Saturday, July 25, 2009

Weekend Quickies

Stephen Blake's Avanti Prototype - As you may have figured out, I have a soft spot for the Avanti. While there are quite a few cars I'd buy before buying an Avanti, I'm impressed that A) Studebaker, which was all but bankrupt at the time, could have designed a car this nice, and B) It lived on for so long after Studebaker finally called it quits. That's a testament to the car's timeless design.

Stephen Blake owned the Avanti company in the early to mid 1980s. He had a clear vision of what the car should be and where it should go in the coming decades. What he didn't have was a bank with the same vision. Avanti went bankrupt in 1986.

This car is a prototype built for Blake. The (very long, sometimes confusing) story that accompanies the listing for this car explains the details. In regards to this car the story probably could have been boiled down to 2 paragraphs, but the rest of the rambling text is pretty interesting, too.

Click here
to see the eBay listing for this car.

1999 Saleen Explorer XP8 - Had I seen this on the street I would have thought, "What kind of dork put a Saleen sticker on an Explorer?" Actually it was Steve Saleen who put the sticker on this and approximately 120 other Explorers and he's no dork. Not even close.

I have to admit that until today I had no idea this vehicle existed. Apparently the XP8 came with a normally aspirated V8 and a Saleen-developed supercharged 5.0-liter/286-horsepower V-8, like the one in this vehicle. (There was also a V6 model called the XP6.) Saleen also modified the suspension and created the body kit you see on this vehicle. The body kit is a bit over the top for my taste, but it certainly makes this Explorer stand out.

I met Steve Saleen once. To make a long story short, back in the early nineties a friend of mine had a teenage cousin who was getting himself in all sorts of trouble. She asked me if I would play "big brother" and try and give the kid a bit of guidance. (What the hell was she thinking?). Anyway, knowing that this kid was into Mustangs I took him with me to the Vintage Fall Festival at Lime Rock Park the year Saleen was the featured marque. Amazingly, Steve Saleen was there. My friend's cousin, who very obviously had no money whatsoever and no hope of getting any (legally) in the near future, went up to Steve Saleen and started asking questions. Saleen did not brush him off. In fact, Saleen talked to him for a good 15 minutes, treating him like he was a guy with $100,000.00 in his pocket, ready to put it down on a few Saleens, and not like the penniless kid he was. I was impressed.

The "kid" is now in his thirties. He's married, has a good job and his own kid. I still talk to him once or twice a year. He still talks about that day at Lime Rock and how cool Steve Saleen treated him.

I have nothing but respect for Steve Saleen for doing that.

Click here to see the eBay listing for this Saleen XP8.

1981 Puma - Back in February I wrote a post about a Puma. That one was a convertible. This one is a hardtop, which, based on the limited knowledge I have of these cars, is slightly rarer. In either body style it's a great looking car.

Click here to see my original Puma post.

Located in Gatineau, Quebec, Canada, click here to see the eBay listing for this 1981 Puma.

1979 Panther Lima Mark 2 Turbo - Like the Puma above, the Lima is not a kit car. Think of the Panther Lima as sort of a Morgan without the Morgan history or pedigree. The engines came from Vauxhall, as did some of the suspension.

There were around 900 Limas built. According to the seller of this one, just 55 were turbos.

Panther was founded in 1972 and built interesting, but sometimes bizarre cars. (The Panther 6 was a huge 3 axled car.) In 1980 it was taken over by a South Korean businessman. He built a new factory and started building the Panther Solo. The Solo was a thoroughly modern and nice looking sports car. It never caught on with the public though, and the company folded sometime in the 1990s.

Click here to see the listing for this 1970 Panther Lima.

1 comment:

Jason said...

Panther and Morgan comparison? No comparison. The Lima was a replicar of sorts. The Morgan was the real deal.

Youre right, the Solo was a nice car.