Exner Simca Special
Are you in the market for a small, light, open-air roadster that would be just perfect for early summer evening ice cream runs through Mill Creek Gorge between Lanterman's Mill and the Goldfish Pond? If so, have I got a deal for you!
The chassis came from a Fiat 1100, and the drivetrain (and the name) from a Simca Huit sedan. Larry Shinoda, the GM designer who did the Corvette Stingray, saw the clay model while Mr. Exner was making the fiberglass molds, and it's pretty obvious he got some inspiration from it for the 'Vette's front end.
Mr. Exner exhibited the car on the show circuit and it was written up in Motor Trend, Road & Track, and (of all things) Vanity Fair. Mr. Exner sold it to Chrysler dealer, who later sold it to SCCA racer Beau Hickory. Mr. Hickory did a "restomod" which replaced the original bubble canopy--cool to look at, but uncomfortably hot on sunny days--with the more practical windshield and T-top arrangement it has today.
The car changed hands a few more times, was neglected and restored again, and eventually reacquired by Mr. Hickory, who owns it today. Somewhere along the way a Datsun B210 engine replaced the original Simca prime mover.
The Simca Special will be up for sale this Saturday at the Mecum Spring Classic Auction in Indianapolis. If you're interested, empty out your piggy bank and cash in your savings bonds, because it's expected to sell somewhere in the six-digit range.
If our office MegaMillions pool comes up lucky this week--real likely, I know!--I'd be sorely tempted. Indianapolis is not that far away from me.....
--Cookie the Dog's Owner
Mr. Exner provided the photo of himself sitting in the car under the original bubble canopy and the photos of the donor car and the development models; the other photos are from the auctioneer's website.