The Euro Pontiac

Pontiac tried to re-establish itself as GM’s performance brand in the 1980s. To help it steer that course, they built the 1984–88 Fiero. Yet there was one model that had all the buzz before and during the era of the Fiero and today is all but forgotten — the 6000 STE.

For American automakers, it was a new era: Quarter-mile times were irrelevant — the new goal was balanced power and handling like the Europeans.

So began the American auto Read More

The Hot Dakota

The Dakota was Chrysler’s reaction to the Ford Ranger and Chevy S-10. It was introduced for the 1987 model year and lasted until 2011, produced through three generations.

Generally a well-selling worker bee, the Dakota did make a splash with a convertible Sport version in 1989–91. In addition, since Carroll Shelby was working at Chrysler at the time, a Shelby Dakota hit the streets in 1989 with a 318 parked under the hood. Both the soft-top Sport and the Read More

Best of the Least

Various pundits have claimed that the market is starting to stagnate going into 2019. Auctions in the Phoenix area in January generally proved that to be correct. Yet we’re no strangers to low prices in this column. Every March/April issue, that’s where we boldly go.

So, once again, and back by popular demand, I present the bottom of the sales chart from this year’s Arizona auctions.

(On star ratings, ★★★★★ is best)

1963 Cadillac Series 75 8-Passenger Sedan

Gooding & Read More

Lincoln’s Q-Ship

Lincoln cars traditionally had unique engines, dating all the way back to inception by Henry Leland. But the purchase of the company by Henry Ford, refinement by Edsel Ford, and restructuring in the post-World War II era by Henry Ford II all led to an all-time great engine, sourced from the Blue Oval.

The revitalized Ford Motor Company of the 1950s expanded the use of common components in production. Lincoln’s first overhead-valve V8 engine in 1952 was also used in Read More

One Hauler of a Jeep

With talk today of a soon-to-be-released pickup version of the Jeep JL-series Wrangler, it seems quite distant to think that Jeep had the first domestically built “compact” pickup. Initially, it was the CJ-8 Scrambler from 1981 to ’85, but the idea also continued from 1986 until 1992 with the Comanche. AMC billed that one as the first “midsize” pickup.

The Comanche is basically the 1984–99 Jeep XJ-platform Cherokee with a pickup box instead of a wagon body. However, there’s more Read More

Middle-Child Corvette

When it comes to 1963–67 Corvettes, the 1964 model is just like a record screeching when the tone arm is pulled across it. It’s the mid-year that gets no respect.

It’s easy to say off the cuff that they are not a 1963 Split-Window coupe. But that doesn’t explain why 1964 convertibles sell for less than 1963 convertibles. Both years of drop-tops are quite similar. To get to the real reason for Read More

Big-Block Land Yachts

The big-block 440-ci RB (for Raised Block) V8 was Chrysler Corporation’s last bastion for hefty but inexpensive horsepower. Sure, the Hemi was the bad boy on the dragstrip, but anyone who espouses the credo of “Mopar or no car” will tell you that the 440 was the one to beat on the street.

One could almost call the 440 “Mopar Performance for Dummies” — unlike the Hemi, it was cheap, plentiful, and made reliable power all the time, with the Read More

Arizona Fun in the Cheap Seats

Once again, back by popular demand, I present the bottom of the sales chart from Arizona 2018 — the lowest-selling street-legal American production car from each auction venue. As in previous years, we’ll rate each to see if they are actually cheap, thrilling or well bought. Or just a cheap, scary money pit. So, here we go, from the most spent to the least: (★★★★★ is best):

1953 Kaiser Dragon sedan

Gooding & Company Lot 25, VIN 001894
Sold Read More

The Upmarket Maverick

In 1959, Ford bought the rights to use the name “Comet” from ambulance and hearse builder Cotner-Bevington’s Comet Coach Company, with high hopes for a new compact car that was to be sold by Edsel dealers. But with the Edsel line euthanized barely into early 1960 production, the new upmarket complement to the Falcon that shared most of its components was sent to Mercury dealers.

That Falcon-based Comet compact was built from 1960 through 1965. In 1966, the name moved Read More

Where the Bucks Stopped in Monterey

As America’s ultimate example of collector-car opulence, the Monterey Car Week auctions lean to multi-million-dollar, limited-production cars.

Monterey 2017 was a slightly lower year for sales, with some world records established on the high end. All the lower-tier cars pretty much treaded water.

In light of this, my annual look at the least-expensive American car at each Monterey Car Week auction gains more relevance. There is always a car that sells for the least amount of money.

How low did Read More