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marți, 21 octombrie 2014

Alfa Romeo 1900C Super Sprint Coupe by Ghia 1954 - World Of Classic Cars -

Alfa Romeo 1900C Super Sprint Coupe by Ghia 1954

The 1900 was Alfa Romeo’s first post-war production model, and it showed the direction that the Milan-based company would take in the coming decades. The 1900 was smaller and more compact than the pre-war designed 6C 2500, and it was powered by an iron-block and aluminum-head four-cylinder with chain-driven dual overhead camshafts. It was introduced as a sedan in 1950, and a year later, the sedan was followed by the more sporting 1900C Sprint Coupe, which rode on a five-inch shorter wheelbase. Alfa continued to extract more power from the two-liter engine, which culminated into 115 horsepower for the SS (Super Sprint).
Alfa Romeo 1900C Super Sprint Coupe by Ghia 1954

The 1900 was Alfa Romeo’s first car to utilize unit-body construction, which made it more difficult for Italy’s coachbuilders to practice their creativity, but not impossible, and a variety of one-off and limited-production designs from Bertone, Ghia, Touring, and Pinin Farina demonstrated the capabilities of these now legendary artisans.
The 1900 Super Sprint shown here was designed by Giovanni Savonuzzi for renowned Italian coachbuilder Ghia, and it reflects many of the advanced aerodynamic ideas that Savonuzzi was developing at the time, including the trend-setting Gilda concept.
Alfa Romeo 1900C Super Sprint Coupe by Ghia 1954

Ghia is known to have built a series of similar bodies on the 1900 SS, with each subtly different from the next. This one features headlights that “hang” inside a larger fender opening that resembles an air intake, which was a theme that Savonuzzi and Ghia would further explore in the designs for Chrysler’s Turbine car. The front bumper is also believed to be unique, as it was a design proposed by Ghia for the original Karmann Ghia Type 3 Coupe. The interior features a Nardi steering wheel and floor-shift linkage, and the 1900 SS rides on lightweight Borrani alloy-rim wire wheels.
Alfa Romeo 1900C Super Sprint Coupe by Ghia 1954

This 1900 SS was restored some time ago, believed around 1995, and reportedly, it has more recently undergone a comprehensive engine overhaul, which included the addition of new brakes, radiator, and clutch. The car is currently in fine, drivable condition. This is a rare and significant special-bodied Alfa Romeo of quality and style.

Ferrari 330 GT 2+2 Series II by Pininfarina 1966 - World Of Classic Cars -

Ferrari 330 GT 2+2 Series II by Pininfarina 1966

As Enzo Ferrari sought to update his lucrative grand touring coupe lineup, the 330 was conceived as a successor to his marque’s legendary and long-lived 250 series.
While Ferrari’s efforts primarily remained centered around racing cars, it was the sale of road going models to well-heeled, discerning customers that financed those efforts. This symbiotic relationship was obvious once one opened the hood of the first 330, the 330 America. The company’s new Tipo 209 V-12 engine displaced 3,967 cubic centimeters (330 cubic centimeters per cylinder, which gave the car its name) and boasted a slightly longer block than its 400 SA series predecessor. The engine was rated at 300 horsepower, and the 12 cylinders were fed by a trio of Weber 40 DCZ/6 carburetors. Befitting of the car’s highway cruising aim, the 330 used a four-speed gearbox with an overdrive unit.
Ferrari 330 GT 2+2 Series II by Pininfarina 1966

The 330 America was, however, a short-lived placeholder for what was to come: the 330 GT 2+2. It was introduced in January 1964 at the Brussels Motor Show, where it generated a high degree of controversy for its quad-headlamp arrangement, which was penned by Pininfarina’s noted American designer Tom Tjaarda. Although today’s enthusiasts find its mid-century look to be distinctive, it was subsequently replaced with a more conventional twin-headlamp arrangement a year later, when the Series II hit the market.
Regardless of the number of eyebrows raised by the 330 GT 2+2’s styling, it was undoubtedly a “grander” tourer for Ferrari. The 330 rode on a wheelbase that was two inches longer than the 250 GTE, and it included such advanced engineering features as Koni adjustable shock absorbers and a Dunlop dual-circuit braking system that gave both the front disc and rear disc brakes their own servo-assist. A true five-speed gearbox arrived in 1965, which replaced the overdrive unit. Only 455 examples of the handsome Series II 330 GT were built before the more aggressive yet less stately 365 GT arrived in 1967.
Ferrari 330 GT 2+2 Series II by Pininfarina 1966

The car shown here, chassis number 09089, is an original U.S.-delivery example that was built with power windows, instrumentation in miles, and factory air conditioning. It was originally finished in Amaranto (19379) with a Beige leather (VM 3218) interior and black carpets. After being completed by the factory in October 1966, it was shipped from Livorno, Italy, to New York aboard the S.S. Pia Costa. Upon arrival, it was sold by importer Luigi Chinetti Motors to a Mr. Kabalck, a New York resident who was a good, long-time customer of Chinetti’s, having earlier purchased a 342 America.
Ferrari 330 GT 2+2 Series II by Pininfarina 1966

After being sold in 1983, the car was acquired in 1987 by Dennis Ravallese, of Wayne, New Jersey, in whose ownership it would spend over 20 years. It was eventually acquired by the present owner, whose personal shop oversaw the fresh restoration that it presently wears. The body was stripped to bare metal and refinished in its original color. As the owner notes, the interior had been reupholstered some time earlier, and it was done to such a high standard, and in the original color, that he decided to leave it as-is. The engine was removed, fully serviced to operate well, and then reinstalled. All chrome, stainless trim, and the Borrani wire wheels have been replated to a high standard, and new, correct Michelin tires were mounted.

Rolls-Royce Phantom V Sedanca de Ville by James Young 1960 - World Of Classic Cars -

Rolls-Royce Phantom V Sedanca de Ville by James Young 1960

After building a mere 18 Phantom IV chassis strictly for ruling heads of state, Rolls-Royce turned back to offering a Phantom to the merely very wealthy for 1959. The Phantom V was based on an all-new chassis design and included a new V-8 engine, the same as in the Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud II; a Hydra-Matic automatic transmission; and servo-assisted braking. It was a tremendously expensive automobile that was produced solely to individual special-order. As on earlier Rolls-Royces, the tradition of bespoke custom coachwork continued, with the world’s few remaining coachbuilders turning out ash forms that were skinned in aluminum and finished in the owner’s choice of paint colors and trim.
Rolls-Royce Phantom V Sedanca de Ville by James Young 1960

Most desirable of the Phantom Vs are the bodies produced by James Young Ltd. At the time of the Phantom V’s production, H.J. Mulliner and Park Ward, James Young’s two main competitors, were both essentially (and later actually) owned by Rolls-Royce. Thus, the bodies they produced for the Phantom V eventually became “factory” bodies that were produced along the same basic lines and in relatively large numbers. Meanwhile, James Young continued to offer the same fully custom roster as before, with numerous unique styles to suit virtually any taste or use.
Rolls-Royce Phantom V Sedanca de Ville by James Young 1960

Among these was style number PV22SD, which was based on style number PV22, a sleek and popular touring limousine with graceful lines that minimized its size. “SD” refers to the sliding roof, which when open transforms this style into an open-drive town car, or, in Rolls-Royce parlance, a sedanca de Ville. By the early 1960s, popularity of this incredibly elegant style had waned, as most owners preferred to drive themselves. Yet, enough of a tiny market existed for James Young to continue to offer the style. The seven examples of style number PV22SD produced would be the final sedanca de Villes built on Rolls-Royce chassis. Among formal Phantom Vs, they are the most seldom sold, meriting the highest respect and often commanding the highest price.
Rolls-Royce Phantom V Sedanca de Ville by James Young 1960

The car presented here, chassis number 5AS95, may well be the most unique of those seven automobiles. It was ordered at a cost equivalent to $8,764 American dollars, for the chassis only, at a time when the average annual income in the United States was $5,100 and the average new car was $2,275. Simply put, once its James Young body had been fitted, this was undoubtedly one of the most expensive automobiles in the world. Then again, its original owner, Count Locan, who was also a collector of fine art, was known among his peers as a man who sought the best of everything, and, therefore, he spared no expense when ordering his new Rolls-Royce.
Rolls-Royce Phantom V Sedanca de Ville by James Young 1960

The rear compartment of this car is utterly commodious, as it features a sumptuous sofa upholstered in the finest beige West of England wool broadcloth. Across from the sofa and above a sea of fitted Wilton wool carpeting is burled walnut cabinetry. In fact, the entire compartment is surrounded by magnificent, rich burled walnut. The count specified that within the cabinetry there should be an exquisitely crafted cocktail bar filled with lead crystal decanters and flanked by folding picnic trays to support beverages and other refreshments. A pair of folding opera seats is provided, for the occasional carriage of servants or extra guests, while the main seat itself is fully adjustable, forwards and backwards, with the touch of a switch, and it faces a pair of carpeted hassock-style footrests.
Rolls-Royce Phantom V Sedanca de Ville by James Young 1960

The body was finished in gleaming Mason’s Black and embellished with “canework.” This feature was commonly applied to formal town cars during the 1910s and 1920s, as owners made the often difficult transition from carriage to automobile and wanted cars that resembled horse-drawn broughams. Accordingly, bodies were paneled in handmade caning, which eventually evolved into canework, which was essentially thickened paint painstakingly hand-applied in a very narrow crosshatch pattern while the body laid on its side. It was something of the automotive equivalent to hand-stitching lace, and it was an incredibly tedious, challenging process; today, it’s nearly a lost art. It lost popularity following World War II, but for gentlemen like Count Locan, it was a necessary touch of dignified elegance.
Rolls-Royce Phantom V Sedanca de Ville by James Young 1960

Outside of the high-roof “Canberra” Phantom Vs hand-built for Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth I, perhaps no Phantom V was as opulently fitted-out or as exquisitely finished as this spectacular Sedanca de Ville.
The car’s ownership history is fully documented by the Rolls-Royce Foundation and Rolls-Royce Enthusiasts’ Club, and their paperwork indicates that the Phantom V found its second owner in London in 1965. It was subsequently acquired by an esteemed Rolls-Royce specialist in California and was brought stateside in his hands in 1974. Since that time, it has benefitted from careful refurbishment and maintenance at the hands of marque specialists. In addition to all of the necessary mechanical maintenance and adjustments and the replating of the brightwork, the interior’s wood trim has been refinished and correct Wilton carpets were fitted. Furthermore, 5AS95 is featured on the cover of Lawrence Dalton’s respected marque text, Rolls-Royce: The Classic Elegance. A factory drawing of body style PV22SD, which this car wears, is also depicted on page 282.
Rolls-Royce Phantom V Sedanca de Ville by James Young 1960

Count Locan’s Phantom V ranks among the last truly custom, one-of-a-kind Rolls-Royces, and it marks the end of an era for automobiles that are truly a reflection of the opulent tastes of their original owners.

luni, 20 octombrie 2014

Ferrari 365 GTB/4 Daytona Berlinetta by Scaglietti 1973 - World Of Classic Cars

Ferrari 365 GTB/4 Daytona Berlinetta by Scaglietti 1973

The Ferrari 365 GTB/4 acquired its unofficial Daytona name after Ferrari swept the top three places of the 1967 race of the same name. Ferrari was reportedly quite put out when the Daytona name leaked out during testing, resulting in it never officially being applied to the model. In any case, the Daytona proved worthy of its namesake 12 years later, when a 1973 model, driven by John Morton and Tony Adamowitz, finished 2nd at Daytona in 1979, capping an extraordinary competition career.
When the Daytona was introduced at the 1968 Paris Salon, it had a tube-steel frame and its body featured a horizontal body-side crease below the level of the wheel wells. Early models had full-width plastic headlight covers, but U.S. regulations rejected covered lights, so elegant pop-up lights were created and fitted to all of the cars from 1970 onwards. The Kamm tail contained two taillights on each side, and aluminum was used for the doors, hood, and trunk lid. The Cromodora five-spoke wheels were standard and similar to the wheels used on Formula One cars at the time.
Ferrari 365 GTB/4 Daytona Berlinetta by Scaglietti 1973

The price of the 365 GTB/4 rose from $19,500 to $23,940 throughout the model’s five-year production run. But the Daytona’s mechanical specifications delivered on its claim to be the fastest production sports car in the world, with a top speed of 174 mph. The four-cam Colombo V-12 engine displaced 4.4 liters and generated an impressive 352 horsepower.
One of the first endorsements of the Daytona came from Le Mans-winner (for Ferrari) and lifetime auto journalist Paul Frere. He reported 176 mph in autostrada traffic in 1969 and observed that the radio was useless above 120 mph. Still, as he said, “If you go faster, it’s the engine that makes the music; the finest music of all to the ears of the enthusiast, and the music he can enjoy in a well-sprung car fitted with such amenities as electric window lifters, air conditioning… and a really capacious luggage locker—a Grand Touring car par excellence.”
Ferrari 365 GTB/4 Daytona Berlinetta by Scaglietti 1973

Competition Daytonas won the Tour de France in 1972, their class at Le Mans in 1973 and 1974, and their class at Daytona in 1973 and 1975. The 1973 Le Mans class-winning Charles Pozzi entry, driven by Vic Elford and Claude Ballot-Lena, was driven back to Paris following the race, proving the Daytona’s remarkable reliability.

CHASSIS NUMBER 16931

Chassis number 16931 was completed by the factory on October 16, 1973, as a U.S.-specification model with left-hand drive, Borletti air conditioning, a Becker Mexico radio/cassette player, and Cromodora magnesium wheels. It was finished in Rosso Chiaro (20-R-190) over Nero (VM 8500), the classic livery for any Ferrari berlinetta.
Ferrari 365 GTB/4 Daytona Berlinetta by Scaglietti 1973

The car was assigned to Chinetti-Garthwaite Inc., of Paoli, Pennsylvania, the renowned East Coast Ferrari distributorship owned by sports car impresario Al Garthwaite. On February 7, 1975, the Daytona was acquired by its original owner, John J. Turchi Jr., a contractor residing in Fairless Hills, Pennsylvania.
Mr. Turchi retained ownership of his Ferrari for over 15 years. In September 1991, it was acquired by a collection in California, and in their ownership, it underwent a complete mechanical inspection and a professional repaint in the original color, which cost over $45,000.
Ferrari 365 GTB/4 Daytona Berlinetta by Scaglietti 1973

Numerous Daytonas are available for sale every year, with the majority being either concours restorations or well-worn drivers. It is rare to find an example that has been preserved so carefully over passing years, and one that remains, thanks to careful conservatorship, still every bit the world-beating supercar that it was in 1973.
This car is one such Daytona. It is a wonderfully original car in a condition that can only be described as remarkable. The black leather interior appears to have seldom been used, with only scarce creasing; the instrument faces and windows are clear; and the carpets and dash cover show only the lightest of age. Chrome still shines throughout, and even the original data tags, wiring, and fittings under the hood are clean and undamaged. Of course, the car still runs and drives nicely, as it should, having recorded only 12,650 careful miles in its lifetime.

duminică, 19 octombrie 2014

SS 100 Jaguar 2½-Litre Roadster 1937 - World Of Classic Cars -

SS 100 Jaguar 2½-Litre Roadster 1937

The first true performance car from SS, the SS 100 “Jaguar,” breathed new life into the gorgeous design of its predecessor, the SS 90, as it had a revised radiator, new headlamps, and a sporty Le Mans-type fuel tank. Under the hood was markedly improved performance, as it featured a new 102-horsepower, overhead-valve, six-cylinder engine with a new cylinder head and dual SU carburetors. The model was named for the top speed that it could reach, 100 mph, and it quickly became popular with enthusiasts. That enthusiasm has never waned.
SS 100 marketing literature described it as having been “designed primarily for competition work…(but) equally suitable for ordinary road use, for despite the virility of its performance, it is sufficiently tractable for use as a fast touring car without modification.” Many owners took this to heart and used their cars both as primary transportation and in many forms of motorsport, including on hill climbs, rallies, and road races. As a result, an SS 100 was a common sight at such circuits as Donington Park and on RAC rallies.
SS 100 Jaguar 2½-Litre Roadster 1937

The 2½-Litre Roadster shown here is documented by its original sales ledger as having been sold by Layham’s Engineering Company, of Surrey, England, to Lawrence Evelyn Wood Pomeroy. Pomeroy was the son of the chief engineer of Vauxhall, who had designed the legendary “Prince Henry” model of 1913 and eventually built the first vehicle with aluminum-intensive construction. In 1936, the younger Pomeroy joined the prominent British motoring magazine The Motor, where he served as the technical editor for 22 years. He also authored the landmark history text The Grand Prix Car and coauthored Design and Behaviour of the Racing Car with Sir Stirling Moss.
SS 100 Jaguar 2½-Litre Roadster 1937

In 1953, the car was acquired from Mercury Motors, of Wembley, by Harry Wolfe. In 1958, the SS 100 then passed to Leslie Worley, of Sussex, who moved with the car to Malaysia. In his new home, Worley became an active vintage racer, eventually achieving the rank of president in the Malaysian Vintage Racing Club. His SS was driven in anger for two decades, and it was even pictured, being run by Worley at an MSCC sprint in Kuala Lumpur, in Terry McGrath’s The Forerunners of Jaguar, as well as in many Malaysian motoring publications of the era.
The Roadster returned to the United Kingdom in the 1970s and was restored while in the ownership of Richard Smith, during which it was finished in black. In this appearance, it was sold, sometime around 1984, to American enthusiast Norb Schaefer. While SS 100s have long been considered Classic Car Club of America Full Classics, few are regularly shown at the club’s events. Mr. Schaefer’s car was one of them, and it found time to earn its CCCA Senior award sometime between being raced at Elkhart Lake!
SS 100 Jaguar 2½-Litre Roadster 1937

In 2002, the car was sold to a Japanese owner. It has remained overseas until recently, and following a change of color to the present Gunmetal, it was a regular concours entrant in Japan. The SS 100 Registry even pictures it taking part in the first Jaguar Day celebration near Tokyo in 2003, and in fact, its immediate previous owner was a president of the Jaguar & Daimler Owners Club of Japan.
The car remains in concours condition, with a well-preserved restoration in colors that have a wonderful, period-correct appearance, red leather upholstery, and a black soft top. Chrome wire wheels, a rear-mounted spare, and the combination of both a full windshield and Brooklands racing screens give it the look that is appropriate of a proper British sporting car.

sâmbătă, 18 octombrie 2014

Ferrari F1-2000 2000 - World Of Classic Cars -

Ferrari F1-2000 2000

At the start of the 2000 Formula One season, Technical Director Ross Brawn said, “I think we’ve probably had the best car we have ever had at the beginning of the season since the present group has been working together here at Ferrari.” With team principal Jean Todt at the helm and drivers Michael Schumacher and Rubens Barrichello, the Ferrari dream team were starting their fourth year together and looked as if they could at last be in a position to win the World Championship, a feat that they had not accomplished since Jody Schekter won 21 seasons earlier in 1979.

SCHUMACHER’S FIRST WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP WITH THE SCUDERIA
Ferrari F1-2000 2000

Ferrari’s Formula One car for 2000, the F1-2000, was a completely new design. Utilizing a 90-degree V-10 instead of an 80-degree enabled Ross Brawn’s technical team to lower the center of gravity of the car and spend a great deal of attention on the aero package, which was substantially improved. For the first time, the Scuderia believed that they really had a strong chance of taking the fight to McLaren right from the first Grand Prix.
They were right. Schumacher took the checkered flag for the first race of the season in Australia, once more in Brazil two weeks later, and yet again at San Marino the following round of the championship. The Imola race was won, thanks not only to Schumacher’s sublime driving, but also to pit stop tactics for which Brawn had gained such an exemplary reputation. “Michael paced himself beautifully in order not to alert Häkkinen too much,” Brawn said. “Then as soon as Häkkinen was in the pits for a second time—bang!—Michael did the business. It was a race we won which they should have won thanks in part to that longer middle stint and in part to Michael putting in the fast lap times at exactly the right moment.”
Ferrari F1-2000 2000

However, Ferrari was not to have it all its own way. Midway through the season, Schumacher had a lead of 22 points, but after a series of non-finishes, by the Belgian Grand Prix at Spa he was tailing Häkkinen by six points. The fight back was about to begin. Schumacher won at Monza and yet again at Indianapolis. Victory at Suzuka in the Japanese Grand Prix meant that Ferrari and Michael Schumacher had clinched the World Championship; after 21 seasons and more than 340 races, Ferrari was back on top and the start of its domination of Formula One was about the begin. Schumacher had taken nine victories in 2000 and three further podiums.

CHASSIS 198
Ferrari F1-2000 2000

Chassis 198, the car presented here, was used as the team’s spare car throughout much of the season and was raced by Michael Schumacher twice. During qualifying at Interlagos for the Brazilian Grand Prix, Michael ran wide, badly damaging the underside of his race car, and he switched to this car. He qualified third on the grid. During the race, he battled with Häkkinen for the lead, Ferrari running a two-stop strategy to McLaren’s one-stop. In the end, it was an easy cruise to victory for Schumacher. Häkkinen’s engine blew up, and David Coulthard, in the second McLaren, was disqualified due to excessive wear on his front wing end plates.
Ferrari F1-2000 2000

Schumacher was ecstatic after the win, his second straight win from the start of the season. He said, “We made an obvious improvement to our starting strategy, I was able to catch Mika but I didn’t want to take a risk too soon and of course he was not keen to let me pass. I enjoyed our battle—it’s been a long time since there was a good fight and overtaking for the lead.”
Schumacher found himself behind the wheel of chassis 198 at the Spanish Grand Prix at the Circuit de Catalunya on May 7th. Schumacher qualified on pole position for the first time in the 2000 season (his 24th career pole). Michael led much of the race but a problem with the refueling nozzle and then a slow puncture dropped him back. He finished fifth. Chassis 198 would be driven by Schumacher yet again at the famed Monte Carlo Grand Prix, but he did not finish due to a broken pushrod.
Ferrari F1-2000 2000

Having taken both the Driver’s and Constructor’s Championships, the President of Ferrari, Luca di Montezemolo, spoke of the team’s technical strengths and solidarity created by Jean Todt: “The results are down to a group which we would like to keep unchanged, they are all linked by a common denominator, a passion for Ferrari, which is unique in the world. We have been at the top level for several years and we did not always get what we deserved. We can only try to be the best. I would also like to recall the great difficulties we had to overcome and the criticism, which often rained down on us. I often tell my colleagues that Ferrari would not be what it is without its critics. We are always a reference point, which is the destiny of the very best. We must not waiver in our duty, which is to keep winning.”

vineri, 17 octombrie 2014

Rickenbacker Eight Super Sport 1926 - World Of Classic Cars -

“A CAR WORTHY OF ITS NAME”
Rickenbacker Eight Super Sport 1926

Edward V. Rickenbacker was famously quoted as saying that “the four cornerstones of character on which the structure of this nation was built are initiative, imagination, individuality, and independence.” The man himself had all four in spades. He drove early Duesenberg race cars, was a teammate of the great Barney Oldfield, and when the U.S. entered World War I, he proceeded to become this country’s top flying ace, with 26 confirmed kills. He returned home as a celebrity, wrote a book, appeared in the society pages, and having done more in 30 years than most men accomplish in 75, he decided, why not build a car?
Rickenbacker Eight Super Sport 1926

The Rickenbacker was the product of early Detroit industry veterans Barney Everitt, William Metzger, and Walter Flanders, as well as a cadre of aging whiz kids recruited from the ranks of their former E-M-F Company. Captain Eddie donated mainly his name to the project, but he also did see to it that the car, launched in 1921, incorporated the best of racing-bred engineering. For instance, in 1923 the Rickenbacker was blessed with four-wheel brakes, which was an American first that was shared with the elite Duesenberg and the obscure Colonial.
Most of the Nickel Era automobile manufacturers that came and went ended with their most spectacular products, usually as a last-ditch effort to attract sales, and so it was with Rickenbacker, which debuted the Super Sport, a spectacular creation on a tuned, 107-horsepower Vertical Eight Superfine chassis, at the 1926 New York Auto Show. It was essentially a cabin monoplane on wheels that boasted low-slung Edmund & Jones headlamps, laminated mahogany “airfoil bumpers,” cycle fenders that turned with the front wheels, teak trim and safety glass throughout, and a comfortable interior swathed in rich leather, with a racing-inspired dashboard layout. On the New York show car, every piece of bright metal trim was copper-plated, down to the little airplane on the radiator shell and the custom-made Buffalo wire wheels.
Rickenbacker Eight Super Sport 1926

Former Rickenbacker factory employee Whitman Daly, interviewed by the late Beverly Rae Kimes, informed her that at least 30 Super Sport bodies had been ordered and painted. Kimes concluded, however, that only between 14 and 17 Super Sports were actually completed, and they were offered up to the top Rickenbacker dealers in the country. Richard Mellin, of Mellin & Moran in Wyandotte, Michigan, did not need cajoling, and he reportedly made a rather audacious offer of $10,000 for the very copper-bedecked machine he had admired in New York. It arrived at his showroom’s doorstep in 1927.

SOLE SURVIVOR
Rickenbacker Eight Super Sport 1926

The Super Sport became Richard Mellin’s personal car, and apparently a rather treasured one, as he seldom drove it and it continued to be maintained by his wife after his untimely passing. It was eventually given to the Mellins’ grandson, John F. “Bud” Mellin, as a high-school graduation gift, and he also appreciated the car. For decades, it was driven occasionally during the summer, spending the rest of the time on blocks in his garage.
In 1973, Bud Mellin was visited by Bud Catlett, the chief “scout” for legendary collector William Harrah. Bill Harrah’s predilection for one-offs and sole survivors was well known, and for some years, the only known Super Sport had been high on his list. Catlett had come to specialize in finding the unfound for his boss, and after tracking rumors and tips, he ended up at the Mellin home, where he succeeded in buying the Super Sport, with 11,616 miles on the odometer, from its original owners.
Rickenbacker Eight Super Sport 1926

For the next decade, the Rickenbacker resided in the famed showrooms at Harrah’s Automobile Collection, where, in its original condition, it was admired by many. Among the many was Thomas J. Lester, of Lester Tire fame, who was a well-known collector and enthusiast and a personal friend of Bill Harrah. Lester was utterly taken by the Super Sport, and he spent several years trying to convince Harrah to sell it to him. He finally succeeded in 1983, as the Harrah collection was being dismantled following its owner’s passing.
Two years later, in 1985, the Super Sport was carefully restored back to its original condition by Eric and Vivian LaVine’s well-known shop in Nappanee, Indiana. Not surprisingly, given its three-owner history and low mileage, it was virtually entirely complete. The original teak trim had been largely painted over, and the copper was tarnished, but everything important was there, which allowed the LaVines to restore the car to its exact original show appearance. The result gleamed as it had back in 1926, and it remained a favorite in the Lester Collection for some years.
Rickenbacker Eight Super Sport 1926

The Super Sport’s revival garnered quite a bit of attention. Beverly Rae Kimes featured it as the Salon car of the January 1987 issue of Road & Track, and she described it again in her 1990 book, The Classic Car. John F. Katz wrote about it for Volume 24, Number 2 of Automobile Quarterly, and it appeared as the cover car of the March/April 1987 issue of Antique Automobile after winning its AACA Senior honors.
Bob Pond purchased the Super Sport in 2001. It was one of the centerpieces and most famous cars of his iconic collection, and it has memorably and appropriately been featured for many years in the Palm Springs Air Museum.
Rickenbacker Eight Super Sport 1926

All that has been found of any other Super Sport was a stripped engine and chassis that was unearthed in a Southern scrapyard. This car is the only intact survivor of what Kimes memorably referred to as “Captain Eddie’s swiftest flight of fancy.” It is the ultimate automotive expression of the aviation age.