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Friday
May202016

Barn Find Bug a Real Sleeper

A 1974 Volkswagen Beetle is not the kind of car you expect to find going under the gavel at Silverstone Auctions’ Classic Race Aarhus Auction. A Mercedes 300 SLR recreation? Sure. But a 1974 VW Beetle?

This is no ordinary Beetle. It is a true barn find, that has had just one owner and seen an almost unbelievable 90 km (54 miles) of use since new. That’s not much more than delivery miles!

The Volkswagen was the pride and joy of Armando Sgori, who bought the car new from G. Terragni Volkswagen in Genoa, Italy, on January 23, 1974. Sgroi had never owned a car before, but bought the VW because, as he aged, he found it more difficult to climb the hill between his house and local place of worship as he waled to church. So, every Sunday, Sgroi would drive the shiny new Beetle the short distance from his house to the church and back again.

As he became more frail, even this became too much, and the trips to church became more infrequent until, in 1978, they stopped altogether. Sgroi drove the car into a barn and left it, where it remained for the next 38 years. The car is blue with a black leather interior, and has all its original equipment, including the owner’s manual, invoice, tool kit, engine oil and tires. It heads to auction to be sold for only the second time in its life, with an estimate of €35,000 to €40,000 (approximately $42,000-$46,000). — CAS

Friday
May202016

South Africa’s Only F1 Car Goes to Monaco

Rowley and Carpenter with the Assegai post restoration.Only one Formula One car was ever constructed in South Africa, and — 55 years after it was built — it finally made its international racing debut at the Historic Monaco Grand Prix. Built in 1961 by South African engineer and race driver Tony Kotzé, the Assegai was constructed in time for the 1962 Rand Grand Prix, but unfortunately failed to qualify. After this ignominious beginning, the car made occasional track appearances in the hands of Kotzé and other owners before being purchased in August 2015 by John Carpenter.

Carpenter, a former F1 team member, is currently a classic car collector and enthusiast located in the British county of Oxfordshire. He bought the Assegai at the summer 2015 Historics at Brooklands auction, and turned to his friend and Delta Motorsport owner Iain Rowley for help in returning the car to the same mechanical specification in which it attempted to qualify for the 1962 Rand GP. This was necessary for it to fulfill the stringent requirements of the Historic Monaco race.

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Friday
May202016

The Future of Car Restoration

By Christopher A. Sawyer

In September 2014, Banbury and Bicester College, in cooperation with Activate Learning, inaugurated an historic vehicle restoration course and apprenticeship designed to give students the skills they need to enter the historic restoration field. This summer, the program is moving to the former RAF Engine Test House located at Bicester Heritage, arguably the U.K.’s best preserved World War II Bomber Command Station.

The former Bomber Training Station is home to more than 30 businesses specializing in the restoration and preservation of classic and vintage cars. Vintage Bentley specialist Kingsbury Racing, for example, puts engines into classic Bentley’s in the base’s old Engine Fitting Shop, while Classic Oils is located in the former RAF Lubricant store.

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Friday
Apr222016

Wealth (and Automotive Design) on the Water

Design of the Arrow460 is quite literal in its aping of Mercedes design cues.A 46-foot yacht, the Arrow460—Granturismo, designed by Mercedes-Benz Style recently embarked on its maiden voyage off the coast of Nice. It melds the look of current Mercedes models above the waterline with the hull of a cabin cruiser creating what Mercedes-Benz Style refers to as a crossover design suitable for day trips as well as nights on board.

Built by Silver Arrows Marine, the motor yacht can accommodate up to 10 people, its side windows can be retracted, and the windshield raised. The light transmittance of the silver windows can be electronically adjusted, and both the tables and beds are extendable so they can be available when needed. In addition, there is a luxury bathroom unit, separate dressing room, air conditioning, a high-end audio system, wine vault, and ice-making machine. Wood lines the interior and follows the surfaces in three dimensions, though a sustainable industrial composite material is used to cover the floor.

The AM37 is less literal in its interpretation, but no less luxurious.Power is supplied by a pair of 480-hp Yanmar 6L3-ETP diesel engines. In calm seas, this is enough, says Silver Arrows Marine, to give the Arrow460—Granturismo a cruising speed of 28-30 knots, and a top speed of more than 40 knots.

Mercedes is not the only automaker involved in creating automotive-themed yachts. Aston Martin and Quintessence Yachts launched the AM37 powerboat during the Milan Design Week at Salone del Mobile.

The companies shared no technical information about the AM37, but waxed lyrical about the fusion of automotive and marine design and technology; apparently not having seen the similar press release about Mercedes-Benz Style’s yacht design. And while Silver Arrows Marine named the first Arrow460—Granturismo “Mercedes” we are pretty certain Aston Martin and Quintessence Yachts won’t be naming the first AM37 “Bernie”. — CAS

Friday
Apr222016

Almost as Good as the Real Thing

Here’s something you don’t see everyday. Silverstone Auctions is hosting Denmark’s Classic Race Aarhus Auction May 28th and 29th, and will be selling a recreation of the iconic Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR. It is best recognized as the car that took Stirling Moss and Dennis Jenkinson to victory in the 1955 Mille Miglia, and Mercedes built nine in period, of which only six still exist. This makes these cars extremely rare, and recreations quite valuable.

Jim Marland, founder of Proteus Sports & Racing Cars built five recreations, this being the last. (The other four are in collections in the U.S. and Germany.) Completed in 2010, it took over two years to finish. The aluminum body (the factory cars had magnesium bodies and aluminum spaceframes) was hand-crafted by Clive Smart of Shapecraft, while XK Engineering was responsible for the paint. Crewe Engines rebuilt the Mercedes-Benz 280 E engine and four-speed manual gearbox, and a Salisbury style limited-slip differential is used. All of the parts and running gear are sourced from Mercedes-Benz, and carefully selected to be as visually close to the originals wherever possible.

 The interior also is hand-made, and built to look as much like the original as practical. Thus, the instruments and dials are hand-painted, the wood-rimmed alloy steering wheel faithfully copies the original, and the rest of the interior materials are similar to those used in the 1950s.

The auction estimate for the Mercedes recreation is $364,900 - $410,500. U.K. registered it carries the registration number “300 LFX” though “722 SLR” is available by separate negotiation. — CAS