Offered by Bring a Trailer Auctions | September 2023
The Light Car Company was founded by Gordon Murray and Chris Craft in England in 1991. They built one model, and it was an amazing one: the Rocket. Production started in 1991, and most had been built by the mid-1990s. This one was started in 1996 but ended up as one of 10 completed by the Craft’s between 2006 and 2009. So it’s titled as a 1996 but wasn’t actually completed until the 2000s.
If you’ve always wanted to drive an open-wheel race car on the street (and didn’t manage to snag this thing), then this is a pretty good alternative. It has tandem seating for two, and the 1.2-liter Yamaha inline-four is mounted out back. That engine also can rev to over 11,000 rpm! For the full F1 experience of course.
Jay Leno has one of these – and there aren’t that many in the U.S. The car was also featured in one of the Gran Turismo games, where it was a hoot to drive hard. Only 50 were built in total, and they’ve become much more expensive than they used to be. This one has plenty of time left to bid, which you can do so here.
Offered by Mecum | Monterey, California | August 17-29, 2023
This is what race cars are supposed to look like. Team Rahal Reynards. The main chassis producers for the 1996 Champ Car season were Reynard and Lola. Team Rahal ran Reynard 96Is for Bobby Rahal and Bryan Herta, the latter of whom drove the Shell-liveried car you see here.
Back in the day, these were powered by a Mercedes/Ilmor 2.7-liter V8. This one is currently engineless. Unfortunately no competition history is provided for this chassis, but the catalog insinuates (a bit disingenuously) that this was the car involved in “The Pass” by Alex Zanardi at Laguna Seca.
Anyway, even without an engine this remains a fine example of the glory days of Champ Car. It has an estimate of $50,000-$80,000, and you can find out more about it here.
Offered by Bonhams | London, U.K. | December 16, 2022
The Aston Martin Virage debuted in 1989 at a low point for Aston Martin. These were pretty exclusive cars, with about 40 made on average each year. In 1993, the Vantage showed up, wearing pretty much the same bodywork but with a twin-supercharged 5.3-liter V8. Output was rated at 550 horsepower. This thing was a monster in the early 1990s.
Top speed was around 191 mph. The craziest part was this was the base Vantage. There were more extreme versions than this. Meanwhile Ford took over Aston and put the DB7 into production with an inline-six. It’s like it was from a different company than whoever created this thing.
Just 280 examples of the Vantage coupe were produced. A true supercar with grand touring proportions, this Vantage carries an estimate of $75,000-$125,000. Click here for more info.
Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Lincolnshire, Illinois | October 29, 2022
1996 Lola T96/00
We’ve talked about the Newman/Haas sale before (but we may have forgotten to say what a shame it is). Anyway, let’s jump into the cars. This is the era. The black Havoline/Kmart-liveried Michael Andretti cars. The pinnacle of CART.
This car, chassis HU 14, is a Lola T96 (we’ve featured a T95 before). It is currently without an engine, but in period had a Ford-Cosworth V8. The competition history here includes:
1996 Milwaukee Mile – 1st (with Michael Andretti)
1996 Road America – 1st (with Andretti)
1996 Molson Indy Vancouver – 1st (with Andretti)
Michael also used it in five other races that year on his way to second in the championship. It’s being sold without reserve. Click here for more info.
Update: Sold $70,000.
1997 Swift 007.i
For the 1997 season of the CART PPG World Series (man, remember those TV graphics?), Newman/Haas switched from Lola to Swift as a chassis manufacturer. Swift Engineering is based in Southern California and supplied chassis to Newman/Haas for a few years.
This 007.i would’ve been originally powered by a Ford-Cosworth V8 but is currently sans motor. The team used six examples of the 007.i in the ’97 season, four of which are in this sale at no reserve. Competition history for this one, #005, includes:
1997 Surfers Paradise – 3rd (with Michael Andretti)
1997 Gateway – 11th (with Andretti)
1997 Mid-Ohio – 8th (with Andretti)
1997 Molson Indy Vancouver – 18th (with Andretti)
He also used it in two other races that year. It’s now selling at no reserve. Click here for more info.
Update: Sold $53,200.
1998 Swift 009.c
Newman/Haas continued with Swift into the 1998 season, which saw drivers Michael Andretti and Christian Fittipaldi doing most of the driving. This chassis, #004, would’ve been originally equipped with a Ford/Cosworth V8, but it is currently just a roller.
This car competed in seven of the season’s 19 races, including:
1998 Rio 400k – 5th (with Michael Andretti)
1998 Michigan – 6th (with Andretti)
1998 Road America – 18th (with Andretti)
It’s selling at no reserve. Click here for more info.
Update: Sold $39,200.
2000 Lola B2K/00
So I know I said “cars of the late-1990s” but 1. we’ve already featured Newman/Haas’s 1999 entry, the Swift 010.c and 2. 2000 was very much a part of the late 1990s.
The team switched back to Lola chassis for the 2000 season after a few years with Swift. They still employed both Michael Andretti and Christian Fittipaldi this year. Their engine supplier was Ford/Cosworth, with an XF V8. This car has no engine at the moment.
This car, chassis HU 07, competed in 12 of 20 races that year, including:
2000 Homestead-Miami – 7th (with Christian Fittipaldi)
Offered by Artcurial | Le Mans, France | July 2, 2022
Michel Hommell’s small cottage industry sports car company existed from 1990 to 2003. The Barquette was a track car launched in 1994 alongside a road-going version called the Berlinette, which was essentially produced to homologate this racing version.
The 2.0-liter inline-four produced 155 horsepower, enough to push this car to 130 mph. Competition events included a one-make racing series that was in action from the mid-1990s through the early 2000s.
This is the fourth of 52 examples produced. From the timeline in the catalog, it appears this car was originally black but was bought by the current owner in 1998 and repainted this blue. The wheels have been more recently painted, and now the car has an estimate of $31,000-$42,000. It’s like an off-brand Renault Sport Spider. Click here for more info.
Offered by Bonhams | Paris, France | February 3, 2022
Opac S.r.l. is an Italian company whose services include building prototypes for other manufacturers, hardtop and soft top design and production, and various marine services. In the 1990s, they decided to build a prototype for their own brand.
The Piu is based on a contemporary Peugeot 106 XSi, which means it is powered by an inline-four displacing either 1.4 or 1.6 liters (that catalog description does not state if it’s based on a 1.4 or 1.6 XSi). Power outputs were 94 horsepower for the smaller motor and 102 for the larger.
The interior is a wild combination of yellow and blue suede… on everything. The car debuted at the 1996 Turin Motor Show and features a VHS player and a 10-disc CD changer. The current owner purchased the car, at the time in a state of disuse, directly from Opac. It now carries a pre-sale estimate of $45,000-$68,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.
Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Milan, Italy | June 15, 2021
The 155 was Alfa’s cool, boxy sedan in the 1990s. It was actually produced between 1992 and 1998, and Alfa took it racing in the early part of the decade. We’ve featured a homologation prototype of a 155 race-car-for-the-road in the past.
The 155 V6 TI was campaigned in DTM and the International Touring Car Championship between 1993 and 1996. This is a factory race car powered by a 490-horsepower, 2.5-liter V6. It’s also got four-wheel drive and can hit 60 in 2.5 seconds as well as 185 mph on the straights. Just imagine it bouncing over curbing at Europe’s most famous race tracks.
This particular chassis competed in the 1996 International Touring Car Championship with driver Nicola Larini, who won races with it at Mugello and Interlagos. The current owner bought it in 2018 and had it prepped for the DTM Classics Series at an insane cost. So it’s ready to go. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.
Offered by Webb’s | Paraparaumu, New Zealand | March 21, 2021
Body styles of Australian vehicles changed like every three years. It was like how the Americans did it in the 60s. The “VS” was the I-don’t-even-know-what generation of the Holden Commodore, and it was produced between 1995 and 1997 (although the Ute stayed in production through 2000).
HSV – or Holden Special Vehicles – is Holden’s badass car arm, like an Australian SVT or AMG. They produced a few versions of the VS Commodore, including the GTS. Well, they upped that to GTS-R spec in 1996. It’s powered by a 5.7-liter stroker V8 rated at 288 horsepower and mated to a six-speed manual transmission and a limited-slip rear differential. Hot stuff for 1996.
Only 85 were built, 10 of which went to New Zealand. This is one of those. It was first registered in 2008 and is said to be one of four of the 10 New Zealand cars that have remained there. The pre-sale estimate is $165,000-$185,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.
Offered by Mecum | Kansas City, Missouri | November 20-21, 2020
This is one of my favorite cars. It will be a car I own in the near future. A little history: the Impala model is a classic dating back to 1958 when it was a sub-model of the Bel Air. It became its own line in 1959, and the glory years lasted through 1970. Things trended downhill beginning in ’71, and the 1977-1985 models killed the Impala nameplate for a decade (though I secretly like this generation).
Then, in 1994, GM revived the Impala SS as a standalone model (even though their VINs decode as a Caprice). It was essentially a Caprice cop car with a bunch of heavy-duty items (suspension, brakes, cooling system), in addition to a Corvette-based 5.7-liter LT1 V8. Power was rated at 260 horsepower.
It was produced only between 1994 and 1996, and 60,768 were built in total. Black was the best color, but Dark Cherry Metallic and Dark Grey Green were also available beginning in 1995. 1996 models are differentiated from earlier cars by having an analog speedometer and a floor shifter for the automatic transmission. They. Are. Awesome. And this one has 12,000 miles. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.
Offered by Mecum | Jefferson, North Carolina | June 6, 2020
1996 Chevrolet Corvette Grand Sport Coupe
My two favorite C4 Corvettes are as follows: 1. the ZR-1. 2. the Grand Sport. This sale has what has to be the best examples of the latter. The Grand Sport was built to celebrate the end of C4 production and was only offered in 1996. The name was taken from the Grand Sport race cars of the 1960s.
Power is from a 330 horsepower, 5.7-liter V8. They were only offered in Admiral Blue with white stripes and red hash marks. This is one of 810 coupes built, and it shows just 177 miles. It’s selling at no reserve. Click here for more info.
Update: Sold $74,250.
1996 Chevrolet Corvette Grand Sport Convertible
Doubletake? The only difference between this car and the other Grand Sport is that it is a convertible. Admiral Blue paint with white stripes and red hash marks – meet a white soft top. This car also uses a 5.7-liter V8 making 330 horsepower.
The convertible Grand Sport was much rarer than the coupe, with just 190 built. It’s only covered 162 miles since new, which makes it essentially, well, new. You can read more about it here and see more from this sale here.