Amongst the Chevys, Fords and classic trucks on the Barrett-Jackson Houston docket, a triple feature of smaller vehicles caught my eye. As a fan of smaller cars (I love my 2015 Mini Cooper), I had to take a closer look and do a deep dive.
A true microcar that may have foreshadowed the Smart Car. Built by a company more associated with cool scooters, the Vespa 400 was meant for two, but the rear luggage area could accommodate small children. The scooter methodology extended to the Vespa 400’s air-cooled two-stroke 400cc engine, and the listing states, “An oil tank located in the engine compartment features a winding mechanism and pump that combines fuel and oil into the correct mixture.”
The engine is paired with a four-speed manual transmission with a non-synchronized first gear. This restored Vespa 400 is one of 8,717 built for the 1959 model year and features a red exterior with a white canvas top. The interior has new two-tone blue and grey upholstery.
I did a double take when I saw “SE7EN” in the Houston docket, as I didn’t think there were any vehicles for sale from the Morgan Freeman and Brad Pitt movie, “Se7en”. But alas, my initial quick conclusion was extremely off and this “SE7EN” is a vintage Austin Mini. “This 1960 Austin Se7en Mini was restored in England in 2013,” the listing states. “The vehicle received a body-off restoration. The subframes were strengthened and powder-coated, and the rebuilt engine was color-matched to the original offering.”
As a Mini Cooper fan (see above) this right-hand drive 1960 Austin Mini is a dream come true, but fiscal realities will keep me away from bidding. It’s a well-sorted and restored Mini with an upgraded suspension and powered by a rebuilt 848cc four-cylinder engine paired with a four-speed manual transmission.
It has extensive documentation that includes the original log registration booklet, the driver’s handbook, history from the restorer purchase with records dating to the late 1980s, and a British Motoring Heritage Certificate from the Motor Museum.
Lot #59 1969 Opel GT
It really looks like a miniature Chevrolet Corvette, and I consider that a compliment. More than a mini-Corvette, the Opel GT is a stylish two-seater that gives the buyer an opportunity to stand out from the crowd at the local Cars & Coffee on a weekend morning.
This Silver Blue over Black 1969 Opel GT has a front mid-mounted 1.9-liter four-cylinder engine paired with a correct three-speed manual transmission. It features power steering, power brakes and a Pioneer AM/FM cassette player.
As the third installment of my triple feature, the Opel GT provides a grand touring experience with a sharp profile in a smaller package. It won’t blow anyone’s doors off, and that can often be a good thing. Enjoy your drive, take your time and experience the trip, as opposed to rushing to your destination.
The Barrett-Jackson 2022 Houston Auction runs from October 20-22, 2022 at the NRG Center.