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Unique custom classic cars: Just looking

We've scoured showrooms around the world on the lookout for maverick machines. Here are our favourites

It’s concours season, which means it is time for clipboard-wielding arbiters of taste to hand out trinkets to the cars deemed to be the finest examples of their type. As the summer wears on it is easy to tire of talk of ‘correctness’ and ‘appropriateness’, so we have taken great delight this month in finding for sale four cars built with gleeful disregard for the opinions of others.

Not long in at Yorkshire Classic & Sports Cars is a special that we have enjoyed watching in VSCC events ever since it was completed in 2008. Built by Oliver Way for Amanda Fane de Salis, the 1924 Austin 7-based Salamanda Special is a marvel of WW1-era aircraft engineering methods, featuring a laminated wood body and aluminium bracing; the whole car weighs just 350kg. Highly original it obviously isn’t, and it’s not cheap either at £34,995, but it is, as far as we’re concerned, the prettiest 7 around.

Across the pond at Motor Classic & Competition Corp in New York State is another noted racing special, first (part-) owned by Dean Batchelor, revered in the US as the high priest of automotive journalism. The V8-powered Silver Bomb was a joint project between Batchelor and Lockheed employee Jim Frostrom, and since its restoration in 2008 we suspect it again lives up to its name. Offers around $125,000 are invited.

If you want the asking price on the one-off ‘EB Morgan’, you’ll have to get in touch with Hertfordshire-based Morgan specialist Techniques. The car, a 1964 Series 5 4/4 bodied by EB Plastics, has been fully restored and recommissioned during its current ownership and wants for nothing, so if the only thing keeping you from buying a Morgan is the famously traditional styling, you’ll want to make that call.

Its (comparatively) out-of-the-box looks would no doubt be appreciated by Terry Cook, former editor of several custom car magazines and now the owner of Delahaye USA (named in honour of Emil Delahaye but not connected with his company) and the creator of the jaw-dropper above.

The Bugnaughty (top image) blends elements of several of Cook’s favourite 1930s designs: the glassfibre body by Chip Foose is inspired by the Auburn Speedster; the pontoon fenders are borrowed from the Figoni & Falaschi-bodied Delahaye Type 135M; the bonnet and grille owe a debt to the Bugatti Type 57S. Underneath that bonnet things are slightly less exotic, but it is hardly a surprise to find a rumbling Ford V8 lurking in the engine bay – the Bugnaughty is the progeny of a hot-rodder, after all.

You’re allowed to think that the whole is not quite greater than the sum of those parts. You’re allowed to think that the price of $300,000 is outrageous too, even if the Bugnaughty took five years to build and bears the fingerprints of some of the demigods of the custom car scene. But be glad that somebody is making cars like this; the world could do with a few more mavericks.

Words: Octane Magazine

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