The Volvo 480ES: The Rest of the Story

Today, the online auction website Bring a Trailer (BaT) sold a 1995 Volvo 480 Turbo for $15,250. If you’ve never heard of the Volvo 480, you’re not alone. Even I was surprised by the number of usually knowledgeable BaT commenters who posted sentiments along the lines of “I never heard of this model!”

A few days ago, I posted a photograph of a Volvo 480ES which I had taken in the parking lot of Volvo Corporate Headquarters in NJ, sometime in early 1987. I added a comment of my own at that auction, and posted a link to the photo, promising that I would flesh out the story, as I have below.

I started working at VCNA (Volvo Cars North America) in October of 1986. My recollection is that I spotted a Volvo 480 in and around the corporate industrial park within my first few weeks. I also recall meeting Bob Austin, head of the Public Relations Department for the company, around the same time, and his ‘company car’ was a 480ES! It may have been the only one the company had, or they may have been others, of that I’m not sure. But it was well-understood among the employees that VCNA intended to begin importation of this Dutch-built car, planning on a 1987 launch. Volvo dealers had been clamoring for a less-expensive model, and management thought that this new 480 could be it. In 1986, VCNA was selling 240- and 740-series models, carrying MSRPs between $15,000 and $21,000. (The 760 models were more expensive still.) The 480 would need to slide in under that to make sense.

Not only was the 480 Volvo’s first FWD car; if imported, it would become the first U.S. Volvo brought in from Volvo BV, based in Holland. The factory was co-owned: 30% Volvo, 70% the Dutch government. As an insider, I sensed that there were some concerns: Would it be perceived as a “true” Volvo? Would it be up to the same quality standards as the existing U.S. models? Would the new FWD technology be embraced? (Some of the company’s marketing in the 1980s bragged about our RWD powertrain.) And perhaps most importantly, could it be priced below the 240s, but also at a number which would make it competitive against other like-sized models?

My copy of the book “Volvo The Cars – From the 20s to the 80s”, by Bjorn-Eric Lindh, was published in 1986. Interestingly, there is a two-page spread on the 480 (b&w images below). The book’s text states in part:

“Given Volvo’s world-famous reputation for quality and durability, the new 480ES is almost certain to become a major competitor in its class, particularly in the USA…. Initially, annual output will total approximately 35,000 units, 25,000 of which will be destined for the American market.”

Those are heady numbers, given that during the years 1987 through 1989, U.S. Volvo sales totals were between 98,000 and 106,000, meaning the 480 would represent 25% of that. However, after months of planning, VCNA management realized that the exchange rate would be a roadblock to any plan to sell the 480 at the right price (at least that was the official line as spelled out in the letter sent to all U.S. Volvo dealers).

From an internal Volvo publication in my collection

America would have to wait until model year 1993 for the launch of the all-new Volvo 850, our first FWD car, and one designed and built in Sweden to boot. In the meanwhile, the 480 sold respectably well in Europe. I have a Volvo internal publication which states that the 480 existed from model year 1986 to model year 1995, and that the company built 76,375 of them (making that earlier prediction a bit of a stretch!). I suspect that Volvo felt the car was a success, and despite its Dutch parentage, it likely gave the company some needed experience in FWD technology.

This page, also from an internal book, shows how different the 480 is compared to other Volvos.

If any of my fellow former-VCNA colleagues have any additional recollections (or corrections), please share them!

 

All photographs copyright © 2023 Richard A. Reina. Photos may not be copied or reproduced without express written permission.

 

 

Volvo’s 480ES

Bring a Trailer (BaT) currently has a Volvo 480 up for auction on its website:

1995 Volvo 480 Turbo Collection Edition 5-Speed

I added a comment that I had photographed a 480ES in the spring of 1987, in the VCNA HQ parking lot in Rockleigh, NJ. This is that photo:

I will add to this story after the BaT auction ends.

 

All photographs copyright © 2023 Richard A. Reina. Photos may not be copied or reproduced without express written permission.

 

 

 

 

A Visit to the AACA Museum, Jan. 2023

Last week, two buddies and I made a long-overdue return visit to the AACA Museum in Hershey, PA. While “AACA” is in the name, this statement of clarification is on the Museum’s website: The AACA Museum, Inc. has been and remains an independent 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization, not affiliated with the Antique Automobile Club of America.

A Plymouth Superbird is in the front lobby to greet you

I know very little of the story and don’t care to know the details, so let’s just say that there was a courtship which ended in an ugly breakup. In spite of the divorce, it was a happy surprise that my National AACA membership card gained me free entrance!

Not surprising that Carlisle events, and not AACA events, are displayed

My most recent previous visit there was almost six years ago, to fetch my ’67 Alfa Romeo after it spent the winter inside the Museum as part of its Amore della Strada exhibit of Italian cars. It was good to be back; it was also relatively quiet on the day we visited, so it felt like we had the place to ourselves.

Most of the vehicles on display were not the same as we saw in 2017. The Museum is known for rotating what’s on the floor, and the curators are also known for putting on special exbibits, all of which keeps it fresh for repeat visitors. This time, it was racing cars which were featured. Although I don’t count myself as a rabid fan of the sport, there was still plenty of history to be absorbed.

A C2 and C3 Corvettes share space

 

A constructive comment about the displays: I appreciate the Museum’s efforts to create dioramas for all the cars, and that space is somewhat at a premium. As a photographer, though, it was very challenging to take pictures that showed an entire vehicle while keeping other vehicles and distractions out of the frame. As a result, many of these snaps show most, but not all, of the cars.

A permanent display which was little-changed since our last visit was the Tucker Exhibit. A private collector, David Cammack, began collecting Tucker cars, parts, and memorabilia in the early 1970s. He eventually willed the entirety of it to the Museum. Even though I’ve seen it several times before, there are fascinating aspects of the Tucker story which are worth revisiting.

Part of the Tucker Exhibit

While wandering around the bottom floor (there are 3 levels), a Museum employee engaged with us and offered to take us back into a work area normally off-limits to the public. There, we saw some vehicles being prepped for their turn in the spotlight, and also learned that a regular troop of volunteers makes their way to the Museum to lend a helping hand with the cars. It sounded to this writer like a possible future activity in which to participate.

You need a big basement to house buses

For those who have been to Hershey and have not taken in a tour of the Museum, it’s worth the detour. It is located perhaps 10 minutes from Hersheypark Drive, and admission is $12, $10.50 for seniors, and as I mentioned above, free if you belong to the AACA.

 

THE RACE CARS
After featuring TWO Subaru coupes last week, here’s another one!

 

The placard for this Saab stated that it was one of very few notchback coupes

 

A blown ‘vette

 

This one had the corner display to itself

 

THE DELOREANS

I spotted the two DeLoreans side-by-side from a distance at first, and snapped the first photo while noting that one looked a bit lower than the other, and didn’t give it much more thought. I was a shock to get closer, read the placard, and learn about this previously-unknown prototype:

 

 

 

Hopefully you can see in these closer photos that the prototype shares few exterior body panels with the production car. The seats are different as well.

 

THE TUCKER EXHIBIT

Of the 51 Tuckers manufactured, David Cammack ended up owning 3, and all 3 are here in Hershey.

 

Engines comprise a large part of the display. Tucker experimented with many different ideas before deciding on a water-cooler flat-6 engine. The engine in red is an experimental engine with hydraulically-operated valves. It looks like a service nightmare.

 

THE LOWER LEVEL

The majority of the Museum’s displays are on the main level (in this case, the race cars, the Tuckers, the DeLoreans, and assorted other cars). The top level is a mezzanine with some scooters but no cars. The lower level has historically been primarily taken up with buses. This visit was the first time that I can recall seeing so many cars sharing space with the buses.

Triumph GT6

 

1964 Studebaker Daytona convertible

 

Volvo PV544

 

1935 Terraplane coupe (which we all agreed was quite attractive)

 

MG-TF

 

THE WORKSHOP

Our behind-the-scenes tour included sneak peeks at these cars:

 

Step-down Hudson convertible

 

1966 Thunderbird convertible

 

Rolls-Royce, year and model not noted

 

AUTOMOBILIA

It’s not just cars on display! In this hobby, everything is collectible.

 

All photographs copyright © 2023 Richard A. Reina. Photos may not be copied or reproduced without express written permission.

Cars on the street, 1984-1985

I again found myself poring through old photo albums when I noticed that I had a few street scenes from 1984 and 1985 which I found interesting. Here they are, and here’s hoping you also find them of some interest.

 

BLOOMFIELD, NJ

I lived in Bloomfield from 1980 to 1989, and would occasionally take snapshots of parked and moving cars.

 

This shot was taken along a service road of the Garden State Parkway. I was practicing my panning. Here is a Subaru Coupe neck and neck with a Mercury Colony Park station wagon

 

The silver VW Scirocco on the right was mine, parked behind my apartment complex. Next to it are a very rusty mid-70’s Chevelle, and a 1965 Ford Fairlane, coming up on 20 years old, making it an ancient car for its time.

My college friend Beth came to visit me in Bloomfield. I think she bought this Subaru new. (I find it ironic that it’s a 2-door like the Subie above; this was back when Americans actually bought 2-door cars.) It’s probably FWD, as AWD was not yet standard across the board. Note the VW Squareback; when did you last see one in the wild?

 

SMYTHE VOLVO, SUMMIT NJ

I worked at this Volvo dealership from 1980 to 1986, and would sometimes bring my camera to work, if only to document some of the goings-on.

 

The dealership bought, then later demolished, an apartment building on an adjacent property. I had the camera ready to take some photos of the planned destruction. Note the Ford T-Bird and Honda Civic on the left, and various Volvos in for service on the right. And that’s our gal Friday, Sue, imploring me to not take her photograph!

 

Street parking near the dealership was non-existent. Management made a deal with the church across the street which allowed employees to park there (the lot, frankly, was practically vacant except on Sundays). Yes, an employee (a son of one of the dealer principals) commuted in a Volvo 1800. At the top of the row, next to the Chevy Caprice, is a VW Dasher diesel wagon driven by the Parts Manager. The silver wagon on the far right is my Audi Fox wagon.

 

The Service write-up counters and the Parts retail counter were inside the workshop. Customers entered a back door and literally walked among cars on the lifts. This is the view from my service advisor’s desk. The place looks incredibly dingy, yet I don’t remember it that way. I guess I got used to being in that environment on a daily basis.

 

CLINTON, IOWA

 

I made a Christmastime trip with my girlfriend to visit her family in Iowa. We drove, and I didn’t trust the Audi to make the trip, so I rented this Tempo. It was among the first of Ford’s jellybean cars. The car performed just fine.

 

PARK SLOPE BROOKLYN, NY

These next two photos were taken in the Park Slope Brooklyn neighborhood where my girlfriend lived. This photo was heavily edited to focus on the cars. In the foreground are a Honda Civic and Toyota Tercel (I think). Across the street it’s harder to tell, but I will guess that the car on the left is a Datsun/Nissan, maybe a Sentra, and the one on the right a then-current Buick Riviera.

 

Yes, this Porsche 356 Coupe was parked on the street in Park Slope. What was it worth in 1984, a couple grand? My current edition of the CPI value guide pins this 356 SC at between $66k and $126k.

 

All photographs copyright © 2023 Richard A. Reina. Photos may not be copied or reproduced without express written permission.

 

 

 

 

 

 

BACK TO PRINT: Selections from the 1958 “International Auto Parade” Book

I’ve long enjoyed collecting automotive print publications, although perhaps I should switch to making that statement in the past tense, as I’ve reached critical mass on the shelves of my home library. First, there is the collection of Car & Driver magazines going back to the 1950s through the present. Then there are the hardcovers; much of my time at Hershey over the last 20 years has been spent scouring the flea market for titles to add to the collection. My wife often asks what I do with all these publications, and the truth is, I frequently pull one off its shelf and breeze through it. So it was with the book I am presenting here.

The book I am featuring this week, though, was not purchased by me, instead, it was gifted to me after it was uncovered by someone who thought I would enjoy it. The aptly titled “International Auto Parade, Vol. II”, was published in Zurich, Switzerland (interesting because that country does not have a native auto industry). It does an admirable job covering all the new vehicles available around the world. All the U.S. makes are there, as are cars from unexpected countries such as Czechoslovakia and Russia. To top it off, the text is in 6 languages: English, German, French, Italian, Spanish, and Portuguese.

The book’s best feature are its sharp color photos. My favorites are of cars I’ve heard of but have never seen. Then there are the ones to drool over, such as the Ferraris. I’ve chosen 3 pages to highlight simply because the photography was especially striking. My Italian preferences really come through here, although there is one Japanese car to admire….

 

In my mind, Ferrari didn’t start to build tremendously sleek looking cars until the mid-1960s, but this trio of Modena sports cars from 1958 proves me wrong. The two 250 models had V-12 engines displacing 3.0 liters and putting out 240 HP. The 410 had a 4.9 V12 making 340 HP. I think I’ll take the Spyder.

 

The two Morettis look identical except for their roofs. The cars were based on Fiat mechanicals, and were at the opposite end of the scale from the Ferraris. Their 1200 cc engines put out 55 HP. Although I’ve read about them for years, I don’t believe I have ever seen one. However, if I came across one for the right price, I’d be interested!

At the bottom of the page is the Datsun 1100 Saloon, manufactured by the Nissan Motor Company of Yokohama Japan. Stare at this picture and remind yourself that in 12 short years they would introduce the 240Z sports car to the world.

 

 

Unlike the Moretti, I have seen a Siata: I featured one which was on display at the AACA Museum at the same time my Alfa was there. These 3 Siatas are among the best-looking cars in the book. They might be a bit underpowered for American roads, though. The 1400 at the top of the page produced 58 HP, but the 750 Coupe managed only 30 HP; the Spyder 500 made do with 18, only 5 more than my Isetta. (But it is better-looking.)

 

All photos are from the author’s private collection.

 

 

Automotive Art & Architecture in Washington D.C.

My wife and I drove to Washington D.C. earlier this week to visit her brother, who has lived there for over 30 years. It had been a few years since we visited, and I was looking forward to a few relaxing days, taking in a couple of museums and strolling around his neighborhood. The last thing I expected was to find material for a blog post, but that is exactly what happened.

My wife wanted to see a quilt exhibit at the Smithsonian Museum of American History. However, before we got near any quilts, a full-size Ford grabbed my attention. A highly-modified 1969 Ford LTD, billed as “Dave’s Dream”, was featured on the main floor. It was cordoned off so that you couldn’t not get too close. It was the only car on display, and I can only surmise that the theme, in its own way, represents some slice of American History.

On an upper floor was a Richard Avedon photography exhibit. His black & white portraiture is stunning and striking, and part of the exhibit highlighted his start as a photographer for Life, Look, the Saturday Evening Post, and other long-gone weeklies. A nearby sitting area had actual magazines from the ‘40s and ‘50s available for browsing. I selected one at random and opened it, only to find a Willys Jeep ad, one I had never seen before. It was news to me that as early as the late 1940s, Willys-Overland was advertising the purported superior traction advantages of its Jeep.

The next day we strolled around a nearby residential area. A road was closed for construction work. A crew was using a gas-powered saw to slice through the asphalt, then using a backhoe to dig. To my surprise, they were doing this directly alongside a Chevrolet Malibu which had ignored the “don’t park here because we’re going to start work soon” signage. The crew was so far along that even if the owner wanted to relocate the car, it would necessitate driving on the sidewalk.

The garage for this BMW had this lovely mural painted on its side. Can we presume that the owner would rather be behind the wheel of the bullet-nose Studebaker?

In the same neighborhood as the marooned Malibu and the post-war poster car was this ancient Dodge Caravan, its paint long-lost to the elements. The roof rack was supporting sawn-off tree branches. (Also make note of the steering wheel lock, as if this thing is a likely target for thieves.) My brother-in-law said that the townhomes on this block sell in the $2 million+ range. I am beyond creating any rationale for the existence of this minivan.

 

All photographs copyright © 2023 Richard A. Reina. Photos may not be copied or reproduced without express written permission.3

The 2014 Lime Rock Vintage Race Weekend

In 2014, for the first and (so far) only time, I traveled up to Lime Rock for their Labor Day Vintage Race Weekend and took advantage of the ‘Gathering of the Marques’, which allows owners of certain automobiles to put their cars on display. That year, I drove my Mazda Miata to the show, and although I still had to pay full price to enter, I was allowed to circle the track, find the Miata group, and park with them.

There were several special treats this year, including displays of Fiat 500s, Fiat Abarths, and a personal appearance from famed race car driver Sir Stirling Moss. As is typical for Lime Rock, some of the cars in the parking lot are just as interesting as the ones in the show, and the paddocks are open to allow spectators to roam freely (but no touching!).

Another unique element to my visit is that I stayed overnight locally, which enabled me to take in some racing action. Photographing speeding vehicles is an art unto itself, and one that I need to practice more. Nevertheless, I was able to fire off a few shots of cars at speed that I trust my readers will find of interest.

 

ITALIAN
Lancia Flaminia

 

Fiat 2000 Spider Anniversary model

 

A pair of Alfas

 

 

Abarth!

 

 

 

MY MIATA

 

 

BRITISH
Triumph TR-3

 

MGB

 

Blower Bentley

 

My dear friends Ann Marie and Dennis Nash, with their Bentley. They both have passed on.

 

Spitfires at salute!

 

GERMAN
Mercedes-Benz 300SLs; note tail light differences between coupe and roadster

 

 

SIR STIRLING MOSS

 

 

RACING!

 

All photographs copyright © 2022 Richard A. Reina. Photos may not be copied or reproduced without express written permission.

The Auburn, Cord, Duesenberg Club Annual Reunion, 2002

The ACD (Auburn, Cord, Duesenberg) Club supports all 3 long-expired car makes with a series of shows and events throughout the year. The Club’s Annual Reunion is traditionally held each Labor Day weekend in Auburn, IN. I’ve long known about this Reunion from articles in the car magazines I regularly devour, and in 2002, I somehow convinced my wife that we should take a vacation including stops in Corning, NY at the Corning Glass Museum, Cleveland, OH for a visit to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Museum, and “since we’re so close”, a stayover in Auburn that just happened to land us there on Labor Day.

I had forgotten that I had these photos (taken with a film camera) and so I’m now sharing them on my blog for the first time. We were not registered for any events, so our participation involved entering the ACD Museum (an original ACD sales dealership) and wandering the nearby streets which were quite literally jammed with old cars.

Adding to the crowds was a Kruse auction running at the same time, so the automotive eye candy was not limited to the three featured marques. Nevertheless, my long fascination with Cords, combined with their abundance at the show, meant that most shots included them, with a few Auburns here and there (Duesenbergs were thin on the ground).

According to Wikipedia, the Cord L-29, introduced in 1929, was the first front wheel drive vehicle offered for sale to the American public. (However, a recent article in Hemmings Classic Car would seem to dispute that. The ‘splitting of the hair’ may come down to what is considered mass-produced. It’s also well-known that many racing cars which predated Cords were FWD.) The L-29 was somewhat traditionally styled so that its FWD underpinnings were not obvious. The succeeding model, the 810/812, was designed by Gordon Buehrig and was truly revolutionary, looking like nothing else on the road with its hidden headlamps, ‘coffin’ hood, and deleted running boards. These 2nd generation cars were built in convertible, phaeton, and sedan body styles for only two model years (1936-1937) before Cord went under. They are some of the most distinctive pre-war cars produced, and remain highly collectible among hobbyists today.

 

 

THE MUSEUM

The stunning Art Deco design has been almost completely preserved compared to its original 1930s construction. A variety of vehicles are packed rather tightly within, including some non-ACD models (note the green ’56 T-Bird). A mezzanine afforded me the opportunity to take the overhead shots.

 

 

 

 

 

THE STREETS

Vehicles were parked everywhere, and it was easy enough to take photographs. One got the sense that, like Bentley or Alfa Romeo owners, Cord owners are not reticent about driving their cars. If you reflect back to the vehicles seen in my post about the recent Glidden Tour, imagine driving a new Ford or Buick in 1936 and having a new Cord pull up next to you; the effect must have been paralyzing!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

All photographs copyright © 2022 Richard A. Reina. Photos may not be copied or reproduced without express written permission.

 

Lime Rock Park Vintage Race Weekend, 1990

I’m almost certain that 1990 was my first visit to Lime Rock Park in Salisbury CT for its Labor Day Fall Festival weekend. The tip likely came from a fellow employee at Volvo Cars North America. The racing photos prove that this visit was either the Saturday or the Monday of that weekend, as by local ordinance, there is no racing allowed on Sunday. My recollection is that I “took a ride” just to see what I might see, and I did indeed stumble upon something wonderful.

Judging by information on the www.limerock.com website, the Vintage Racing weekend would have been in its eighth year in 1990, meaning we were there near the beginning of it all. Paying guests are allowed to wander throughout the paddocks, and my photos reflect an interesting variety of classic machinery, some of it quite valuable in 2022. For instance, the red Jaguar XK-120 would have been worth around $50,000 in #2 condition (according to my 1990 copy of Krause’s Standard Catalog of Imported Cars). My most recent copy of the CPI (Cars of Particular Interest) Value Guide shows that same car valued today at $165,000.  That Maserati 3500 GT Coupe is pinned at $15,000 by Krause in 1990; CPI says today’s value is closer to $225,000. Want to take a guess on the BMW 507? According to the respective value books, in 1990: $105,000. In 2022: $2.3 million. Among these 3, the 507 wins the ‘percentage increase’ contest. If only we had a crystal ball….

This initial visit lit a flame in me that burns to this day. Especially in more recent years, I’ve almost never missed a visit to Lime Rock during Labor Day weekend, although, as I’m not a big racing fan, my visits are almost always to attend the “Sunday in the Park” static car show, about which I’ve posted numerous times (2022, 2020, 2019, 2018, 2017). While Lime Rock is not on the beaten path, it’s worth going out of your way for it if you have not been there.

Jaguar XK-120

 

 

Maserati 3500 GT

 

 

 

Fiat Abarths head for the track

 

Messerschmitt on trailer, probably in the car corral

 

Taking the checkered flag!

 

All photographs copyright © 2022 Richard A. Reina. Photos may not be copied or reproduced without express written permission.

 

 

 

The 1990 Carlisle Import Car Show

It was shortly after entering the automobile industry in 1978 that I learned about “Carlisle”. It’s the name of a town in Pennsylvania, but to car buffs, “Carlisle” more specifically refers to the hobbyist flea market/car corral events which have been conducted at the Carlisle Fairgrounds since 1974.

At first there was Fall Carlisle in October, followed shortly by Spring Carlisle in April. Then came the additions: GM, Ford, Chrysler, Corvette, Import/Tuner, Truck. Auctions were added, as were winter shows held in Florida but still under the Carlisle name. You can read about Carlisle’s beginnings at this link here.

I attended my first Carlisle event in 1979, observing that the flea market offerings were about 90% in support of domestic cars, understandably so. When the Import Show was added sometime in the late 1980s, I was excited at the prospect of what might be there. Some photos from the 1990 Carlisle Import Show were included in my blog post about attending the 2008 Carlisle Import Show with my Isetta, the one and only time I brought the Isetta there. Going through my pictures, I decided that the 1990 show deserved a post of its own.

These snaps are of a decidedly different quality, and my faint recollection is that they were taken with a Kodak disposable camera, which were in vogue at that time. A deluxe version had a switch allowing panoramic photos, which was put to good use here as a way to capture a vehicular lineup. Note how spread out the cars are parked, and how much empty space is behind them. Compared to Spring or Fall Carlisle, this Import show was a much more lightly-attended event.

 

Those of you who think that my Alfa obsession is a recent phenomenon would be mistaken; here is a photo of a late ‘50s/early ‘60s Alfa Giulietta Spider, taken as it sat in a row of Italian cars. Note the Fiat 124 Spider on the right, and note all the empty rows in the background! I believe that hill is the beginning of what is known as the North Field.

What have we here, an Isetta?? In 1990, I had not yet begun my restoration in earnest, so I’m sure that I was thrilled to stumble across this. From this photo the car appears to be all there, although the red engine paint is incorrect. The sign in the window reads “Warning Health Hazard”.

A large part of the success of these early Import shows must be credited to club support, as this photo of Volvo P1800/1800S models makes clear. I count 8 of them here, but am unsure if Irv Gordon’s car was among them.

A potpourri of German and British cars, including Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Porsche, Morris, and Jaguar.

Qu’avons-nous ici, des voitures françaises, toutes des Citroën

More Volvos, this time, mostly 122s.

This is the only known photo in my collection of a Volvo 1800 convertible. It’s a bit ungainly with the top up. As you may know, this is not a factory convertible. Most, perhaps all, such conversions were done by a Long Island dealer, Volvoville. They ran ads for the cars in the back of many of the car magazines of the day. It is also interesting to note the 700-series wagons in the back, which in 1990 would have been no more than about 5 years old.

Three very different Triumph sports cars, from left to right: TR4, TR3, and Spitfire.

Jaguar E-Types (also known as XKEs) have always been desirable and worth preserving, going back to their launch in 1961. This is a Series I model (1961-1967), as evidenced by its covered headlights and above-bumper front turn signals. Note the VW bus lacking side windows behind it, most likely originally intended for commercial use.

It looks like a downsized two-seat Thunderbird, but its official name is DKW Auto Union 1000 Special Coupe. My copy of the Standard Catalog of Imported Cars 1946-1990 states that this model DKW (Das Kleine Wagen, German for The Little Car) was introduced on our shores in 1958, with a 2-stroke 3-cylinder engine, displacing 980 cc and producing 50 HP. List price was $2,495, which may sound pricey when many full-size American cars were starting around the $2,000 mark. However, if one wanted something with sporting pretensions, T-Birds and Corvettes were $1,000 more. Perhaps the closest competitor to this car would have been the VW Karmann Ghia coupe, priced at $2,445. DKW and Auto Union eventually became Audi.

All photographs copyright © 2022 Richard A. Reina. Photos may not be copied or reproduced without express written permission.