Lou Costable of My Car Story got the chance to get up close and personal with an extremely rare car. In the video above, Costable utilizes an intimate view of an original 1936 Ford Stainless Steel Tudor Deluxe Touring Sedan on load to the Early Ford V8 Foundation Museum. Built at the end of the 1936 model year production run, Ford built six cars identical to this for Alleghany Ludlum Steel Company to use as promotion and incentive pieces. The top salesmen of each of the six company districts would get to drive the car for an entire year.
Four of the six cars still remain intact and accounted for. For the other two, one is said to have been in an accident and destroyed and the other is flat out missing. For all is known, it could be in the barn down the street from your house. Each of the cars were daily drivers for the salesmen. The travelling racked up a reported 200,000 miles on each vehicle by the time they were retired from the Alleghany Ludlum fleet in 1946.
This particular car is from the Chicago district. It is the only privately owned vehicle of the survivors; the rest are in museums or the company headquarters. The car went through a complete restoration in recent years. Every single part was touched, cleaned up and painted or refinished. The stainless steel panels, said to have damaged Henry Ford’s stamping tools because of the material’s strength, were meticulously sanded and polished to a shine. The original cars were left with stainless steel panels in a raw and unfinished state. Many believe the mirror finish is part of the mesmerizing draw this car has.
Stainless steel is an excellent material. Unfortunately it was not one that was meant to be used for automotive sheetmetal. Check out the video above for more info on this gorgeous and unique car.
Article courtesy of Street Legal TV, written by Jake headlee.
For such a small auto manufacturer, Frazer made several noteworthy automobiles that were loaded with many distinctive styling attributes. Some were produced in such limited numbers that they are rarely seen today, or even known about. One of those models is this striking 1951 Manhattan convertible.
The Kaiser Frazer Club held their winter meet at the recent AACA show in Vero Beach, Florida, with this beautiful blue Manhattan convertible stealing the show. It captivated people throughout the day, and its dazzling color and unfamiliar body style had many car enthusiasts scratching their heads in disbelief. It was brought to the show from Sheboygan, Wisconsin, by its enthusiastic owner, Lowell Johnson.
For the 1951 model year, Frazer offered four different models. In the Standard line, there was a four-door sedan and a four-door utility sedan, more commonly known as the Vagabond. Combined total production was just 9,931 cars: 6,900 Standard sedans and 3,000 Vagabonds. In the more upscale Manhattan trim line, there were also only two distinct models offered: a four-door hardtop sedan, of which just 152 were built, and this very rare four-door convertible model that had a production run of a scant 131 units. Back in 1951 it retailed for a pricey $3,075, so it’s no wonder that so few were produced.
Power was never the Frazer’s strong suit, as its 226.2-cubic-inch flathead straight-six engine produced just 115 horsepower. When combined with the car’s fairly heavy weight of 3,941 pounds, its performance, shall we say, was lacking. However, these cars weren’t built for speed, rather for comfortable, reliable cruising, which is what the Manhattan did so well. It provided its six passengers with plenty of room, and with the open top, a truly matchless motoring experience.
Article courtesy of Hemmings Daily, written by Richard Lentinello.
Intended as a shot across Ford’s bow, Pontiac’s Banshee XP-833 coupe was an answer to Ford’s Cougar II show car, and Pontiac brass felt confident they could bring the Banshee to market before Ford launched its own two-seater. History tells us that neither car saw production, but a glimpse at the Banshee gives us a look at design cues that would later appear on the third-generation Corvette and the first-generation Firebird. One of two first-generation Banshees built (the other a white convertible that’s long been a part of Joe Bortz’s collection), the silver coupe will head to auction later this month as part of the Dragone sale in Greenwich, Connecticut.
The initial success of Ford’s Mustang left GM scrambling to offer a counterpoint, and it would take until 1967 before the Chevrolet Camaro and Pontiac Firebird hit dealerships. Determined not to make the same mistake twice, Pontiac head John DeLorean asked his designers to come up with a lightweight two-seat sports car, one that could be brought to market for the 1967 model year, potentially ahead of the Ford Cougar II that was rumored to be bound for production. Two first-generation Banshees were put together, using an A-body chassis and fiberglass-reinforced plastic body panels. The convertible was built with a V-8, but GM management reportedly felt that such a car would be too close in positioning to the Corvette.
The coupe was powered by an overhead camshaft inline six-cylinder, fitted with a crossflow head and reportedly good for 155 horsepower. Given the Banshee’s curb weight below 2,300 pounds, even such a modest engine would have produced spirited performance, while delivering exceptional handling. The Banshee, at least in the eyes of Pontiac executives, would complement the Corvette, offering buyers of more modest means another GM two-seat sports car to choose from.
As Bob Hovorka wrote in the February 1989 issue of Special Interest Autos, production of the Banshee was never seriously considered by GM management. Perhaps any challenge to the Corvette as GM’s sole two-seat sports car was seen as too much, or perhaps the Ford Cougar II was never seen as a serious candidate for production, but in 1966 the first Banshee project was scrapped. The cars should have been as well, but rumor has it they escaped the crusher by being secreted away and later sold to employees close to the project. Both coupe and convertible are semi-functional drivers, minus key details like functional headlamps.
The coupe remained with its original owner until 2006, when it sold at a Barrett-Jackson auction for $214,500. Since then, it’s been offered for sale numerous times, including a trip across the stage at RM’s 2010 Amelia Island sale, where it bid to $325,000 but failed to meet reserve, and at Mecum’s 2010 Monterey sale, where it bid to $400,000 without changing hands. It’s twice been featured as a Find of the Day in the Hemmings Daily, but neither running included a price in the listing.
Officially, the third-generation Corvette was inspired by the 1965 Mako Shark II concept, but one has to wonder how much the concept was itself inspired by the Banshee. Even if the answer is “not at all,” it’s impossible not to see the Banshee’s influence on the first generation Firebird’s rear and on the production Opel GT, which seems to duplicate the Banshee’s pop-up headlamps, sloping nose, fastback roof and Kamm tail in slightly smaller scale. Perhaps John DeLorean and his designers were onto something after all.
Dragone Auctions is predicting a selling price between $600,000 and $650,000 when the 1964 Pontiac Banshee XP-833 crosses the stage on May 30 as part of its 2015 Greenwich Car Event Weekend auction. For complete details, visit DragoneClassic.com.
Article courtesy of Hemmings Daily, written by Kurt Ernst.
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According to one estimate, more people saw the Lincoln X-100 concept car than any other Ford concept car before or since. Ford trotted it out just about anywhere it could: dealership openings, freeway openings, ice cream stand openings, you name it. But that was during the mid-1950s, when the car was new, and while The Henry Ford has had it on display for many years since then, the museum has decided to continue the tradition of maximum exposure for the car by showing it at this year’s Keels and Wheels concours.
Discounting a number of experimental cars and Edsel Ford’s hot rods—which might have gone on public display but were built primarily for his personal use—the X-100 represents Ford’s first proper concept car as we recognize them today. It previewed styling cues for future production models; it wowed the crowds at various auto shows; and it boasted whiz-bang technology that seemed to come from the far-flung future. And it wouldn’t have come about if it weren’t for Ford’s rivalry with General Motors.
As Jim and Cheryl Farrell relate in their book Ford Design Department Concept and Showcars, 1932-1961, the X-100 got its start in about 1949 with designer Joe Oros, who had heard from some former GM designers that the company was working on multiple high-technology concept cars—cars that would eventually be revealed in 1951 as the LeSabre and the XP-300. More pressing, though, Oros, who was working on the 1952 Ford’s design at the time, desperately wanted to use the big round jet exhaust-like taillamps that Advanced Studio designer Gil Spear had used on the Cutlass, one of several 3/8-scale clay styling models he created for Ford in the late 1940s. Oros believed those taillamps could become a design hallmark for Ford and that the best way to keep other companies (like GM) from using it was to debut it on a concept car first.
Oros got his way and his boss, George Walker, assigned him the project, working out of the Lincoln studio. He took the rear third of the X-100 almost straight from Spear’s Cutlass, but reworked the rest of the car’s design to include a retractable clear roof section and its hooded headlamps over a protruding front bumper.
According to the Farrells, word about the X-100 got around the Ford executive offices as it took shape, and even Henry Ford II stopped by to examine it while it was still in progress, believing the car had the potential to become the next Lincoln Continental. To that end, the studio renamed the car the Continental 195X. Though based on a 1952 Lincoln chassis and drivetrain, the Continental 195X featured a number of advancements under the skin, including a de Dion-style independent rear suspension, power brakes and power steering, and a 1952 Lincoln Y-block overhead-valve V-8 with five carburetors on a “Multi-plex throat” intake manifold: one central four-barrel carburetor and four additional two-barrel carburetors around the four-barrel. The Continental 195X also used Firestone radial-ply tires, reportedly making it the first Ford vehicle to use radials.
Ford introduced the Continental 195X in January 1952 at the Chicago Auto Show as a pushmobile, possibly with a fiberglass body and certainly with Continental badging on it. And though Henry Ford II championed the car as the next Continental, his brother, William Clay Ford—whom Henry Ford II tasked with the Continental Mark II project—found that potential Continental buyers preferred a more formal design.
Not to let all that work go to waste, Ford renamed the car the X-100, removed the Continental badging, and assigned engineer Hiram Pacific the task of making it a fully functioning car. That meant not only tuning the quintuple-carbureted Y-block to run properly, but also getting all of the promised geegaws working. In addition to the power retractable top section—which would close automatically when it began to rain thanks to a water sensor mounted to the roof—the X-100 also featured built-in hydraulic jacks, heated seats front and rear, memory power seats, power hood and trunk lid, hot and cold windshield washer sprays, a center console with a telephone and dictaphone and an electric shaver, and thermostatically controlled fans to cool the front brakes.
All the gizmos and the revamped steel body not only added a severe load to the electrical system but also plenty of weight overall. Pacific upgraded the car to 12 volt with circuit breakers to handle the electrical load and had to have the tires specially made and many extra gussets placed in the frame to handle the car’s 6,300 or so pounds.
But work it did when Ford re-debuted it as part of the company’s 50th anniversary celebrations in the summer of 1953. That fall, Ford then shipped it to Europe for the Paris Auto Show, the Earl’s Court Auto Show, and the Bonn and Köln auto shows. Around the end of the year, it returned to the States and spent the next year and a half touring the country, stopping by at dealerships, shows, fairs and any other opportunity for publicity. It even co-starred with Lauren Bacall in the 1954 movie Woman’s World. What’s more, the Farrells note, it drove to all of those appointments in Europe and the United States, accumulating more than 12,000 miles in the process.
Ford took the X-100 off the show circuit in February 1955 and officially retired it a couple years later then in 1958 gave it to The Henry Ford, where it has remained ever since. In the 1990s it appeared twice at the Pebble Beach Concours and once at Meadow Brook, and more recently it appeared as part of a dream cars display at the Heritage Museum and Gardens in Sandwich, Massachusetts.
The 20th annual Keels and Wheels Concours d’Elegance, where the X-100 will next go on display, will take place May 2-3 in Seabrook, Texas. For more information, visit Keels-Wheels.com.
Article courtesy of Hemmings Daily, written by Daniel Strohl.
When it first came out, the Dodge Charger III concept car drew a lot of comparisons to the Chevrolet Corvette, which was only natural, given the fact that it was a two-seater with a good amount of tech infused into it and those curvy front fenders that did look very much like the then-new Stingray.
But the comparison was really a loose one. The Corvette didn’t have nearly as much rearward bias to the cockpit as the Charger III, and it wasn’t nearly as hunkered down and futur-y wedge-y sharp-edged as the Charger III. The Cheetah might have made just as apt a comparison, or maybe any of those wedge-shaped supercars just then starting to come out of the Italian design houses.
And if we’re just looking at the funky doorless cockpit operation, again we might turn to what was coming out of Europe, or even to the Astro I of the year before or to Chevrolet’s Corvair Monza GT of 1962.
We might compare the Charger III to another 1968 two-seater concept car, the Pontiac Banshee II, which Pontiac renamed the Fiero in 1969. It has that long nose coming to a slight beak with the hidden headlamps and crowned fenders, yes, but it’s neither a coupe nor does it have the extreme cockpit setback. But we’re getting close.
I’d argue instead that there’s a lot of the Charger III in the 1969 Pontiac Cirrus and vice versa. The proportions are strikingly similar, both feature atypical entry methods (the Cirrus requires the driver and passenger to enter from the rear, much like an airliner cockpit), and both take a lot of design cues from fighter jets, including giant air brake flaps that emerge from the rear body panels.
But wait, the Cirrus debuted at the Texas State Fair in October 1969, long after the Charger III made its public debut, so how could it have possibly influenced the Charger III? Perhaps because the Cirrus was based on the GM-X Stiletto, one of multiple concept vehicles that GM introduced at the 1964 World’s Fair. GM merely updated and renamed it for the 1968 show season, keeping all the Stiletto’s gadgets, but still not bothering to install a drivetrain and upgrade it from pushmobile status.
Like our previous separated at birth comparison, we may never know if one directly influenced the other, nor are we accusing one or the other of stealing the design. After all, many of these elements were simply part of the automotive zeitgeist of the mid- to late 1960s (and beyond), so the designers behind the Stiletto/Cirrus and the Charger III may have simply come to similar ends via different means. In either case, it’s a shame we never saw such futuristic vehicles make their way to production.
Article courtesy of Hemmings Daily, written by Daniel Strohl.