19 Aug

1968 Concept Car Exemplar I Developed in Connecticut by Bridgeport Brass Co.


Bridgeport, CT – Designed by Mario Revelli, a leading automotive designer in the day, and built by Coggiola Carrozziere as a prototype in Turin, Italy, Exemplar I was commissioned by the Bridgeport Brass Company in cooperation with the Copper Development Association. The car’s purpose was to present engineering innovations for greater safety, comfort and performance and to demonstrate new decorative applications for copper and bronze.

A contemporary article in the April 26, 1968 issue of The Chicago Tribune by John McDonnell described the car as follows:

Brass Copper Used to Trim Exemplar I; Prototype Auto’s an Engineer’s Dream
“Exemplar I is a prototype car designed to show how brass and copper can be just as effective for decorative trim as chrome and stainless steel. But it is much more than that, as visitors at the Design Engineers Show in the International Amphitheater (in Chicago) found out this week. Exemplar I is an engineer’s dream. In addition to its racy styling by Italian Mario Revelli, the sleek auto contains many new features that may someday be found on production cars. From road to roof, Exemplar I shows what can be done with a Buick Riviera chassis and engine when cost is no object.


“Consider these Special Features:

  1. Dual-chamber wide oval tires by Firestone. Dual chambers aren’t new, but their application in wide ovals is. Executives of the Copper Development Association say that Firestone will come out with these treads soon; when the outer chamber goes flat, the inner chamber holds enough air to keep the tire going.
  2. A “wall-to-wall” tail light system that includes a bank of green lights in the center. These are used to signal following motorists that it is safe to pass.
  3. A large rear window on the fastback that has ceramic filaments that heat the glass to remove ice and snow. Designed by PPG Industries, similar windows are now offered as optional equipment on some European cars.
  4. Tinted glass roof panels that give the effect of a convertible.
  5. Power operated seats that include built-in adjustable head rests and independently adjustable seat backs. The rear seats in the four passenger car also have adjustable backs.
  6. Twin radiators – one for engine cooling and the other for air conditioning. Mounted in the front corners of the engine compartment, they allow greater styling freedom and permit the spare tire to be stored between them for more front-end impact resistance.

“And of course, there is a generous use of copper and copper alloy, 150 pounds in all. Bumpers, side moldings, wheels, interior trim and several components under the hood are all made of brushed or shiny copper and copper alloys.

By comparison, today’s (1968) production cars contain only 35 pounds of copper. Except for the Chrysler Imperial, which uses copper in some interior trim applications, the metal is used in functional uses such as radiator tubing, small electric motors etc.

The copper industry hopes to get Detroit to use copper in many more applications. They showed the car to designers at Ford and Chrysler and got very favorable reaction, they said.

The car is owned by Bridgeport Brass Company.”


A brochure for the car listed mechanical specifications as follows:
Engine: V-8, 430 cubic inch displacement, 360 hp at 5,000 rpm – torque 475 at 3200 rpm, compression ratio – 10.25 to 1, 4-barrel carburetion using premium fuel
Transmission: Automatic with floor-mounted console shift
Rear Axle Ratio: 3.42 – positive traction differential. Heavy-duty suspension, both front and rear…power steering
Exemplar’s Exterior Dimensions:
Overall Length…216.5 inches
Overall Width…82.0 inches
Tread…Front 63.4 inches – Rear 67.0 inches
Height…53.4 inches

Flash forward to 2015:
The actual car was put in storage for many years by the former President of Bridgeport Brass, and when heirs threatened to sell the car for scrap in 1995, the brothers Manny and George Dragone, owners of Dragone Classics stepped in to save this rare and historically significant automobile. Unfortunately a sister car, Exemplar II built on an Olds Toronado chassis did not escape the crusher so Exemplar I remains one-of-one in existence.
With the rise in collectors’ interest in rare one-off concept cars in recent years, the brothers decided to restore the car to its original glory. Currently the restoration is underway at the Dragone restoration shops in Bridgeport and the car will be the featured vehicle at the Fall Auction at Dragone Classics’ showroom in Westport, CT on Saturday, October 17th along with dozens of other rare classics. Potential bidders can register to bid at www.dragoneclassics.com Bidder registration includes a print catalog, admission to the auction for two people, open bar and dinner for you and your guest and two reserved seats subject to availability.

Courtesy: Dragone Classic Motorcars

14 May

Ultra-Rare 1964 Pontiac Banshee Concept Headed to Dragone Spring Auction May 30


Westport, CT – Intended as a shot across Ford’s bow, Pontiac’s Banshee XP-833 coupe was an answer to Ford’s Cougar II show car, and Pontiac brass felt confident they could bring the Banshee to market before Ford launched its own two-seater. History tells us that neither car saw production, but a glimpse at the Banshee gives us a look at design cues that would later appear on the third-generation Corvette and the first-generation Firebird. One of two first-generation Banshees built (the other a white convertible that’s long been a part of Joe Bortz’s collection), the silver coupe will head to auction later this month as part of the Dragone Spring Auction in Westport, Connecticut.

The initial success of Ford’s Mustang left GM scrambling to offer a counterpoint, and it would take until 1967 before the Chevrolet Camaro and Pontiac Firebird hit dealerships. Determined not to make the same mistake twice, Pontiac head John DeLorean asked his designers to come up with a lightweight two-seat sports car, one that could be brought to market for the 1967 model year, potentially ahead of the Ford Cougar II that was rumored to be bound for production. Two first-generation Banshees were put together, using an A-body chassis and fiberglass-reinforced plastic body panels. The convertible was built with a V-8, but GM management reportedly felt that such a car would be too close in positioning to the Corvette.


The coupe was powered by an overhead camshaft inline six-cylinder, fitted with a crossflow head and reportedly good for 155 horsepower. Given the Banshee’s curb weight below 2,300 pounds, even such a modest engine would have produced spirited performance, while delivering exceptional handling. The Banshee, at least in the eyes of Pontiac executives, would complement the Corvette, offering buyers of more modest means another GM two-seat sports car to choose from.


As Bob Hovorka wrote in the February 1989 issue of Special Interest Autos, production of the Banshee was never seriously considered by GM management. Perhaps any challenge to the Corvette as GM’s sole two-seat sports car was seen as too much, or perhaps the Ford Cougar II was never seen as a serious candidate for production, but in 1966 the first Banshee project was scrapped. The cars should have been as well, but rumor has it they escaped the crusher by being secreted away and later sold to employees close to the project. Both coupe and convertible are semi-functional drivers, minus key details like functional headlamps.

The coupe remained with its original owner until 2006, when it sold at a Barrett-Jackson auction for $214,500. Since then, it’s been offered for sale numerous times, including a trip across the stage at RM’s 2010 Amelia Island sale, where it bid to $325,000 but failed to meet reserve, and at Mecum’s 2010 Monterey sale, where it bid to $400,000 without changing hands. It’s twice been featured as a Find of the Day in the Hemmings Daily, but neither running included a price in the listing.


Officially, the third-generation Corvette was inspired by the 1965 Mako Shark II concept, but one has to wonder how much the concept was itself inspired by the Banshee. Even if the answer is “not at all,” it’s impossible not to see the Banshee’s influence on the first generation Firebird’s rear and on the production Opel GT, which seems to duplicate the Banshee’s pop-up headlamps, sloping nose, fastback roof and Kamm tail in slightly smaller scale. Perhaps John DeLorean and his designers were onto something after all.

Dragone Auctions is predicting a selling price between $600,000 and $650,000 when the 1964 Pontiac Banshee XP-833 crosses the stage on Saturday, May 30 as part of its 2015 Greenwich Concours Car Event Weekend auction. For complete details, visit DragoneClassic.com.

Courtesy Kurt Ernst, Hemmings Daily
Photos Dragone Auctions

02 Feb

Magnum MK5 to debut at Boca Raton Concours February 21


Photos by KSP-Productions.com

Boca Raton, FL – Magnum, a Canadian company with roots in F1, Formula Ford and Rolex Grand-Am, will reveal its new MK5 sports car at the 8th annual Boca Raton Concours d’Elegance on February 21.

The skeletal MK5 uses a four-cylinder engine from a Hayabusa motorcycle making 250 hp, with redlines pegged at a stratospheric 11,000 rpm. The engine is mid-mounted and sends power through a six-speed sequential gearbox and through a limited-slip differential to the rear wheels. It has a dry weight of 1,200 pounds.

MK5 says the topless Canadian speedster can go 0-62 mph (100 km/h) in 3.2 seconds, with a top speed of 149 mph. The company also says the MK5 can unbelievably pull more than 2g’s of lateral force on the racetrack.

Magnum has been working on its machines in Quebec since 1968. Jean-Pierre St-Jacques first tried his hand at building a race car in his father’s shed. St-Jacques entered this car in the 1968 and ’69 Formula Vee season. In 1970, he produced the Magnum MkI, followed by MkII and MkIII in proceeding years. In 1973, a young driver named Gilles Villeneuve was looking to jump into the sport, and he became close friends with St-Jacques. The car proved to be strong, and Magnum continued building and racing into the 1980s. Since then, the company has been prepping cars for the bigger series. Jean Pierre shared his love with son Bruno, a racer in his own right, and now both father and son manage of Magnum’s day-to-day operations.


The bodywork on the MK5 is made from carbon fiber, according to Magnum, with easily removable front and rear sections. As for aerodynamics, the MK5 has an internal front wing, front splitter, a flat underbody and rear diffuser. The cargo area fits two helmets and a briefcase — just enough for an amateur-racing weekend.

Magnum says the MK5 uses an adjustable pushrod-activated suspension with unequal a-arms in the front and rear. Shocks and antiroll bars are adjustable, in addition to the ride height, from 90 to 110 mm.


In the cockpit, the MK5 features carbon-fiber seats, machined-aluminum levers and a GPS-enabled lap timer mounted on the detachable steering wheel. A six-point racing harness keeps drivers in place.

Magnum says the MK5 is as good for the street as it is for the track, but looking at those hard-shelled seats, we’re not so sure. It does, however, have a rearview camera, presumably for backing out of a race garage.

The Magnum MK5 will cost $139,000 when it officially goes on sale.


Source: Jake Lingeman, Autoweek

09 Dec

More than 100 Vehicles from the Ron Pratte Collection will Cross the Block Tuesday, Jan. 13, at Barrett-Jackson

The entire Ron Pratte Collection will be auctioned during the 44th Annual Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale Auction in January 2015.

The entire Ron Pratte Collection will be auctioned during the 44th Annual Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale Auction in January 2015.

SCOTTSDALE, AZ – Barrett-Jackson Auction Co. will auction more than 100 vehicles from the world-renowned Ron Pratte Collection on Tuesday, Jan. 13, 2015, beginning at 9 a.m. MST at WestWorld in Scottsdale, Ariz. Selling at predominantly No Reserve, The Ron Pratte Collection includes 140 collector cars, trucks and motorcycles, and over 1,400 pieces of automobilia.

“The Ron Pratte Collection is possibly the largest and most diverse to cross any collector car auction block over the past decade,” said Craig Jackson, chairman and CEO of Barrett-Jackson. “The majority of Ron’s collection was purchased at Barrett-Jackson auctions and it’s only fitting that these fine collectibles come back to our Scottsdale auction to be passed along to their next caretaker.”

The Ron Pratte Collection sale will kick off with his incredible compilation of automobilia on Saturday, Jan.10, at 9 a.m. MST and continue through its culmination on Tuesday, Jan. 13 at 1 p.m. The Pratte vehicles with lot numbers between 2000 and 2109 will cross the block on Tuesday beginning at 4 p.m. The remaining Pratte vehicles, with lot numbers starting at 2500 and above, will be crossing the block on Saturday, Jan. 17.

The Collection being auctioned on Tuesday, Jan. 13, includes an impressive mixture of vehicles, including a ’69 Chevrolet Yenko Chevelle 2 door hardtop (Lot #2016), one of only 22 still in existence and the only one known to exist with a column shift; a ’29 Indian 401 motorcycle (Lot #2058), which was restored to as-new condition and is ready to be ridden; and a ’69 Ford Mustang Boss 302 Fastback (Lot #2049), one of the rarest Mustangs available with its original engine, transmission and rear end.

“Because of the size and breadth of the Ron Pratte Collection, we wanted to give bidders a single day to really focus on the amazing vehicles that will cross the block,” said Steve Davis, president of Barrett-Jackson. “Tuesday will be a big day for many collectors who have had their eye on some of these fantastic cars. Of course, we’re also looking forward to the excitement when some of the crown jewels of the Ron Pratte Collection, like the Shelby Cobra Super Snake, cross the block on Saturday.”

Beginning December 11, collectors can follow Barrett-Jackson’s “30 Days of Pratte,” an exclusive look inside the legendary Ron Pratte Collection featuring one Pratte-owned vehicle a day leading up to the first day of the Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale Auction. For a complete listing of The Ron Pratte Collection, visit www.Barrett-Jackson.com.

Live coverage of the Barrett-Jackson Collector Car Auction in Scottsdale will be broadcast on Velocity and Discovery during 36 hours of live, high-definition TV coverage from Tuesday through Sunday, Jan. 13-18.

Established in 1971 and headquartered in Scottsdale, Arizona, Barrett-Jackson, is the leader in collector car auctions and automotive lifestyle events. The company produces auctions in Scottsdale, Arizona; Palm Beach, Florida; Las Vegas, Nevada; and Reno-Tahoe, Nevada. With broadcast partners Velocity and Discovery Channel, Barrett-Jackson will feature 100 hours of live television coverage in 2015, including live international coverage in both Canada and Latin America. Barrett-Jackson also endorses a one-of-a-kind collector car insurance for collector vehicles and other valued belongings.

(Source: Barrett-Jackson)

03 Dec

Early Offerings at RM Auctions Paris February 3 – 4, 2015

Joseph Paul and Marcel Mongin drove the Delahaye 135 S to second overall at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1937 (photo: Collection Jean Paul Tissot)

Joseph Paul and Marcel Mongin drove the Delahaye 135 S to second overall at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1937 (photo: Collection Jean Paul Tissot)

London – RM Auctions will return to Place Vauban in Paris on 3-4 February, 2015 for its annual sale during the Retromobile show week. A permanent fixture on RM’s global calendar, the Paris auction will open the company’s 2015 European calendar with a roster of 60 automobiles.

“Paris 2014 was an important sale for RM, as it allowed the company to establish an auction in what is regarded as one of the most important weeks on the European collector car calendar. After such an incredible debut sale last year, we are excited to return with what is already shaping-up to be a wonderful roster of cars,” said Augustin Sabatié-Garat, Car Specialist RM Auctions.

Leading early entries is a 1935 Delahaye 135 S, chassis no. 46094. The Delahaye has resided in France all of its life, including many years in the ownership of Jean-Philippe Peugeot, of the Peugeot Motor Company. It raced competitively from 1936 through 1949, extensively in the hands of the well-known French driver, Joseph Paul. In addition, it was a competitor at many Grand Prix events throughout the 1940s, claiming victory at the Grand Prix des Frontières in the hands of Willy Mairesse. A veteran of no less than three 24 Heures du Mans, the car’s most notable performance came in 1937 when Joseph Paul and Marcel Mongin piloted it to second position overall in the famed endurance race.

For decades, chassis 46094 has been a familiar sight on the international classic car scene, competing in many of the world’s leading historic races driven by its former owner, Jean Sage. Suitable for road or track, it’s a versatile entry into almost every significant event around the world (Est. €1.200.000 – €1.600.000).

Another early highlight from the RM Auctions Paris 2015 sale with French history and one set to command strong local interest is the 1934 Lancia Belna Eclipse. The Lancia features coachwork by Pourtout and dramatic Art Deco design by Georges Paulin, a dentist who sketched many of the most beautiful French automobiles of the pre-war period and went on to be a hero of the French Resistance.

Paulin was a pioneer of aerodynamic design and new ideas in coach-building, most prominently, one of the world’s first retractable hardtops, which he dubbed “Eclipse.” A simple system, it featured a one-piece hardtop that unbuckled at the windshield frame, with a reverse-hinged rear deck that would be raised to store the hardtop underneath. The patented design was simple and effective and was mainly utilized by French coachbuilder Marcel Pourtout up to the outbreak of World War II. Paulin then went on to join the war-time Resistance movement, passing secrets along to agents who would come to his dental office, until he was tragically captured and executed on March 21, 1942.

1934 Lancia Belna Eclipse by Pourtout (photo: Darin Schnabel)

1934 Lancia Belna Eclipse by Pourtout (photo: Darin Schnabel)

The Lancia on offer, chassis F341349, is one of only two known examples featuring the Pourtout-built Eclipse coachwork. Built on a French-manufactured Belna chassis, it was discovered by its present owner in Tennessee and was duly restored to feature its current black and bright yellow paintwork with a genuine ostrich skin interior. Widely shown at various American Concours d’Elegance events, including at Pebble Beach in 2004, it has been awarded a string of accolades over the years, including Best in Class at the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance (2005), and the Concorso Italiano (2006), along with being judged 99.75 points by the Classic Car Club of America (Est. €300.000 – €375.000).

The February 2015 sale follows in the footsteps of the company’s debut in the French capital earlier this year, an event which grossed €17.7 million in sales and was headlined by a 1955 Jaguar D-Type at €3.696.000.

The RM Auctions Paris 2015 auction will be held at Place Vauban immediately after the Festival Automobile International, 4 December 2014 to 1 February 2015. This event will gather a display of concept cars and pay tribute to car designers from around the world.

For further sale information, or to view a frequently updated list of entries, visit www.rmauctions.com or call RM’s London office at +44 (0) 20 7851 7070.

[Source: Sports Car Graphic]

10 Oct

Important 1912 Mercer Raceabout & Thrall Automobile Collection to be Sold by Dragone Auctions Oct. 18


Dragone Classic Motorcars is will be offering a vast array of extremely rare and exciting motorcars at their fall auction for 2014 on Saturday, October 18. The event will take place at the Dragone Classic Motorcars gallery in Westport, Connecticut.  This auction features a rare 1912 Mercer Raceabout, which is the second Mercer Raceabout to be sold this year, following the $2.5 million sale in August by RM Auctions in Monterey, California.  The event will also feature a 1935 Auburn Speedster that has been a one-family owned since 1954, several of the finest Corvettes, and the entire contents of the Mason Thrall Estate Collection.  “There’s something in this auction for everyone at all levels of the market,” said Manny Dragone of Dragone Classic Motorcars.

The Thrall collection carries a rich and diverse number of motorcars, reflecting all aspects of the collector car market.  Among the highlights are: a 1921 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost Landaulet with coachwork by Barker, previously owned by the Ellenville Auto Museum in New York.  This magnificent car is presented in original condition.  Also featured are several micro cars including: a Messerschmitt K200 and two BMW Isettas.  Collectors of the unusual will find delight with a 1931 De Vaux and a 1926 Moon.  The Thrall collection also features marques such as: Peerless, Packard, Hupmobile, Franklin, Graham, Oakland, Chrysler, and Studebaker to name a few.  For the muscle car enthusiasts “without a doubt, this is one of the most eclectic collection of motorcars we’ve ever offered,” said Dragone including a 1965 Plymouth Barracuda, a 1984 Oldsmobile Hurst/442 with only 657 original miles since new, two 427 Corvettes from the 1960s and a stunning 1969 Ford Shelby GT500 with a 428 Cobra jet engine.  Thrall spent an entire lifetime acquiring this most unusual assortment of cars.

The beautiful 1912 Mercer Raceabout is fully documented, with lineage going back to the 1940’s.  This Mercer is perhaps, one of the most original in existence with ties to names like Webster Knight, Edward Malley, Alec Ullman, and David V. Uihlein, Jr.  There’s also the 1935 Auburn Speedster that was recently cosmetically refurbished and presented in its original black livery.

For collectors of America’s sports car, the auction features some of the rarest and best Corvettes with a 1957 fuel-injected four speed, a 1959 with dual-quad carburetors, and a 1962 fuel-injected model.  “The quality, fit, and finish on these Corvettes is amazing,” said Dragone.  In addition, offered is a fully documented, rare aluminum bodied 1950 Jaguar XK120 that has been fully restored to its exact factory specifications.  This exquisitely styled body, along with its 3.4 liter dual overhead cam inline-six, set a world standard for what a performance car should be in its day.  Additionally, a wonderful piece of art deco history is being offered, styled by the great French industrial designer Raymond Loewy, an aerodynamic Hupmobile coupe from 1935; also offered, a Chrysler Airflow and a 1934 Brewster, all very rare and unique automobiles.

This will be the fourth sale since 2012 when the Dragone brothers began auctioning some of the world’s rarest and most unique classic cars found all over the globe.   On Friday, October 17th, there will be an all-day preview of the classics that will be for sale on auction day starting at 10:00am, followed by a cocktail party at 5:00pm to celebrate the following day’s event with classic car collectors, prospective bidders and friends.  This auction promises to “satisfy a spectrum of different automotive tastes,” stated Manny Dragone.

Dragone Fall Auction,
Classic Motorcars Gallery,
176 Post Road,
Westport, CT 06880
Saturday October 18, 2014 at 1 PM

02 Oct

Bonhams Auction of Preservation Cars Returns October 6th

BonhamsPhiladelphia PA – Bonhams, one of the world’s foremost automotive and fine art auction houses, will be returning to the Simeone Foundation Automotive Museum for their third “Preserving the Automobile” Auction, to be held on Monday, October 6th. Preview days will be Saturday, Oct. 4th and Sunday, October 5th.

Bonhams’ focus for this auction will be to offer exceptionally fine and original automobiles for sale, providing collectors with the opportunity to purchase fully documented, original automobiles that have either been sympathetically restored or recently unearthed. Select automotive ephemera, spares and accessories will also be included allowing collectors a useful resource for accurate restoration of their cars.

Details on the event are on the Bonhams’ site, located here.

The Simeone Museum is located at 6825 Norwich Drive, Philadelphia PA