Tag Archives: Corvette

Barrett Jackson Auction 2016

The collector cars that show up at the Barrett Jackson Auction in Scottsdale each year can give you a good idea of what trends we will be seeing. It also, re-enforces my belief in the collector car hobby.

Barrett Jackson Auction hot rod

This year was big for the restomod Corvettes. I lost count of how many crossed the block this year. High end quality and style brought out some big money for these cars. However, compared to what is invested into building one of these cars, you could consider it a bargain. It is nothing to have $200,000 to $300,000 or more invested in one of these high-end builds. So buying a ’67 Corvette restomod for $125,000-$150,000 could be considered a steal! With the amount of restomod Corvettes on the market, prices should stay well below the cost to build one.

Barrett Jackson Auction 64 Corvette

Another trend that is continuing is the popularity of the cars from the 80’s and 90’s. They have found a place in the collector car market and continue to go up in value. So keep a lookout for a nice, fox body Mustang, Monte Carlo SS, Grand National, Iroc Z, GTA Trans Am, or Hurst Oldsmobile from the 80’s. It just might be worth more than what someone is willing to sell it for.

Barrett Jackson Auction Camaro

Lastly, the hot rod market is in transition. While the hobby is strong, it is aging rapidly. There will continue to be some high quality hot rods from the 1920’s, 30’s, and 40’s come available in the near future and unless a younger generation embraces it, the prices will continue to go down. Watching the collector car hobby is like watching the stock market. Except for me, it is a lot more fun!

Driving Tour Draws the Classics

Spring weather rolled through the Ohio Valley just in time for the annual Spring Classic Driving Tour, providing the best Saturday of the month for classic, collector and sports car enthusiasts to get behind the wheel for a day of fun. This event is an embodiment of “the Journey is the Destination.” Participants meander across southwest Ohio on roads picked more for their character, scenery and lack of traffic than the direction of travel.

Apr 18, 2015: Motoring in Focus Spring Classic Driving Tour.

Photo courtesy of Jeff Loewe

This early season cruise came complete with moderate temperatures and cloudless skies, leading to a lot of top down motoring and the associated development of “Cabriolet tans.” In total, 86 cars (mostly sports cars) drove from the east side of Cincinnati for the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains — about 60 miles to the east in Adams County, Ohio.

Apr 18, 2015: Motoring in Focus Spring Classic Driving Tour.

Photo courtesy of Jeff Loewe

The area is geographically intense. The proximity of the Appalachian Mountains and ancient glaciation make for a landscape that reminds drivers why they bought a sports car. The elevation can change dramatically as the roads flash to and fro, following creeks through the gorges as they drop toward the Ohio River Valley.

The variety of cars entered this year made for quite a scene at the start of the event. About a dozen people showed up early just to enjoy the ad hoc car show before the start of the cruise!

Apr 18, 2015: Motoring in Focus Spring Classic Driving Tour.

Photo courtesy of Scott Tengen

Porsche was the most prolific brand on the tour, with 356, 912, 911, 944, Cayenne, Cayman and Boxster models on the road. VW was represented by a Karmann Ghia, a Thing, a Baja Bug modified Beetle and a fun loving group of car lovers having a good time. Several BMWs drove, including a Z8, Z4, M5 and 2002.

Apr 18, 2015: Motoring in Focus Spring Classic Driving Tour.

Photo courtesy of Jeff Loewe

MG owners turned out in TC, TD, TF, Y-type, Midget and MGB models to experience roads similar to those found in the UK. Almost as many Austin Healey enthusiasts made the grid in 100-6, 3000 and Sprite models, along with one Jensen Healey. Triumph drivers brought a variety of interesting machines — including TR3, TR250 and TR6 — to the party.

Apr 18, 2015: Motoring in Focus Spring Classic Driving Tour.

Photo courtesy of Scott Tengen

Ferrari’s 512TR, 575, 360 and 308 Dino, along with a Lamborghini Spyder, brought wonderful sounds and ultra-exotic coachwork. Other Italians included an Alfa Romeo Milano Verde and a classic GTV with a twin plug two-litre under the hood, a Fiat 500 and a Maserati Spyder. A Gran Turismo supplied more eye and ear candy.

Apr 18, 2015: Motoring in Focus Spring Classic Driving Tour.

Photo courtesy of Jeff Loewe

Corvettes came in the guise of C-3, C-4 and C-6, along with corporate performance mate Buick’s Grand National, bringing traditional American power (and plenty of it!).

Apr 18, 2015: Motoring in Focus Spring Classic Driving Tour.

Photo courtesy of Jeff Loewe

Additional machinery from Audi, Datsun, Dodge, Jaguar, Mazda, Mercedes-Benz, Mini, Morgan, Nissan GTR, Saab, Volvo spent the day winding along the ridges and through the valleys.  And a couple of grocery getter types tagged along with our rolling car show.

The number of entries prompted the organizers to plot two routes — one for late model cars and the other for vintage cars. The distinct routes allowed each group member to enjoy his or her car’s performance as originally intended.

The late model route went farther, faster, and included several legs on wide-open state highways, allowing the drivers to experience the strength of their machinery. The vintage cars concentrated on roads suited to smaller, lighter, ultra-nimble models. Three stops were planned for each route to allow the drivers and navigators to get out for a stretch and walk about — a necessity when traveling in cars made primarily for performance rather than comfort.

Apr 18, 2015: Motoring in Focus Spring Classic Driving Tour.

Photo courtesy of Scott Tengen

Finding facilities that can park 40-45 cars in a picturesque, rural county can be challenging. The organizers relied heavily on Adams County Convention & Visitors Bureau director Tom Cross for suggestions.

Each group visited an Amish market with a furniture outlet, bulk food store, sandwich shop, and bakeries filled with pies, cakes, breads, pretzels and other goodies. The Amish ladies will weave custom baskets too; several car owners were spotted measuring back seats and luggage racks to fit a basket that could be filled with pies for a safe journey home.

Antiquing is prevalent in the area and is a fitting breather from some of the character-filled roads; several stores in the area feature dealership, service station and other auto-related collectibles. The Rooster’s Nest Antiques and Barn Sale Antiques welcomed the sports cars and took them for a journey into the past. About this time, the folks with the grocery getter-type cars were getting very popular, those little sports cars were never known for cargo space!

The late model group wound its way along Ohio Brush Creek to the Tranquility State Wildlife Area, a scenic wooded area that is also home to the John T. Wilson Homestead, a nationally-recognized historic site. The John T. Wilson Homestead dates back to the 1820s, when it was a general store. Later, it was a station on the Underground Railroad. It has been authentically restored by Ralph and Patty Alexander and now operates as a bed & breakfast.

Apr 18, 2015: Motoring in Focus Spring Classic Driving Tour.

Photo courtesy of Jeff Loewe

The vintage car group followed the John Hunt Morgan Heritage Trail around the county and visited the JZN Goat Farm, to the delight of kids (as in, baby goats) and people alike. Cheese and goat milk was sampled and many folks fed the young goats. This proved to be a popular destination. We listened to interesting commentary by Gayla Fritzhand on the making of goat cheese and milk. The goats were pretty entertaining, too.

Overall, the destinations offered a bit of diversion from the serious “car guy” stuff and provided entertainment for some of our not-as-enthusiastic enthusiasts.

The final leg of the driving tour celebrated hills, curves, twists and dales as the two itineraries merged for the final destination: the Moyer Vineyard Winery & Restaurant in Manchester, Ohio. Offering fine dining and refreshing beverages after 120 miles of four-wheeled fun, the restaurant was packed with colorful, exotic machines. Departing west for home took many on a sunset cruise along the mighty Ohio River.

Experienced motorsports photographers Jeff Loewe and Scott Tengen photographed the proceedings and offer galleries (click on their names to view) for your enjoyment.

1992 Acura NSX

Every so often a car manufacturer builds a car that is so outside of its normal range that the whole automotive world stops and stares at it. Such was the case with the Acura NSX. Beginning as early as 1984, Honda had Ferrari squarely in its sights as it prepared to enter he world supercar market. Their benchmark vehicles were the world-class Italian sports cars of the day, and Acura even commissioned Pininfarina to design the first prototypes, with direction that the car needed to be as fast as anything coming out of Italy or Germany, but with superior reliability and a lower price point.

1992 Acura NSX rear

Much like high-performance aircraft or racing hydroplanes, the NSX’s cab-forward design with the power plant behind the driver optimizes visibility and at the same time, allows a very low center of gravity, great weight distribution, and thus, impressive high-speed stability. Much of the technology was derived from Honda’s successful F1 Motorsports program, including the all-aluminum engine’s ability to gloriously rev to 8,000 RPMs.

1992 Acura NSX front hood

3.0 Liter DOHC Aluminum V-6 engine,
270 HP,
5-speed manual gearbox,
4-wheel independent double wishbone suspension,
99.6” wheelbase

1992 Acura NSX engine

The NSX was the first production car to feature an all-aluminum monocoque body, incorporating a revolutionary extruded aluminum alloy frame and suspension. The use of aluminum in the body alone saved nearly 440 lbs. in weight over the steel equivalent, while the aluminum suspension saved an additional 44 lbs. Other notable performance features include an independent 4-channel anti-lock disc brake system, titanium connecting rods in the engine to permit reliable high-rpm operation, an electric power steering system, and Honda’s proprietary VTEC variable valve timing system. Chassis and suspension input came from the top, with no less that Formula One Champion Ayrton Senna and Indy 500 Champion Bobby Rahal lending their considerable race car experience to create the ultimate handling road car.

1992 Acura NSX left door

The proof of their success came in several forms. With a recorded 0 – 60 time of 5.03 and a very quick 13.47 in the quarter mile, the NSX is undeniably world-class fast. Second, the NSX has proven to be one of the most reliable and easy to service supercars of all time, with many examples able to exceed 200,000 miles of active driving before major engine service is requited. Third, numerous industry awards followed, including the coveted Automobile of the Year from Automobile Magazine and rave performance reviews from Motor Trend after the NSX stood out above the 911s and Corvettes of the day on the track.