Frank Sinatra’s woody wagon is for sale

Frank Sinatra owned a string of fabulous cars during the course of his life, but one of his last is not what you’d expect. It’s a 1985 Chrysler LeBaron “Woody” Station Wagon that is rumored to be the last car Old Blue Eyes ever drove, and it’s currently up for sale through an online auction … Continue reading “Frank Sinatra’s woody wagon is for sale”

Frank Sinatra owned a string of fabulous cars during the course of his life, but one of his last is not what you’d expect.

It’s a 1985 Chrysler LeBaron “Woody” Station Wagon that is rumored to be the last car Old Blue Eyes ever drove, and it’s currently up for sale through an online auction in the U.K.

Sinatra definitely owned the turbocharged K-Car, and tooled around in it for several years, often with a chauffeur behind the wheel.

It may seem like an odd choice for such a big star, but the heavily tinted windows suggest he was looking for a low key car and he was a longtime fan of the brand.

In fact, Chrysler even offered a special Frank Sinatra Limited Edition of the Imperial coupe from 1981-1982 that was painted blue like the singer’s eyes and delivered with a 16-cassette collection of his records.

Less than 300 of them were built and they sell for only around $10,000 today, but you’ll likely have to pay a lot more than that for the LeBaron.

While the H&H auction house website doesn’t offer an estimate, the car was listed for sale previously for nearly $300,000.

Gary Gastelu is FoxNews.com’s Automotive Editor.

Brand-new classic Ford Broncos now on sale

In about a year you’ll be able to buy a new Ford Bronco that’s inspired by the original. But if you can’t wait that long, you can by an original Bronco that’s brand new right now.

Gateway Bronco of Hamel, Ill., which started out as a restoration shop specializing in the classic SUVs just over two years ago, has been granted the first license from Ford to build ground-up recreations of the 1966 to 1977-era Bronco.

This allows it to manufacture vehicles with all-new frames and bodies and sell them with Ford Bronco branding, although you’ll find that they are a little different from the classics under the skin.

As it does with its resto-mods, which it will continue to sell, Gateway updates the suspensions, brakes and engines, using either a 347 cubic-inch “stroker” V8 or a 5.0-liter Coyote from the current F-150.

Several models are offered that run from the $95,000 Fuelie to the $180,000 Modern Day Warrior, which is equipped with the six-speed transmission and rear suspension from a Ford F-150 Raptor.

(Gateway Bronco)

They’re also equipped with a noise and vibration reduction system engineered by Gateway and can be trimmed in high-end woods, leathers or pretty much anything the customer requests.

Founder and CEO Seth Burgett told Fox News Autos that a $250,000 model is being added to the mix that comes with either a Shelby supercharger or a Gateway-designed twin-turbocharger, along with other performance upgrades that include a Borla exhaust and Brembo brakes.

SEE THE PHOTO: NEW FORD SUV LEAKED, BUT IS IT THE NEW BRONCO?

They won’t be the only old-school Broncos modified with Shelby parts. Back in 2016, Burgett bought the first Bronco that was ever made, which was originally owned by Carroll Shelby himself, who wasted no time swapping a Mustang Hi-Po 289 V8 into it.

Caroll Shelby modified the first Ford Bronco, just as many owners that followed did. (Gateway Bronco)

The agreement with Ford is aimed at taking advantage of a new law that allows for low volume vehicle manufacturers to build 325 cars annually that qualify for a federal vehicle identification number without having to meet current safety standards, as long as they are a licensed replica of a vehicle that is at least 25 years old.

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However, while the legislation was passed in 2015, the final regulations have yet to be written and put into effect. In the meantime, Broncos can be built to state-by-state regulations that cover custom car registration.

And Gateway is ready to build them. It already does its restorations using an assembly line process that has turned out over 40 trucks so far, and Burgett said it is being expanded to handle 50 annually as production of the all-new trucks ramps up.

Gary Gastelu is FoxNews.com’s Automotive Editor.

‘American Pickers’ star Mike Wolfe is auctioning his 1962 VW van

Mike Wolfe of “American Pickers” makes a living collecting all sorts of things, but when it comes to cars, he has a soft spot for old Volkswagens.

He’s purchased more than a few Bugs and Buses over the years, and not just to flip. He’s often spotted driving them on the show and around Tennessee.

He does put them up for sale now and then, though, and currently has one listed on Ebay.

(J-3 Restoration)

It’s a 1962 Type 2 double-door panel van with plenty of patina and just a little rust through at the roof seam. It’s not fully restored, but it runs fine thanks to a rebuild of its 40 hp engine by specialists Brothers VW Machine and a remanufactured Type 3 transmission from Rancho. It rides on a lowered suspension and comes equipped with a roof rack.

(J-3 Restoration)

Along with the Ebay auction, which runs through Dec. 3 (and had a high bid of $19,788.88 at the time of this writing), it’s also listed for sale on TheSamba.com for $30,000.

(J-3 Restoration)

Maybe Wolfe can use the proceeds to buy one of the retro-styled electric and autonomous cargo vans VW revealed at the L.A. Auto Show and hopes to have on sale by 2022.

THE VW I.D. BUZZ CARGO IS A RETRO-ELECTRIC REBOOT OF THE MICROBUS:

Video

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Gary Gastelu is FoxNews.com’s Automotive Editor.

The World War 1 Liberty Truck put the U.S. Military on wheels

Even though it’s been out of service for years, the Jeep is still the most iconic American military vehicle, but it may never have existed if it weren’t for the Liberty Truck of World War 1.

In 1917 the U.S. Army’s Quartermaster Corps recognized the need for a standardized motor vehicle to replace the mishmash of trucks it was using, which made parts supplies and repairs complicated and inefficient.

Enlisting the help of the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE), it set out to develop a versatile three- to five-ton cargo carrier, and it was determined that designing one from scratch would be better than converting an existing model to avoid any patent infringement issues that might increase costs and delay its introduction.

Just 10 weeks later the team had a prototype with rear-wheel-drive and a four-speed transmission that was powered by a 52 hp 425 cubic-inch L-head four-cylinder engine and capable of chugging along at a top speed of 15 mph. After successful trials, it was fast-tracked for production in early 1918.

(National Archives)

The Army eventually contracted with 15 automakers, including Packard and Pierce-Arrow, to build what was officially called the Standard B truck. There were 9,364 manufactured by the end of the conflict on November 11, with roughly 7,500 of them being shipped to Europe to help with the war effort. Many of them arrived too late to see any combat action, according to The First Division Museum in Wheaton, Ill., but the process that brought the truck to fruition set the template for the mass-produced military machines that would follow, including the Jeep and similarly-nicknamed Liberty Ships of World War 2. It was also one of the final steps in shifting the U.S. Military away from horse-drawn and locomotive transportation.

But the Liberty Truck didn’t just play a role in how America fights wars. Commuters and travelers across the United States also owe it a debt of thanks.

Two of the vehicles took part in the pivotal 1919 transcontinental Motor Transport Convoy conducted by the U.S. Army Motor Transport Corps from Washington, D.C., to San Francisco. The 62-day exercise was meant to assess the military’s ability to mobilize over long distances and was observed by then-Lt. Colonel Dwight D. Eisenhower, who would later champion the U.S. interstate highway system as President, based in part on the experience.

Production of the Liberty Trucks continued into 1920 with a grand total of just over 17,000 built. Today, only a handful remain scattered between the U.S. and Europe, including one that just wrapped up a decade-long restoration by the First Division Museum, which says it is one of just five functional examples left.

Gary Gastelu is FoxNews.com’s Automotive Editor.

Irv Gordon, who drove his 1966 Volvo over 3 million miles, dead at 78

Irv Gordon, a New York schoolteacher who became world famous for driving his 1966 Volvo 1800 S over 3 million miles, died on Thursday at age 78.

The Long Islander was traveling in China at the time of his death.

Gordon has been a cult hero among Volvo fans for decades, having set the world record for most miles driven by a car’s original owner in 1998 when his red coupe broke the 1.69 million-mile mark, thanks to his 125-mile daily commute and frequent road trips.

The odometer hit 2 million in 2002, and then 3 million while he was driving through Alaska in 2013. Gordon took the car to all 49 of the continental United States and across Europe, but never made it to Hawaii.

Gordon religiously maintained the car and only had the engine rebuilt twice, the last time in 2011. It had over 3.4 million miles on it when he showed up at the Volvo Club of America annual meet in Vermont this past September, according to Hemmings.

(UPDATE: Gordon's representative said that the milage was 3,260,257 as of October.)

(Castrol)

In his later years, Gordon regularly teamed up with Volvo for events and became a promotional partner of Castrol oil, which he said was the only brand he’d ever used.

Gordon once told the New York Post that he offered to sell the car back to Volvo for $1 per mile, but they didn't take him up on it.

Gordon is survived by two daughters and three granddaughters.

One of his daughters, Danielle, posted to Facebook from her home in Argentina that he’d messaged her the night before his death and said he was having the time of his life.

She added that she wasn’t very involved in his day to day life, however, and was asking his friends for help in finding a lawyer to deal with his legal affairs.

This story has been updated with additional details about Gordon's surviving family.

Gary Gastelu is FoxNews.com’s Automotive Editor.

The first Mustang coupe Ford built heads to auction

An original Ford Mustang billed as the first hard-top example is coming up for auction. It will go under the hammer at Barrett-Jackson's annual sale in Scottsdale, Arizona running January 12-20, 2019.

This is a 1965 Mustang coupe bearing a VIN ending in 00002, meaning it comes after the 1965 Mustang convertible with VIN ending in 00001 currently sitting in The Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan.

Both of these were pre-production examples. (Note, the famous 1964½ model year was only unofficially applied after sales started to differentiate the earliest '65 Mustangs from later versions that received some updates.)

There’s always been a bit of controversy surrounding the identity of the earliest Mustangs, as Ford never kept precise production records and the earliest cars weren’t built in sequential order. This means no one really knows for sure which Mustang was actually the first off the line when production started in the early months of 1964.

That said, it’s safe to say that this Caspian Blue example is the first Mustang coupe, given its early VIN and numerous features that only pre-production Mustangs came with, such as the straight shift lever and prototype sheetmetal stampings and welds. Ford has also acknowledged that this is the first Mustang coupe.

It's a matching-numbers car powered by a 170-cubic inch inline-6 mated to a three-speed manual transmission. The car also comes with numerous documents proving its provenance, with some containing statements and signatures from high-profile originators of the Mustang, including Lee Iacocca, Hal Sperlich, Don Frey and Gale Halderman.

Interestingly, the car was also used in video shoots for the upcoming “Ford v. Ferrari” movie depicting Ford's motorsport battles with Ferrari during the 1960s. The movie is set to star Matt Damon as Carroll Shelby.

The current owner is Mustang historian Bob Fria. He attempted to sell it at an auction two years ago but the final bid of $300,000 didn't meet the reserve.

You might be wondering how a pre-production Mustang originally got into public hands. Well, according to the story, the car, like the convertible on display in The Henry Ford Museum, was meant to be shipped to a Ford dealership in Canada after being built so that it could be displayed when the Mustang was launched to the public on April 17, 1964. However, it was somehow misrouted, eventually ending up at Whitehorse Motors in the Yukon Territory in May. It was eventually sold and has since traded hands more than a dozen times. Fria has been the owner for the past two decades.

While we may never know which Mustang was actually the first to be built, we can say with confidence which was the first sold to the public. That’s the 1964½ Mustang convertible bought by Gail Wise on April 15, 1964—two days before sales officially started.

'LITTLE RED' SHELBY GT500 FOUND AFTER 50 YEARS:

Video

Ultra-rare Ford Ranger ‘Shadow’ bed emerges on Craigslist

The Ford Ranger is one of the most-beloved pickups of all time, but it’s not exactly a collectible. It was a high-volume truck that wasn’t offered in many special editions, so rare examples truly are.

There was one mythical version, however, called the Shadow, which wasn’t even an official model.

As the story goes, it was an experimental trim level for the rear-wheel-drive standard cab Ranger that came with a fiberglass stepside short bed, exposed taillights, Mustang-style “Ranger” door stripe decals, torque-thrust wheels and possibly a 302 V8. According to various Ford Ranger fan forums, Ford built 15 Shadows in 1986 and shipped them to dealers to test its appeal, but decided not to add it to the lineup.

But when asked by Fox News Autos, a Ford archivist said that a preliminary search turned up nothing official on the model, and the automaker’s product communications manager/pickup truck expert, Mike Levine, had never heard of it either.

Nevertheless, there's more to this tale, because an additional 5 standalone beds were allegedly built and sent to parts departments unknown and what could be one of them is now for sale on Craigslist. BarnFinds.com first reported on the anonymous listing in Quakertown, Penn., which shows a bed that is shaped just like the one seen in the photos of complete trucks that are floating around out the internet, but features additional decals, diamond metal plate bed rail caps and a Confederate battle flag on its tailgate. It’s awkwardly attached to a long-bed 1987 Ranger and on sale for $1000, while the rest of the truck can be added for $400.

SEE MORE PHOTOS OF THIS UNIQUE FIND ON CRAIGSLIST

The Splash debuted in 1993 (Ford)

It’s hard to imagine how one could possibly determine its authenticity if Ford doesn’t even have a handle on it, but for a classic Ranger fan willing to put in the work to stand out even more as the all-new version starts hitting the road next year it sure beats a Splash.

'LITTLE RED' 1967 FORD SHELBY GT500 FOUND AFTER 50 YEARS:

VideoGary Gastelu is FoxNews.com’s Automotive Editor.

Mechanic takes last ride on favorite truck used as hearse

A mechanic who passed away at age 80 was driven to his funeral in style on the back of his favorite flatbed truck last week.

Tony Penny of London. U.K., spent decades driving and working on Foden trucks, first at a delivery company and then as an independent mechanic, SWNS reports.

The post-war FG model was his favorite and his wife Pat said he knew it like the back of his hand.

(SWNS)

Searching for a way to give him a proper send-off, his family was amazed to find a company on the internet called Classic Foden Lorry Funerals, which runs a 1957 22-ton FG as a hearse.

The outfit was more than happy to oblige them, despite the fact that it was headquartered 150 miles away in South Wales and the FG’s top speed is just 40 mph.

"I wanted it to be a celebration of his life, we have all these weeks and months to mourn,” Pat said.

(SWNS)

"There were lots of people from the lorry [truck] trade at the funeral and they could not believe it but said what a wonderful send off for him."

Penny’s daughter Natalie said that he “would have been looking down with a massive smile on his face, getting a ride in his beloved Foden for the last time.”

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Gary Gastelu is FoxNews.com’s Automotive Editor.

The World War 1 Liberty Truck put the U.S. Military on wheels

Even though it’s been out of service for years, the Jeep is still the most iconic American military vehicle, but it may never have existed if it weren’t for the Liberty Truck of World War 1.

In 1917 the U.S. Army’s Quartermaster Corps recognized the need for a standardized motor vehicle to replace the mishmash of trucks it was using, which made parts supplies and repairs complicated and inefficient.

Enlisting the help of the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE), it set out to develop a versatile three- to five-ton cargo carrier, and it was determined that designing one from scratch would be better than converting an existing model to avoid any patent infringement issues that might increase costs and delay its introduction.

Just 10 weeks later the team had a prototype with rear-wheel-drive and a four-speed transmission that was powered by a 52 hp 425 cubic-inch L-head four-cylinder engine and capable of chugging along at a top speed of 15 mph. After successful trials, it was fast-tracked for production in early 1918.

(National Archives)

The Army eventually contracted with 15 automakers, including Packard and Pierce-Arrow, to build what was officially called the Standard B truck. There were 9,364 manufactured by the end of the conflict on November 11, with roughly 7,500 of them being shipped to Europe to help with the war effort. Many of them arrived too late to see any combat action, according to The First Division Museum in Wheaton, Ill., but the process that brought the truck to fruition set the template for the mass-produced military machines that would follow, including the Jeep and similarly-nicknamed Liberty Ships of World War 2. It was also one of the final steps in shifting the U.S. Military away from horse-drawn and locomotive transportation.

But the Liberty Truck didn’t just play a role in how America fights wars. Commuters and travelers across the United States also owe it a debt of thanks.

Two of the vehicles took part in the pivotal 1919 transcontinental Motor Transport Convoy conducted by the U.S. Army Motor Transport Corps from Washington, D.C., to San Francisco. The 62-day exercise was meant to assess the military’s ability to mobilize over long distances and was observed by then-Lt. Colonel Dwight D. Eisenhower, who would later champion the U.S. interstate highway system as President, based in part on the experience.

Production of the Liberty Trucks continued into 1920 with a grand total of just over 17,000 built. Today, only a handful remain scattered between the U.S. and Europe, including one that just wrapped up a decade-long restoration by the First Division Museum, which says it is one of just five functional examples left.

Gary Gastelu is FoxNews.com’s Automotive Editor.

Irv Gordon, who drove his 1966 Volvo over 3 million miles, dead at 78

Irv Gordon, a New York schoolteacher who became world famous for driving his 1966 Volvo 1800 S over 3 million miles, died on Thursday at age 78.

The Long Islander was traveling in China at the time of his death.

Gordon has been a cult hero among Volvo fans for decades, having set the world record for most miles driven by a car’s original owner in 1998 when his red coupe broke the 1.69 million-mile mark, thanks to his 125-mile daily commute and frequent road trips.

The odometer hit 2 million in 2002, and then 3 million while he was driving through Alaska in 2013. Gordon took the car to all 49 of the continental United States and across Europe, but never made it to Hawaii.

Gordon religiously maintained the car and only had the engine rebuilt twice, the last time in 2011. It had over 3.4 million miles on it when he showed up at the Volvo Club of America annual meet in Vermont this past September, according to Hemmings.

(UPDATE: Gordon's representative said that the milage was 3,260,257 as of October.)

(Castrol)

In his later years, Gordon regularly teamed up with Volvo for events and became a promotional partner of Castrol oil, which he said was the only brand he’d ever used.

Gordon once told the New York Post that he offered to sell the car back to Volvo for $1 per mile, but they didn't take him up on it.

Gordon is survived by two daughters and three granddaughters.

One of his daughters, Danielle, posted to Facebook from her home in Argentina that he’d messaged her the night before his death and said he was having the time of his life.

She added that she wasn’t very involved in his day to day life, however, and was asking his friends for help in finding a lawyer to deal with his legal affairs.

This story has been updated with additional details about Gordon's surviving family.

Gary Gastelu is FoxNews.com’s Automotive Editor.