Most of us buy stuff on eBay at one time or another. A few of us even buy our cars there--but I’ll bet you’ve never met these unusual offerings. My friend Brad Berman is the new curator of the eBay Motors blog, and he plucked these totally cool cars out of the many thousands for sale on the auction site.
Stickshift... How Unsubtle! Linda Vaughn was what Berman described as a “buxom beauty queen,” and she reigned as Miss Hurst Golden Shifter in the early 1970s. Hurst, as you recall, made shifters, and Vaughn toured with a 1970 Chrysler 300H convertible with a giant shifter mounted on the trunk.
“Vaughn considered herself a sales rep for the company,” Berman said. “She was knowledgeable about Hurst shifters, and had a Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) license.” She did tours for Formula 1, and went with NASCAR’s Richard Petty and drag racer Don “Big Daddy” Garlits to Vietnam. She’s still into cars, and was inducted into the Drag Racing Hall of Fame in 2000.
What’s for sale is the very well-preserved Chrysler, known as the “Parade Float,” now minus the rather suggestive big shifter and the platform Vaughn used to stand on, alas.
Ready for a Nightcap. This custom-built 1950 Rolls-Royce Silver Wraith with coachwork by H.J. Mulliner of London was the only two-passenger drophead (convertible) the body builder ever made. I saw it once at the Greenwich Concours, and it was spectacular (as well as prize-winning).
The post-war Silver Wraith was a smaller, modernized car from the premium automaker; this one sports a six-cylinder engine and a four-speed manual transmission. Mulliner bodied 1,783 Silver Wraiths in both closed and open formats.
The original owner (an American living in Britain) was a Mrs. Sylvia Rhodes, who decided she didn’t need a rumble seat—and had a beautifully crafted liquor cabinet installed in its place. Decanters and highball glasses are at the ready. The liquor cabinet was long gone when the car began a 5,000-hour restoration, but some clues—and interviews with survivors who remembered the car—led to its recreation.
“The restorer, known for his meticulous work, did the necessary forensics,” Berman said. The buy-it-now price for this Rolls is a cool $2.1 million, and you still have time to bid. Sorry, 40-year-old single malt not included. It’s a very high-point restoration. Here’s video showing the liquor cabinet, and more:
The Mustang Gallops Again. There’s quite a lot of dispute over who has the very first 1965 Mustang (or 1964 and a half, if you insist). The story goes that this long-buried Indy Pace car convertible was built in the very first hour of Mustang production, then whisked off the assembly line (with two companions) by none other than Lee Iaccoca, then a Ford vice president.
As it happened, the other two Mustangs had problems (one was a prototype and had to be scrapped, and the other had mechanical problems). So only one Mustang, our car, circled the Brickyard that year. It’s hardly stock—the original 260-cubic-inch engine was pulled and tuners Holman Moody substituted a 289 as seen in the GT40. It was lowered and also got stiffened suspension. The car was reportedly good for 140 mph, though it doesn’t appear many people got to test that proposition.
After the Indy 500, the Mustang became a parade car and driver loaner at Sebring International Raceway in Florida, then was put away in storage in 1973—with only 3,000 miles on it. So let’s see, a very early car, genuine early tuner cred, historical significance as a pace car. And totally restored. Might be worth a few bucks, eh? The sale ended a week ago at $1.099 million.
Keep on Trucking. As we all know, the punky/pop group Green Day went number one with a bullet, and that did wonders for the members’ bottom line. According to a New Zealand Herald report, the members amassed a collection of more than 100 collector and sports car, drove them for a while, then parked them in a Southern California warehouse. “I’m not sure why they stored their cars down there, since they’re an East Bay band,” Berman said.
The 1963 Microbus double cab crew pickup belonged to bassist Mike Dirnt, who gave it an updated engine (2.3 liters) and uprated the brakes, suspension and driveline, as well as adding four-wheel discs, a Sidewinder exhaust, and a custom red-and-black velvet interior.
The piece de resistance is a custom Eriba puck camper that gets towed by the Microbus—it’s fully equipped for camping with a rebuilt stove, sink, refrigerator, custom cabinets and (one assumes) a killer stereo. The van and trailer went for a mere $40,600—seems cheap for a car with celebrity cachet. But when was Green Day’s last hit?
Bucking Tradition. Minnesota’s Chrus Runge works out of a rural barn, hand-forming sheet aluminum on wooden body bucks. That’s very old school, the way Ferdinand Porsche did it when Germany was still a smoking ruin in the aftermath of World War II.
Runge builds his version of old Porsche racers, using original company chassis and engines, but building the authentic hand-beaten bodies to order on top. The 35-year-old works 60 hours a week, and puts 1,300 hours into his cars. He completed the first one in the summer of 2012, and has since built three more. The car he’s selling is number five, and the lucky buyer gets to specify whether it will be a convertible or coupe. That, and the driver’s seat will be contoured to fit his or her body.
The buy-it-now price for the car (modeled after a Glocker 550 Spyder) is $100,000, which seems reasonable, especially considering the power plant’s provenance. The tubular chassis was adapted from a 1960 356, with pre-A brakes, and the engine is circa 1962, a bored-over 120-horsepower unit rebuilt by master craftsman Ray Litz of Competition Engineering in California.
Here’s Runge, who makes a good salesman for his handicraft on video: