Ultimate Garage 2.0: The Eleventh And Final Car

First, a word about Zeek Duff. I never met him and my interaction with him consisted of a few comments in one post on Disaffected Musings. However, it was with sadness that I learned this morning that he died in April. Here is one of those comments posted less than a month before his passing:

“Sorry your old man was a deadbeat, but at least he didn’t beat on you until you had to fight back like I did. Not proud of it, but he never hit me again, either. I suppose my boys have stories about me they don’t like much either, but I never hit either one of ’em, even though I probably should have at some point. One turned into a jackass, the other is a good guy with an outstanding family, married to the same woman for 30+ years. I taught one of the grandkids to read and count to 100 by the time was 2, and he’s now a PhD math professor. Eldest granddaughter is an engineer. Actually, all 10 of them are doing well, I’m almost concerned none have made me great-grandpa yet, almost. Hard to tell how kids will turn out, some good, some not so much, no matter how they grew up with what kind of parents. Nature or nurture, who knows..? No one I know. Nice article, regardless.”

Carpe Diem! That’s an axiom I have a hard time applying to my life as well.

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Any guess as to the identity of the 11th and last car in Ultimate Garage 2.0? I gave a big hint earlier in the series. OK…C7 Corvette Z06. In the Ultimate Garage on my first blog I included the car I owned at the time—a 2009 BMW Z4—mainly out of obligation. Including the car I currently own is not out of obligation; I think it’s a fantastic car!

 

 

From Car and Driver (thanks to my wonderful wife for finding this for me AND for helping me buy the Red Rocket):

“Think of the Corvette Z06 as the most amazing version of a sports car that is already amazing by anyone’s measure. In fact, it’s so amazing that we named the Chevrolet supercar to our 10 Best Cars list for 2019. Based on the regular Corvette, the Z06 moniker means it has more power and more go-fast addenda. Sold as either a sporty coupe or showy convertible, the most important feature is its supercharged 6.2-liter V-8 that makes 650 horsepower and 650 lb-ft of torque and blasts an earth-shattering exhaust note. A seven-speed manual transmission is on hand for shifting duties, and an eight-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters is available. The Z07 Performance package adds carbon-ceramic brakes, Michelin Pilot Sport Cup tires, and adjustable aerodynamic-enhancing bits.

While the outrageous 750-hp ZR1 is the crown jewel of the Corvette lineup—at least until the mid-engine version arrives—the Z06 represents one of the best performance values on sale today. Its neck-snapping acceleration and intestine-shifting cornering grip can compete with ultra-expensive alternatives such as the Porsche 911 Turbo and the Mercedes-AMG GT, which makes the super Chevy a tremendous value. The Vette is also a livable daily driver that can transform into a track monster at a moment’s notices. Its selectable drive modes and adaptive dampers alter a variety of driving characteristic that include quick and accurate steering as well as powertrain modes. The last version that participated in our annual Lightning Lap felt as if it was purpose-built for the event.

Inside, the Z06 retains the regular Corvette’s driver-centric cabin but adds racier materials and offers extra-supportive Competition Sport seats. Despite its intimidating sheetmetal and track-ready tuning, the Vette has a passenger-friendly interior and contemporary infotainment system. The standard system includes a mobile hotspot, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto. Buyers can personalize things further with unique color options, desirable creature comforts such as ventilated front seats, and the optional Custom Leather-Wrapped Interior package. No matter how the Z06 is outfitted, it remains one of the most affordable and fantastic sports cars in the world.”

 

My car has the Z07 package—the brakes are AMAZING. OK, what is the value of this car? The MSRP was $101,000 when new. I bought the car “lightly” used with 4,400 miles and still under the original bumper-to-bumper warranty, but I paid about 40% less than the MSRP and that included shipping. Of course, the C7 is either out of production or soon to be so. I am going to use $100,000 as a nice round number.

Well, (my) Ultimate Garage 2.0 is in the books. What do you think? It’s not too late to submit yours.

As for the cost/value of the cars in this exercise, the average was $133,000 while the median was $100,000. I think that’s a nice blend of “ultimate” cars and my lower middle class upbringing. No million-dollar cars here.

Frankly, I am at a bit of a loss as to how to continue Disaffected Musings from this point forward. So much of the blog was writing about Ultimate Garages that now it’s done I’m not sure how to keep writing about cars and I don’t have the stomach to move the blog in another direction. I will, of course, post any Ultimate Garage you wish to submit, but as for original content I am stymied. Any thoughts?

Thanks for reading.

 

#ZeekDuff

#UltimateGarage2.0

#C7CorvetteZ06

#somanycarsjustonelife

#disaffectedmusings

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Ultimate Garage 2.0: The Tenth Car

“The nice part about being a pessimist is that you are constantly being either proven right or pleasantly surprised.”

– George Will

I think he is 90% right…by the way, George Will wrote a cover blurb for a book I co-authored and it was my relationship with him that led to his lending his name to the book. Explain again why I cannot find an interesting and fulfilling work situation.

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I guess I could have titled this post, “Ultimate Garage 2.0: The Penultimate Car.” Yes, this is the next-to-last car. (Geez, I thought it would never end…)

This car’s predecessor was in my first Ultimate Garage; this car is the Ferrari Portofino.

 

See the source image

See the source image

 

The top picture is from parkers.co.uk; the bottom is from Wikipedia. To me the Portofino and its predecessor, the California, are very similar in appearance (gorgeous) and the Portofino is a little more advanced so I picked the Portofino. By the way, the California is the best-selling car in Ferrari history. How many of them were made? Approximately 18,000. Enzo Ferrari used to like to say that every model year he wanted to produce one fewer car than the demand for the cars. About 70 percent of Californias are owned by people who had never previously owned a Ferrari.

Like the California the Portofino is Ferrari’s “entry-level” car (with a base MSRP of about $215,000). It is also a convertible with a retractable hardtop; I guess I should show a picture with the top down.

 

See the source image

 

From Motor Trend…the Portofino (you have no idea how many times I have typed “Protofino” instead) is powered by a modified version of the base California T engine, a 3.9 liter/235 cubic-inch twin-turbo V8 that produces 591 HP/561 LB-FT of torque. The Portofino can accelerate from 0-60 MPH in 3.2 seconds. Sorry, manual transmission “fans” but this Ferrari—like all current Ferraris—uses a 7-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission.

The Portofino is about 170 pounds lighter than the California and the suspension is a little stiffer. I doubt that the California was strictly a boulevard cruiser, but that is certainly not true about the Portofino no matter how much the Ferrari “snobs” dislike the car. (Many of them disliked the California.)

I’m going to use a value/price of $250,000 for the Portofino because I am going to assume I would want some nice options. Hey, I had to have a Ferrari in Ultimate Garage 2.0, right?!

 

#UltimateGarage2.0

#FerrariPortofino

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Ultimate Garage 2.0: The Ninth Car

“O, what men dare do! What men may do! What men daily do, not knowing what they do.”

– Shakespeare

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Reader and long-time friend Carl described yesterday’s car, the Jaguar F-Type, as “sex on wheels.” That phrase has also been used by reader and long-time friend David Banner (not his real name) to describe today’s car, the Lexus LC. You don’t really want to know what results from an Internet search for that phrase, but cars don’t seem to appear anywhere.

The LC was in the first Ultimate Garage that I posted on the blog hosted by the Evil Empire (aka Google). By the way, I did finally receive a settlement from the class action suit involving the Evil Empire and their deleting blogs to avoid paying ad earnings. Fack Fucebook has earned all of the bad press it has received, and then some, but the Evil Empire seems to have faded from view in terms of its wrongdoings.

 

See the source image

 

I took the top photo in January, 2018 (!) and the bottom picture is from Motor Trend. Obviously, I think the Lexus LC is a stunner. It’s also one of only two cars in Ultimate Garage 2.0 that I have actually driven.

The Lexus LC is powered by a 5-liter/303 cubic-inch V8 that produces 471 HP/398 LB-FT of torque. The only transmission available is a 10-speed automatic, which I think is overkill, but helps the car get better gas mileage for EPA testing. I wanted to write about the forced-induction version of the engine for this car (I keep reading about a twin-turbo motor that will pump out 600+ HP), but Ultimate Garage 2.0 is only about cars that have actually existed.

The car is luxuriously appointed, but is more of a Grand Tourer than true sports car. However, it’s not a slug although it’s, perhaps, a tad heavy for exquisite handling. However, it will accelerate from 0-60 MPH in 4.6 seconds, which is very quick.

As for value/price, the LC my wonderful wife and I drove stickered at $101,000, but the salesman offered $10,000 off without my even asking. The base MSRP of these cars is about $93,000. For the “official” Ultimate Garage 2.0 value I am going to use $95,000 because I am going to assume a car with some options, but also with a discount from MSRP.

Once again, I welcome thoughtful comments about this car, any car or any topic. It is doubtful I will post tomorrow as my wonderful wife and I have a busy day planned, weather permitting. Ultimate Garage 2.0 is almost finished, but not quite.

 

#Shakespeare

#FacebookandGoogleareEvil

#UltimateGarage2.0

#LexusLC

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Ultimate Garage 2.0: Car #8

“Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.”

– Bernard Baruch

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Baruch’s remark has some relevance for today’s Ultimate Garage 2.0 selection. Make “purists” may not like the pick, but this is my Ultimate Garage. Enzo Ferrari may have called the Jaguar E-Type the most beautiful car he had ever seen, but my preference is for the Jaguar F-Type Coupe both in terms of looks and the fact that an automatic transmission is readily available.

 

See the source image

See the source image

 

The top photo of a 2016 F-Type is from autoevolution.com; the bottom photo of a 2015 model (had to show one in orange) is from bestcarmag.com.

I mean, just look at them! A picture is worth a thousand words.

Of course, I would have to have the SVR spec, which is powered by a 5-liter/305 cubic-inch supercharged V8 producing 575 HP/516 LB-FT of torque. Oh, did I mention it’s all-wheel drive?!

I configured an F-Type SVR on Jaguar’s website. (Yes, I chose Madagascar Orange, which was not a cheap option at $4,900.) I was a little miffed that some things one would think should be standard in a car of this caliber—like a universal garage door remote—are extra-cost options. I have no idea whether or not Jaguar dealers let customers negotiate the price as standard practice. Accepting the website price as given this car would cost about $135,000. Hey, no used cars for this era automobile unless I am really buying it like my 2016 Corvette Z06. A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds.

I expect some pushback from Jaguar purists. That’s OK.

 

#BernardBaruch

#UltimateGarage2.0

#JaguarFTypeSVR

#somanycarsjustonelife

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Ultimate Garage 2.0: Car Number Seven

“A life spent making mistakes is not only more honorable, but more useful than a life spent doing nothing.”

– George Bernard Shaw

 

Weltschmerz

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The third of three “original hybrids” in Ultimate Garage 2.0, the De Tomaso Longchamp is one of two cars at the very top of my automotive pyramid.

 

https://www.carsaddiction.com/files/cars/72__Longchamp.jpg

See the source image

See the source image

See the source image

 

From top to bottom the photos of the De Tomaso Longchamp are from: carsaddiction.com, autogespot.com (obviously), shannons.com.au and tradeuniquecars.com.au. To me, this might be the best-looking car ever. To answer an anticipated question, I have seen one of these up close—at the AACA Museum in Hershey, PA—and they look even wilder in person.

The exterior was designed by Tom Tjaarda of Ghia. That guy could draw some cars! Jalopnik called him “one of the defining automotive designers of the 20th century.” The Longchamp just seems to have the perfect combination of angles and curves and, of course, it has the long hood/short deck design that very much appeals to me. Also, the almost non-existent A-Pillar adds to the looks although it doesn’t help with safety.

Since only about 400 Longchamps were produced—despite being made for more than 15 years (beginning in 1972)—and since most of them were sold in Europe, I doubt I will ever own one. Still, this is my “Ultimate Garage” so I can dream.

From the Wikipedia article about the Longchamp:

“The Longchamp featured a long and wide hood to accommodate the American power train, i.e. the 351 cubic inch (5,769 cc) Ford Cleveland V8. The 351 Cleveland, a popular and very potent engine in early 1970s Ford “muscle cars,” was the same unit as that used in the Pantera. It produced a minimum of 330 hp and gave the Longchamp an official 240 km/h (149 mph) top speed. After Ford USA stopped manufacturing the 351 Cleveland V8, De Tomaso sourced them from Ford Australia. The standard gearbox was a three-speed Ford C-6 Cruise-o-Matic automatic gearbox, however around 17 cars were equipped with a five-speed ZF manual gearbox. The suspension was independent front and rear with coil spring and wishbone suspension. Steering was power assisted rack and pinion with vented disc brakes all around, the rear discs being positioned inboard.”

So the car was not just a pretty face. This would be my first lottery car no matter what machinations were required to acquire it. Machinations wouldn’t be the only resource needed to acquire one. I have not seen one listed for sale in the US for at least two years. Two Longchamp coupes are currently listed for sale in Europe with a price on Classic Driver, one for about $90,000 and the other for about $97,000. Of course, that does not include the price of shipping, customs, etc.

How can I put a value on this car? It’s interesting to me that my two favorite cars are difficult to value. Arbitrarily I am going to assign a value of $150,000 to the Longchamp. I know, of course, that cost and value are not always the same and the prices on the two Classic Driver cars are consistent with what I have previously seen. However, I think I have to consider the ancillary costs of acquisition. One reason to show values in Ultimate Garage 2.0 is to be able to show a total at the end of the exercise.

What do you think? Actually, and not to be a jerk about it, I’m not sure I care what anyone else thinks about the De Tomaso Longchamp.

 

#ennuionsteroids

#UltimateGarage2.0

#DeTomasoLongchamp

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Ultimate Garage 2.0: Car #6; Bart Starr

My condolences to the Starr family and to the Packers family. The quarterback for the great Lombardi Packer teams, Bart Starr, died on Sunday at the age of 85. From the 1962 Packers chapter in my football book here is the article on Starr:

 

 

Starr played for the Packers from 1956 through 1971 and was their head coach from 1975 through 1983. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1977.

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With this car, Car #6, we have reached the pinnacle of Ultimate Garage 2.0. This car and the next one are my two favorite cars ever. Why didn’t I just have a two-car Ultimate Garage 2.0? What fun would that be?

For most cars massive overhauling would disqualify them from consideration. However, some cars have been modified so often that those non-stock versions are a significant part of the car universe. A 1967 Chevrolet Corvette Convertible Restomod is hardly a one-off.

 

See the source image

See the source image

See the source image

 

 

The top photo, of what I believe is a stock ’67 Corvette Convertible with the auxiliary hardtop in place, is from owlshead.org. The second photo of a ’67 Restomod is from Mecum and shows a vehicle offered at the Indianapolis auction in 2013. The third photo is from myclassicgarage.com while the bottom photo is by yours truly and is of a beautiful ’67 restomod sold at the January, 2019 Barrett-Jackson auction in Arizona.

I seriously considered having a ’67 Corvette Restomod built. I exchanged many emails with a “local” company about the process and visited their shop. In the end, however, I decided that since I possess neither an infinite amount of time nor money I would pass on a restomod and buy a 2016 Corvette Z06. (No points for guessing if that car ends up in Ultimate Garage 2.0.) I have dreams, but I live in the real world.

Since this car is a restomod discussing stock drivetrains is irrelevant in my opinion. My plan for the restomod was to have an LS motor installed which, with a few tweaks, would produce about 550 HP at the crankshaft. I would probably have had a 6-speed automatic transmission installed, but might have gone for the 8-speed 8L90E. It would, obviously, have had a custom chassis with modern suspension and brakes (probably C7 Corvette). The auxiliary hardtop would have been a must and I doubt it would have been removed very much if the project had come to fruition.

Since this car is not stock I cannot rely on Hagerty for a value. It is possible to spend $100,000 on a restomod and it is possible to spend $500,000. I am going to “pencil in” a value of $150,000, which is based on the discussions I had with the company that probably would have built my restomod. While my wonderful wife and I are not poor, barring an unforeseen change in our finances this car (and its companion at the top of my car pyramid) will have to remain a “White Whale.”

 

#BartStarr

#UltimateGarage2.0

#1967ChevroletCorvetteConvertibleRestomod

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Ultimate Garage 2.0: Car Number Five

“Suppose you were an idiot, and suppose you were a member of Congress; but I repeat myself.”

– Mark Twain

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Last night I had a strange dream. (“Last night I had a crazy dream about a chick in a black bikini.” Anyone remember “Chick-A-Boom” by Daddy Dewdrop?) I dreamt I was a drummer in a band, but I was missing one of my drumsticks and was in a panic. No one had any sympathy for me at all and I had the impression I would be replaced, even at the last minute, if I could not find my drumstick. To use a colloquialism, what’s up with that?!

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This car is not making its first appearance in Disaffected Musings so its place in Ultimate Garage 2.0 should not be a surprise.

 

See the source image

 

The top photo of a 1967 Cadillac Eldorado is from History of the American Auto by the Auto Editors of Consumer Guide®; the bottom is from Mecum and was a lot offered at their Harrisburg auction in 2017.

What can I say? I just love these cars. I love the styling, the ride, the technology, the luxury. To me, these cars are transcendent. Of course, they were based on the same front-wheel drive platform introduced in the Oldsmobile Toronado in 1966. The Toronado is a fine car, but the Eldorado is in another league, in my opinion. The styling is just so much sharper.

The one pictured at the top reminds me of so many great moments I had riding in the ’67 Eldorado of my then brother-in-law. His was the same color. I just remember being in awe whenever I was in the car even if it was returning from another rained-out Orioles game in 1971. They had so many rainouts that year (well in excess of 20, I believe) that they only played 158 games meaning that four games were never made up.

The ’67 Eldo was powered by Cadillac’s 429 cubic-inch V8 then in its last year at that displacement. For 1968, the engine was increased to 472 cubic inches, perhaps in part to offset the effects of having to meet new government emissions standards that were mandated beginning in the 1968 model year. The 429 cubic-inch motor produced 340 HP, but 480 LB-FT of torque. Even though it had only two doors, the ’67 Eldorado weighed 4,500 pounds so it needed some torque to be drivable. Cadillac produced 17,930 Eldorados for 1967 with an MSRP of $6,277. As a point of reference, and the two cars were obviously not in competition, the base price for a 1967 Corvette coupe was $4,389. The base price for a 1967 Lincoln Continental hardtop coupe was $5,553.

According to Hagerty the average value of a 1967 Cadillac Eldorado is a modest $15,000. Currently on Hemmings four 1967 Eldorados are listed for sale with asking prices ranging from $9,900 to $20,000. For an Ultimate Garage car, the ’67 Eldo is quite a bargain.

 

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Ultimate Garage 2.0: Car #4

“If you find it hard to laugh at yourself, I would be happy to do it for you.”

– Groucho Marx

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Day #500, once again compulsion defeats disappointment. Is the phrase “ennui on steroids” an oxymoron?

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The second of three “original hybrids” in Ultimate Garage 2.0, the 1966 Iso Grifo smallblock just missed the cut the first time. I rationalized the exclusion by saying it was a very similar car, in looks and drivetrain, to another car that made it. That is still true, but I deem it irrelevant this time.

 

See the source image

See the source image

 

The top photo is from allcarsforsellnz.com; the bottom is from a site called astonmartin-lotus.com. The reason I specified the smallblock version is that the model equipped with a Chevrolet big block, the Iso Grifo was powered by Chevrolet and Ford engines, necessitated a giant roof-like structure in the middle of the hood that hurts the appearance for me.

Iso, an Italian firm, was the same company that developed the Isetta bubble car (Isetta means “little Iso” in Italian). That design was licensed to many manufacturers, most notably BMW, and the earnings from those licenses allowed Iso to produce GT automobiles. Iso’s first car exported to the US was the Rivolta in 1963 (Iso was founded by Renzo Rivolta). The Grifo was introduced in 1965.

In 1965-66 the Grifo was available with two versions of the legendary Chevy 327 cubic-inch smallblock V8. In more aggressive tune with a higher compression ratio and solid lifters the engine was rated 340 HP/360 LB-FT of torque. The transmission was either the Borg-Warner T-10 four-speed manual, a five-speed manual by ZF or the Powerglide automatic.

The Grifo was not cheap; the POE (Point Of Entry) price was about $15,000. The base price for a 1966 Corvette coupe was about $4,300. The Grifo is still not cheap; according to Hagerty the average price of a 1966 Iso Grifo with the higher output engine is about $350,000.

The 1973 oil crisis in addition to more stringent US emissions and safety standards of the early 1970s doomed the Grifo, which had been changed in 1970 to the Grifo Series II and again in 1972 to the Grifo IR-8. Iso went bankrupt and ceased operations in 1974. Only 412 Grifos of all types were made, which helps to explain their value.

I think these cars look amazing and they weren’t just for show, either. Imagine 340 HP/360 LB-FT in a car that weighed about 2,900 pounds.

Any thoughts on the Iso Grifo?

 

#UltimateGarage2.0

#1966IsoGrifo

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Please have a safe and enjoyable Memorial Day weekend and don’t forget the reason for the holiday.

Ultimate Garage 2.0: Car Number Three

“If you prick us, do we not bleed? If you tickle us, do we not laugh? If you poison us, do we not die? And if you wrong us, shall we not revenge?”

– Shakespeare

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Since I may not post tomorrow as is my wont I wanted to bring these facts to the readers’ attention:

Today is the 499th day that Disaffected Musings has existed.

This post you’re reading is post #449.

I have written about 185,000 words in this blog.

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Car number three in Ultimate Garage 2.0:

 

See the source image

See the source image

 

The top photo is from eBay, the bottom from classiccars.com.

The 1965 Buick Riviera GS is a no-brainer for Ultimate Garage 2.0. Actually, I wouldn’t have to have the Gran Sport. Actually, I wouldn’t have to have a ’65, any first-generation Riviera would probably suffice. However, since this is supposed to be an “Ultimate” endeavor I might as well aim for the top.

In one of the few instances where form defeats function for me I prefer the 1965 Riviera over the ’63 and ’64 primarily because of the hidden headlights. From standard catalog of® American Cars, 1946-1975 by John Gunnell: “The Riviera was a new sports/luxury model for 1963, only issued in a stunning sport coupe body style. From the front fenders, whose leading edges were vertical grilles, to the razor-edged rear contours, the Riviera looked both elegant and fast.”

Bill Mitchell, head of GM styling at this time, was inspired by a custom-bodied Rolls-Royce he saw in England. Ned Nickles drew the car under the auspices of Mitchell. For the three model years of the first-generation Buick produced 112,544 Rivieras.

The 1965 Gran Sport was powered by a 425 cubic-inch/7-liter V8 with two four-barrel carburetors that produced 360 HP/465 LB-FT of torque. (Buick engines were known for their torque during this period. The engines were often named for their torque, and not HP, output.) It also had a larger diameter exhaust than the standard Riviera and a limited-slip differential. Only 9.7% of 1965 Rivieras were Gran Sports, 3,354 of 34,586.

According to Hagerty the average value for a 1965 Riviera Gran Sport is about $52,000. At the Mecum auction in Louisville in 2018 one example hammered for $65,000 meaning the buyer paid $71,500 all in.

If I were limited to just five or six cars in my Ultimate Garage, the ’65 Riviera GS would easily make the list.

Any thoughts?

 

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#1965BuickRivieraGranSport

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Ultimate Garage 2.0: Car #2

“Some cause happiness wherever they go; others, whenever they go.”

– Oscar Wilde

“Don’t forget to look out for Number 1, but make sure you don’t step in Number 2!”

– Rodney Dangerfield in Back To School, certainly uttered in earlier times by others

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The first of three “original hybrids” in Ultimate Garage 2.0, the 1959 Facel Vega HK500 is an amazing looking car to me and it was powered by a Chrysler V-8.

 

See the source image

See the source image

 

The top photo is from inspirationseek.com, the bottom from classicandsportscar.com.

Facel was a French construction company founded by Jean Daninos in 1938, rather unfortunate timing obviously. They initially manufactured machine tools for the aircraft industry. After World War II Facel began manufacturing office and home furniture as well as car bodies for makes like Panhard, Delahaye and Bentley. Daninos wanted to make cars of his own and first showed original designs at the 1950 Paris motor show. The Facel Vega was introduced in 1954.

This car was really designed for export as France had very high taxes on high-output automobiles. The first Facel Vegas were powered by the 276 cubic-inch/4.5 liter DeSoto (Yeah!) Hemi; subsequently the engine was either a 291 cubic-inch/4.8 liter DeSoto Hemi or a 330 cubic-inch/5.4 liter Chrysler Hemi with output of 250 HP/340 LB-Ft of torque. The transmission could be either the two-speed Powerflite automatic or a 4-speed Pont-a-Mousson manual. By 1959 the engine was the Chrysler wedge-head 383 cubic-inch/6.3 liter V8 that produced 360 HP/460 LB-FT. The automatic transmission had been upgraded to a three-speed Torqueflite, but the manual was the same. Disc brakes were an option on the 1959 model, but became standard in 1960.

Facel also produced other cars such as the Excellence (a four-door hardtop sedan with rear suicide doors) and the Facellia (a smaller two-door design that could be purchased in convertible form, it was doomed by its engine designed by Westlake in Britain but built by Pont-a-Mousson). Believe it or not there’s a Packard connection to Facel. Most Packard aficionados have heard about the proposal to re-badge the Facel Excellence as a Packard. While Jean Daninos said he was unaware of such a proposal (although he never said he would have been opposed to it), the rumor continued to surface in numerous places over the years and made it into print in some of the very few books printed on the Facel Vega. Supposedly, the end of the idea came from Mercedes-Benz whose cars were, at the time, being distributed in the US by Studebaker-Packard and M-B didn’t want the competition. Would Packard still be around if that idea had come to fruition? We will never know…

Famous auto journalist Tom McCahill wrote this about the HK500, “[It] is sexier than the Place Pigalle and throatier than a Russian basso…[it is] a remarkable and wonderfully satisfying road companion.” Motor Trend wrote this about the Facel Vega, “[it] has as much show-stopping quality as the Continental (and maybe more), is finished in the impressive Rolls-Royce style, performs with the agility of the hottest American cars and handles as well as an Austin-Healey.” Famous people like Tony Curtis and Ringo Starr owned the Facel Vega. Unfortunately, the cars didn’t sell well enough to keep Facel afloat. The last Facel Vega was manufactured in September, 1964 and the company was liquidated in 1965.

As I have written before in this blog I do not believe in the famous axiom that if you build a better mousetrap the world will beat a path to your door. I certainly don’t believe that it’s always true. By the way, according to Hagerty the average value for a 1959 Facel Vega HK500 is $99,000. I have seen them sell for a lot more than that.

As always I welcome comments on the Facel Vega or on any other topic.

 

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