Buck­ley’s mar­ket mat­ters

Classic Sports Car - - The Marketplace -

A re­cent vis­i­tor to my shed pointed out some­thing I’ve never thought of be­fore when it comes to Amer­i­can cars: they peaked in terms of tech­nol­ogy in the late ’50s and ’60s (and sim­ply got worse after ’69), be­cause the best en­gi­neers had moved out of the mo­tor in­dus­try to work for NASA.

I feel that there is an el­e­ment of truth in that, al­though it is no eas­ier to prove or dis­prove than the story about Porsche de­sign­ing the flat-six air-cooled engine for the Cor­vair, an­other new one on me, but from a dif­fer­ent source.

It’s usu­ally all As­tons and Jags on site at my neigh­bour Cotswold Clas­sic Car Restora­tions (and there’s noth­ing wrong with that), but some more un­usual stuff has turned up of late, in­clud­ing an Audi 100S Coupé, sup­pos­edly the ‘poor man’s’ As­ton V8, hotly tipped to be a col­lectable: I think it was a bit pedes­trian for my dad, who de­cided against buy­ing one in the late ’70s in favour of a 3.0 CSL.

The Audi is not an ex­cit­ing car, but it is a nice one and the clean­est ex­am­ple I’ve seen in years – and at £25k, the most ex­pen­sive, too. A beau­ti­ful Peu­geot 404 in­jec­tion cabri­o­let has also ap­peared – it’s not for sale, but would, pre­sum­ably, com­mand more than dou­ble that. Not so an early (man­ual) Ford Thun­der­bird – a glance on­line re­veals that th­ese are cu­ri­ously cheap for such a ‘sig­nif­i­cant’ de­sign. It’s odd how they seem nowhere near as rar­efied and un­ap­proach­able as in the late ’70s when I watched Ve­gas hero Dan Tanna (Robert Ul­rich) park his red T-bird in his liv­ing room.

Back in the real world, I had the chance of a lovely, fully op­tioned 124-se­ries Merc 320TE, but gave it a miss due to gear­box prob­lems. How­ever, the same very fas­tid­i­ous gen­tle­man also had a Range Rover P38 he needed to sell (with the best his­tory file I’ve ever seen). I can’t get that ex­cited about it (it’s too new), but it had to be bought.

And it looks as if the R129 SL has been swapped for one of my old Gamma sa­loons. I didn’t want it back (it’s in bits, await­ing a paint job it didn’t re­ally need), but it got the deal on the SL done.

Left: did Porsche de­sign the Cor­vair’s flat-six, muses Buck­ley? Below: is it just us who are sur­prised by the Thun­der­bird’s rel­a­tively low value at present?

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