Labor Day Approaching and Auction Season Kicking In

Here’s an “economy” car for those who favor European performance.  Okay that would be a stretch, but what we have here is a 1961 Vespa 400.  Nice little car you won’t find too many of at your next car show.  You may know of Vespa as the “moped” people and you are correct, but they made cars at one time also.  I do not know if they still do… guess would be no because I never see them tooling the highway but then a lot of European manufacturers do not export cars to the United States, so I cannot be certain.

It was one of the cars that had the soft roll-back top which gave the effect of being a convertible, without losing the chassis rigidity from not having a solid roof.  At least that was the line car makers used back in the days.

As you can see in the third picture it was called a 400 because it used a 400 cc engine.  The generator is almost as big as the motor, and you can clearly see the “massive” fuel tank sitting beside the engine on the left hand side. This vehicle will be at the Mecum Auction in St. Charles, Illinois that runs September 16th through the 19th.  It is held at the Pheasant Run Resort.  It is the Largest annual auction in the Chicagoland area and they expect over 1000 cars this year.

There must be a lot of people thinking the bottom of the market for these collector cars has been reached because some highly significant cars are coming up for auction.  This is 1 of only 475 R/T Chargers built with the 426 hemi engine in 1968.  And it is a rare Silver color on top of that.

While the hemi’s draw the attention and the big money, I prefer the 440 such as this 1969 Charger has under the hood.  One of the vehicles getting rarer every year as a lot of these 1969’s keep getting cloned into “General Lee” editions every year.  Either way you prefer your Mopar they will have a lot of them at St. Charles.

One of the sweetest rides would be this 1970 Dodge Challenger convertible.  It may only have a 340 under the hood, but top down cruising more than makes up for the engine displacement.  The Challengers will appreciate slightly ahead of the curve in future years I feel because they are valued less than their flashier twin the ‘Cuda/Barracuda from Plymouth.  The Challenger rode on a wheelbase that was 2 inches longer than the ‘Cuda.

The “Go Go Green” car is the 1970 Dodge Dart Swinger with a 360 motor and if the 340 equipped Challenger is too tame for you, this little beast will fit you better.  The older style 1968 Dart with the 426 Hemi is still setting Drag Strip records 42 years later.  It is a shame the factory only produced 50 of them.

The compact Dart was the direct competitor to the Chevrolet Nova, but unlike the Nova, the Dart used a full frame beneath it.  From a performance standpoint, the Dart could handle double the horsepower that the Nova could without major chassis modifications.

The major knock with Mopars during the late 60’s and early 70’s was their use of attention-getting paint colors.  It was hard to blend into the crowd with a bright green or a pink car.  And if running the city streets was your thing back then, the attention from “Johnny Law” was something you did not want.

Then we come to a 1971 Plymouth ‘Cuda equipped with a 340 engine.  The blacked out “patches” on the rear quarters were called “billboards” and they gave the engine size for people to see when you drove by.  The 340 was the lowest number used in “billboards” as the factory saw no reason to advertise the base 318.  But above the 340, there was 360, 383, 440, 440-6 (which designated the 6-pack carb set up), and of course HEMI which would be the most feared engine you could put in a Mopar.

Well, besides these few Mopars shown here there is another 20 pages on the Mecum web site to check out if you feel so inclined.  And they have a lot of Chevrolet, Ford, Pontiac, AMC, and on and on.  This sale specializes in Muscle Cars and nobody does it as well as Mecum.  You can check out their web site at

My advise is to be sure and sign up for their infonet service so you can get auction notifications and check out past auctions with pricing information.

Later my friends….. follow me on Twitter…. i am….. dwayne1957

davey boy


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5 Responses to “Labor Day Approaching and Auction Season Kicking In”

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