Saturday, November 25, 2006
Worlds fastest car hauler. 200 mph, had the same engine as the Mercedes Benz winning race car it transporter in the 40's or 50's.
Holtkamp finished work on the Transporter in about 1961, judging from the dates of the magazine articles Hacker’s collected (Sports Car Graphic, November, 1961; Car and Driver, December, 1961; and the above-mentioned How-To Book of Hot Rods). Holtkamp also apparently planned limited production, offering Cheetah Transporters for $16,000. It appears, however, that only one was built, the one Hacker currently owns. According to Hacker, Holtkamp owned the Cheetah Transporter until 1971, when he sold it to Dean Moon. Moon owned it until his death, at which point it was sold to race car collector Jim Degnan, who in turn sold it to Hacker in 2006.
The AMX 3 was the design of Dick Teague. A long time hot rodder, and head of design at AMC.
Listed in his current stable are two of only five AMX III concept, European-style sports cars hand-built in Italy in 1968.
He also has a production AMX 2-seater, a '60 Corvette, A '61 Berlinetta, a rare vintage Ferrari, 1906 and 1932 Packards, one of only six 1904 Ramblers extant, an early Polk-Hartford and his most prized possession -- a 1907 American (no kin to AMC) Underslung he recently acquired after a 35-year pursuit.
He considers it "the first American sports car," and its frame uniquely was placed under its springs. The low, hunkered-down appearance that resulted was striking during an era when most cars looked like phone booths on wheels.
Underslung's 476 cu.-in. (7.8L) 4-cyl. engine, good for 50 hp, stood out as well.
A witty, colorful storyteller, Mr. Teague recalls that while dating his wife-to-be, Marian, he told her he'd marry her if she ever located an Underslung.
Only 2,000 copies were built during the Indianapolis automaker's 1906-'13 existence. By Mr. Teague's count, only 27 survive. Marian, to his surprise, soon got wind of four -- all owned by one family in Pennsylvania. "She said 'I found an American Underslung. Now we'll have to get married.'" Mr. Teague chortles. He kept his vow the next year.
All four cars sat idle until restored in the mid-'60s. It took two more decades to convince the family to part with one, purchased new by its patriarch in 1907. Why'd they sell? "I guess it was my persistence," says Mr. Teague. "Maybe they felt it would get a good home."