In the late 1980s, four European car marques launched competing midsize cars all based on the same “Type 4” platform. The Saab 9000 normalized Saab quirkiness. The Alfa Romeo 164 brought Alfa style and “reliability” to the states for about a minute. The Fiat Croma was a misspelled non-word. It also never made it across the Atlantic, thereby making it better than every Fiat 500L ever. The Lancia Thema likewise never made it over, but it had one thing the others lacked. A “Ferrari” V8.
It’s been a busier than usual couple of weeks living in car Mecca. This past week was the Holy Grail – Scottsdale Arizona Auction Week. (For those not interested in “alternative facts,” Scottsdale only hosts most of the auctions. RM is in Phoenix. Silver is on the Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation.) …
This is Patrick Nichols, a charming fella from Tennessee. Behind him is a 1970 Chevelle. Not like Brian’s from high school – this one wasn’t built for grandma.
The good news: it is an L78, which means it has a Muncie M21 4 speed and a 12-bolt, 4:10:1 Positraction differential to turn the output of its 396 big-block V8 with “aluminum low-rise intake, solid-lifter cam, 11.0:1 compression, square-port heads, and a Holley 780-cfm carb” into blazing speed. Basically, as built, it was the best Chevelle ever. It’s one of about 2,144.
The good and or bad news depending on your feelings on barn finds: this car was sitting in a storage lot for 33 years or so. But, it was in Fresno. There’s oxidation – it’s now the main color, but it is a surface decoration, not a death sentence. And, unlike forgotten cars in Phoenix, the rubber bits are old, but not reduced to powder by the unrelenting sun and heat.
The origin story for this find is here. The future of this car, whether a restoration or “as found” starts here. It sells Thursday, January 19. You can bid by phone if you’re not in Scottsdale swimming in auctions like us.
[Ed.: Too late. It sold for a hammer price of $27,000 (plus fees and buyer’s premium)].
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What to drive if you think all it takes to lure Mrs. Kensington is the right silhouette.
Still, I love it. I LOVE the look of it. I love the backstory.
What I really really love is the chance to shoot it in a garage. A little bit steampunk, A little bit postmodern industrial grunge. A whole lot of ruin porn.
It’s for sale on January 18 in Scottsdale. If you win it, I am happy to store it in my garage for a while. As long as you don’t mind some value added “weathering.” [Ed.: somebody bought it for $374,000.]
Slide show after the jump.Continue reading