Skip to main content

Posts by: Jim Pickering

The Collector Car Year in Review With 2012 drawing to a close, it’s time to take a look back at some of the biggest events of the past twelve months. And for those of us who track the collector car market, the biggest news has really been an increase in values of classic cars. We’ve seen some of the highest prices...

When it comes to hot rods, there is no better icon than the ’32 Ford. Rodders have been chopping, channeling, and overpowering these cars for generations — and thanks to years of use as street terrors, drag machines, salt flat top-speed specials, and show cars, there just aren’t a lot of real-deal cars left. Today, a...

Photo credit: Nikki Boertman / The Commercial Appeal Winter is one of my favorite seasons, but it’s not usually a very good time for using your classic – unless that classic is a vintage 4×4 pickup and you love plowing through snowdrifts. For the majority of us, winter generally means our classic cars sit for a couple...

Disc brakes may be most common on new cars, but if you drive something built before 2000, chances are you’ve got a set of drum brakes on the rear. They were the industry standard on all four wheels for years, especially in the 1940s, 1950s, and 1960s, and the design is both simple and pretty effective. Here’s how they...

If you’re in the market for a stately, opulent four-door sedan, you could buy a 7-series BMW. And if you wanted a hard-cornering sports car to hammer the canyon twisties on Sunday morning, you could buy a Porsche 911. Or you could just buy one car: a Panamera. To the chagrin of purists who snubbed the Panamera as a...

Engine, transmissions, differentials, and suspension systems are all important parts of your car. But just as vital, and often overlooked, is the steering system. After all, how are you going to get where you want to go without turning your vehicle? The basics are easy to understand. You have a steering wheel,...

The sky’s the limit when it comes to upgrading your car for better performance – but like the saying goes, speed costs money. How fast would you like to go? Earlier this week we took a look at upgrades you can make to an otherwise stock run-of-the-mill 2005 Mustang GT — just the sort of daily driver that can really...

Is your car perfectly capable of getting you from point A to B in totally stock, original form? Sure. But is it as good as it could possibly be as delivered from the factory? Absolutely not! If you want better handling, better power, better stopping, and better comfort, the aftermarket industry can help. You need to...

Shifting your own gears is great, but sometimes you’d just rather let the transmission take care of itself. Why bother with a clutch pedal when you don’t have to? That’s where the automatic transmission comes in, and since their introduction in the early 1940s, they’ve come a long way in terms of design and...

Engines are great at making power, but without a good gearbox to channel that power to the ground, your car isn’t much of a car. That’s exactly what a transmission does – it takes rotational force from the engine’s crankshaft and gears it up or down, allowing you to make the most of the engine’s power band and do...

In the late ’60s, if you wanted to go fast for not a lot of money, Plymouth was your brand and the Road Runner was your car. Launched in 1968, the Road Runner catered to the bare-bones racer who wanted performance over options. For about $3,000, the Road Runner outran a lot of other higher-priced muscle of the day,...

Take one part military truck, one part early 4×4, and one part tractor, and you get the Dodge Power Wagon. Based on the WWII Dodge 3/4-ton truck, these were built for the civilian market from 1945 through the late 1960s. They were the go-anywhere workhorses of the Dodge line, and their PTOs allowed you to run all kinds...

Most people probably don’t think of second-gen Camaros as top-level collectibles. The vast majority of their 12-year production run took place in the depth of the smoggy 1970s, when performance took a back seat to huge bumpers and early emissions controls. But interest in pre-1974 examples is growing, and cars like...

This Series 1 E-type looks like a sleek and sexy driver. As a ’67, it offers the best of both worlds – you get the smaller bumpers of the earlier cars without the pollution controls that robbed some of the performance of the later ones. And on top of that, it’s in a great color combination, even if it was originally...

When you see a 1980 Ford Fairmont like this, you probably think you’re looking at a grandpa mobile or boring mommy wagon. But this one is packing a hot little secret – there’s a 308-cubic inch small block Ford roller motor under its hood. This is a case of a sleeper that’s actually functional as well as fast — it’s...

If you needed a four-wheel drive truck back in 1956, there were only a few options available. They usually required a third-party contractor, like NAPCO, which would take a new pickup and convert it with special axles, special gearing, and a transfer case – just the thing for clawing up mountains for firewood at a...

Known as the “Zephster Special,” this vintage-styled hot rod features a channeled body over a stretched chassis, as well as a V12 sourced from a 1941 Lincoln Zephyr. If you and your buddies are into vintage-styled retro hot rods, this is the car for you. It’ll stand out more than any other ’29-’32 Ford roadster repowered...

Volkswagen Beetles are great little city cars. But their rear-mounted air cooled engines, torsion bar suspensions, and super simple mechanical components make them great off-roaders, too ó especially when properly fitted out with a suspension lift, big tires, and special gearing. There isn’t much that can break on one...

Cadillac has always been the Gold standard for GM, and this Caddy comes straight out of the era when bigger was better – it’s nearly 19 feet long and weighs over 4,500 pounds. If you’re looking for curb appeal in a ’60s cruiser, you’ve found the right car. Just don’t try to parallel park it in town unless you have a few...

The 300SL roadster and Gullwing have been iconic blue-chip collectibles for years now. And growing interest in those cars has boosted interest in these smaller, cheaper 190SLs. They don’t feature the same power or performance of their larger brothers, but these little SLs do have a lot of the same looks. And...

Mercury introduced the Cougar in 1967 as a bridge between Ford’s Mustang and Thunderbird. The performance/luxury hybrid combination worked really well — Motor Trend named the first-year model “Car of the Year,” and it accounted for nearly half of all Mercury’s sales that year. The seller says 289-ci V8 – rated at 200...