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Motostalgia’s second year, and the cars that spin Bob’s wheels


The history-laden 1950 Cisitalia-Abarth 204A Spyder Corsa stands at the entrance to Motostalgia | Bob Golfen photos
The history-laden 1950 Cisitalia-Abarth 204A Spyder Corsa stands at the entrance to Motostalgia | Bob Golfen photos

Motostalgia goes into its second year of auctioneering at Amelia Island with an improved selection of collector cars and a bit of a lucky break.   The luck comes in the form of timing and the vagaries of Florida weather.

With the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance moving to Saturday because of the weatherman’s certainly of a major rainstorm Sunday, the Motostalgia people feel that their Saturday evening sale could benefit because of the added influx of people on the island for the concours earlier in the day.

The key piece of timing is that the combined Amelia Island Concours and Cars and Coffee event on Saturday ends at 5 p.m., just when Motostalgia starts its nearby auction.

“We kind of look at it as a positive thing; I think that it will help us,” said Angela Gebbia, an auction consultant for Motostalgia.  She noted that the Austin, Texas, company’s inaugural Amelia auction last year went well enough that Motostalgia decided to come back again this year.

Motostalgia has about 100 cars lined up for the evening sale, highlighted by a historic grand prix car, the 1950 Cisitalia-Abarth 204A Spider Corsa that was the last car motorsports hero Tazio Nuvolari drove to victory.

The auction also offers the coolest “barn find” vehicle of all the Amelia Island auctions, an aesthetically decrepit 1938 Auto-Union Wanderer that needs more than everything.  Spend scads of money to restore or preserve it as an artful centerpiece?

The docket includes a broad range of auction cars, mainly slotted below the usual high-end fare of the major Amelia Island sales, but there is enough interesting stuff here to fill my want-to-have list.

1950 Cisitalia-Abarth 204A Spyder Corsa
With a boatload of significant provenance as well as a lovely presence, the Cisitalia stands at the entry of the auction tent, roped off and accompanied by a few pieces of historic items from its racing days. The attachment of Nuvolari as well as that of Carlo Abarth and the short-lived but revered Cisitalia auto company make this grand prix car well worth all the attention.
Cisitalia Abarth
1969 Alfa Romeo 2000 GTAm Tribute
This Italian race car might be lacking in real-world history, but it seems like a well-built replica that would be so much fun to own and drive in vintage-racing events. The catalog details all the motorsports goodies that went into making this Guilia coupe competitive, and it is an impressive list of the right stuff.
Alfa Romeo
1938 Auto-Union Wanderer
Here’s that woeful barn find, a fairly rare pre-war German car that was discovered in pieces by NASCAR racer Ray Evernham. He and his crew reassembled the shapely roadster as best they could, but it will take some real fortitude and buckets of cash to bring it back to life. But this relic’s shapely styling and charisma still manage to shine through.
Auto Union Wanderer
1958 Volkswagen Samba 23-window bus
Faithfully restored VW buses are still riding high, and this one was calling out to me. The 23-window models are the most valued, and fetch the highest bids. The color combination of Sealing Wax Red and Chocolate Brown is striking, the restoration is impeccable, and the bus should have decent power from its 2.0-liter twin-carb engine.
Volkswagen Samba
1939 Bugatti Pacific
OK, so it’s not really from 1939, but it is an outrageous custom coupe built in the style of the iconic Bugatti Atlantic, complete with the signature riveted fenders and seams. Built by Terry Cook, former editor of Hot Rod and Car Craft magazines, the Pacific reminds me of the great classic-inspired customs created by the late Boyd Coddington. Powered by a BMW V12, the Pacific is both tasteful and evocative.
Bugatti Pacific
1909 Cadillac Model 30 Demi-Tonneau
This gorgeous Brass Era car is completely restored and looks ready to take on a road trip. It is apparently a two-owner car, owned by the second for 75 years, according to the catalog. I love the “steam punk” vibe of early automotive technology, and the four-cylinder engine gleams with copper and brass and the purposeful mechanical design of more than a century ago.
1909 Cadillac
1967 Mercedes-Benz 250 SL
This Pagoda – so called because of the shape of its handsome removable hardtop – is the middle child of the ’60s series of Mercedes’ two-seat convertibles, and considered by some, me included, to be the best version. With its European headlights, four-speed manual transmission and fresh restoration, this is the car I would choose to take home with me and drive all the time.
Mercedes=Benz 250 SL
1965 Iso Rivolta IR 300
I’m not terribly familiar with the cars from Iso (pronounced EE-so), except to know that they are beautiful to view and powered by American V8 muscle. This recently restored coupe in red with a black interior has a Chevy 327 under its hood, linked to a Borg-Warner four-speed transmission, which should make it heaps of fun to drive and stone reliable.
Bob Golfen
Bob Golfen
Bob Golfen is a longtime automotive writer and editor, focusing on new vehicles, collector cars, car culture and the automotive lifestyle. He is the former automotive writer and editor for The Arizona Republic and SPEED.com, the website for the SPEED motorsports channel. He has written free-lance articles for a number of publications, including Autoweek, The New York Times and Barrett-Jackson auction catalogs. A collector car enthusiast with a wide range of knowledge about the old cars that we all love and desire, Bob enjoys tinkering with archaic machinery. His current obsession is a 1962 Porsche 356 Super coupe.

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