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Porsche will put your fingerprint on your 911

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We’ve seen people who use fingerprints to unlock their cell phones. We’ve also seen Jeeps with printed-on-vinyl topographic maps wrapped on their hoods. And now Porsche — you read that correctly — Porsche is offering to put your fingerprint on the hood of your sports car.

“A Porsche as personal as your own fingerprint,” the German automaker headlines the news release announcing the direct printing method it has developed. 

Fingerprint printed directly on to the hood is just the first step in Porsche’s latest customization offerings
Image is printed directly onto hood

As innovative and remarkable as this new printing process may be, do you really want your hood-sized fingerprint for all to see as you cruise down the highway?

“Initially,” Porsche says, “customer who purchase a new 911 can have the bonnet personalized with a design based on their own fingerprint. In the medium term, other customer-specific designs will become available.”

“Individuality is very important for Porsche customers,” Alexander Fabig, vice president of individualization and classic for Porsche, is quoted in the news release. 

“And no design can be more personal than your own fingerprint,” he adds.

To imprint the body parts with unique designs, a “technology cell” has been established within the paint shop at Porsche’s training center in Zuffenhausen, the company said. 

“Direct printing makes it possible to produce designs that are not possible with conventional painting,” the company explained. “In terms of look and feel, the new technology is clearly superior to film application. The operating principle is similar to that of an inkjet printer: using a print head, the paint is applied to three-dimensional components automatically and without overspray.”

Porsche plans to offer such fingerprint-graphic printed hoods to customers starting in March. The price is 7,500 euro ($8,155).

One of only 92 Super Bee heads to GAA auction

One of only 92 such 1969 Dodge Super Bee hardtop coupes with a Hemi engine and 4-speed transmission built for the U.S. market will be among the featured vehicles at GAA’s classic car auction scheduled for February 27-29 in Greensboro, North Carolina.

The numbers-matching car has been driven less than 10,000 miles since rolling off the assembly line at the Lynch Road plant in Michigan. It also is fully optioned and the seller believes it is the only ’69 Super Bee Hemi 4-speed done in white on white colors.

The car has bee restored to original-equipment standards and has won first-place awards at multiple events. For example, it was Mopar top eliminator pick in 2014 at the 50th anniversary of the 426 Hemi and 100th anniversary of Dodge, and was featured in the Mopar Collector’s Guide magazine. It also scored 997 points at the Muscle Car and Corvette Nationals, where it earned an “emerald” award.

In its early years, the car was the “Hide and Watch” drag racing star and many trophies, photos and racing-history documentation will go to the next owner, as will the restoration photos and the awards won since that work was completed. Since the restoration, when only the hood and rear inner-wheel wells needed to be replaced with original metal, the car only been driven to and from the trailer on its way to various car shows.

The 426 Hemi V8 is topped by twin Carter ABF 4-barrel carburetors and is rated at 425 horsepower at 5,000 rpm and at 490 pound-feet of torque at 4,000 rpm. The transmission is a Super Track Pak Dana 60 with a 9.75 axle, 4.10 ratio and Sure Grip. The car has Rally/Hemi suspension with heavy-duty sway and torsion bars.

The rare Super Bee will be joined by around 650 other classic, muscle and unique vehicles crossing the block during the auction at GAA’s permanent and climate-controlled facility.

GAA Auction Block

Gates open at 8 a.m. on February 27. Registered bidders and consignors and guests will get lunch from Longhorn Steakhouse at 11:30 with the auction starting at 1 p.m. with classic memorabilia and 190 vehicles.

Bidding on 266 vehicles begins at 10 a.m. on February 28 and again February 29 when 185 vehicles, including the Super Bee, are scheduled to cross the block.

Visit www.gaaclassiccars.com for additional information.

Licensing number: NCLF#9949

Ken Block and his 1977 Ford F-150 hustle up Tianmen Mountain

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Ken Block
Ken Block and his 1977 Ford F-150 Hoonitruck on their way up Tianmen Mountain | Hoonigan Racing photos

VW’s ID.R race car isn’t the only high-performance vehicle to challenge China’s daunting “Big Gate Road” and its 99 hairpin turns recently. Ken Block and his Hoonitruck also did a run up Tianmen Mountain.

The Hoonitruck is a somewhat modified 1977 Ford F-150 with 914 horsepower and, with support from Toyo Tires, Forza Motorsport and Omaze, Block and his vehicle staged Climbkhana Two: Tianmen Mountain, and have video to share of the experience.

“About five years ago, I found a photo on the internet of this crazy road made of multiple switchbacks that actually crossed over itself,” Block is quoted on his website. “Before I even discovered where in the world it was, I knew we had to go film there.

“As we did more research, I realized we may have found the greatest road ever. It’s like a European tarmac rally stage – but turned up to 11 – and, it’s set in a wild scene that looks stolen right out of the movie Avatar.”

Turns out the location is Zhangjiajie, Hunan Province, China, a region that actually inspired James Cameron’s 2009 sci-fi film. 

The Tianmen Mountain Highway climbs 6.7 miles and is considered so dangerous that the Chinese public is forbidden to drive it. 

Processed with VSCO with s3 preset

“While similar in basic design to the location for the first film: Pikes Peak, this road is almost half as wide in most places, and the consequences way more frightening,” Block’s website points out.

“Over the past couple years, a few other projects have been filmed in the region, but we really wanted to bring our unique style of filmmaking and Ken Block’s wild driving to this road to show it in a way it hasn’t been seen before,” said Climbkhana Two director Brian Scotto. “This road is amazing, but also very unforgiving, which ironically is its best attribute.”

“Of all of Ken Block’s vehicles, the Hoonitruck seemed the least suited for this incredibly narrow road, which at some points is skinnier than the highly modified, AWD truck is long,” Blocks website reports. “But its massive proportions only make the feat even more impressive.”

Pick of the Day: Hudson Commodore club coupe custom resto-mod

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The Pick of the Day is a resto-mod you probably didn’t see coming, a 1949 Hudson Commodore club coupe packed with performance and built by a famous custom shop from a low-mileage original.

“This magnificent Hudson was acquired from the collection of the estate of a retired Hudson dealer,” according to the Marietta, Georgia, dealer advertising the Hudson on ClassicCars.com. “It had traveled only 11,000 miles from new prior to the acquisition by the current owner 20 years ago.”

Whether you agree with the direction the owner took in updating the Hudson into a mechanically modern resto-mod, the terrific result is hard to dispute, creating what looks to be a well-restored 71-year-old coupe that under its gleaming finish is essentially a street rod.

“Over $100,000 invested in the build, completed by famed Richard Petty NASCAR Shop, including the exterior, interior, chrome and mechanics. Only 700 miles since completion,” the seller says in the ad.

In the mid-20th Century, Hudson was ahead of the curve compared with other American manufacturers, with such advanced features as unibody construction and a “step-down” ride height, which created a low center of gravity that improved handling and made it highly competitive on race tracks of the era.

The Hudson brand received renewed attention in recent years due to the appearance of the Fabulous Hudson Hornet race car, voiced by the late Paul Newman, in the animated Cars movies.

hudson

This Hudson has been fitted with a Mopar 440cid V8 with a 4-barrel carburetor, headers, stainless-steel exhaust, chrome dress-up kit, aluminum radiator with dual cooling fans, Torqueflite automatic transmission and a 9-inch Ford rear end with a limited-slip differential. A Fat Man front independent suspension has been added.

The seller lists the upgrades and modern features, which include  power steering, power disc brakes,  Vintage Air AC, full Autometer instrumentation, woodgrain interior finish, Iditit chrome steering column with tilt wheel,  Grant mahogany steering wheel, AM/FM/CD sound system — rear fender skirts,  an original-style sun shade, wide whitewall radials – Hudson-scripted wheel covers, chrome beauty rings, chrome rain guards and chrome rocker-panel moldings.

hudson

Finished in Roman Red with a red interior, the Hudson looks to be a jewel-like showpiece that the seller says has “outstanding” performance and drivability. The asking price is $54,950, which seems like a good deal for what appears to be an exceptional resto-mod custom.

To view this listing on ClassicCars.com, see Pick of the Day

Moke returns with updated beach car

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“Moke is an iconic British brand that has always evoked feelings of fun and freedom,” said Isobel Dando, chief executive of Moke International Limited, as the brand announced its return September 16.

“The Beatles, The Beach Boys and Brigitte Bardot have all been captivated by the personality and unique styling of these iconic cars. We’re excited to relaunch the brand into a new era and introduce Moke to the next generation.” 

“Brigitte Bardot epitomized Riviera chic in her Moke,” the company noted. “The brand has since been enjoyed and championed by fun-seekers including Kate Moss and DJ Khalid. To date the car has also appeared in four James Bond films.” 

Car in Coconut White with ‘hood’ in place

The original Mokes, called Mini Mokes because of their Austin Mini underpinnings, were designed —by none other than the famed Alec Issigonis — for dropping behind enemy lines from aircraft. But in civilian hands they became sort of the British version of the dune buggy, motor vehicles designed primarily for use in resort communities. They were built in England from 1964-1968, and then  in Australia and finally, until 1993, in Portugal after rights were sold to Italian motorcycle manufacturer Cagiva.

“The Moke became one of the best-loved symbols of the 1960s,” the company said. “Becoming the mode of travel for the inhabitants of the most exclusive coastal resorts in Europe, the Caribbean, US and Asia. To this day, it remains the beachhouse-to-waterfront shuttle of choice.”

Rights to Moke were acquired in 2015 and the company is led by Dando with Mark Truman in charge of engineering and production. Both are experienced British automotive managers, with experience at such companies as Aston Martin, BMW, Ford and Jaguar Land Rover.

“My role at Moke is to preserve the integrity and spirit of the original Moke whilst incorporating the very best of today’s technologies that match the requirements of a new generation,” Truman is quoted in the company’s announcement of the first batch of 56 vehicles for British buyers. Base price is £20,000 ($25,965).

While maintaining much of its traditional styling, the new Moke offers more interior space and has a contemporary 4-cylinder, 67-horsepower, fuel-injected engine, the buyer’s choice of manual or automatic transmission, and has updated suspension and brakes. Power brakes and a heated windshield are standard equipment. 

Top speed is reported to be 68 mph.

The launch features the 56 units of the limited-edition Moke 56 as well as the Moke Classic. The vehicle is available in 14 colors. The company says it already has a waiting list of Caribbean resorts and private buyers who live along the British coast. Plans call for sales in Europe, the US and other markets to begin in 2021.

For more information, visit the Moke International website.

Pick of the Day: 1969 Plymouth Road Runner drop top– Meep-Meep!

As I perused this ad in ClassiCars.com, Bo Diddley filled my head…

I’m a road runner honey; And you can’t keep up with me
I’m a road runner honey; And you can’t keep up with me
Come on, let’s race, Baby, baby, you will see

The Pick of the Day is a 1969 Plymouth Road Runner convertible offered on ClassicCars.com by a private seller in Cusick, Washington. While it is not perfect, and has some modifications, this is a car that could be a driver and would be rather intimidating at a stoplight.

As I have mentioned in past stories, I LOVE convertibles. This car has the best of both worlds: big muscle and the droptop wind blowing through your hair.  If there is such a thing anymore as joy riding or Sunday drives, I would be so inclined.

Again, if you are looking for a perfect concours example, this one ain’t it. The seller notes that there are 119,000 miles on the clock; it has factory air but it does not work, which will require a call to the folks at Vintage Air; but it does have a working 8-track player, so you may want to search garage sales for old Santana and James Gang tapes. But with the 440 cid V8 with a 4-barrel carburetor, 4 on the floor and computer-controlled delivery of nitrous, I am certain some of the minor flaws could be overlooked.

“The motor and transmission were rebuilt approximately 5,000 miles ago,” the seller states. “There is a Flowmaster exhaust system, and a new clutch. The body is straight, with no rust. There are new tires and wheels. A dyno sheet is available, as well as receipts. I will make copies available to qualified buyers.”

The reason for the sale is unique to woodsy areas for sure

“She is a thrill to drive, but there are too many deer up here to enjoy driving this beautiful car,” the seller says. “I would deliver the Road Runner, in an enclosed trailer, within 300 miles of Spokane, Washington.”

The asking price is $37,000, which is below what’s being asked in ads for most other 1969 coupes and convertibles.

To view this listing on ClassicCars.com, see Pick of the Day.

Business model: When he couldn’t find a particular model car, he started making them

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Like so many of us, James Cowen likes scale-model cars. The difference, however, is that when he couldn’t find a particular model — he wanted a model of a car he owned and none existed — he started his own model-making company.

“I have another company,” Cowen explained, “consulting with non-profits, which couldn’t be any further way from the model business.”

In his other job, Cowen helps primarily faith-based non-profits, such as rescue missions and food banks, with their operations. But with those non-profits doing most of their fund-raising in the lead up to the December holidays, they don’t need Cowen’s help with that part of their programs, so he found himself in an annual and transitory fourth-quarter “forced retirement.”

Not only a model collector but a motorsports fan, Cowen was visiting a client in Los Angeles and took a detour to go to Laguna Seca to see Mario Andretti reunited with the Lotus 79. While there, he met Raffi Minasian, former design director for Franklin Mint, which along with Danbury Mint was a major player in the high-end die-cast automotive scale model hobby in the few decades of the previous century and into the early years of this one.

And thus the launch in 2007 of Diecasm, an online model car store which supports non-profits with each model sold. This in line with Cowen’s consulting work. In 2010, Cowen launched model-producer Automodello, which specializes in 1:24-scale models. 

Cowen explained that while Automodello has done cars in other scales (such as Lotus and Gurney racers in 1:12), it specializes in 1:24 scale largely because of Minasian’s experience with 1:25 scale at Franklin Mint and also because collectors of 1:18 and 1:43 scales already are well served by other manufacturers. 

1937 Delahaye 135MS by Figoni et Falaschi

As it turns out, 1:24 scale models are popular with those of a certain age who grew up assembling glue-together plastic models in 1:24 or 1:25 scale. Franklin Mint and Danbury Mint cultivated collectors, each with monthly launches of new models. 

The scale also has become a popular scale with European collectors, Cowen said, noting that an initial run of the 1930s-era Mercedes-Benz 770K Grosser was so well-received by European buyers that Automodello did a second run.

Among surprisingly successful models have been the Lincoln Continental Mark III and the 1966 Ford Galaxie, Cowen said.

“The Mark III had never been done,” he explained, “never made as a (dealer offered) promo (model) nor as a model kit, but you have collectors with the real cars who want models.”

Again, demand was so great, not only from owners of the real car but from the car’s role in The French Connection, the company had to do a second run.

“The one that was most surprising, even to our dealers, was the ’66 Ford Galaxie 7-liter hardtop, which was available in promo and kit,” Cowen said. “The main feature was the 7-liter but there was no engine detail in the resin model. Why would anyone what to buy this?”

The cars were done in black, but when Cowen learned that the Galaxie was the car in which Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance founder Bill Warner learned to drive, he did a special one-off in silver for him as a gift.

1937 Delage D8-120 S Aerodynamic coupe by Pourtout

Cowen and Minasian, who teaches industrial design at the California College of Art in San Francisco, have particularly fondness for the art deco era and Automodello was the first to do the Phantom Corsair in a scale larger than 1:43. That led to a new niche for the company.

“We looked around and came up with two cars we wanted to do,” he said. “the Mormon Meteor and Sam Mann’s Dusenberg Graber (the 1930 Duesenberg Model J with Graber convertible coachwork). 

Mann and Meteor owner Harry Yeagey agreed to allow their cars to be photographed and reproduced in scale. Automodello also has done a scale models of Mann’s 1937 Delahaye 135 MS. by Figoni et Falashi and his Pebble Beach-winning 1937 Delage D8-120 S Aerodynamic by Pourtout, and has done Packard and Duesenberg projects in cooperation with the Auburn Cord Duesenberg Museum. 

Automodello typically does two to five cars a year, with typical production runs of 250 to 400 units of each. 

“Once you get above 450, the mold deteriorates dramatically and the economics don’t work,” Cowen said. 

Each car is photographed – 400 to 600 images are needed –  many of the pictures with “measuring sticks” displaying 2 x 2-inch squares so Minasian has a basis for creating the computer-aided design drawings from which a prototype model is created for preliminary evaluation.

Details and colors are added in subsequent rounds of prototyping. The resin-casting process produces cars with synthetic Urethane bodies, plated components and stamped metal or stainless-steel parts for fine details. Cowen said one advantage of resin parts is how they “capture the details and fine textures that cast medal often will lose in the finishing process.”

A far cry from the 5-figure high end of the scale-model hobby, prices for Automodello models, each assembled from several hundred individual pieces, range from around $250 to $465. There’s also a special membership club (see the Automodello website for details) that offers special pricing and even input into which models the company should produce.

1968 Cadillac Fleetwood Eldorado

With the coronavirus pandemic, 2020 has not been a typical year for Automodello, slowing both sales and production. However, Cowen noted, the 1:24 scale is experiencing growth among collectors in Europe and Australia and New Zealand.

“Our belief is the continued rave reviews Automodello gets from the European magazines such as Classic & Sports Car and Octane, have contributed to this growth plus the free worldwide shipping on 1:24.” he said.

“It will be interesting to see what happens around the holidays,” Cowen said.

Although it was supposed to roll out before the holidays, Cowen said the company’s next model, the 1987-92 Cadillac Allante, isn’t likely to arrive until this winter. The model will come in two editions, with two removable tops, and in three colors.

“We’re thinking that it will be similar to the Mark III,” Cowen said. “It was never done as a promo, never done as a kit, only as a 1:64 scale.”

Coming next: Cadillac Allante

Le Mans-winning Matra heading to Retromobile auction

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Timing might not be everything, but it certainly appears to be working for Artcurial Motorcars. The French auction house used the postponed 24 Hours of Le Mans weekend to announce that the Matra MS 670 that won the iconic race in 1972 has been consigned to Artcurial’s Retromobile auction in Paris, scheduled for February 5, 2021.

“With engines warming up for the Le Mans 24 Hour race taking place this weekend, the Lagardère Group and Artcurial Motorcars are pleased to announce that one of the most exceptional prototypes in the history of the world-famous Le Mans race will be offered at auction early next year,” the auction house said. 

Drivers Graham Hill (left) and Henri Pescarolo celebrate their victory for Matra at Le Mans in 1972 | Paris March photo

Artcurial added that the Matra’s pre-sale estimated value is €4 million to €7.5 million ($4.74 million to $8.3 million).

The car, driven to victory at Le Mans in 1972 by Graham Hill and Henri Pescarolo, is owned by the Lagardère Group and has been housed at the Musée Matra in Romorantin since its last race in 1973. 

The Lagardère Group (formerly Matra, Hachette & Lagardère) was involved in various industries, including publishing, and now focuses on magazine and book publishing, and it operates duty-free stores at airports.

It is selling the Le Mans-winning Matra as part of a court order.

“Our wonderful memories of Matra’s part in motor racing history are no compensation for the Lagardère Group’s obligation to honor the consequences of an unfavorable court ruling in January 2020 in a social law case involving Matra Automobile, 18 years after it closed,” Thierry Funck-Brentano, co-managing partner of the Lagardère Group, is quoted in Artcurial’s announcement. “Hence the decision to offer at auction, in total transparency, the 1972 Le Mans 24 Hour-winning Matra.”

“This Matra MS670 represents the Holy Grail for all collectors of competition cars,” Artcurial added. “It has the ultimate race history with a victory in the most famous race in the world, the best provenance, having never left the hands of its creators, the Lagardère Group, superb styling and one of the best engines ever built: the Matra V12.”

Ala Ford v Ferrari, Matra cars finish 1-2 in 1972 at Le Mans | Matra Automobiles photo

Matra is short for Mécanique Aviation Traction and was founded in post-war France. A pair of its engines powered the first aircraft to break the sound barrier over Europe and the company produced satellites for the European space program. 

Jean-Luc Lagardère became chief executive in 1963 and vowed that Matra would be world champion in motorsports, leading an effort that won at Le Mans three times and took the Formula 1 constructors title in 1969 with Jackie Stewart driving.

For more information, visit the Artcurial Motorcars website.

Land Rover D90 transformed into high-performance beach cruiser

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While most people might picture a Land Rover Defender battling through a jungle swamp or crossing the dunes of some vast desert, or even working farm chores in the British countryside, the luxury customizers at E.C.D. Automotive Design pictured something completely different, something more befitting a “Surfin’ Safari.”   

The latest project from the Kissimmee, Florida, team is Project CL, a Land Rover D90 convertible built as a custom beach cruiser/surf wagon, fully upgraded for shoreline adventure with performance mods and interior features, painted in the classic Landie color of Arles Blue, and with a place for throwing your board on top. 

rover

The Land Rover resto-mod treatment includes a 430-horsepower Corvette LS3 V8 with a 6-speed automatic transmission, Borla Stainless Sport Dual single pipe with black box exhaust system, E.C.D. Brembo brakes and air suspension, Kahn 1983 18-inch satin-black wheels, SVX black-metal side steps and, in the unlikely event of getting bogged down on the beach, a Warn winch mounted on the front bumper.

Project CL’s interior features Garrett Leather seats and trim in Irish Cream, a pair of Exmoor Elite front seats, four center-facing rear seats, a Momo Prototipo Wood steering wheel, CL Silver gauges and a premium Sony/JL audio system.

“This D90 is an absolute blast to drive, perfect for the weekend getaway,” the company says in a news release. “Every vehicle we build is crafted with a lifestyle in mind, and this one is just meant to cruise.”

And while the surf board is not included with the Land Rover, E.C.D says it can have one custom made for any new CL owner.

rover

E.C.D., founded by a trio of the British expatriate “petrol heads,” produces hand-built custom British vehicles in a Florida facility named “the Rover Dome.”

For information about its products, visit the company website.

Deadline approaching for AutoHunter bidders

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The countdown clock is ticking away as the first batch of cars up for bidding on the new AutoHunter collector car online auction site approach hammer time.

The AutoHunter auction site, like the ClassicCars.com Journal a part of the Collector Car Network, launched September 9, with the first eight vehicles closing on Monday, September 21. 

Typically, cars will be available for bidding for 7 days, but that time frame was extended to give new bidders — in this case everyone bidding — more time to get acclimated to the new site and its procedures and to take in the wide variety of listings.

Cars scheduled to close September 21 are a 1996 BMW 850Ci, a 1932 Ford Highboy roadster, a 1992 Chevrolet Corvette convertible, a 1971 Ford Torino Cobra, a 1992 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL, a 1974 Volkswagen Beetle convertible, and a 1988 Chevrolet Camaro IROC-Z.

Among the procedures to which bidders need to realize is that there is no charge to sign up as a bidder and no credit card hold until you place your first bid. 

Another is that bids placed during the final two minutes of the allotted time add two more minutes to the bidding deadline.  

The goal behind this time extension plan us to prevent the last-second sniping that takes place on so many other online auction sites. 

Winning bidders pay a 6.5 percent buyer’s fee, but at AutoHunter that fee is capped and will never exceed $6,500. 

Bidders need to realize that nearly all cars are listed with a consignor’s reserve, which is the minimum price the owner will accept for the vehicle. Those figures are not published, but cars without such reserves are listed as having “No Reserve,” meaning that the owner will accept whatever highest bid wins the auction. 

Should anything seem unclear, AutoHunter’s award-winning customer service and automotive specialist team is on call to assist users with site navigation and procedures, and to take a deep dive into whichever vehicle you are bidding on.

Following are some details on cars closing September 21, and each car links to its full description on the AutoHunter site:

1996 BMW 850Ci — 322-horsepower 5.4-liter V12-powered coupe and driven only 58,000 miles since new.

1932 Ford Highboy roadster — Brookville-bodied car in a color called Molten Copper Sunset with cream white convertible “bop top” and powered by a 327cid Chevy V8.

1992 Chevrolet Corvette convertible — Bright Red over black leather interior with black convertible top and 5.7-liter LT1 V8, and showing 90,000 miles on its odometer.

1971 Ford Torino Cobra — Stunning in bright green color and still with its factory-installed 429cid Cobra Jet V8 engine under a factory shaker hood.

1992 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL — Driven only 49,000 miles since new and one of only 25 delivered in the US for 1992 with its inline-6 linked to a manual transmission.

1974 Volkswagen Beetle convertible — Car has a recently rebuilt 1,600cc engine linked to a 4-speed manual gearbox.

1988 Chevrolet Camaro IROC Z — A Canadian car since new and driven only 8,000 miles during its lifetime.

For more information, visit the AutoHunter website.

Video of the Day: Australian magazine’s cars of the year pass in review

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In the past couple of days, we’ve shared Australian auto insurance company Budget Direct’s video review of the Motor Trend and What Car? car-of-the-year selections made in the United States and in England, respectively. Today, the series moves to Australia and the cars of the year as selected by Wheels magazine.

Wheels magazine of Australia awarded its first Car of the Year award in 1963 to the Renault 8,” Budget Direct notes. “Not surprisingly, Holden is the brand with the most COTY awards, taking the crown 10 times. As far as models go, it’s a draw between the Volkswagen Golf and Mazda MX-5 for most wins, with three each.

“The Honda Odyssey is the only minivan to be awarded by Wheels as COTY in 1995. Honda was also the first hybrid to be declared COTY by Wheels magazine with the CRZ in 2011. The first EV to win COTY was the BMW i3 in 2014, followed recently by the Mercedes EQC SUV in 2020.”

And here’s an interesting footnote regarding journalistic integrity: “Wheels refused to crown a COTY winner in 1972, 1979, and 1986, deciding that no new cars were worthy of the coveted COTY award.”