Tuesday, August 31, 2010

1977 Porsche 911S Convertible (Not a Targa, but built on one)

Much better -looking than a Targa, and rare too.

Almost clean enough to eat off of...
Guards Red over tan leather, a classic Porsche 911 color scheme.
Very nice lines, possibly nicer than the factory's, and not sullied by a whaletail or a body kit.
  This 1977 Porsche cabriolet, custom-built by an unknown body shop from a Targa in 1982, has 132,000 original miles, many upgrades, is said to run perfectly, has a desirable color scheme and a recent top replacement. The fact that a Targa rather than a coupe was used as a base car indicates that it would have at least decent structural rigidity without excessive modification to the body structure, and the lack of add-ons like whaletail spoilers, ground-effects kits, custom wheels (this car appears to have black-painted cookie-cutter alloys) or custom interior parts is appealing. This car seems to me like a natural evolution from the 356 cabriolet, whereas the factory-built 911 cabrio just looks like a coupe with the top lopped off in my eyes.

If the work (both conversion and upgrades) was done properly and to a high standard, this is an excellent deal. Although the Pacific Northwest is very wet, the roads are not salted and it does not snow heavily in most areas, so water damage to electrical and interior parts is a greater concern than rust.

This car is available for $8,000 in Tualatin, Oregon, from a private party, here: http://portland.craigslist.org/wsc/cto/1929366615.html

Bremen Mini-Mark Kit Car, titled as 1926 Mercedes

   Not common when new, and rarer yet today, this nicely built and well-kept neoclassic kit car (billed as 'the personal-luxury kit car' when new) is titled as a 1926 Mercedes despite resembling a 1920s Packard or Auburn more than a Mercedes. The engine is said to be a 1976 and is the classic Volkswagen flat-four, probably the 1700cc version if the engine is a '76, so the chassis is probably a 1976 with the independent rear suspension and ball-joint front suspension. This makes finding parts and working on this car quite easy, due to the VW bug's longstanding best-seller status, a huge aftermarket parts support system and enthusiast base, and the simple, reliable nature of the engine. The 1926 title year makes this car emissions-exempt virtually everywhere, but may increase insurance costs.

  The interior, wheels and color scheme are all quite dated, but to change them would be sacrilege, as the Mini-Mark, its 4-seater relative the Maxi Taxi, and other VW-based kits of similar vintage like the Sterling and Bradley GT, are symbols of individuality and craftsmanship in a car market dominated then by oversized sedans, outdated or underdeveloped sports cars and tinny hatchbacks, none of which were built too well.

This Bremen Mini-Mark is available for a very reasonable $4800 in Molalla, Oregon, near Portland. 

Sunday, August 29, 2010

1966 Triumph Spitfire, $2675, Eugene, Oregon


   If the picture isn't hiding serious front-end damage and it is structurally sound, this would be an excellent route to classic Triumph ownership. Spitfires with the pre-"bone in mouth" grille/bumper are scarce, even more so in this condition, and this one deserves to be refurbished a bit more.

   Other than the seats, air cleaner, and what looks like red paint under the bonnet, this car appears to have very high fidelity to the original esthetics, and does not have add-ons like a luggage rack, non-original hardtop or modern custom wheels, all of which can detract from the Spitfire's status as an attractive entry-level sports car. This car is said to run and drive well, although the picture appearing to have been taken in a vehicle-storage or towing lot (which does not appear to be the Scott & Sons graveyard near the Eugene airport, with many terminal cases, some not even good for parts, and only a few restorable cars), and it being a 44-year-old British car, doesn't exactly cause me to be optimistic about it. 

   Find some correct seats online or in a junkyard and upholster them, get a correct air cleaner or period replacement and detail it, and you'd have something that would be great at shows. With the All-British Field Meet coming up on September 3rd-6th of this year in Portland, this might be a nice one to buy, clean up a bit and drive up for the Labor Day weekend event. It is probably too late to enter this car in the show itself, though.


Thursday, April 1, 2010