All posts by Heacock Classic

Heacock Classic Insurance operates out of Lakeland, FL, and is a major contributor to the American Modern Insurance Group family. Bob DeKorne has been a licensed Collector Car Insurance agent for over 15 years, but has been addicted to vintage cars and motorcycles far longer. He counts racing on the Bonneville Salt Flats in a 12 cylinder 1926 Pierce Arrow as his finest automotive moment.

1956 Chevrolet Cameo Pickup

Although the 1956 Chevrolet Cameo was destined by price to never be a high volume seller, it is of crucial historical importance, bringing passenger-car styling elements into the truck world for the first time in a serious way. Today, every truck collector in the world would love to own a sweet Cameo.

56 Chevrolet Cameo

Chevy stepped up in the mid-1950’s, developing light truck with a “Modern Design for Modern Hauling.” Forward-slanting windshield pillars on the “Panoramic” wraparound windshield combined with a new upper cab structure, hooded headlamps and shapely wheel openings to form an all-new profile. Suddenly, trucks weren’t just for work anymore. Though the Cameo’s pickup box was a standard item, fiberglass rear fenders were built in the Corvette plant and broadened it to the same width as the front end, producing a smooth flow-through look. Chuck Jordan, former head of GM Design, earned credit for the design, a precursor to many generations of Chevy trucks.

1956 Chevrolet Cameo engine

  • 350 ci V-8 engine,
  • 250 HP,
  • 700-R overdrive automatic transmission,
  • independent front suspension,
  • rear semi-elliptic leaf springs,
  • 114” wheelbase

 

Much like Chevy’s cars of the day, the Cameo sported an eggcrate grille, wraparound front bumper, and a third more glass than the previous 3100 Series. The interior also was more car-like — particularly the dashboard, which featured a fan-shaped speedometer and needle gauges, with a top finished in textured black to cut down on reflections. Even standard models had breathable two-tone upholstery, and the Cameo had a new frame, longer leaf springs, wider track, and a two-inch-shorter, 114-inch wheelbase.

1956 Chevrolet Cameo side

The Cameo we photographed in Houston is simply stunning in Bombay Ivory with Red accents throughout, with the 2-tone motif extending from the bed to the art-deco dash. The paint and bodywork is impeccable, with crisp paint lines, fresh trim bits, and excellent panel gaps. Even the rubber trim and glass are in as-new condition, with the chrome and all polished fittings following suit.

1956 Chevrolet Cameo interior

The bed of this truck is just as nice, with the original wood highlighted by a vibrant red bed and those hand laid-up white fiberglass fenders that caused such a stir. The smooth tailgate and ultra-cool rear end may not have been designed for farm use, but today, this truck-in-a-tuxedo is prized for its landmark design and upscale image. Driving the finest “gentleman’s pickup” from the 50’s is quite an experience, but this fine Cameo takes it over the top, providing the owner with unique style and great road manners to proudly enjoy.

1956 Chevrolet Cameo rear

1959 Pontiac Catalina Tri-Power Convertible

A fully equipped Pontiac Catalina in 1959 was one of the most powerful and desirable cars available from General Motors, but car styling was leaping forward at a record pace towards the jet age 60’s. The Catalina represents the debut year for many of Pontiac’s trademark features that would propel them to record sales just a few years later. From 1950 to 1958, all Pontiac Hardtops were designated Catalinas, but in 1959, they created a one-year only lineup of multiple Catalina body styles, including sleek new sedans, coupes, Safari wagons, and convertibles. The Catalina wheelbase was stretched to 122”, and they all carried the distinctive split-grille styling treatment, which was a fortuitous design accident that became a trademark for decades.

59 Pontiac Catalina Conv

  • 289 ci Tri-Power V-8 engine,
  • 345 HP,
  • 4-speed Hydra-Matic automatic transmission,
  • independent front suspension,
  • semi-elliptic leaf springs,
  • four wheel power drum brakes, 122” wheelbase

 

9 Pontiac Catalina engine

Pontiac designers were experimenting with a design for a conventional, full width oval grille, containing horizontal quad headlights, and in frustration, they cut it in two pieces and transposed the halves. With the lights remaining at the extremities, this gave them the new split center, open-ended look for the ‘59 Catalina. Along with the wider body came a wide track chassis that was a full 5” wider, which really pushed the wheels outward to fill up the fenders. This not only improved the appearance of the car, but Pontiac engineers discovered that pushing the wheels further out also led to vast improvements in ride and handling – hence the term “Wide Track” which Pontiac would use in its promotional efforts for many years to come.

59 Pontiac Catalina Convertible

The Catalina also had more to offer than most of its rivals under the hood, where a 389 CI V-8 was the biggest engine in its class, and in the case of this rare convertible, when equipped with the rare optional Tri Power carburetion setup, where 3 Rochester 2 barrel carbs make a class-leading 345 HP. Coupled with the 4-speed Hydra-Matic automatic transmission, this big 2-door convertible remains clean and correct under the hood, and a first class highway cruiser today.

1959 Pontiac Catalina

This factory-born Cardinal Red convertible was assembled in Canada and fully restored in 2012, with a lovely paint finish and sharp bodywork. The custom interior is very cool, the glittering chromed wire wheels and whitewall tires look new, and the dash is simply incredible. The big six-person convertible features both power steering and brakes, making it a comfortable boulevard cruiser that’s both reliable and very easy to drive.

1959 Pontiac Catalina interior

Pontiac enthusiasts know that the ’59 Catalinas are quite rare, especially the Tri-Power Convertibles, and will always be looked at as the start of the big, wide, powerful era at Pontiac, and these features propelled Pontiac to great success for the next several decades.

1955 Ford Crown Victoria

1955 was a great year to be shopping for your first new car. Chevy finally had a V-8, and their new styling looked as cool as Kim Novak in a swimsuit. Plymouth was hotter than ever, strutting the first year of Virgil Exner’s “Forward Look” styling and boasting a V-8 of its own. Ford, whose overhead-valve V-8 was now in its second year, sported many advanced styling themes, with a deliberately strong association to the exciting new Thunderbird. The top of the line Ford Crown Victoria, new for 1955 and sporting a new wrap-around windshield, tubeless tires, disc wheel covers and tons of new options, was one of the icons of the “2 tone paint and chrome” era, sporting a unique chrome-pillar roofline, and in the case of the car presented here, the factory correct two-tone turquoise and white color scheme both inside and out.

55 Ford Fairlane Crown Victoria

This Ford Crown Victoria was a solid, no rust Texas car when it received a ground up restoration in 2001. New paint, chrome, and a great two-tone interior remain in outstanding condition, and beautiful wire wheels round out the spectacular presentation of this fine vehicle. The paint retains a fine lustre, and the trademark “bright metal roof transverse molding”, along with the distinctive side spear, showcase the impressive level of attention to detail this car received during restoration. With a huge new panoramic windshield and that distinctive roofline, Ford designers had succeeded in setting the car apart in the crowded luxury car field, and established the Crown Victoria as the very top offering from Dearborn.

55 Ford Crown Vic trunk

The example pictured here retains it’s complete and correct drivetrain, and was meticulously restored to original stock condition. It is nicely equipped with the 272 ci Y-block V8, Ford-o-matic automatic transmission, power steering, power brakes, and everything is very tidy and correct under the hood.

55 Ford Crown Vic

The Ford Crown Victoria’s were lower and longer than any fixed roof cars that Ford had ever produced, and certainly one of the most attractive and rare post-war Fords. The quality is evident inside and out, and exclusivity is assured, since these rare Crown Vics were only produced in 1955 and 1956.

55 Ford Crown Vic interior

1959 Porsche 356A/1600 Super Convertible D

Before the onset of World War II in 1939, Ferdinand “Ferry” Porsche was developing three Type 64 cars for a Berlin to Rome automobile race in 1939, but the event was cancelled due to the hostilities in Europe. Not until after WWII would the next Porsche be built – a mid-engine tubular chassis 356 prototype called “No. 1”, which remains on display in Stuttgart to this day. This prototype has led to some debate as to the “first” Porsche automobile, but Porsche itself considers the steel-bodied 356 to be its first production model in 1950. Its reputation as a lightweight and nimble handling two-door sports car with a reliable powertrain was the key factor in the post-war resurgence that Porsche enjoyed for many years.

59 Porsche 356 right side

  • 1,582 cc four-cylinder 616/2 Super engine,
  • four-speed manual transaxle,
  • four-wheel independent suspension
  • and four-wheel hydraulic drum brakes; wheelbase: 82.7”

 

59 Porsche 356 engine

Little noticed at its inception, except for a small number of auto racing enthusiasts, the first 356s sold primarily in Austria and Germany. It took Porsche two years, starting with the first prototype in 1948, to manufacture the first 50 automobiles, but soon the 356 had gained some renown among enthusiasts on both sides of the Atlantic for its aerodynamics, handling, and excellent build quality. Porsche’s Class Win at Le Mans in 1951 was clearly a turning point in world recognition for the brand.

59 Porsche 356 driver side

By 1956, the 356 in all forms had been continually developed into one of the world’s most respected sports cars. This feat was quite remarkable considering that Porsche as a company was only celebrating its eighth anniversary. The evolution of the Porsche 356 was swift and further impelled not only by Porsche’s drive for technical improvement but also commercial success. By 1958 the Speedster model was four years old and sales were declining. Porsche realized that significant improvements were necessary to attract buyers, despite the market for a “weekend racer”. The Porsche 356A Convertible D was the replacement in 1959, and with Reutter coachworks straining to keep up with the demand, Porsche contracted with the Drauz Company in Heilbronn to manufacture the bodies for the Convertible D (the “D” stood for Karosseriewerke Drauz KG).

59 Porsche 356 right side

The new “Convertible D” featured a taller, more practical windshield allowing improved headroom, roll-up glass side-windows and far more supportive seats. The Convertible D model is arguably the rarest production Porsche 356 model ever manufactured for a full year, with just 1,331 produced between August 1958 and September 1959, with a fraction of those (estimated at 300) ordered with the high compression Super engine. It’s replacement came along in the form of the 356B Roadster Convertible, introduced in 1960. Alas, the sports car market’s love affair with top-down motoring was fading, and soft-top 356 model sales declined significantly in the early 1960s. Today’s market feels quite differently, and clearly the late Type A Super cars remain the high-water mark for 356 collectability.

59 Porsche 356 interior

The car we photographed near Dallas is the rare 1959 Convertible D, produced late in the run on August 7, 1959, the tenth from the last produced as confirmed by the Porsche Certificate of Authenticity obtained by the car’s long-term caretaker. It retains the original options of reclining bucket seats, chrome luggage rack, clock, and the factory safety belts it was shipped with in 1959, and with the factory Super engine, this rare Convertible D represents one of the most desirable Porsches of the entire era.

1948 Chrysler Town and Country Convertible Coupe

Walter P. Chrysler founded the Chrysler Corporation on June 6, 1925, when the Maxwell Motor Company was re-organized into the Chrysler Corporation. The Chrysler was initially a six-cylinder automobile, but Walter steered them towards a full line offering, including everything from trucks to luxury cars. This period of great success earned Chrysler a place at the table in Detroit known as the Big Three.

1948 Chrysler Town and Country  engine

 

  • 323.5 ci Inline 8 cylinder L-head engine,
  • 135 HP,
  • Fluid Drive automatic transmission,
  • independent front coil-spring suspension,
  • rear semi-elliptic leaf springs,
  • 127.5” wheelbase

 
Many of the cars that brought Chrysler through the war years and beyond were designed by Raymond H. Dietrich with the aid of Chrysler’s Art and Color Department. As swiftly as the production of civilian cars came to an abrupt halt at the onset of World War II, it was resumed at nearly twice the speed in 1946. The Big Three scrambled to meet the imminent demand of excited new car buyers; however, Chrysler did so with a bit more creative gusto that helped institute immediate demand for some of their new models. The height of luxury at the time was the Town and Country convertible.
 
One of the most memorable post-war Chryslers ever built, the Town and Country’s steel front end was all Town and the White Ash wooden-bodied rear was all Country, and these elegant automobiles were equally at home in Manhattan or on your country estate.

1948 Chrysler Town and Country front

This fine automobile is freshly finished in the correct Chrysler Blue, with excellent chrome and trim throughout. The presentation of the car is top shelf from any angle. The 1948 Town and Country is highly sought after for CCCA Tours, as it is one of the most elegant and easy to drive Full Classics you can find. This car will earn the lucky new owner an entrance into any of their events, and would be a hit at the National Woodie Club shows as well.

The car features lovely new blue and cream leather upholstery that complements the new cut-pile carpeting throughout the spacious cabin. The elegant interior includes the fully original dashboard, which is one of the great designs of the era, complete with the factory heater, clock and AM radio. It’s all topped off by a new matching Haartz cloth top that is beautifully fitted and power operated, and even the trunk is restored in the correct materials, with the factory jack and spare.

1948 Chrysler Town and Country Conv  rear

The original woodwork is spectacular on this car, with ash slats that are neatly finger joined, and expertly refinished with just the right amount of gloss. All of the inserts are new, with the correct Di-Noc red mahogany being used, and the impact of the craftsmanship is immediate when you see the car.

The 323.5 ci L-head 8 cylinder engine readily finds a quiet idle upon starting and is very clean and nicely detailed, and mated to the innovative semi-automatic Fluid Drive transmission, the car runs and drives as new. The wide whitewall tires and hubcaps are all in fine condition, making it obvious to anyone that this is a beautifully sorted luxury car that is fully capable on modern roads.

1948 Chrysler Town and Country door

With only 8,368 built in 1948 and far fewer surviving, these big Chryslers have long been a top tier collector car, and that long history of increasing values is a testament to the Town and Country’s lasting appeal among enthusiasts who recognize post-war elegance at its best.

1952 Buick Super Estate Wagon

The 1952 Buick Estate Wagon was the most expensive of all the Buicks built that year, and with such a steep base price, only 1,830 customers were able to give one a home.  It was a desirable choice for affluent moms with growing families across the country. The Estate Wagons were sent to Ionia, Michigan partially completed for the fabrication of the wood components. The car would then be mounted on a jig and assembled on a small production line. When finished, they were shipped back to Buick in Flint for final assembly.  It was a slow process but those craftsmen were able to create some amazingly beautiful cars that remain incredibly desirable today.

1952 Buick Super Estate Woodie Wagon left side

A beautiful “woodie” such as this is not only a fine investment, but also an attention getting statement of quality and style wherever it is driven.  The 1952 Estate Wagon makes a wonderfully useful classic that harkens back to an era of fine craftsmanship, yet it is able to perform admirably on modern roads at highway speeds.

1952 Buick Super Estate Woodie Wagon engine

 

  • 263 ci inline eight cylinder Dynaflash engine,
  • 120 HP,
  • automatic transmission,
  • independent front coil spring suspension,
  • live rear axle,
  • four-wheel power assist hydraulic brakes,
  • 129” wheelbase

1952 Buick Super Estate Woodie Wagon trunk

Buick began with a standard chassis and incorporated styling inspired by Harley Earl’s concept and Motorama cars, and the stylish Estate Wagons began as a limited production rolling tribute to all the design inspirations from General Motors that had transpired in the prior years.  Under the hood of this beauty is the original 263 cubic inch straight eight Dynaflash engine mated to a reliable Dynaflow automatic transmission. The engine was a proven power plant, which drove the horsepower to a sprightly 120.

1952 Buick Super Estate Woodie Wagon emblem

The end of the production of the Buick Estate Wagon in 1953 meant the end of the mass-produced wood-bodied station wagon in the United States for good.

 

 

1972 Jaguar XK E Roadster

Originally designed for Jaguar by Malcolm Sayer as a replacement for the legendry D-Type, the E-Type would soon be known as one of the most desirable automotive designs ever. None other than Enzo Ferrari called it “the most beautiful automobile in the world”, and nothing could touch its performance throughout the late 60’s.

After years of testing and development, the company introduced its first production V-12 to the market in 1971. The new 5.3-liter V-12 was the first mass-produced V-12 to come to market in over 20 years and Jaguar’s first new engine since the début of the post-war XK120 in 1948. The new motor was offered in roadster and 2+2 configurations only, with the longer 105” wheelbase chassis introduced in 1966. Jaguar also widened the front and rear track to accommodate the more powerful motor, which also necessitated a longer hood with a low mounted air intake and larger grille. Flared wheel arches accommodate larger tires necessary to handle the increase in power. The “Big Cat” could easily reach 145 MPH, and could achieve 0-60 MPH in less than 7 seconds.

1972 Jaguar XKE Edwards

The new E-type’s debut was at the New York Auto Show on March 25, 1971. Known to aficionados as a Series III, the V-12 was offered from 1971–1974. During the four-year production run, a total of 15,287 examples were produced, including 1,718 roadsters in 1972. Painted a classic combination of Old English White over dark blue, this lovely E-Type is wearing the color scheme with which it was born, and 95% of the paint is original, save a few minor paint chip repairs in 1990. It has never been restored, and the engine has never been out of the car. It was photographed today with just 6,400 original miles.

1972 Jaguar XKE Edwards 11

1972 represents a great year for the E-Type, as the worst period smog restrictions were not yet in place, and the US Safety regulations did not yet require the large bumpers that would appear in 1973. With its longer wheelbase, the Series III E-Type features more legroom and luxury than ever, and is one of the great Grand Touring autos of all time. In any condition, a V12 E-Type represents an amazing entry into the world of 12-cylinder motoring, and in this case, it’s an example that has literally never been altered.

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.

1966 Lincoln Continental Convertible

Beginning in 1961, Elwood Engle’s striking modern design for the newly named Lincoln Continental began an immensely successful decade for the big Lincoln flagship.  It was one of the last vehicles to be completely designed by one man, and soon, every other car manufacturer was imitating its cohesive style.  Certain features like the distinctive grille and front opening rear doors became Lincoln trademarks throughout the entire decade.

1966 Lincoln Continental Convertible front

462 ci V-8 engine,
340 HP,
3-speed automatic transmission,
independent front suspension,
semi-elliptic rear suspension,
front disc and rear drum brakes,
126” wheelbase

1966 Lincoln Continental Convertible engine

By 1964, the wheelbase was extended 3 inches, and in 1966, the first 2-door Lincoln since 1960 was launched.  The V-8 engine was pumped up from 430 to 462 cubic inches, and the car was also given all-new exterior sheet metal and a stylish new interior design. Parking lights and front turn signals went back into the front bumper, and tail lights were set inside the rear bumper for the first time.

1966 Lincoln Continental Convertible interior

The 1966 convertibles were improved with select technical changes related to lowering and raising the top. Lincoln engineers separated the hydraulics for the top and rear deck lid by adding a second pump and eliminating the hydraulic solenoids. A glass rear window replaced the previous years’ plastic windows. Sales increased to 54,755 units for the model year, but just 6% of those were the 4-door convertibles.  By 1967, the Lincoln Continental 4-door convertible was gone, the last 4-door fully open car available in the US.

1966 Lincoln Continental Convertible right side

The 1966 Lincoln Continentals were fresh, powerful, quiet, and smooth, and represent everything a luxury car buyer could have possibly wanted in 1966, and they remain just as popular among Lincoln enthusiasts and collectors today.

 

1956 Ferrari 290MM

The sheer volume of truly significant automobiles at the 2015 Amelia Island Concours is breathtaking, but none were more significant to me than the display of race cars owned and driven by Sir Stirling Moss at the far end of the Ritz Carlton’s 18th fairway. The 1956 Ferrari 290MM car was presented in impeccable condition out of the Pierrey Collection in London.

Sir Stirling Moss with the 1956 Ferrari 290 MM

The Ferrari 290 MM displayed at the 20th Annual Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance was restored by the Classiche Department at Ferrari in 2014, was awarded the “The Chairman’s Choice Trophy for the Car Found Most Appealing by the Chairman”, simply confirming for us Bill Warner’s impeccable taste. Final approval for the award came from Honorary Chairman Sir Stirling Moss himself, who played a big role in the Ferrari’s impressive race history.

1956 Ferarri 290MM Sir Stirling

Built in 1956 to take part in sports prototype competitions, this 290 MM (chassis 0628M) actually started life as an 860 Monza powered by a large-displacement 4-cylinder. Its maiden race was the Mille Miglia in which it competed as an official works car, finishing second overall at the hands of Englishman Peter Collins. Photographer Louis Klemantaski served as co-driver, documenting the 1000-mile race with his camera along the way.

56 Ferarri 290MM  Sir Stirling

In that same year, the Ferrari also came second in the Coppa d’Oro delle Dolomiti with Olivier Gendebien and Jacques Washer as well as third in the Targa Florio, with Hans Herrmann and Gendebien and in the Aosta-Gran San Bernardo in the hands of Italian driver, Umberto Maglioli.

1956 Ferarri 290MM

At the end of 1956, however, Enzo Ferrari decided to replace the 4-cylinder engine with a 12-cylinder and the car was renamed the 290 MM. It made its debut at the Buenos Aires 1000 Kilometres in January during which Wolfgang Von Trips, Peter Collins and Eugenio Castellotti drove it to third position.

Late in the 1957 season Stirling Moss raced this Ferrari twice for the Temple Buell team at the fourth Bahamas Speed Week in Nassau, winning the 100-mile Nassau Trophy and the 250-mile Governor’s Trophy. The races were significant as Moss’ first drives in a V-12 Ferrari sports racing car. The following year, Dan Gurney delivered a second-place finish in the 290 MM at the International Formula Libre Grand Prix at Watkins Glen and 0628M continued racing until 1961.

1956 Ferarri 290MM Sir Stirling interior

Years later, the 290 MM embarked on a second career, competing in the classic car races like the Mille Miglia Retrospective and Monterey Historics, in addition to honored spots at both the Pebble Beach Concours and Cavallino Classic. Chassis 0628M through the years underwent major modifications after an accident, but eventually it was sent directly to the Classiche Department for restoration to its original form. It appeared at the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance 2015 wearing its number from the 1957 Sebring 12 Hours, as raced by Phil Hill and Wolfgang von Trips.