The Best/Weirdest/Rarest Cars at the
2016 Scottsdale Auctions
1976 Cadillac Mirage: Call it what you want, the El Camino’s fancy cousin or the Escalade EXT’s slightly classier grandfather, either way the Mirage represents a strange time at GM. It’s a rare car, with only 200-ish examples having been ordered by the General from custom legend Gene Whitfield and likely significantly fewer extant examples remaining. It may not be to everyone’s taste but there is no denying that, in the words of Hunter S. Thompson, the Mirage is indeed too weird to live and too rare to die.
1963 1/2 Ford Galaxie “R-Code”:The sixties were a heady time for American car makers. The big three were locked in a pissing contest to see who could make the fastest, yet most pedestrian-looking car. Dodge had the Coronet WO23 and Chevrolet had the SS409 and Ford had the rare “R-Code” Galaxie. Equipped with Ford’s mighty 427 cubic inch V8 and a four-speed transmission, the R-Code cars featured (in addition to the increased displacement over the 406 cu in engine) dual Holley carburetors and a solid lifter camshaft. Those who really wanted to out-drag their buddies could purchase aluminum heads as a dealer option.
1987 Buick Grand National GNX: Arguably the best car to come out of Detroit in the 1980s, the GNX was a monument to questionable build quality and relentless acceleration. The Buick turbo 6 was lovingly massaged by McLaren Performance Technologies to produce a woefully underrated 245 horsepower and 360 lb-ft of torque. It cost an eye watering $30k and could be had in any color you wanted so long as it was black. Darth Vader, your old car is for sale in Arizona.
1952 Chevrolet 3800 Pickup “Dust Tite”: While it could be argued that as a society we’ve reached Steve McQueen saturation, his weirder rides will always be cool. Enter his ’52 Chevy pickup and camper that he used for cross-country camping trips. The camper was a custom job and featured, among other things, a reinforced roof making it ideal for spectating during motorsports events. The truck is largely in the condition in which he purchased it in 1978. We’d be kind of blah over any other McQueen stuff but this truck and camper totally gets a pass.
1968 Amphicar 770 Convertible: Yeah, it’s an Amphicar. It’s a ride for the collector who has both every other car on Earth AND a death wish that involves drowning in a lake somewhere. That said, it’s still cool and represents a time of unbridled optimism in car design that we hope is never repeated. Life jackets not included.
1972 Ferrari 365 GTC/4: The 365 GTC/4, aka the Daytona’s unpopular sibling, has a lot going for it. It’s rare, they only made like 500 of them in 1971 and 1972 and to our eyes its as pretty as the Daytona. Pininfarina didn’t exactly swing for the fences but it’s a pretty car. Yes, it probably still drives like a truck, but the 4.4 Columbo V12 makes all the right noises and these can be had for under a million. We think its awesome, but then again some people in our office like the 400i, so make of that what you will.
1950 Ferrari 166 MM/195 S Berlinetta Le Mans: Of course we had to put at least one incredibly esoteric, cataclysmically expensive old Ferrari on the list. We’re not monsters, after all. We’re big fans of Ferraris that aren’t red and we love this body shape. This particular example has a rich competition history and would make any true Tifosi collapse on the ground while speaking in tongues if they saw it driving in the wild. We wish we had more hands so we could give it additional thumbs up.
1957 Fiat 600 Mirafiori: The Fiat 600 Mirafiori is an incredibly strange looking little car. Everything about it is odd from the wooden bumpers to the fact that it looks like it’s driving backwards all the time. This car, and its incredible greenhouse, easily rank among the coolest things that Fiat ever did. Hats off, gents.
1962 Facel Vega Facel II: Facel Vega is not a name that everyone has heard of, which is a shame since they built arguably some of the best grand touring cars of the 1950s and 60s. In fact, if people know the name at all it’s usually as a result of the death of famed existentialist author Albert Camus in an HK500, then the fastest production car in the world. The Facel II is a sleeker, smoother looking sibling to the HK500. So, be you sufficiently moneyed, plunk down a few hundred grand on this Facel and open yourself to the gentle indifference of the world.
1957 Mercedes 300 SL Roadster: There is something unassailably cool about unrestored 300 SLs. If you’re like us, when Jay Leno did the video on his absolutely hammered-looking gull-wing, you lost your mind. The truth is, we actually prefer the roadster to the gullwing, and this one looks like its in perfect driving condition. We’d do unforgivable things to pull up to a valet in this thing, hopefully with it leaking oil and blowing some smoke, and just feel like the coolest dude in the next three zip codes.
1984 Renault R5 Turbo: Nothing about this car is a good idea in the traditional sense. It’s a French hatchback of questionable build quality with a punishing weight balance and heaps of turbo lag. Having never piloted one of these little terrors, we can only imagine the driving experience being described as “hairy”. That said, we want one immediately, this one being “arrest me” red is a bonus as it will make the job of finding your wreckage (after you lift mid-corner and careen off of a cliffside) that much easier on the search and rescue guys. If any of you buys this, we would like to offer you a heartfelt bon chance!
1975 Ferrari 365 GT4 Berlinetta Boxer: This car eventually turned into the 512bb and the V12-powered electric shaver-looking Testarossa (which we’re 90% sure was actually MADE OF COCAINE) and as much as we love those cars, neither of them hold a candle to their forebear in terms of style. Scaglietti absolutely crushed this design job. It’s beautiful and rare and probably undervalued. We’d advise future owners purchase copies of Ram Jam’s “Black Betty” and Night Ranger’s “Sister Christian” and drive around blasting them at top volume. Go on, live the dream.
1988 Porsche 959 “Komfort”: The 959 is one of those rare cars that manages to retain its impressiveness throughout time. Take a ride in a 959 and you’ll have a sense of how far ahead Porsche was thinking in the mid-eighties. The partially water-cooled turbocharged flat six is good for a 4.5 second dash to 60mph and unlike the 911 turbo of the time, wasn’t a lag-plagued hellbeast to drive. The 959 also had driver adjustable ride height, a six-speed transmission with a crawler gear, kevlar body panels and hollow magnesium wheels. Sure, it looked a little weird but we can forgive that. Also, keeping one on the road isn’t exactly cheap. If your bank account doesn’t resemble the gross national product of a central American country, maybe just find one to ogle in a museum.
1977 Porsche Turbo Carrera: The 930 has always had a reputation as being something of a widowmaker, that reputation was built on the back of the early 3.0L non-intercooled Turbo Carreras. The way that these cars deliver power is unlike anything else. It’s the best and worst of turbo technology. These cars are appreciating like crazy, thanks in part to the efforts of the marque’s bearded and be-dreadlocked cheerleader, Magnus Walker. Really though, don’t be a moron and they’re really not that hard to drive (in the dry). Every car enthusiast should have one on their bucket list.
1989 Aston Martin Lagonda Series 4 Sedan: The Lagonda of the late eighties brought together all of our favorite aspects of British car design: harrowing reliability, half-baked stabs at too-advanced technology, weird styling, and “that’ll do” build quality. I know that sounds negative but really, we love the Lagonda. Owning any British car should be a deeply masochistic experience and this car should provide just that. It has CRT tv screens in the dash! Come on! How was that a good plan? But still, if you bought this one you’d be the only person driving one that works and in our opinion, that’s quite a feather to have in one’s cap. Also, you have to be brave to buy this and we’re pretty sure that that’s a ticket straight to automotive Valhalla.