10 December 2018

Austin Mini commands surprise auction price




MINI'S MEGRE MILEAGE OVER MANY YEARS

David Ellis

A little red 1989 Austin Mini whose one lady owner had driven a mere 6,500km in her whole twenty-nine years of ownership, equating to a 'miniscule' on-average four kilometres a week, has just fetched an amazing UKP13,000  (AU$22,654) at auction in the UK.

Amazing, because that lady had paid a touch over just 1,900 pounds (AU$3,361) when she'd bought her little Mini new all those years before.

The concept of the Mini actually goes back a further 30-odd years before that to 1957 when head of the Morris Car Company, Sir Leonard Lord foreshadowed a place for a small, fuel-efficient and budget-priced family car in view of a looming world fuel crisis and tasked his top engineer, Alec Issigonis, with heading up a team of designers to bring about just such a vehicle.

Amongst ideas that team conceived was a boxy little auto into which four people could be literally shoe-horned, and which had a transverse engine and gearbox that allowed for a revolutionary, fuel-efficient front-wheel drive – something drivers around the world instantly took to, and which is still as in-vogue today as all those decades ago.

And the little red 1989 Austin Mini that's just sold in the UK with that extraordinarily low 6,500 kilometres after twenty-nine years on the road (meaning an average use of just 222km a year, or a touch over a mere four kilometres a week,) still had its original sale contract in the glovebox, original handbook and keys and supplier company's windscreen sticker, and the original 1980's style registration disc holder.

And while he's paid around a third more than the 10,000 pounds the car was expected to sell for at auction, its new owner says he bought it both to enjoy driving, and as an investment.


[] WOULD you believe this little red Austin Mini's one lady owner clocked up just 6,500 kilometres in a whole twenty-nine years driving – a mere four kilometres a week on average over all those years. (Image: H&H Classics Auctions)

29 November 2018

New Eighth Generation Porsche 911



Porsche presented the 8th generation of the 911 in Petree Hall at the Los Angeles Auto Show. “California is the ideal place to introduce the new 911. California has been like a second home to Porsche for decades,” comments Oliver Blume, CEO of Porsche AG. “The 8th generation of the 911 is even more powerful, even more emotional, and even more efficient than its predecessor – and also offers extensive digital features. And in spite of all the innovations, the 911 is still just what it has always been: a pure sports car and the pulsing heart of Porsche: our icon.”

Unmistakably committed to the Porsche design DNA, with a much more muscular look and an interior featuring a 10.9-inch touchscreen monitor, the new 911 is timeless – and also modern. Intelligent control and chassis elements, as well as innovative assistance systems, combine the masterfully uncompromising dynamism that the classic rear-engine sportscar is famed for, with the demands of the digital world.

Los Angeles Auto Show: Oliver Blume, Chairman of the Executive Board, Porsche AG

The next generation of flat-six turbocharged engines has been further developed and is more powerful than ever before, with 331 kW (450 PS) in the S models. The drive efficiency has been increased by way of an improved injection process and a new layout for the turbochargers and charge air cooling system. The power is delivered by a newly developed eight-speed dual-clutch transmission. The top speeds are now 308 km/h (Carrera S*) and 306 km/h for the Carrera 4S all-wheel-drive version. Additional highlights include Porsche Wet mode to make driving on wet roads even safer, Night Vision Assist with thermal imaging camera, as well as comprehensive connectivity that uses swarm intelligence. The offering is completed by three exclusive digital services that are a perfect fit for the Californian lifestyle: the Porsche Road Trip app for extraordinary journeys, the Porsche 360+ personal assistant, and the web-based Porsche Impact emissions calculator for neutralising your individual carbon footprint.

Detlev von Platen, Member of the Executive Board for Sales and Marketing at Porsche AG, emphasised the importance of the US American market for the sports car manufacturer: “More than 55,000 Porsches were delivered to the USA in 2017, and our American sales company Porsche Cars North America is on track to achieve a new record figure in 2018. Ultimately, no model better symbolises the American love affair with Porsche than the 911. One in three Porsche 911s built in Zuffenhausen goes to the USA.”

- from media release

19 November 2018

Marilyn Monroe's Thunderbird's fetches huge price


David Ellis

A SHINY black 1956 Ford Thunderbird convertible once owned by Hollywood legend Marilyn Monroe, has just sold at auction in Hollywood for an extraordinary US$490,000 (AU$668,000)

It was one of a vast number of the star's personal items, from screen publicity shots to clothing and a 1954 Christmas card to her from pianist Liberace, that sold at the Icons and Idols of Hollywood auction over the recent Friday and Saturday of November 16 and 17.

The Ford Thunderbird is believed to have been given to Monroe by her business partner and photographer, Milton Greene whose wife Amy often talked about the times she and the actress would go riding in the car.



"Marilyn loved to drive," Amy Greene told one newspaper. "We'd take the Thunderbird and with the top down go sailing along the highway – we both liked to feel the wind in our faces and the warmth of the heater on our legs."

Marilyn Monroe owned the Thunderbird for six years, before giving it as an 18th birthday present to the son of her acting tutor, Lee Strasberg a few months before she died of a self-administered barbiturates overdose in 1962.

Thunderbirds were extraordinarily popular in the United States from when the first hit the road in 1954, with some 15,631 of the Marilyn Monroe 1956 model selling in that year alone, and production not ceasing until a near-50 years later in 2005.

And would anyone at Ford in 1956 have ever thought that that car would fetch the near-half-million it sold for on November 17 of this year – considering that when it rolled brand-new out of the showroom, it had cost its first owner all of US$2,944?

FOOTNOTE: That 1954 Christmas card to Marilyn Monroe from Liberace that also sold at the recent Icons and Idols of Hollywood auction, fetched an amazing US$2,187.50 (around AU$2,983.75.)

PHOTO CAPTION:

[] MARILYN MONROE'S sleek Ford Thunderbird convertible that's just gone under the hammer at Julien's Auctions' Icons and Idols of Hollywood sale for US$490,000 (AU$668,000) – somewhat grown on the $2,944 it cost its first owner to drive out of the showroom in 1956.