Austin Champ

1953 Austin Champ

Offered by Brightwells | Leominster, U.K. | December 3, 2022

Photo – Brightwells

The Willys Jeep was a hit during WWII, and the basic concept has remained popular in civilian life since. Well, the Brits didn’t want to have to keep buying American Jeeps – and there was some nationalistic pride to be had too by developing their own version.

So in stepped Austin with this, which unofficially became known as the Champ. Produced between 1951 and 1956, the jeep-like truck is powered by a Rolls-Royce-sourced 2.8-liter inline-four that made 80 horsepower. It’s a 4×4 with a waterproof engine and a snorkel. A civilian version was also available.

This one remained in service with the British military until 1967 and later went to the Netherlands. It wears an older restoration and carries as estimate of $14,000-$16,000. Click here for more info.

Update: Sold $21,077.

Ford’s Burma Jeep

1943 Ford GTB

Offered by Mecum | Chicago, Illinois | October 25-27, 2018

Photo – Mecum

Every American automobile manufacturer that survived the Great Depression produced vehicles of some kind for the war effort during WWII. Ford produced planes, jeeps, trucks, and more (yeah, okay, so one of those links is for a truck Ford built for the Nazis). This is sort of a hybrid Jeep-Truck. It is often referred to as a “Burma Jeep.”

These were heavily used by the Navy and Marines, primarily in the Pacific Theater of the war. A 90 horsepower straight-six provided power to all four wheels. Five different variants were built, and this looks like a regular base model truck for cargo or troops. They came equipped with a huge winch and dual rear wheels. They were meant to go trouncing through the jungle. And that’s just what they did.

This one shows pretty well – and the odometer has less than one mile on it. So it’s probably pretty fresh (or that gauge isn’t working). This is the first one of these I can remember seeing at auction. It’s a cool piece of American military history and you can read more here and see more from Mecum here.

Update: Sold $8,800.

Top 10 – Best-Looking SUVs

Sport utility vehicles (and their half-breed cousins, crossovers) are known for their functionality and not necessarily their looks. But sometimes looks and functionality can cross and create a good-looking SUV. So here we have our Top 10 Best-Looking SUVs of all time (according to us – but please tell us why we’re wrong). Honorable mention goes to the 2004-2007 Buick Rainier, 2008-Present Buick Enclave, 2004-2006 BMW X5 4.8is, and 2012 Jeep Liberty Limited Jet. Here we go:

#10 – 2015-Present Volvo XC90


Just introduced, the new XC90 is squarish in the most Swedish way. Which is a good thing. It’s Volvo’s biggest vehicle and power comes from a range of turbo’d 2.0-liter straight-fours. It’s the first all-new Volvo since being taken over by the Chinese and it should do Sweden proud.

#9 – 2011-Present Dodge Durango


The Dodge Durango was always sort of odd looking (hideous second-generation especially). So they took 2010 off to regroup and came back with what really is a nice-looking three-row SUV. While it’s still a tall vehicle, the greenhouse is much shorter than previous versions, giving it a sleeker look. Plus, you can get them fairly decked out. Power comes in the form of either a 3.6-liter V-6 or a 5.7-liter V-8 good for 290 and 360 horsepower respectively.

#8 – 2007-2013 BMW X5


The BMW X5 has always been kind of sporty. It was BMW’s first foray into the land of off-roaders and this second-generation model is more muscular than the first gen model and not quite as creased as the one that they sell now. Honestly, the six-cylinder and V-8 models look better than the “sporty” M variant, which has ridiculous-looking air inlets below the headlights.

#7 – 2010-Present Lincoln MKT


This wagon can be somewhat polarizing. Lincoln has this sort of waterfall-grille thing going on across its model line, but these can actually be head-turners if you’re sitting in traffic. They looks especially good in black and that little kink in the glass at the back of the rear doors is a nice touch. Power comes from a 3.7-liter V-6 or the 3.5-liter EcoBoost V-6, which is good for 355 horsepower.

 #6 – 2001-2006 GMC Yukon XL Denali


Anything GMC-related that has the word “Denali” appended to the end is going to be a nice ride. The GMT800 line of GM SUVs were better looking than their more recent counterparts because they just aren’t as over-the-top rap-star looking. These were really nice Suburbans, essentially, and the newer ones just seem like dumbed-down Escalades.

#5 – 1980-1989 Toyota Land Cruiser


This big boxy truck from Toyota goes a little farther back than everything else on our list thus far. Toyota has been in the SUV game a long time – going back to the 1951 BJ (there was a Toyopet SUV before that, too). The J60 Land Crusier went from supreme off-roader to on-roader with off-roading capability. But doesn’t it just look like it wants to play in the sand? Engine choices were a variety of straight-sixes.

#4 – 1992-1993 GMC Typhoon


No doubt the rarest SUV on this list with just 4,697 produced, the GMC Typhoon (and its sister car, the GMC Syclone pickup) were factory hot rod versions on more mundane trucks. It invented the sporty-SUV segment. It’s powered by a turbocharged 4.3-liter V-6 making 280 horsepower. Car & Driver compared the performance of this truck to that of the Ferrari 348. And it looks pretty good too.

#3 – 1990-Present Mercedes-Benz G-Class


At 25 years old, the current G-Class might be most familiar to you as the choice ride for Russian mobsters and all-around European bad guys. Available in a huge range of versions since its introduction, the Geländewagen can sometimes look quite nice, although the hot rod G63 AMG version above is a little overwrought with add-on bits. But the G63 is intense: 537 horsepower from a twin turbo 5.5-liter V-8. And it’s only the second-most powerful version!

#2 – 1990-2015 Land Rover Defender


As old as the G-Wagen above, the similarly-styled Land Rover Defender is one of the more serious SUVs money can buy. As posh as Land Rovers have become, they are still the most capable vehicles on earth. This truck is available in three different wheelbases and we particularly like the long-wheelbase versions, like the one above. Don’t even ask about powertrain options.

#1 – 1984-1991 Jeep Grand Wagoneer

Photo - Christopher Ziemnowicz

Photo – Christopher Ziemnowicz

AMC-era Jeeps (Wrangler not included) are some of Jeep’s best-ever looking products. The wood-grain panels on the side really set this apart. Woodie wagons sort of stopped being cool in the 1950s and everything that came after about 1951 was a sort of dorky station wagon driven embarrassingly by your parents. Except for this. This is the only acceptable wood-paneled car produced after 1955. And it will likely become one of the most collectible SUVs ever built.

February Auction Round-Up

There were some big sales this month that didn’t quite get their own recap (I’m not made of time, you know). First up is Bonhams’ sale in Boca Raton, Florida. Top sale went to our featured Duesenberg for $698,500. Cool cars were topped by this 1925 Stutz Series 695 Speedway Six Speedster that sold for $49,500. You can check out complete results here.

1925 Stutz Series 695 Speedway Six Speedster 1925StutzSeries695SpeedwaySixSpeedster_zpsd0bf3066.jpg

Top sale at Mecum’s auction of the Fran and Ron Green “Verde Classics Museum Collection” in Boynton Beach, Florida, went to this 1961 Chrysler 300G Convertible for $130,000.

1961 Chrysler 300G Convertible 1961Chrysler300GConvertible_zpsfd59ea50.jpg

Our feature car from this sale, the Tri-Power Catalina Convertible, sold for $58,000. Some of my favorite cars from this sale included a 1990 Jeep Grand Wagoneer Limited (possibly the best-looking SUV ever built). It sold for $17,500. These things have always been collectible and will only continue to go up in value.

1990 Jeep Grand Wagoneer Limited 1990JeepGrandWagoneerLimited_zps57c22462.jpg

Then there was this 1957 Dodge Custom Royale Convertible. Old Mopars can be hard to find and this one is beautiful. It sold for $47,000. You can find complete results from this sale here.

1957 Dodge Custom Royale Convertible 1957DodgeCustomRoyaleConvertible_zps119be44f.jpg

Next up was Silverstone Auctions’ Race Retro & Classic Car Sale held on February 23rd. The top sale was our featured Connaught Formula One car. It sold for $296,400. Our other featured car – er, bus – was a 1962 Leyland Routemaster. I’ve been corrected, it’s actually an AEC Routemaster. Anyway, it sold for $31,460. The coolest non-feature car was this 1973 BMW 3.0 CSL Batmobile FIA race car for $129,200. Check out full results here.

1973 BMW 3.0 CSL Batmobile FIA Racecar 1973BMW30CSLBatmobileFIARacecar_zpsc9d6a427.jpg

We move over to H&H’s Pavilion Gardens sale of February 26th. Top sale was this 1929 Lagonda 2-Litre Low-Chassis Speed Model Tourer for $152,000.

1929 Lagonda 2-Litre Low-Chassis Speed Model Tourer photo 1929Lagonda2LitreLowChassisSpeedModelTourer_zps35f5a5c5.jpg

Right behind it was this, more attractive (in my opinion), 1935 Alvis Speed 20 SC Lancefield Drophead Coupe. It sold for just slightly less – $151,500.

1935 Alvis Speed 20 SC Lancefield Drophead Coupe photo 1935AlvisSpeed20SCLancefieldDropheadCoupe_zpsde620657.jpg

And the last car from this sale – one I almost featured, but ran out of time because of the Amelia Island sales – is this 1920 Calthorpe 10hp Super Sports. It sold for $18,700. Click here for full results.

1920 Calthorpe 10hp Super Sports photo 1920Calthorpe10hpSuperSports_zps6c2f2ff6.jpg

And finally, the largest (in terms of cars featured) sale we’ve ever covered: the incredible Bruce Weiner Microcar Collection. There really weren’t highlights outside of the cars we featured (we featured 80 of them). Here’s a rundown of our feature cars and what they sold for, listed from the top seller down to the cheapest we featured (p.s. If you own a F.M.R. Tiger, Reyonnah, Inter 175 or Peel P50 – get it out, dust it off and sell it – apparently it’s worth way more than anyone guessed):

You can check out complete results from this sale here.

Mecum Spring Classic 2012 Highlights

Dana Mecum’s 25th Original Spring Classic Auction held May 15-20, 2012, sold a ton of cars. I mean, it has seriously taken me two days to go through the results and my mind has melted from staring at the computer screen. The top sale was this gorgeous 1968 Chevrolet Corvette L88 Convertible, one of 18, that sold for $600,000.

Muscle cars were the stars of the show. Numerous Hemi Mopars and big-block Chevys went across the block and brought big numbers. One of my favorite Hemi cars to sell was a 1966 Dodge Charger – my favorite Charger bodystyle. It sold for $190,000 – and it’s all original and unrestored.

Another wonderfully rare muscle car brought the second-highest price paid for a car at this sale. It’s a 1969 Yenko Nova and it’s one awesome looking car. It sold for an eye-popping $475,000.

Our featured car, the Baldwin Motion Manta Ray GT failed to sell. Interesting sales of note included this 1978 Jeep J10 Honcho 4×4 that looks great and would’ve only cost you $7,000.

Carroll Shelby’s recent passing put a spotlight on all Shelby-badged vehicles. One of the more obscure models with the Shelby name on it is this 1989 Dodge Shelby Dakota. It’s one of 1,500 built and sold for $9,500.

And finally, there was the 1964 Voisin Biscuter microcar – and it’s about as cheap as you can go on the Voisin scale. It sold for $13,000 – less than half of what it was priced at a month ago at Hyman Ltd.

There are countless – literally – other cars that sold at this sale. Check out the complete results at Mecum’s website.