Offered by Bring a Trailer Auctions | December 2022
Functional. That’s what the design of this screams. Volkswagen developed the EA489 Basistransporter for “developing markets,” which I think is code for “third-world countries.” It was produced as a knock-down kit in West Germany and sold under a few names. Versions produced in Mexico between 1977 and 1979 were called the Hormiga.
The engine is a 1.6-liter flat-four located under the cabin. The air intake sprouts out of the roof like a bathroom vent, and the thing is front-wheel drive. Power for Mexican-market models was rated at 50 horsepower, and it was rated to carry about 2,200 pounds.
Never seen one of these? Hardly surprising, just 3,600 were built in Mexico, and even the limited number of examples produced for other markets were all used up and thrown away. This one has obviously been redone. You can read more about it here.
Offered by Shannons | Melbourne, Australia | February 23, 2021
Dorky watermark alert. So what do we have here? First, Shannons’ write-up says that the Leyland Mini dropped the Clubman name after 1973. Yet they list this 1978 model as a Mini Clubman. I left it off.
What we do know for sure is that Leyland is the marque. The original Mini was sold under a number of different marques throughout the world, including Austin, Morris, Innocenti, Authi, Mini, and, down under, Leyland. The Leyland Mini was produced in Australia between 1973 and 1978.
This one is powered by a 1,275cc inline-four sourced from a European Cooper S model. This isn’t a version of the Mini seen very often, especially outside of Australia, where this one is located. It should sell for between $9,000-$11,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.
The Porsche 935 was a factory racing version of the 911 Turbo, aka the 930. It was built for competition in the FIA’s Group 5 category, hence the 935 designation. Porsche launched it with the 935/76 in 1976, followed by the 935/77, which included customer cars.
Porsche updated it one more time in 1978 before moving on to other projects. Fortunately, for those still interested in a car that continued to dominate, Kremer Racing was building their own versions of Porsche’s 935 Evolution models. The K2, K3, and K4 versions of the 935 were available from Kremer 1977 through about 1980. A K3 like this one won Le Mans outright in 1979.
This car started life as one of about 24 factory 935s built for customers. It was delivered in the US in 1978 and raced for a few years before being upgraded to Kremer K3 specification later on. K3 spec normally meant a twin-turbocharged 3.2-liter flat-six capable of more than 740 horsepower. The competition history for this chassis includes:
For sale at Galantica Collection | Crans-Montana, Switzerland
Photo – Galantica Collection
American cars of the late-1970s weren’t great. There were some that were okay, but why Peter Monteverdi chose the Plymouth Valiant as a base for his new boutique luxury car, the Sierra, I’m not really sure. He must’ve gotten a hell of a deal.
The Sierra was sold primarily as a sedan and somewhere between 20 and 50 of those were built. He also built a very limited Cabriolet – so limited that only two were built. These were based on the Dodge Diplomat of the era. The cabriolet has a 178 horsepower, 5.9-liter V-8. Styling was by Fissore and it helped turn the dud of a Dodge into something resembling a nice Fiat.
The era of the Special – a unique, one-off automobile based around something else – is long gone. People just don’t do it anymore. Today, if someone wants a custom car they either customize a car they’ve purchased but leave it largely intact, start a company in hopes of building a supercar, or build a kit car. But Russell Mexone is one of very few people who just build their own cars.
He had already constructed two other specials before building this one in the early 1990s. He took a 1978 Jaguar (hence the car’s year listed above) and made a body for it. The 5.3-liter V-12 (yes, this is a 12-cylinder car) made 265 horsepower when new in 1978.
The car was made street legal prior to it being sold to its second owner sometime around 2010. The aluminium body was handcrafted thereafter by a Scottish company. A lot of money has been put into this and it is expected to bring between $23,000-$28,500. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.
Offered by Brightwells | Leominster, U.K. | July 13, 2016
Photo – Brightwells
The Silurian (named after a Welsh tribe) is a surprisingly attractive touring car from the 1970s. I say “surprisingly” because most replica makes from the 1970s all look a little off. This car looks believably 1930s – if you didn’t know better, you’d be forgiven for mistaking it for an actual Lagonda or Bentley. It was built from scratch by a master restorer.
The chassis is an original (an impressive feat on its own), but the suspension is from a period Jaguar XJ6 as is the 3.4-liter straight-six making 210 horsepower and most of the running gear. The car actually has four-doors, even though at first glance it looks like a 2+2 two-door. It is very nicely done.
It’s a one-off car (complete with its own unique badging) and would be a head turner wherever it goes. It’s fantastic to see that in an age where tribute cars and replicas all look sort of bulky and wrong, that someone was able to nail it. It is expected to sell for between $35,000-$45,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.
For sale at The Gallery Brummen | Brummen, Netherlands
Photo – The Gallery Brummen
Peter Monteverdi’s Swiss car company built cars between 1967 and 1984. They built all kinds of things: SUVs, sedans, coupes, supercars… you name it. This, the Sierra, was available between 1977 and 1982. Strangely, it was based on the fairly-lame Plymouth Volare but had pretty features thanks to Carrozzeria Fissore.
The engine is a 5.2-liter V-8 making 160 horsepower. Three body styles were offered: sedan, cabriolet, and station wagon (this, the sedan, was the one actually sold to the public). No one is quite sure just how many were built, but it is believed to be between 20 and 50.
This car is in great shape and if you’re a collector of American cars or European cars, it should appeal to you. Alongside most Monteverdi vehicles, the Sierra is a model you almost never see. The price on this one? $50,192. Click here for more information.
Offered by Oldtimer Galerie Toffen | Toffen, Switzerland | November 29, 2014
Photo – Oldtimer Galerie Toffen
Peter Monteverdi founded one of Switzerland’s few automobile companies. He began it in 1967 and it went out of business in 1984. They built some serious luxury supercars in the early years but by 1976 the cars were history and the company looked way into the future: luxury SUVs.
The Monteverdi Safari was their second SUV, behind the Sahara. It was a re-styled International Scout designed by Carrozzeria Fissore. Three engines were offered: a 5.7-liter International V-8 (165hp) or the choice between two Chrysler V-8s, a 7.2-liter (305hp) or a 5.2-liter (152hp). This one has the 5.7-liter International engine with 165 horsepower.
The Safari was built between 1976 and 1982 and sold well in Europe and the Middle East. About 1,000 SUVs were built in total between the base Sahara and the upscale Safari. The price probably won’t be that outrageous compared to when it was new. You can read more here and see more from this sale here.
Offered by Bonhams during Pebble Beach | August 15-17, 2014
Photo – Bonhams
The Ferrari 312 T3 was Ferrari’s second car for the 1978 Formula One Season. The car used for the first two races was a carryover from 1977. The T3 was introduced for the third race. This car was driven primarily by Carlos Reutemann (who won the 1978 British Grand Prix in it). It also driven by Gilles Villeneuve. Villeneuve won the 1978 Race of Champions (a non-points F1 race) in this car. The engine is a 530 horsepower 3.0-liter Flat-12. Ferrari built five of these cars and this one is offered in more-or-less as-raced conditions and has spent many years in the Maranello Rosso Collection. It should sell for between $1,500,000-$2,000,000. Click here for more info.
Russian cars are so weird. But in a really interesting way. The “marque” is usually associated with a particular factory, in this case it is GAZ – which roughly translates to “Gorky Automobile Plant.” It is located in Nizhny Novgorod, which, coincidentally, will be the name of my first-born child.
The Chaika (which kind of translates to “seagull”) was a car used by Soviet government officials – but not the really important ones (they got ZIL limousines). This was for your run-of-the-mill bureaucrats and field officers. You might be thinking “How is this a 1978? It looks like something from the mid-1950s.” Well you’d be right. After WWII, the U.S. government prodded Packard into licensing (or selling) their old body dies to the Soviet Union, presumably to appease them into not nuking us.
Well Packard did just that but Packard also went out of business in the 1950s. So the Chaika (Mark I or “M13”), which was produced from 1959 through 1981 was almost a direct copy of the 1955-1956 Packard Patrician, at least from the outside. The engine was a 195 horsepower 5.5-liter V8. It also used Russia’s first three-speed push-button automatic transmission (which was essentially copied from Chrysler). In 1977, the Chaika M14 was introduced and it was more of an original (and contemporary) design, at least for the time.
Chaikas are really rare – anywhere in the world, especially in the U.S. They were not mass produced by American standards – or anybody’s standards, really. And their limited market ensured not many would be built. It’s really interesting and a piece of Cold War history. This one is in really good shape and can be yours for $69,500. For more information, click here.