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.
For Sale by Tom Hartley Jnr | Ashby-de-la-Zouch, U.K.
There was a time when anyone who could afford to do so could rush out and buy a McLaren F1. Now it’s kind of big news if one hits the market. After all, they only built 106 of them between road cars, race cars, and prototypes. The racing variant was the GTR, and 28 were built between 1995 and 1998. Their competition life lasted until 2005. They were that good.
What’s special about this car is that it was converted to a road car. Yes, the interior is a little sparse, but it does have the classic three-seat layout. That rear-mounted 6.0-liter BMW V12 is still there too.
This car is chassis #19R, and it was the first 1997-spec car (which technically makes it a prototype). The Longtails were only built in 1997, so this is one of 10. It was initially used as a development car, before shifting to the race track. It competed at the FIA GT race at Suzuka in 1997 before contending the 1999 JGTC season. It continued to race until 2002.
It was the first Longtail converted to a road car, which was actually done by Gordon Murray Design. It is being sold with the parts to return it to race specification, should the next owner want to. The asking price is not public, but you can be sure it’s well into the eight figures. Click here for more info.
For Sale by Ascott Collection | Vaucresson, France
The Venturi 600 LM was the ultimate Venturi race car. It all started in 1993 when Venturi attacked Le Mans with seven 500 LM race cars. Five finished, and for 1994, a new series appeared: the BRP Endurance Championship for GT cars.
So they built one 600 LM, powered by a twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 that made 570-600 horsepower depending on the boost pressure. At least four 500 LMs were updated to 600 LM specification. This (CLM0003) is one of those cars, and its racing history includes:
1993 24 Hours of Le Mans (as a 500 LM) – 42nd, DNF (with Costas Los, Johannes Bardutt, and Claude Brana)
In 1996, the car was updated again to 600 LM-S specification by the factory. This included revised bodywork and a power increase to 640 horsepower. It failed to qualify for Le Mans that year. It’s been restored and is now for sale in France with a price available upon request. Click here for more info.
Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Essen, Germany | March 26-27, 2020
The Lamborghini Diablo was introduced in 1990, and by 1993 they were already offering different submodels and special editions. One such special edition was the SE30, which was launched to celebrate the marque’s 30th anniversary.
While the car shared the same engine, a 5.7-liter V12, it did receive a power increase to 523 horsepower. It was lighter than the stock version and featured rear-wheel drive. There were exterior revisions as well, including a deeper rear spoiler, a re-done front end, and side strakes. It got carbon fiber seats, a fire-suppression system, and racing harnesses inside.
Only 150 were built, and deliveries actually began in 1994. This one was sold new in Austria in 1996, thus why it is listed as a ’96, and it is finished in Titanium instead of the normal SE30 lavender metallic. Fifteen of the 150 were later converted to Jota specification, which made them even more extreme. Click here for more info on this car and here for more from this sale.
Offered by Brightwells | Leominster, U.K. | March 4, 2020
TVR offered a range of sports cars in the 1990s as they moved away from their wedge-shaped vehicles of the 1980s. The Griffith was the first one introduced, in 1991, and the Chimaera came next, followed by the Cerbera.
The Chimaera was around from 1992 through 2003 and was only offered as a two-door convertible. They were all powered by Rover V8s of varying sizes. This is a 4.0-liter model that produced 240 horsepower when new. It was the least powerful Chimaera made. Top speed was 152 mph.
In all, about 6,000 examples were produced, making it one of the most popular TVR models ever built. The pre-sale estimate on this car is $12,000-$14,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.
Only one functional prototype was built (this car), and it borrows the Diablo VT‘s chassis and all-wheel-drive system. Power is from a 5.7-liter V12, and the car weighed significantly less than the one it was based on, thanks to carbon-fiber bodywork and a lack of doors. That’s right, the entire front section, windshield included, flips forward to allow entrance to the two-seat cabin.
It debuted at the 1996 Geneva Motor Show and was acquired by its current owner in 2000. The car was last shown and driven in 2008. You can see more about it here, and see more from RM here.
Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Monterey, California | August 15-17, 2019
This is one of my favorite cars. Ever. Jerry Wiegert lost control of Vector in the mid-1990s, and it was taken over by Megatech, an Indonesian company owned by the son of the country’s “president” (read: dictator). Megatech also owned Lamborghini between 1994 and 1998.
The M12 was based on the Vector WX-3 prototype and the Lamborghini Diablo, a corporate cousin. It shares the same 492 horsepower, 5.7-liter V12 as the Diablo. Top speed was 189 mph and 60 arrived in 4.8 seconds. The design is pure land shark – a 90s wedge with a big spoiler. These cars are impossibly wide at the rear, and remarkably spacious inside with a crease at the beltline surrounded by glass on the scissor doors.
The M12 went on sale in 1996, and Megatech sold Lamborghini to Audi in 1998. The financial situation of Megatech was, well, miserable at this point, and Vector couldn’t afford to pay for the V12s anymore. So Vector shut down. Only 14 road-going M12s were built, along with three pre-production prototypes. Two of them are local to me, which is completely insane (one of which is the first car built). The one offered here is number five. It is the only one finished in purple and is being sold from the Lingenfelter collection.
The 90s were a wild time for supercars, and none of the M12’s competitors quite encapsulate the time quite as the Vector did. It’s also one of the rarest modern-day supercars that actually saw production, even though but a handful were completed. It is ludicrous in the best way possible, and I love it. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.
Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Paris, France | February 6, 2019
Last May, RM Sotheby’s sold a copy of Jordan’s 199 F1 car that was photographed in a very similar position to this car. I’m not sure whose collection these are coming out of (and frankly I really don’t feel like trying to figure it out), but one wonders if there will be more to come.
Jordan’s first year in F1 was 1991, and this was their 1996 car. Power is from a 3.0-liter Peugeot V10, an example of which this care retains. The team’s 1996 drivers were Rubens Barrichello and Martin Brundle, and the race history for this chassis includes:
1996 European Grand Prix – 6th (with Brundle)
1996 Canadian Grand Prix – 6th (with Brundle)
1996 British Grand Prix – 6th (with Brundle)
It was raced in a few other races as well, but those were the highlights. Trackable cars from F1’s V10 era are hard to come by, and you can read more about this one here and see more from RM Sotheby’s in Paris here.
Offered by Artcurial | Le Mans, France | July 7, 2018
Photo – Artcurial
As Venturi is among our favorite exotic marques, this 400 GT was an easy pick from Artcurial’s upcoming Le Mans Classic sale. It’s a rare bird too, with just 13 examples produced between 1994 and 1996. It was much rarer than its racing counterpart, the 73 unit 400 Trophy.
Because it was based on the 400 Trophy race car, the GT shares the same twin-turbo 3.0-liter V-6. In street form, it’s good for 408 horsepower. Top speed is 180 mph – pretty good for a V-6 street car from 1996. In fact, upon introduction, this was the fastest French production car in history.
This example is the fourth 400 GT built and the catalog lists it as a 1998 but says it was first registered in 1996. It’s a 43,000 km car with two owners since 2002. It’s been well-preserved and taken care of – not something you can say about all high-end sports cars of this era. It should bring between $210,000-$280,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.