3 February 2016

Five oddballs from the Scottsdale auctions

For the most part, the Scottsdale classic car auctions cater to collectors with fairly conventional (albeit extravagant) tastes. “For the most part” being the operative term here. But for those dedicated eccentrics who look hard enough, there can be some mighty odd stuff lurking behind the Mustangs and Corvettes. Here are five of our favorite odd ducks:

  1. 1991 Lancia Thema (Silver Auctions)- This may be the first Lancia Thema to appear at a U.S. auction. Those who have no idea what a Thema is can be excused. Most Americans have never seen one. The Thema was an Italian four-door sedan that shared the same platform as the Saab 9000 and Alfa Romeo 164. The difference here was the fact that the Thema sported a genuine, flat plane crank 3.2L Ferrari V8. While the car itself was fairly non-descript, the exhaust note was anything but. Still, the car failed to find a buyer.

  2. 1969 Tatra 603 (Russo and Steele)- If a Citroen DS simply isn’t weird enough, have we got the car for you: The streamlined, fish-like Tatra 603 sports a rear-mounted, air-cooled 2.5-liter V-8. Built in a country that no longer exists (Czechoslovakia), the Tatra 603 is exceedingly rare in the U.S. and even in its native country where only heroes of socialist labor and high Communist Party officials could buy them. Obviously no party officials were in attendance as the car was bid to $40,000 but failed to sell.

  3. 1961 Vespa 400 (Russo and Steele)- Built in France to an Italian design (what could possibly go wrong here?) the 400 cc Vespa was terrifically cute but did little else well as an automobile. With just 14 hp, the Vespa could barely make it to 50 mph. Even that took over 25 seconds. Did we mention it’s cute as heck? It sold for $17,160.

  4. 1960 Goggomobil TS400 (Barrett-Jackson)- An ideal matched set with the Vespa, it is perhaps even cuter than the above Vespa microcar. With just four more horsepower on tap, performance was roughly the same. The owners of the Vespa and Goggo could potentially race each other and nobody on the planet would have any idea they were racing.

  5. 1993 Talbo (Russo and Steele)- The Talbo is a loose reproduction of the 1930s Talbot-Lago with coachwork by Figoni et Falaschi. Real ones fetch over $4 million. These nicely put-together replicas have small-block Ford V8 power and don’t fetch $4M.

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