Saturday, June 26, 2010

Weekend Quickies - Saturday June 26, 2010 (Jon Does My Work For Me)

As I've written in the past, writing this blog is easy. (In part, because I - obviously - don't proofread it.) Sometimes finding interesting cars is tough, though. My friend, Jon, sent me an e-mail last week with the links to these 3 cars. All were interesting enough to write about. Thanks, Jon!

1959 Hillman Minx Convertible - My grandmother worked for Rootes Motors in Manhattan. I remember seeing brochures around her house for Rootes cars. One of the biggest reasons my first British roadster was a Sunbeam was because of having seen all those brochures as a kid. I've always had an interest in Hillmans for the same reason.

Hillman was another Rootes brand. Designed with help from Raymond Loewy, the Minx had a distinct US flavor to its design. It was a car that never found its proper niche in the US, however. The Minx was bigger and better equipped than an economy import, but not as big or as well equipped as a luxury import. In the US, in the 1950s and 1960s, we only bought cheap imports (i.e. Volkswagen Beetle), luxury imports (i.e. Jaguar) or sporty imports (i.e. MG, Triumph, Alfa Romeo). The Minx didn't fit into any of those categories and was not a huge seller.

This is a fairly rare 1959 Minx convertible. It needs some work. The seller says it needs "minor brake and engine repair and cosmetic restoration". That's pretty vague. However, if the engine (most likely a Rootes 1500cc engine) isn't seized solid and the "cosmetic restoration" doesn't include tons of rust repair (common on the Minx), this might be a nice restoration project and a cool show car for next year.

Located in Cleveland, OH, click here to see the Craigslist ad. (The ad has very little text and just 2 pictures).

"What's a Hillman? The Hillman Minx Pages" is a fun, informative, US website dedicated to these cars. It's worth checking out.

1964 Studebaker Wagonaire - Today, when car companies run into financial trouble, they turn to the federal government for help. Back in the day, they created innovative and interesting cars in an attempt to bring people into their showrooms. Without a lot of development money available, these cars usually had interesting bodywork wrapped around ancient mechanicals. This just such a car.

The Wagonaire was produced for just a few years, 1963 through 1966. What made it unique was the sliding rear roof. Need the cargo carrying ability of a pick up truck? Simply slide the roof back and you have it.

I think this was a brilliant idea. Back in the 1960s very few people had that same thought and the Wagonaire was a sales failure. In 2003, GM copied the idea and introduced a retractable roof SUV, the GMC Envoy XUV. I thought that was a brilliant idea, too. Once again, very few people shared that thought and by 2005 the retractable roof Envoy XUV was gone. (Now we know why I don't design and market cars for a living.)

This 1964 Wagonaire appears to be in rough, but restorable condition. The seller is including a 1964 Studebaker Commander in the deal. 1964 was the last year this car used a Studebaker engine. In 1965 Studebaker started buying engines from GM. I guess you could call this car one of the last pure Studebakers.

Located in Painesville, OH, click here to see the Craigslist ad.

1960 Pontiac Catalina - Wow. This is the second big old Pontiac I've written about in one week. That's definitely a record.

Jon pretty much summed up the appeal of this car in one sentence in his e-mail; "Less than 50K - and cheap."

I took my 10 year old son to a local car show last Sunday. (It's awesome having a 10 year old. He's just old enough now to really be curious about cars. His favorite cars are Jaguars, Audis, new Chargers and, of course, BMWs. As I've written in the past, I have problems getting people to attend car shows with me because I never want to leave. Even Jack was figuring that out last weekend. "Dad, this is the third time we've seen all these cars. Can we go now?" A promise of a round of mini-golf later in the day bought me another 45 minutes at the show.) The show featured mainly older American cars and I started to notice something... It used to be that all you'd see is coupes, convertibles and muscle cars at these types of shows. Now, however, there are a lot of restored late 1950s and early 1960s American sedans showing up. Some were, of course, customized with flames, sparkly paint and chrome in the few places that didn't originally come with chrome. They looked ridiculous. Others were nicely restored back to their original shape, and they seemed to be getting the most looks. It was kind of cool to see that. (I don't know if they won any of the trophies, I couldn't stay that long... "OK, Dad, this is the 5th time you've looked at that same Mustang. It's mini-golf time!")

This 41,000 mile Catalina is being offered at $2500.00 (The seller says the price is firm). According to the seller it runs and drives and just needs paint. It's tough to tell from the pictures, but it looks like it might also need some rust repair along the rockers and door bottoms.

If you're into big, old American cars, this could be a great car to restore back to it's original condition. Bring it to your local Cruise Night and watch all the attention it gets.

Located in Cleveland, OH, click here to see the Craigslist ad.

Thanks again to Jon for sending me the links to these cars.

1 comment:

longrooffan said...

My Dad had a 59 Minx convertible back in the day. His brother, my Uncle, had a 60 Pontiac ragtop.