC39C in June 1993, using it only sparingly ever since.

As offered, LSC39C clearly benefits from proper care, maintenance, and storage. It retains the majority of its factory-original Valentines Smoke Green paint finish, with selective touch-ups as required. The luxurious interior, trimmed in Stone Connolly hides, remains almost entirely original except for a newer Blaupunkt AM/FM cassette head unit and speakers. Mounting plates for the factory-original radio remain with the car. An ideal purchase for the committed Rolls-Royce collector, this 1963 Silver Cloud III will provide its new owner with a great classic touring experience, as well as an ideal entry for the many shows, concours, and Rolls-Royce Owners Club events held worldwide. Get ready for our second annual Scottsdale auction, slated for January 17, 2018 and experience it for yourself! Register to bid by calling us at 1-800-990-6789 or by clicking here.

 

 

Auburn – Our Home is the Home of the Classics

A fitting group of L-29s in celebration of the 2017 ACD Festival marking the Year of the Cord.

Ever since it was established during the mid-1950s, the annual Auburn Cord Duesenberg Festival continues to draw legions of visitors to Auburn, Indiana, the home city of Worldwide Auctioneers. Situated in DeKalb County, Indiana, Auburn was founded in 1836 by Wesley Park and serves as the county seat of DeKalb County. Auburn also stands proudly as the “Home of the Classics,” where the beautifully styled and technically sophisticated automobiles once rolled off the Auburn, Cord, and Duesenberg assembly plants.

While the great pre-war classic cars produced in Auburn until the late 1930s rank highly among the many attractions and events, including our annual Auburn auction at the National Automobile and Truck Museum (NATMUS), Auburn itself provides a truly wonderful setting. From its many historic landmarks to wonderful architecture, Auburn and its residents are equally renowned for their community spirit and hospitality to visitors.

Great prewar classics in front of the National Auto & Truck Museum. This historic location is the actual building where the Cord L-29 – America’s first front-drive passenger car – was produced.

With far too many of its beauties to fully list here, Auburn is a family-friendly city with a refreshing small-town feel, yet delivers the amenities of many larger centers. In short, Auburn – whether during the Festival Week or any other occasion, is a great place to visit and spend some quality time. Here are just a few images of Auburn, with much more to be added to our various social media pages. We hope you will enjoy these images of what makes Auburn so special!

The beautiful, Art Deco interior of the Auburn Cord Duesenberg Museum, which was originally the company’s administration building during the 1930s.

A truly timeless classic – an Auburn Speedster spotted front and center at the Friday night street festival in downtown Auburn’s town square.

The beautiful water fountain adjacent to Auburn’s Craftsman-era Eckhart Library, nicely illuminated during a perfect late-summer evening – the perfect location for quiet reflection or a delicious picnic.

 

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