My Friday Picks are upon us! What is currently lurking within the AutoHunter grab bag? Let’s pick a few for an eclectic mix for your reading pleasure, shall we?
1978 Dodge Aspen SE
Sometimes I wonder about these cars, as I don’t find them appealing. But I’m also into Mopars enough that there are people who do find them appealing, plus some kid in high school had a Plymouth Road Runner on the same platform that was full of striped-and-spoilered goodness. In the Dodge’s case, there was the Aspen R/T and the Super Coupe, but here we have a Special Edition, which is more under the radar. The SE actually was a package that added some luxury to this Dart replacement.
Looking at an old brochure, it seems there were two Special Edition packages—one for the exterior, one for the interior. For the former, you received longitudinal bodyside molding, upper door and belt moldings, rear appliqué, hood ornament, body accent stripes and wheel lip moldings; for the latter, it was mainly fancier interior trimmings including woodgrain, shag carpeting and other dress-ups. This Caramel Tan metallic example has both, plus the 318/automatic combo. Who says the common man or woman is being priced out of the hobby? 1970s goodness, a CB and a Gino Vanelli cassette (alright, you’ll have to go on eBay for that one) are only a bid away.
1960 Ford Thunderbird
When I was a kid, I loved Thunderbirds, but then I evolved. When it comes to Squarebirds, 1960 was the best in my eyes, so this pick almost seems like a natural. However, there’s something special about this one that bears more investigation: seller claims it is “reportedly one of 10 performance-built sports coupes from  that was customized with NASCAR Grand National specification equipment.” It’s been restored by Don Miller of Penske Racing over two decades ago and is powered by a 390 four-barrel and — surprise! — a 3-speed manual. Huh!
The manifest sheet shows it was built with the 300-horsepower 352 but who knows what happened when the NASCAR folks got ahold of it. Paper trail includes previous NASCAR-connected owners, so the documentation is based on the honesty of previous owners versus lock-tight Ford documentation. Still, when’s the last time you’ve seen a 3-speed Thunderbird after 1957?
1990 Jaguar XJ6
The “XJ40” came out 1986, and everyone was holding his and her breath as the original XJ6 was such a timeless and landmark design. The formula wasn’t changed much but, over time, some people thought the magic was lost, which is why the 1994 update went back to the distinctive quad-headlight look. Alas, BMW debuted its new 7-series at the same time, and the books raved about those more as it raised the bar for an executive sedan.
But the Bimmer is not a Jag-u-ar. Maybe it’s the opulence of royalty that has created a culture of luxury for wealthy Brits, so the Jaguar pampers and warms in ways the Germans can’t. As this is a Sovereign model, it’s a step up from the base XJ6 and included self-leveling suspension, ABS, burl walnut trim, rectangular headlights and other niceties. Power comes from a 4.0-liter straight-six, which was new for 1990 and carried the tradition of smooth performance till the V12 accentuated that reputation in 1993. The six was rated at 223 horsepower in a time when a 5.0 Mustang V8 offered 225, so it had grunt. The sale includes CARFAX history back to 1991, showing a history free of accidents and damage, plus maintenance records. While Charles may now be King, you can feel like one driving this.