OK, let’s get onto Jay’s Performance and Racing Cars. As a reminder, I previously provided an overview of Jay’s entire collection a few weeks ago called “A Deep Dive into Jay Leno’s Collection” and a closer look as his European Classics. You will find the links to these episodes in the description of this podcast. For the Deep Dive, I gave a brief overview of the 184 cars in his collection.
This is the second of four additional follow up episodes in which I go a little deeper into the collection and review a few specific cars. Of Jay’s 184 cars in his collection, I would identify 158 cars as performance and/or racing. That’s 93.2% of his collection! Yes, Jay has some plain jane four-door sedans but his tastes definitely lean towards performance.
If you are paying close attention, you probably noted that I previously said Jay had 183 cars in his collection. I recently added the 2014 Cadillac CTS-V that was reviewed a few weeks ago on his YouTube channel. That one was never mentioned before and he bought it new. It even made it into last week’s podcast episode where I reviewed “19 Depreciation Proof” cars.
For this episode, I’ve picked 16 cars to review including recent market trends from Hagerty and average value if available. All of the links to Jay’s videos for each of these cars is available via the show notes which are found at www.TheCollectorCarPodcast.com under the blog section.
The Stutz Bearcat, introduced in 1912, was perhaps America’s first true sports car. Stutz individually tested each Bearcat at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, and many were raced with great success. Stutz dropped the model in 1924 only to bring it back in 1931, hoping the beloved name might improve sales during the Great Depression. But Stutz ended automobile production in 1935.
The transmission is in the back
Jay bought his from a 94-year-old recluse who did not have running water
He had $800k in gold bullion in the floor
Reported to be the first person to fly a gyrocopter at the White House
The Bearcat had been in a lean-to shed for 50 years
The Bugatti Type 37 was introduced in November 1925, and it proved to be one of the most iconic and instantly recognizable racing cars to ever leave Bugatti’s facilities. Like its predecessor, the Type 35, the Type 37 provided all the performance that one desired, yet it also offered an excellent level of practicality for road-based events and rallies. However, as opposed to the eight-cylinder unit found in the Type 35, the Type 37 was fitted with a four-cylinder engine. This inline-four engine was considered by many to be more reliable, yet it also provided just as much excitement to the individual behind the wheel as its bigger brother did. Not only could the Type 37 be driven hard all day long, but it also proved reliable enough to be driven home at the end of the day under its own power, even with an additional passenger riding along.
About 18 months after the Type 37’s initial introduction, Bugatti introduced the Type 37A, with the hallmark improvement being a Roots-type supercharger. Performance was drastically improved over the naturally aspirated model, and the car was capable of reaching a top speed of 122 mph. The car proved to be quite successful, and it saw action in some of the world’s greatest endurance races at the time, including the Mille Miglia, the 24 Hours of Le Mans, and the Targa Florio. While Bugatti produced a totally of 286 Type 37s, only 76 were supercharged from the factory.
The Duesenberg J’s engine produced 265 horsepower, enough to propel the car to speeds in excess of 110 miles per hour; it produced 374 foot-pounds of torque at just 2,000 RPM. The chassis became a favorite for coachbuilders creating custom one-off cars.
Murphy, like some of the other coachbuilders of the day, was a popular choice for Duesenberg owners. Known for their simple and refined good taste, the Walter M. Murphy Body Co. in Pasadena, California would produce a significant amount of bodies for several of the luxury manufacturers. In the 1920’s, the cars came as a rolling chassis and the owner sought out a coachbuilder – in this case Murphy. The Model J Duesenberg was regarded as the most outstanding prestige motor car of the day, and it was by far the most expensive car in America. Depending on the coachwork, the price could reach $20,000, which was a staggering sum at a time when a new home could be purchased for under $10,000 and a new family car typically cost around $500.
Duesenbergs were there fastest cars for two decades
Although Cunningham as a manufacturer is mostly associated with Briggs Cunningham’s admirable but ultimately unsuccessful effort to win at Le Mans with an American car, a handful of automobiles rolled out of his West Palm Beach, Florida factory intended for street use. New rules in 1952 dictated that Cunningham had to build at least 25 cars in order to enter Le Mans as a manufacturer, and a road-going product could in theory actually bring in some money for the company, which was being financed by Cunningham himself.
The resulting road car would be dubbed the Cunningham C3. The very first car called C3 was built entirely at the shop in West Palm Beach and was essentially a C1 competition car with a hard top. The car lacked the refinement that Briggs Cunningham wanted for a road car, it wasn’t particularly attractive, and it cost $15,000 to build. In the early 1950s, even the well-heeled would balk at such a price tag. What Cunningham then decided to do was to fit bodywork onto ladder-type tubular chassis derived from the C2. A period advertisement described the pairing as “combining American engineering with Italian artistry,” and the C3 was indeed beautiful in both coupe and Cabriolet forms.
Underneath the 2+2 bodywork, the C3 featured a coil-sprung Chrysler live rear axle with parallel trailing arms, 11-inch Mercury drum brakes and a 331-cid Chrysler V-8 fitted with four Zenith carburetors and coupled to either a three-speed manual transmission or a Chrysler Torqueflite automatic. Cunningham completed about one chassis per week before sending it off to Italy, where Vignale would fit the bodywork and send a completed car back to the States. Despite all the travel the cars had to do before completion, they were still able to sell for less than the $15,000 of the very first C3. At around $11,400, however, the C3 was still extremely expensive. One could buy three new Cadillacs in the early 1950s for the price of a single Cunningham.
Around 30 examples of the C3 were built, with two-thirds of them coupes and one-third of them Cabriolets. The number was enough to allow Cunningham to keep running at Le Mans, but it also caught the attention of the Internal Revenue Service. At the time, the IRS allowed companies like Cunningham a period of five years to become profitable or it would be taxed as a non-deductible hobby. Given the low volume and high price of the C3 as well as the lack of other real products for sale, there was no way Cunningham would be a profitable carmaker.
With its Chrysler underpinnings, a C3 would be easier to maintain than other cars that share its Italian good looks, although certain trim and interior parts would create headaches for restorers.
Jay’s Cunningham has the original engine and he put in a 5-speed tranny
He stated that the original 2-speed automatic is horrible
In most cases, a road car comes first and a racing version follows. But for the Mercedes-Benz 300SL, the radical-gull-wing door coupe that hit the market in 1954 was directly derived from the sports racing car that won the Carrera Panamericana and the 24 hours of Le Mans in 1952.
The road car that followed retained the racing version’s, strong tubular frame with high sills—necessitating the gull wing doors—and featured fully-independent suspension and a fuel-injected version of Mercedes-Benz’s 2,995cc single-overhead camshaft engine. The straight-six was rated at 215 bhp and would propel the car to speeds upwards of 160mph, making it one of the fastest production car in the world upon introduction. The only transmission available was a four-speed manual and powerful drum brakes were fitted at each corner. Significant options included a more highly-tuned engine, Rudge knock-off wheels and fitted luggage. The most coveted of all the production 300SLs are the 29 aluminum coupes.
Fast, beautiful and very expensive at nearly $9,000, only 1,400 of the exclusive coupes were built between 1954 and 1957 when the model was superceded by the 300SL roadster.
Jay’s is unrestored with original paint
It was found in a shipping container with no engine or transmission
He often mentioned that it is fun to drive as he does not need to worry about it was cruise-ins
By 1965, Carroll Shelby had already established himself and his name as the de facto American performance brand, with cars like the 289 and 427 Cobra regularly trouncing the competition on tracks and at stoplights around the world. So he turned his attention to the Ford Mustang.
Ford wanted to make its already-popular pony car into a fire-breather, and Shelby did just that. He started with white 2+2 fastbacks fitted with the High Performance 289 V8 rated at 271 horsepower, then massaged them with an aluminum high-rise intake manifold, Holley four-barrel carburetor, Tri-Y headers, and a glasspack dual exhaust system to produce 306 horsepower and 329 ft-lb of torque. A Borg Warner four-speed put that power to the rear wheels, and the 2,800-pound car could sprint to 60 mph in about 6.5 seconds, with a top end of 126 mph. Rear seats were replaced with a fiberglass shelf, and all GT350s were fitted with fiberglass hoods and blue rocker panel stripes. Thick racing stripes down the center of the body were optional, as were Cragar mag wheels.
Jay has never done a video on his GT350 which kills me😊
The 1965 Ford line was advertised as the “newest since 1949.” They were indeed all-new cars with new bodies, new perimeter frames, new technology (including slightly curved side-glass), new fashionable boxy styling and vertical headlamps, and new small-block 289 V-8 engines available. Big 427 FE blocks maxed out at 425 hp again, and that was considered “enough” for those who wanted to go very fast.
The 1966 cars received a mild face-lift with a new roofline on two-door hardtops and a new two-way tailgate on the highly popular full-sized Ford wagons, none of which carried the Galaxie nomenclature. A new Galaxie 500 “7-Litre” two-door hardtop (with the new roofline) was introduced as a performance version, including a cheaper-to-build 428 FE block with 345 hp. The car featured a sports steering wheel of simulated English walnut, bucket seats, a floor shift, low restriction exhausts and non-silenced air cleaner, as well as new power front disc brakes. 1966 saw the Galaxie line “trident” into three directions; luxury, super luxury and luxury sports.
Lamborghini finally offered a proper four-seat GT as a replacement for the 400GT 2+2 when the Espada appeared at the Geneva show in 1968. This new Gandini-designed coupe amazed show goers with its lengthy and low proportions, as well as its likeness to two previous Bertone show cars, the Piranha and the ill-fated Marzal that Lamborghini had unveiled a year prior.
The new Espada legitimately had room for four occupants, unlike post 2+2s of the day, and it was powered by the familiar 3929-cc Weber-carbureted V-12 that made 325 hp. The package could run a 7-second 0-60 sprint and could cross the continent at 155 mph. In-period reviews of the Espada commended it for its interior appointments as well as an independent suspension that made for a very stable platform well into the 130 mph range; it was the perfect conveyance for shortening the journey between cities in Europe.
Lamborghini produced 1,217 of these fine GTs from 1968 to 1978, and they are divided into three different series, with the original series I cars being built from 1968 to 1969. Series II cars received interior revisions that eliminated the hexagonal Marzal-type influence of the previous generation, and power steering and air conditioning were optional equipment. The 4-liter V-12 also received a power increase to 350 hp during this series that would last until the end of production in 1978. Production of the final series III cars started in 1974, with power steering and air conditioning becoming standard, and a sunroof and a Chrysler Torqueflite transmission becoming optional, although neither of these options saw their way into many cars.
By 2009, the Chevrolet Corvette was entering the fifth year of the C6 generation’s model run, and it set the performance world ablaze with the announcement of the ZR1. This designation was previously used on special versions of the C3 and C4 Corvettes. The C3 used it as a competition upgrade package, while the C4 ZR1 was a high-performance model featuring a quad-cam engine designed by Lotus. The C6 ZR1 Corvette was a completely different beast, with performance that put America’s sports car on par with the world’s quickest and most expensive exotic cars.
Internally named “Blue Devil” (an homage to GM CEO Rick Wagoneer’s alma mater of Duke), the ZR1 was powered by a new LS9 powerplant with a target of 100 horsepower-per-liter. This supercharged 6.2-liter V8 made 638 horsepower and 595 pound-feet of torque.
The sprint from 0-60 takes just over 3 seconds and the C6 ZR1 can hit a top speed over 200 mph. You can tell the ZR1 apart by its power dome hood, which includes a polycarbonate window so you can see the Eaton twin-scroll supercharger. The ZR1 also has a unique full-width spoiler, lower front splitter, added vents, and a carbon fiber roof.
The Cadillac CTS-V blends the refinement of a luxury car with the potency of one of GM’s most powerful engines. There were three ways to enjoy the 2012 Cadillac CTS-V – Sedan, Coupe, or Sport Wagon. All three feature a pronounced power-dome hood, chrome mesh front grille, and aerodynamic lower front bodywork. The Coupe features a more aggressive lower front clip and unique center-mounted exhaust outlets. The Sport Wagon also has a unique look, and the benefit of up to 58 cubic feet of cargo space. A standard 2012 Cadillac CTS-V started at around $63,000.
The CTS-V is powered by a supercharged 6.2-liter LSA V8, which is based on the LS9 V8 from the Chevrolet Corvette ZR1. The LSA makes 556 horsepower and 551-pound feet of torque, routed to the rear wheels through either a 6-speed manual or 6-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters. CTS-Vs with a manual, especially wagons, are particularly desirable.
At the beginning of the decade, McLaren started to become a volume sports car manufacturer with models like the MP4-12C and has since expanded its range to include several distinct but conceptually similar models. Before that, it had been all racing and only racing for McLaren, with the exception of the all-conquering F1 hypercar of the 1990s and the Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren of the early 2000s. Then, 10 years after the SLR and 10 years after the introduction of both the Ferrari Enzo and Porsche Carrera GT, all three companies came out with their latest and greatest. Interestingly, all three of these hypercars of the 2010s utilize gasoline-hybrid electric power. Whereas most hybrids use electric power with the goal of added fuel efficiency, these hypercars use it to augment the performance of their already potent and cutting-edge internal combustion engines.
Behind the driver sits a V-8 that is the same 3.8-liter displacement as the engines used across the McLaren model range. It’s a different beast in the P1, however, and with two turbochargers and dry-sump lubrication it puts out 727 bhp and 531 lb-ft of torque. The P1’s electric motor’s purpose is to fill in for the gas engine when it isn’t at peak power, such as at lower rpms or during gearshift. By itself, the electric motor makes 176 hp, so the total system output is a whopping 903. The sprint to 60 mph takes less than three seconds, and the quarter-mile comes in less than 10. Top speed is limited to 217 mph. Despite the absolutely savage performance and incredible power, the P1 is also drivable around town and will even return 34 mpg.
While it isn’t the same world-beater as the F1 that came before it, the P1 represents a serious leap forward in performance among the world’s top-tier manufacturers, and according to Car and Driver, it is “lithe and alert and…every bit as great to drive as you might hope it to be.”
1-year +6.3%, 3-year -5.6%, 5-year -30.6%
Avg Value – $1,300,000
Why is it down? Diluted with the same styling cues as the 720S? Same performance from a freakin Tesla? It is probably a combination of all of these factors.
As always, thanks for listening and I will talk to all of you, next week.