Sunday, June 11, 2017

The Elegance at Hershey, Part Two: June 11, 2017

Arriving at the Hotel Hershey for The Elegance, we were greeted by stands set up by several car manufacturers offering test rides of high-end cars.  As BMW owners, we thought this was a good opportunity to try out the futuristic BMW i8 hybrid sports car.  When we are at the 2013 Frankfurt Auto Show the car was introduced, along with its electric sibling, the boxy little i3.

The i8 utilizes a three cylinder1.5 liter turbocharged engine that produces 228 hp, coupled with an electric motor that develops a maximum of 131 hp.  The drag coefficient is only 0.26 and the body is made of carbon-reinforced plastic.  The interior is very minimalist but quite attractive although not what you would consider very luxurious.  Amazingly, they have jammed in four seats but you have to wonder why anyone went to the bother as they are truly useless.  The party piece of the car is its butterfly doors, although with the very wide and high sills you can expect to bang your head getting in and out until you get used to it.

The first impression, once seated with your sore head, is that car is very very quiet.  Driving in electric-only mode gives you a short range of around 25 km but with only a little spaceship whirring from the electric motor, which is positioned to drive the front wheels.  The very advanced instrument panel gives you plenty to look at but switching to "Sport" mode gives you some impressive acceleration as the gasoline engine, powering the rear wheels, kicks in.  Although it is only 3 cylinders, BMW has engineered some fake sound to give you the impression you are packing a big V8.  But gas mileage is still a remarkable 75 mpg equivalent on the European test cycle.  Range in hybrid mode is around 500 kms, or 330 miles.  The car handles very well and visibility is pretty good.  Its small battery only takes 2 hours to recharge at 220V.

With its low centre of gravity, high-quality build, elaborate electronics, and crazy doors, the i8 looks like you would expect a car of the future to be.  Its exotic appearance really draw attention. But the car is something of a pioneer and early adopters have to pay a steep price, starting at US$145,000 for a car that is not especially luxurious nor matching the performance of sports cars found at this price level.  Maybe it should be considered more of a grand touring car, albeit with rather limited luggage space.  It seems most of the cars sold, at least in Canada, were 2014 and 2015 models and as the car has not changed much and it is easy to find ones with low mileage it might be a great way to get into an exotic at a semi-bargain price.  And it has laser headlights!

Returning our car to BMW USA with thanks, we proceeded to enter the grounds for The Elegance proper.  First to see were some marquees offering automobilia, including vintage gas pumps which would be just the thing in your fancy garage.

There were also posters, dealership signs and manuals, as well as a selection of hood ornaments/mascots for your old car or desk.

Some interesting cars being sold by a dealer on display...
Entering the grounds of the Hotel Hershey from the rear, we showed our passes and were waved in to the fine lawns behind the hotel.  Totally empty the day before, a panapoly of beautiful shining classic cars now occupied the space and a good crowd was already appearing as the weather was perfect.

1935 Swallow Sidecar SS1 Coupe
Before there was Jaguar, there was the Swallow Sidecar & Coachbuilding Company, under the leadership of William Lyons.  The company build motorcycle sidecars and then expanded to produce special chassis for Austin motorcar running gear, ultimately metamorphing into the handsome sportscars for which the firm became famous.  The first SS1 (Swallow Sidecar 1) appeared in 1931 and the name Jaguar was applied in 1935.  The SS name was abandoned due to its wartime connotations and all the company's cars became Jaguars.  This particular car is one of the few surviving coupes and was restored in Buenos Aires, Argentin, with work completed in 2010.

1973 Dino 240GTS
This car, with only 17,400 original miles, was the newest vehicle on display at the concours.  One of 1,246 Dinos built by Ferrari from 1969 to 1974, it is powered by a mid-mounted V6 engine.  

1934 Packard 1106 Twelve Runabout Speedster by LeBaron
This magnificent Packard, which won Best in Show, is one of only four Packard Speedsters built using Packard's shortest wheelbase of 160 inches.  All four of the Speedsters still exist and this particular one was ordered new by Hollywood legend and serious car enthusiast Clark Gable, who had it modified by having the windshield cut down and running boards replaced with step plates.

1929 Duesenberg J/SJ Convertible Coupe, by Bohman & Schwartz
This superb Duesenberg was updated by coachbuilders Bohman & Schwartz in 1937, who modified the bumpers and hood, as well as added a supercharger to bring the car up to SJ specifications.  The car was owned by Edward McLean, owner of the famous Hope Diamond and a member of the family that owned the Washington Post newspaper.

1936 Lancia Astura Cabriolet

1928 Auburn 8-115 Speedster
Originally designed by 25 year old Al Leamy for a Duesenberg chassis, this speedster body ended up instead as an Auburn series, with 253 produced.  This car was in storage in New Jersey from 1945 until 2014.

1930 Packard 745 Deluxe Eight Roadster
This Packard has had quite a life.  In the late 1940s it was purchased by a farmer who planned to use the engine to run agricultural equipment, a common fate of these kinds of cars in that era.  It was saved from cannibalization by an astute collector in 1950 who kept it in his collection for the remainder of his life.  The car was virtually destroyed in a barn fire in 1995 but the family kept it until 2012, when a reconstruction using as much of the original sheet metal and mechanical components was undertaken.  The car was completed in 2016.

1929 Duesenberg J Convertible Coupe, by Fleetwood
Sold by Fred Duesenberg himself to a judge in Philadelphia, this lovely car is the only Duesenberg J of 481 constructed to have been bodied by noted Pennsylvania coachbuilders Fleetwood.

1929 Cord L-29 Cabriolet
Cord was the first American automaker into the market with a front-wheel drive car.  The L-29 in convertible form sold for $3,295 and 1,200 cabriolets were built before production ended in 1931.  The Cord was meant to fill the gap between the very expensive Duesenbergs and the more proletarian Auburn models.  The L-29 was a very handsome car, sitting lower than contemporaries due to its front-wheel drive, but was heavy and performance was actually not as good as the cheaper Auburn.

1936 Packard 1407 Twelve Convertible Coupe
Packard introduced its V12 in 1932 and this car, the show car exhibited at the New York Auto Show, was the first one built in 1936.  That year a mere 682 V12s were built out of total Packard production of 55,042 cars.

1931 Duesenberg J Convertible Victoria, by Rollston
Bodied by New York coachbuilders Rollston, this Convertible Victoria is unusual in that most had blind rear quarters rather than the windows featured here.

1925 Locomobile 48 Convertible Sedan, by Derham
This magnificent car was ordered by Edward Stotesbury, a business partner of J.P. Morgan and it was bodied by coachbuiders Derham in Rosemont, Pennsylvania.  It was subsequently shipped to New York and modified to have some custom touches, including a hood and radiator more similar to that of the contemporary Rolls-Royce.  Having second thoughts that now perhaps the car looked too European for a partner in America's leading bank, Mr. Stotesbury had the car sent to his 300 acre estate, Whitemarsh.  Whitemarsh, built between 1916 and 1921 and demolished in 1980, was ranked as the third-largest private house ever built in the United States, with 147 rooms and 45 bathrooms, covering 100,000 square feet.  Architectural experts consider the house and its elaborate gardens to have been perhaps the most beautiful built in the country.  Mr. Stotesbury claimed that operating cost of the house and grounds exceeded $1 million annually, so the $11,000 the Locomobile would have cost him would probably not have been a strain.  Average earnings in 1924 in the United States were $1,303 and a house would have typically cost $7,700.

1934 Lancia Belna Eclipse, by Pourtout
Taking advantage of its popularity in France and to avoid import taxes, Italian manufacturer Lancia established a French subsidiary in 1931, producing Augusta models as Belnas.  Of 3,000 Belnas built between 1934 and 1938, 326 received bodies by coachbuilder Pourtout.  Only four had the fascinating Eclipse retractable hardtop, which operated by hand through a series of bungees.  The inventor Georges Paulin, a dentist who was the designer for Pourtout, subsequently marketed the Eclipse top to Peugeot and other manufacturers.  A revised version used electric motors to lower the top.  Only two Lancias with the Eclipse top remain today.  M. Paulin went on to work for Rolls-Royce-Bentley and a French aircraft company.  He worked for British Intelligence during the Occupation, becoming a hero of the French Resistance when executed in 1942 by the Gestapo.

1936 Rolls-Royce 25/20 Fixed Head Coupe, by James Young
This unique enclosed coupe built by coachbuilder James Young was nicknamed "the Honeymoon Express" as it was purchased by a Mr. Harper as a wedding gift for his wife.  Introduced in 1936 and produced until 1938, all 1,201 25/30 Rolls-Royces featured custom bodywork.

1932 Ruxton C Four-Door Sedan, by Budd
The second American front-wheel drive car introduced to the market after the Cord L-29, the handsome Ruxton was built from 1929 to 1930 only and given the corporate shenanigans surrounding it one is surprised that 96 cars were actually finished.  The prototype was built by an employee of the Budd Body Company of Philadelphia with the idea that it would be produced by an outside manufacturer with bodies supplied by Budd.  Rather than a manufacturer, it attracted the attention of wheeler-dealer Archie Andrews, a Budd board member who took on the project himself.  New Era Motors was created and Andrews tried to work out arrangements with different car companies with actual factories to build the cars. The Ruxton name came about as Andrews had hoped to entice an investor of that name to put money into the project, but instead Mr. Ruxton sued New Era as a way of showing that he wanted nothing to do with the the project.  In the end Andrews launched hostile takeovers of Moon Motors of St. Louis and Kissel Motors of Hartford, Wisconsin, both of which then went into receivership instead of continuing to build Ruxtons.  The unusual striped paint scheme sported by some of the Ruxtons was meant to make the car look longer.  It was designed by Joseph Urban, who was a noted stage designer (the Ziegeld Follies, the Metropolitan Opera) and considered one of the founders of American Art Deco.

1929 Bentley 4 1/2-liter LeMans Tourer, by Harrison
The 4 1/2 liter Bentley was a development of the 3 liter car and was launched in 1927, following the prototype's setting of a new lap record at LeMans that year, followed by an outright win in 1928.  Before the takeover of Bentley by Rolls-Royce in 1931, some 665 examples were built.  In LeMans trim, the car was capable of 120 mph.  This car still wears its original body, constructed by R. Harrison & Sons of London.

1951 Ferrari 212 Export Spider, by Fontana
Attracting a lot of attention was this 1951 Ferrari competition model.  Introduced in 1951, the majority of the 25 spiders built used Pinifarina bodywork but this was the sole example by Fontana.  Production continued until 1953.  A Vignale 212 Coupe gained Ferrari considerable publicity in 1951 when driven to victory at the Carrera Panamerica.

1932 MG Magna F1 Stiles Special Threesome Open Roadster, by James Young
Unlike the more famous T-Series MGs which were powered with four cylinder engines, the Magna boasted a six cylinder one.  Only 30 of the aluminum bodies designed by Fred Stiles were produced, with five known to exist today.  The show car is the only one in North America and has a Stiles body constructed by coachbuilder James Young.  The complete history of the car, first purchased as a birthday gift for Viola Evans in May 1932, is known.  The colour is Ocean Blue Metallic, with beige wheels, brake drums, chassis and belt line.

1960 Plymouth XNR Concept, by Ghia
The unique Plymouth XNR was designed by Virgil Exner as a sports roadster meant to possibly compete with the Chevrolet Corvette. Originally called the Asymetrica, it was renamed XNR to honour Exner. Unlike most concept cars, it was actually meant to be driven and featured a 250 hp "Slant Six" engine. Built on a Plymouth Valiant chassis, with a body made by Ghia in Turin, the car was reported capable of 152 mph but it was never put into production.  Instead, it was shipped back to Italy and then had a colourful history, passing through the hands of a Swiss dealer, then the Shah of Iran, then on to Kuwait, after which it was hidden in an underground garage in Beirut during the Lebanese Civil War.  In 2008 RM Restorations in Ontario began restoration of the car, which was completed in 2011, and the following year the car was auctioned for nearly $1 million.  Not a great fan of Exner's work, I find this one particularly ridiculous.

1958 Dual-Ghia
An American-Italian businessman was so smitten with a Dodge concept car, the Firearrow III, he persuaded Chrysler Corporation to sell him the design and the car went into production with bodies by Ghia and powered by a Dodge 5.2 litre hemi engine.  117 convertibles were produced and sold for a hefty $7,500 at the time; at least 32 still exist.  Celebrities liked them--Desi Arnez, David Rose, Dean Martin and fellow Rat Packers Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis, Jr., and Peter Lawford all had them.  There was a Presidential connection as well as Ronald Reagan lost one to Lyndon Johnson in a poker game and Richard Nixon is reputed to have had a Dual-Ghia too.  Production ran from 1956 to 1958.

1934 Chrysler Imperial Airflow CV Coupe
It seemed like a good idea at the time.  The Chrysler Airflow was truly revolutionary, with its striking Art Deco design matched with technological innovations such as unit body construction of great strength, light weight and a voluminous interior.  It alienated buyers as too radical and sales flopped, with only 55,000 being built in four years of production.  The challenge of new manufacturing techniques meant that many of the early cars had major defects, which surely did not help matters.  In attempt to increase sales, later models of the Airflow became less streamlined and featured the more conventional hoods of contemporaries. The CV Coupe was built on a longer wheelbase than the regular CU car and of the 212 built, only two remain known today.

1931 Marmon Sixteen Convertible Coupe, by LeBaron
The swansong of the Marmon Motor Car Company, the Sixteen was one of two cars offered in America with a V16 engine, the other being from Cadillac.  The all-aluminum engine produced 200 hp but more torque than the Cadillac engine or the Duesenberg Straight Eight.  Just 390 cars, available in eight body styles produced by LeBaron, were built from 1931 to 1933, at which point Marmon ended passenger car production.  Roughly 70 Marmon Sixteens still exist.  The body designs were by Walter Dorwin Teague, Jr., who, although only 21 years old, was the first industrial designer to conceive a production car.  Although E.L. Cord considered building one, the only other American V16 was the 1932 Peerless, of which only a single example was produced.

1906 National E 50/60 Tourer
National built very high-quality cars in Indianapolis from 1900 to 1924, beginning with electric vehicles and switching over to gasoline power by 1905.  A National won the Indianapolis 500 in 1911, but the company did not focus on competition cars after this success but rather expensive road cars.  In 1906 the Model E was introduced, featuring a six cylinder 50/60 hp engine, and priced at $4,000.  This car's owners included Walter E. Scott, known as "Death Valley Scotty," a one-time stunt horse rider for Buffalo Bill Cody's Wild West Show but more noted as a confidence trickster and promoter of fraudulent gold mining schemes.

1958 AC Bristol Ace Roadster
A classic post-war British roadster, using a BMW-derived 2 liter engine, this AC Ace was sold new in the United States.  One of only 689 produced, the car is in original condition as it was in storage from 1970 until the then-owner's death in 2010.

1904 Pope-Toledo V Rear Entrance Tonneau
The oldest car at the show, this wonderful Pope-Toledo was a product of Col. Albert Pope's empire that in its automobile incarnation never had the success of his Columbia bicycle organization.  280 Type Vs were built in 1904, this being the only known survivor.  A part of the famous Harrah Collection for many years, nobody was able to start it until the current owner, who has had it for 17 years, found the correct Pope-Toledo owner's manual at a Vermont flea market and using this was able to determine the problem and make new valves for the engine.  The result was that the car is running again, probably after being silent for more than 75 years.  The tires lack the carbon black content of modern tires and hence are white, so the owner has special covers for them so that they stay clean.

1933 Cadillac 355 V8 Roadster, by Fisher
One of possibly three roadsters built on the 134 inch wheelbase of Cadillac, and apparently the only survivor, this elegant V8 car helped to keep Cadillac afloat during the Depression, although not receiving the attention of the V12 and V16 cars.  The list price of the car was $2,895.

1908 Studebaker Electric "To and Fro" Carryall
This odd 12-passenger electric vehicle is one of two constructed to traverse the underground passage between the US Capitol and the Old Senate Office Building, a trip of 760 feet that was accomplished up to 225 times daily. Constructed of cherry, the Carryalls were nicknamed "Tommy" and "Peg."  Purchased originally for $2691 a piece in 1909, they were sold off at auction in 1939 for $35 each.  "Peg" resides at the Studebaker Museum in South Bend, Indiana, while this one ("Tommy") is at the Swigart Museum in Pennsylvania.

1937 Packard 120 Convertible Coupe, by Graber
Although most Packard customs were built on the big Senior Series chassis, this was not always the case as this Graber-bodied 120, built in Switzerland, demonstrates.  Four inches lower than a factory Packard 120 Convertible, it is a much sleeker car than the American version.  The car was restored by the original coachbuilders in 1990.

1940 Packard 1806 Custom Super Eight Convertible Victoria, by Darrin
The Elegance at Hershey poster car for 2017 was this 1940 Packard, conceived by the flamboyant designer Howard "Dutch" Darrin.  The legend is that Packard was unwilling to offer the body style so Darrin had a prototype built and parked across the street from the annual meeting of Packard dealers, who pressured the company to put the sporty car into production.  Three Darrin-styled Packards were included in the company's 1940 catalog: the Convertible Victoria, the Convertible Sedan, and a Sport Sedan.  100 were built before production was halted in 1942 due to wartime measures, but the car was much favoured by Hollywood celebrities.  This car was restored 20 years ago but  has never previously been shown at a concours event.

1938 Jaguar SS 100 Roadster
Considered one of the most aesthetically pleasing cars of the 1930s, the SS 100 is very rare, with only 116 of the 3.5-litre inline-six model being built. From 1936 to 1937, the car used a 2.5-litre engine, and 198 of those were made.  Production ended in 1941.

1964 Shelby 289 Cobra Roadster
Considered one of the most collectible of American cars, only 453 of the 289 cu. in.-engined cars were built between 1962 and 1965.  The second owner of this car, who purchased it in 1966, stopped driving it in 1978 and had it walled up in his garage behind a Ford Model A, where it remained until extracted by his son in 2007 and sold to the current owner.  The car is in completely original condition. 
1908 Pullman H Touring
The oldest known surviving Pullman, this car was one of 873 built in 1908.  Pullmans have a low survival rate as only 25 remain from a total of 15,000 cars produced in York, Pennsylvania from 1905-1917.  The company was unrelated to the Pullman of railroad car fame but the name was used to evoke a feeling of luxury.  Following some notable successes, including a race in Fairmont Park in Philadelphia in 1911 and 1912, sales rose at a rate that the company could not sustain and the brand's reputation for quality suffered, leading to bankruptcy by December 1916, with a few cars assembled in the following months as assets were sold off.

1930 Willys-Knight 66B Plaidside Roadster, by Griswold
Although Willys-Knight cars were at the middle market level, founder John North Willys could not resist a luxury model.  Noted designer Amos Northup was responsible for this design, which the press dubbed "Plaidside" and the name has stuck.  Introduced at the New York Auto Show in 1929, some 400 were produced, of which 16 are known today.  This car bears its original colours of Harper Green and black.

1913 Simplex 50hp Touring, by Quinby & Co.
Builders of some of the most noted cars in America, Simplex , based in New York City, produced heavy, expensive cars for an elite market from 1907 to 1919.  This car has had only four owners since new and cost $4,800 in 1913.  The body of this touring car was by J.N. Quinby & Sons of Newark, New Jersey, a firm that began as a coachbuilder in 1834, turning to automobiles in 1900, and began with Simplex's predecessor company, Smith & Mabley, already in 1904, continuing with Simplex until at least 1914.  After 1920 Quinby switched to truck and bus bodies until closing its doors in 1930.

1932 Alfa Romeo 8C 2300 Spider, by Touring
 Sold new in England, this superb Alfa Romeo was raced at Brooklands and the Shelsey Walsh Hillclimb before coming to America in 1940.  The car was restored in 2003 and the current owner, who has owned it since 1983, has taken it on extensive road trips and rallies.

1958 Devin/Crosley VerValen Special Roadster
Devin Enterprises built fiberglass bodies in California from 1955 to 1964, allowing sports car enthusiasts to build their own.  Mr. Henry VerValen of Towson, Maryland,  built this one on a custom steel-tube frame, powering it with a Crosley 55 hp engine.  The car was raced with some success in SCCA events in the late 1950s to mid-1960s.

1955 Arnolt Bristol Deluxe, by Bertone
Chicago entrepreneur Stanley "Wacky" Arnolt began importing cars in the 1950s that were based on different European chassis but carried bodies made by Carrozzeria Bertone.  The Arnolt Bristol utilized the Bristol 404 chassis and BMW-derived 130 hp six cylinder engine and was built from 1953 to 1959.  142 cars were produced, although 12 were damaged in a warehouse fire, and 85 are still extant in various conditions.  In spite of an impressive record of racing success at Sebring, the Arnolt Bristol, priced in this deluxe version at $4,995, did not sell well.

1951 Delahaye 135M Cabriolet, by Chapron
Introduced at the Paris Auto Show in 1934, the Type 135 Delahaye was a successful sports/touring car.  A racing version won the 24 Hours of LeMans in 1938 and the 135 remained in production, albeit in very limited numbers, until 1954, and the end of Delahaye, founded in 1894, as an independent company.

1966 Porsche 906 Carrera 6 Racing Prototype
Gull-winged successor to the more famous 904, this Porsche 906 was one of 65 built and had a successful racing history, including the Sundown Grand Prix at Mosport, where it led from the pole position and finished 13 laps ahead of the second-placed car.

1925 Rolls-Royce Springfield Silver Ghost Picadilly Roadster, by Brewster & Co.
This truly fabulous Rolls-Royce was special-ordered by 20 year old Howard Hughes on a buying trip to New York in December 1924 and took 10 months to complete.  It includes custom touches such as a lowered windshield, custom paint and an extensive tool kit that has remained with the car.  Hughes also ordered a three-piece set of gilt-monogrammed luggage.  Only 79 Picadilly Roadsters were built at the US Rolls-Royce plant and this one cost $13,450 at the time.  Before its acquisition and restoration by the current owner in 2014, this car sat in a dank Florida barn for more than three decades.

1931 Cadillac 452A V16 Seven Passenger Imperial Limousine, by Fleetwood
One of 410 Cadillac V16s built in 1930-31, this car was located for most of its life in the Northeastern United States.  Fully 25% of V16s built went to buyers in New York City.  Purchased in 2013, the current owner under took a two year restoration project, doing much of the work himself.  The passenger compartment has a glass divider and an interior of walnut with burl and rosewood inlay.  Luxuries include a lap robes, silk window shades, an umbrella holder and an intercom.

1932 Cord L-29 Four-Door Sedan
Rakish yet elegant, this Cord Sedan, powered by a 132 hp L-head Lycoming straight eight engine, was 10 inches lower than contemporary cars due to its front-wheel drive arrangement.  Priced at $2,395, sales were limited by the Depression although E.L. Cord's original goal of 5,000 cars was achieved during the 1929 to 1932 production run.  The L-29 was succeeded by the revolutionary "coffin nose" Cord 810 in 1936 but the marque was gone by 1937, the final one in E.L. Cord's automotive empire.

1929 Peerless 8-125 7-Passenger Sedan
There were once the Three Ps of high-quality American cars: Packard, Pierce-Arrow, and Peerless.  Founded in Cleveland to make clothes wringers, then bicycles, Peerless built its first car in 1901.  Although the company had been a technology leader, by the 1920s it had become somewhat lacklustre, redeemed by superb styling.  Seeing the writing on the wall, the managers of Peerless decided to end car production in 1931, taking their best asset, the huge Cleveland factory, and converting it into a brewery making beer under licence from Carling in Canada.

The car at the show was originally sold in Los Angeles and eventually ended up at 20th Century Fox studios, where it was used in a number of gangster films, then purchased by Desilu Productions and featured in "The Untouchables" television series.

1930 Rolls-Royce New Phantom Torpedo Transformable Phaeton, by Hibbard & Darrin
One of 35 Rolls-Royce New Phantoms to wear Hibbard & Darrin coachwork, this car was owned by film director Josef von Sternberg, who transferred ownership of it to actress Marlene Dietrich in November 1930.  The restored green paintwork is highlighted by flecks of gold.

1932 Packard 903 Deluxe Eight Convertible Victoria, by Dietrich
This impressive Packard was found by the current owner in a repair shop in Philadelphia in 1956 with a blown head gasket.  He purchased it and it then sat under a tent in the family backyard until 1962, when a collector offered $1,200 for it.  The owner's wife thought it was worth at least that much to them so the car was kept and restored in 1967.  The names of the original builders from 1931 remain on where they signed the firewall.

1940 Packard 160 Super Eight Panel Brougham, by Rollson
Believed to have originally been owned by the Rockefeller family, this Packard is referred to as being in the "top hat" style in reference to the tall, squared-off roofline.  The Super Eight cars were the successors to the famous Senior Line V12 cars and were available in the 160 or 180 models.  Packard was the first car company to offer air-conditioning as an option ($275) in these cars.

1924 Isotta-Fraschini 8A Landaulet, by Sala & Riva
The Tipo 8 Series of Isotta-Fraschini cars were built from 1919 to 1935 and this Landaulet is believed to be the earliest one extant and may in fact be the first of the series, receiving changes to its body after the initial construction.  The car may never have been sold but used by the factory for training chauffeurs.  It was found in a warehouse in Italy and exported to the United States in 2016 and remains in unrestored condition.

1936 SS Jaguar 100 2.5-liter Roadster
This very exotic Jaguar came to the United States in 1955 and is believe to have been customized by an unknown British coachbuilder directly before or after World War II.  In addition to its unusual aubergine exterior colour, it boasts rosewood interior trim and alligator upholstery with matching luggage.

1934 Alvis Speed 20 SB Sports Tourer, by Cross & Ellis
Founded in 1919, Alvis (the name means nothing but sounded good in any language!) produced cars until taken over by Rover in 1965.  It had a reputation for quality and performance products. This Speed 20 SB is one of 41 built with Cross & Ellis coachwork and was restored in New Zealand in 2007.

1946 Delahaye 135M Coupe A, by Guillore
1,115 Delahaye 135s were built post-World War II and this example was bodied by the firm of A. Guillore, which operated from 1937 to 1951.  Due to severe luxury taxes in France, nearly 90% of all Delahayes built after the war were exported.  This handsome example is believed to have been first delivered to the Netherlands, then arrived in Quebec in 1952.

1931 Cadillac 355A Convertible Coupe, by Fleetwood
Originally delivered in Philadelphia, this fine Cadillac V8 made its way to subsequent owners in Connecticut and Indiana.  It was discovered rotting in an apple orchard in Goshen, Indiana in 1969 by its previous owner, essentially then remaining in storage until purchased by its current owner in 1992.

1964 Ferrari 250GT Lusso Berlinetta, by Pininfarina
Introduced at the 1962 Paris Auto Show, the 250GT Lusso ("Luxury") Berlinetta designed by Pininfarina and built by Scaglietti is considered one of the most beautiful cars ever, with superb proportions.  This car, one of 350 Lussos built from 1962 through 1964, was sold to a couple in Oakland, California, who owned it for 29 years.  It is powered by a 3-lire V12 producing 250 hp, matched to a 4-speed gearbox.  

1930 Packard 7-34 Speedster Runabout
A lightweight, sporting body coupled with an engine upgraded from 106 hp to 145 would seem to be made for success yet Packard never advertised its 7-34 Speedster Runabout.  Even dealers were unaware of this model, so in the end only around 36 of these boattail beauties were built.  Just six completely authentic examples are known to remain.  It is believed that this car has more than 300,000 miles on it and the owner did a 10,000 mile cross-country excursion with it in 1995, covering 48 states in 29 days.  The hood ornament is a miniature replica of the Supermarine S5 Schneider Trophy racing floatplane.

1914 Pierce-Arrow 38 C-2 Roadster
The only example of this model known to exist, this big Pierce-Arrow was purchased by an inventor and radio entrepreneur, A. Atwater Kent, who lived in Portland, Maine, and who invented the modern automobile ignition coil.  Mr. Kent passed the car on to his grandson and it remained in Bar Harbor, Maine, for many years until purchased by the current owner in 1985.  This car had a list price of $4,300.

1933 Pierce-Arrow 836 Eight Sports Coupe
this "sports coupe" was purchased from the estate of Richard Scaife Mellon, grandson of Andrew Mellon, who inherited the car from his mother in 1951.  Only three examples of this model are known to exist, including one owned by actress/dancer Ginger Rogers.

1963 Porsche 901 Coupe Prototype
The Porsche 901 was introduced at the Frankfurt Auto Show in 1963 as a replacement for the venerable 356 model.  A dispute with Peugeot, which claimed naming rights using a "0" between other numbers (as in Peugeot 404, 505, etc.), caused Porsche to change its designation to the still-used "911."  This particular car is one of ten pre-production examples built by hand and including a number of fittings and modifications never included in production cars.

1936 Brough Superior Drophead Coupe, by W.C. Atcherley
Famous for his motorcycles, George Brough began car production in 1935, using the American Hudson inline eight-cylinder engine and chassis.  The car was technically advanced, with a centralized lubrication system and built-in hydraulic jacks at all four corners.  Brough designed the body, which was constructed by coachbuilder W.C. Atcherley.  After selling out his first run of 15 of the attractive, fast and reliable cars, Brough learned that Hudson declined to sell him any more of the eight-cylinder engines, and with World War II on the horizon the project ended.  Only three Brough cars are known today.

1953 Allard JX2 Race Car
One of only 82 Allard JX2s built between 1952 and 1954, this particular car uses a 331 cu. in. Cadillac V8 engine.

1948 Davis Divan Convertible
One of only 13 three-wheel Davis cars built, the story behind the vehicle is more interesting than the rather primitive car itself.  Used car dealer Gary Davis had two prototypes built, based on a Frank Kurtis custom car called "the Californian," and in 1947 launched an aggressive campaign to sell the car, or at least dealerships.  Deposits were paid on 350 dealerships, totalling $1.2 million, but it appears that Mr. Davis had no real intention of actually building the cars and was eventually convicted of fraud and grand theft, earning himself two years in a penal labour camp.  A dozen of the cars still exist in varying condition.  Indications are that they are not very safe to drive.

1955 Kurtis Kraft 500X Roadster, Zidar Special
Frank Kurtis was one of America's most successful race car builders.  This 500X Roadster, one of six built, was an Indy racer powered by a Chevrolet V8 with Hillborn fuel injection.  Little is known of its early history, although it was raced at Riverside in 1958.

After enjoying the cars on show, there was a break as the trophy-awarding ceremony was being set up.  We had the chance to wander over to the parking lot in front of the restaurant where we looked at a Ferrari but also the two 1957 Corvettes that had raced The Grand Ascent the day before.

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