I don’t know about you, but when I page or click my way through a collector car auction catalog, I often stop to engage in a moment of nostalgia when I see a car that triggers very personal memories.
I had that experience again this week as I worked my way through the offerings on AutoHunter, the online auction platform driven by ClassicCars.com:
I was in college when the original Pontiac GTO lured me to our local Pontiac dealership. I couldn’t afford such a car, but I did seriously consider the LeMans on which it was based. As it ended up, I didn’t buy the LeMans either. Instead, I went to the local American Motors store where my grandparents had bought cars and had had good dealerships experiences.
Fast forward a few years and I’m working on a book about the development of the revived Chevrolet Camaro and how much of the engineering development of the sports coupe was done in conjunction with GM’s Australian arm, Holden.
As part of my research, I’d gone Down Under to ride along in early prototypes and larger I went to Germany to watch the Camaro do its fast lap at the Nürburgring. While in Europe, I was invited to tag along as the engineers did a development drive, my invitation made in part because I had borrowed a small van from Opel and the engineers decided it would be an ideal vehicle to carry all their luggage.
But they also had pity on me and my low-powered van, and a couple of times offered to drive it so I could experience one of their cars. In addition to Camaros, they’d brought along a prototype, a 4-door sedan, of the Holden-built Monaro what would become the basis of the Pontiac G6 and later the last-generation GTO.
Like the GTO, this engineering-development car had a powerful V8 engine and 6-speed manual gearbox, and it was an absolute blast to drive.
Which brings us to the 2006 Pontiac GTO being offered on AutoHunter. The car has a 6.0-liter LS2 V8 rated at 400 horsepower and connected to a 6-speed manual gearbox and limited-slip differential. The powertrain has been upgraded with an AEM intake and Corsa exhaust.
The car has been driven less than 66,000 miles since new.
Several years ago, it appeared that a 1960s-era Mini had been abandoned in our church parking lot. I was on the church board at the time and no one seemed to know why the car was there. I even began the process of establishing that the car was abandoned with the thought that we’d gain the title and stage a fund-raising auction (which I planned to win).
Turned out that the car belonged to a friend of the pastor, who had told his friend the car could be left there while the friend was on an extended trip.
Old Minis are fun cars, but so are the newer ones, especially the Cooper-tweaked models. Basically, they’re street-legal go-karts.
The one up for bidding on AutoHunter is a one-owner car with M7 and other aftermarket tweaks to its supercharged 4-cylinder engine, and a Borla cat-back exhaust. The car, equipped with a 6-speed manual gearbox, also has suspension and brake-system upgrades.
Other features include navigation and Harmon Kardon audio.
This is a car that has been enjoyed, being driven 165,500 miles since new. Its sale includes the original engine components that were replaced with aftermarket parts as well as M7 parts that were not installed.
In the era before shopping moved to suburban malls, there were such magnetic places at Macy’s in New York City, Marshall Field & Co. in Chicago, and the J.L. Hudson Company in Detroit. Each was a multi-story department store and destination that drew consumers and especially treated them with their Christmas holiday displays.
Joseph Lowthan Hudson also financed Roy Chapin’s fledgling car company, which was given Hudson’s name rather than Chapin’s.
Hudson produced cars from 1909 to 1954, when it was acquired by American Motors, which kept the brand alive for only a few more years. But the brand was innovative and is cherished. Personally, I enjoyed visiting the amazing Hostetler Hudson museum — and was sad to cover its funeral auction — and also enjoyed being one of the judges at the annual Orphan Car Show staged by the Ypsilanti Automotive Heritage Museum, which is housed in a former Hudson dealership in southeastern Michigan.
Which brings us to the 1954 Hudson Super Jet up for bidding on AutoHunter, a car owned since new by the same family and driven less than 67,000 miles in all those years.
The car has an inline-6-cylinder engine and 3-speed column-mounted manual gearbox with overdrive.
The car has been repainted in its original teal green shade (with the wheels powder-coated to match), the engine has been rebuilt, the bumpers re-chromed, and the interior refurbished with new upholstery, door panels and carpet.
As you might expect from a family-owned and offered vehicle, the car isn’t quite perfect. Door latches need to be adjusted, the dome light and a radio knob are missing. On the other hand, the car is being sold with some spare trim pieces and 6-volt bulbs.
To view these and many other vehicles available, visit the AutoHunter website.