Porsche’s First Car Found After Being Left In A Shed For 112 Years

The first Porsche ever built has been untouched since 1902. Officially called the Egger-Lohner C.2 Phaeton, this electric car from 1898 has ‘P1’ engraved onto all of the key components standing for Porsche 1, done by the then 23-years old Ferdinand Porsche himself.

See on jalopnik.com

Fargo’s Police Cars From The Past

I was driving through Downtown Fargo on August 2nd, on my way to drop something off for a client, and something shiny caught my eye. When I realized what it was, I hurriedly found place to park so I could go take a picture. This car was parked next to the Fargo Police Department’s offices, on 3rd avenue north:

This is a 1962 Chevrolet Biscayne, in police cruiser mode, decked out in full Fargo Police Department regalia. My first thought was that the car was some sort of promotional fun vehicle, made by the police department for public relations purposes, like Moorhead’s DARE Corvette, or to honor some anniversary. I checked the news to see if there was anything special going on that would require the presence of a vintage police car, but came up empty. So, I went to the source: I called the cops.

Deputy Chief Pat Claus is the man behind the wheel, but the special event this morning was nothing more than the installation of new tires. Claus explained that this patrol car is one of two that belong to the Law Enforcement Museum at Bonanzaville, and he was getting it ready for an appearance at Cruisin’ Broadway that night. He and his wife, Kim, also a police officer, take the car out for special events like Cruisin’ Broadway, West Fargo’s Night to Unite, the Battle of the Badges, and last Christmas they even delivered gifts — they are the “Claus” family, after all — as part of Random Acts of Christmas Cheer.

Both of the classic FPD cruisers are Chevrolet Biscaynes, the 1962 seen above and an also-restored 1967. The Biscayne was the low end of the Chevrolet line, with not quite as many bells-and-whistles as the similar Bel Air or Impala.  They were reliable and oriented towards the fleet market, which resulted in the Biscayne fulfilling the role of police car throughout the U.S. during the 1960s.

Claus’ cars did not belong to the Fargo police department, exactly: they were part of the Fargo Police Reserve, also known as the Fargo Auxiliary Police, a volunteer force trained in law enforcement who supplied their own equipment. The Reserve purchased the patrol cars for their duties, sometimes with a police officer riding along, patrolling the downtown Fargo area. Prior to urban renewal‘s messy reimagining of downtown in the 1970s, teens cruised Broadway in defiance of curfews and fights broke out in the bars along NP Avenue, giving the Reserve plenty to do. The Reserve was created in 1958, with their heydays during the 1960s, but by the 1970s there was some conflict between their duties and the regular police force, and by 1980 the choice was to revamp or eliminate the Reserve. Police Chief Anderson and Mayor Lindgren elected to disband.

The Fargo Police Auxiliary Association later packed up their garage, formerly located near the 7th avenue water tower, and moved it to Bonanzaville. It became the Law Enforcement Museum at Bonanzaville, a ‘museum in a museum’, according to Claus, operating somewhat independently,  with its own board of directors and with support from the Auxiliary Association and the Fraternal Order of Police. This is where the 1962 police cruiser sleeps most nights, in a part of the building that isn’t currently open to the public. The 1967 cruiser lives in underground parking downtown, and is the usual car Claus takes to public events because it’s easier to get to.

Although both cars are still largely in their original form — Claus said that, up until the police department went digital, even the two-way radios were still functional for police business — their age has required a little bit of restoration to stay in top shape. The cost of repairs has been covered through cooperation from the city, the museum, the Claus’ own contributions, and through the support of local businesses. Claus said that, when the 1967 car needed tires, Fargo Tire replaced them for free — and when he brought the 1962 car in today, he didn’t even have to ask; Fargo Tire replaced the tires pro bono. Claus refers to the cars as “ambassadors”, a friendly presence for connecting with the Fargo Police Department and the Law Enforcement Museum. He said that everyone loves seeing the old police car, and people who were around during the 1960s always have a story to tell about them. Claus joked, “but none of them have a story about themselves sitting in the back, of course.”

Classic Car Prices Music To Milhous Brothers’ Ears

Last month The Milhous Collection went up for auction, with the two days of bidding on the 550 lots coming in just shy of the auction estimate of $40 million, reaching $38.3 million in sales.

The huge custom-build merry-go-round, considered the collection’s center piece, reached the estimated price range of old $1,000,000 – $1,500,000, selling for nearly $1.3 million. I think at that price, the piece deserves to be called a carousel.

While The Milhous Collection was most noted for its world-class vintage and antique instruments — ornately decorated orchestrions, theatre organs, and other mechanical musical instruments, the bids for these pieces came in lower than anticipated. Sadly, of the eight automated musical instruments with estimates of $1 million (or more), only three obtained bids of seven figures.

Lest you think the economics of space was on the minds of bidders, you should note that most of the 30 automobiles in the collection sold at or above their auction estimates. Among the high-horsepower Brass era cars, Indianapolis racing cars, and coachbuilt classics, it was the 1912 Oldsmobile Limited which fetched the highest price; as the only known surviving car of the model, it more than doubled its estimate, selling for $3.3 million.

Perhaps there’s always room for another classic car in the heated garage, but antique mechanical music pieces? Not-so-much.

Images via RM Auctions.

Vintage Indianapolis 500 Ephemera

Inside the February 1961 issue of Magic Circle, a publication of Perfect Circle Corporation, a contest to win tickets to the Indy 500 and/or a 1961 Thunderbird.

I’m guessing the original owner of this vintage magazine never entered — because the official entry form was still inside the magazine, unused!

PS Here’s another clipping from this issue.

Slowing Down To Look At Vintage Hot Rod Ephemera

I know next to nothing about hot rods, dragsters, automobilia or even cars in general, but I do recognize the value of vintage car part catalogs, like these Almquist “Equipment of Champions” catalogs, to fans and collectors of such things.

And I’ll admit, looking at old hot rod custom sport bodies, kits, 3-D chrome emblems, classic flame decals, etc. is cool — even when it’s all in black and white. (If you think so too, click the images to see large scans.)

But after taking some time to page through the pair of catalogs from Almquist Engineering Co., Inc. of Milford, PA (founded by Ed Almquist), I decided I had to list them for sale (1959 catalog, 1960 catalog) for collectors in need. (And if you collect, you know it’s a need — you need to know what was made and when, the part’s official name and/or stock number, etc.)

However I won’t be selling what I found inside one of the vintage catalogs — sketches of what I presume, my dear Watson, to be flame-type designs for the former owner’s dream car.

I won’t be selling them because they have no monetary value: A) the former owner doesn’t appear to have any fame, 2) most collectors or fans of hot rods probably have their own similar drawings, and III) fans of such finds typically won’t pay for such things — they prefer to enjoy the serendipity of their own finds.

I myself fall into the third category, and so will enjoy holding onto the vintage drawings, ever wondering if the maker of these drawings got his dream hot rod… If so, after sketching did he realized “flames” were more difficult than the thought, and so he just purchased them, or paid for a custom paint job… Or if he still pines for the awesome hot rod of his fantasies.