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Author Topic: Todd's favorite car dealerships . . .  (Read 31045 times)
Oldcarsarecool
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« on: May 04, 2013, 04:29:28 PM »

Daniel Schmitt Classic Car Gallery .  .  .
St. Louis, Missouri
January 11, 2004





Not too long after relocating to Columbia, Missouri in 2003, I began to notice that a lot of collector car dealerships are located in the Midwest United States, and St. Louis, Missouri in particular where more than a dozen are located.  This whole area appears to be a haven for the old car, a definite plus in my book.  

I had the opportunity to visit many of those collector car dealers on multiple occasions.  My ex-wife’s graduate school workload being what it was, an abundance of free time just didn't exist.  We decided to keep Sundays open as the day to relax and explore our new surroundings.  On Sunday January 11, 2004, we decided to stop at the Daniel Schmitt Classic Car Gallery and have a look around.

I actually discovered Schmitt Classic Cars by accident during one of our earlier trips in and around the St. Louis metro area.  Traveling north on Lambert Blvd. from Interstate 64 toward Interstate 70 and the airport, Schmitt's showrooms sit on the left side of the road.





After seeing it for the first time, I checked out their website, and quickly realized that this place was much larger than it initially appeared.  Schmitt specializes in the hi-end machinery  -  Mercedes-Benz, Porsche, Rolls Royce, etc.  I remember telling my ex-wife that the next time we traveled to that area, I’d love to set some time aside to check the place out.

Mileage-wise, Schmitt was roughly 110 miles from my driveway in Columbia.  Thanks to Interstate 70, the travel time involved was only about 1 ½ hours, baring traffic concerns, (which could erupt at any time in that area !).  





They’re not open on Sundays, but it is possible to check out the lot.  A listing of all the cars in inventory is posted on the showroom doors.  What follows are some of the highlights of what we saw on that day.

I didn't make it onto the lot before I started drooling.





This is a 1983 Ferrari 308 GTS.  With so many of them in Magnum P. I. Red, I found myself really loving the white exterior.  This 30k original mile beauty was listed at $33,900.





I've driven a 308 before.  I know I fit in the car without a problem.  But I can’t get too excited because this doesn't hide the fact that, while a $34,000 purchase price is quite reasonable, the cost of doing anything other than basic oil and filter changes has the potential to produce financial ruin.





A trio of the always-a-favorite BMW 8-Series cars sat in front of the north showroom.





Opposite of the north showroom sat several Porsche 911s of varying vintages.





Next to them sat a beautiful 1968 Ford Fairlane Convertible that wasn't shown on the inventory sheets.





Most of the inventory sat behind the showrooms.  Customers in the market for a Mercedes Benz had a large selection from which to choose.  





I’ve always been a big fan of the E-Class Cabrio.  





Opposite of the ‘Benz row was the Jaguar XJ-S row.





Next to the Jags sat something not often seen in this part of the world.  The second generation Lotus Elan, while extremely handsome, suffered from an identity crisis.  The British designed roadster was developed by Lotus, funded by General Motors, and motivated by an Isuzu engine and transmission.  Not very many made it stateside.  This 1991 model shows 69k original miles.  The asking price of $16,900 didn’t seem that bad.  





What do you know !  A little bit of home .  .  .





This 1977 Lincoln Continental showed 27k original miles and was listed for a mere $6,995.  If I could find that deal today, I would do it no questions asked.  However, I have to keep reminding myself that 2004 was almost a decade ago, and that the days of a cheap, super low miles large Lincoln are gone.





The 33k original mile 1982 Cadillac Coupe de Ville for $8,995 also caught my eye.  Six months before this photo was taken, I owned one, and remembered my time with it quite fondly.





After the much publicized, but inaccurately predicted “last convertible” was produced by Cadillac in 1976, the Eldorado Convertible was revived in 1983 and 1984, with around 5,600 produced.  The seemingly cheap $6,900 asking price seemed justified by the 113k miles on the odometer of this decent looking 1984 model.  





Cadillac tried the convertible thing again in 1987 with the Pininfarina designed Allante.  The good looking exterior was mated to an uninspired 4.1L V-8 and a button-happy instrument panel.  Sales never reach 3,500 units annually until the final model year of 1993 when GM finally got the formula right.  But even then, only 4,670 Allantes were sold.  This 41k original mile 1989 model was one of 3,298 produced that year.  The listing price was $14,900.





One of my favorites from that day was this 1973 Chrysler Newport listed for $8,995.  Just finding one of these nowadays is difficult.  Finding one with 24k original miles is next to impossible.  Notice the Pennsylvania inspection sticker on the windshield.





Along with the herd of 8-Series BMWs out front, this white example sat behind the showrooms.





And finally, I was also impressed with this beautiful 1981 Rolls-Royce Silver Spur.  This 65k original mile car could be had for $22,900.  I would love to have a Roller !  However, I suspect that Rolls-Royce parts probably fall into the same category as Ferrari parts, producing similarly sized heart attacks.





I would return to Schmitt Classic Cars a few more times over the 6 years I spent in Missouri.  I’ll post those pics here, as well as those from visits to the abundance of other dealers in the area.  So stay tuned .  .  .
« Last Edit: October 06, 2015, 11:39:28 PM by Oldcarsarecool » Logged

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« Reply #1 on: May 04, 2013, 10:48:11 PM »

The black 928-S and the white TR6 really caught my eye (both visible in one of the nice Town Car pics).  I've always loved 928s because my cousin bought one new while stationed in Germany and brought it back to the states.  TR6s are just gorgeous inside and out.
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« Reply #2 on: May 05, 2013, 12:52:09 AM »

It's funny that you mention that.  Back in those days, I wasn't really tuned in to Porsche.  I liked them a lot, but never considered them a viable option for me at that time.  Looking through these photos a decade later as a Porsche owner, the black 928 caught my eyes right away.  I also really like the 911 Cabrio that sat next to the TR6, even though it may not have made an impact on me back then .  .  .
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« Reply #3 on: May 22, 2013, 01:55:01 PM »

I am too liking that 928. Always loved that car. One thing I dont like about it is the hood. Not the design, but, the fact that it is micro-scopic in size. I used to have a local car clubbie bud who owned one. When she popped the hood, I was dumb-founded and the lack of accessibility to it. The lack of space would even drive our even tempered Todd postal trying to work on it. He He
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« Reply #4 on: May 25, 2013, 10:13:58 PM »

I am too liking that 928. Always loved that car. One thing I dont like about it is the hood. Not the design, but, the fact that it is micro-scopic in size. I used to have a local car clubbie bud who owned one. When she popped the hood, I was dumb-founded and the lack of accessibility to it. The lack of space would even drive our even tempered Todd postal trying to work on it. He He


I've been in this business long enough to be somewhat used to the idea of "no room."  The 1990s Taurus SHO developed a reputation for being nearly inaccessible.  I had a 1993, and vividly remember replacing the radiator .  .  .





Years ago, I replaced a water pump on a 4.1L 1986 Cadillac Coupe de Ville that was quite challenging.  Oddly enough, one of the more frustrating things I've done in recent memory was replacing the blend door actuator motor in a late model Ford Ranger.  Replacing the actuator, itself, is a simple matter of unplugging the electrical connector and removing 3 fasteners. Getting to the actuator  is a whole other matter.  This photo from The Ranger Station website indicates where it's located.





Oh sure, with the instrument panel out of the way, the "Blend Door Adjustment Motor" is easy to reach.  With the dash in place, access is through the opening behind the glove compartment.  Through this opening, you must fit both your hand, and the small ratchet, (the smaller, the better), needed to remove the 3 fasteners that hold the actuator in place.  If your hand is larger than that of a child, you're going to have a fun time .  .  .
« Last Edit: November 29, 2013, 12:18:42 PM by Oldcarsarecool » Logged

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« Reply #5 on: June 04, 2013, 12:50:15 AM »

Gateway Classic Cars, Fairmount City, Illinois .  .  .
May 29, 2005
Part 1 of 7





Gateway Classic Cars in Fairmount City, Illinois is a large dealer of what I will call "normal" classic cars.  Visitors won't find many Pebble Beach Concours winners in an elaborate showroom designed by an artist.  They will, however, find an enormous selection of machinery that runs the pricing spectrum.  Their website shows everything from "drivers" for less than $10k to custom motorcycles for less than $20k to frame-off restored "Blue Chip" collector cars for 6 figures.  

Gateway is HUGE,   currently located in 4 cities in the Midwest US.  I could be wrong, but I think the St. Louis showroom in Fairmount City is the original location.  I seem to remember reading something about a "new showroom" opening in Charlotte, North Carolina right around the time when my ex-wife and I first visited in 2005.  Several years later, the Charlotte location disappeared from the Gateway website, and the other locations began to appear, (with the Detroit showroom being the newest addition as of this month).  The dealership in Charlotte is now known as Streetside Classics, and does not appear to be affiliated with Gateway in any way.

My ex-wife's graduate school commitments didn't leave a lot of free time for sightseeing and exploring.  Our plan was to try and keep Sundays open for us to get acquainted with the world around us.  On this Sunday May 29, 2005, we decided to make the 135 mile journey to Fairmount City, Illinois and give Gateway Classic Cars a look.  

Traveling to anywhere   from Columbia, Missouri was a rather easy process thanks to Interstate 70.  Yes, it can get busy at times.  But the benefits of having a major interstate pass through the northern edge of the city make themselves known any time you need to travel.  Mrs. M may think I'm nuts, but I never had a problem traveling on I-70, even around the St. Louis metro area.  Compare that to what I have now in Athens, Georgia .  .  .  


[rant]
Athens, Georgia, (home to the largest university in the state), has no direct interstate access at all.  Getting to Atlanta requires navigating the most awfully designed and over-utilized roadway in northern Georgia, (GA Route 316), which leads you to the 60-mile long parking lot known as I-285  -  the Atlanta Perimeter Highway.  Do you have to go downtown ?  In that case, you need to get to the stretch where two major north-south interstates, (I-75 and I-85), are merged together, which happens to be right in the center of the city.  And I'm sure Lee will agree with me when I say that this journey becomes even more frustrating thanks to the plethora of Georgia drivers, a group not known for their ability to do so in a manner that resembles "good."
[/rant]


Anyways .  .  .  

Thanks to the above mentioned access to I-70, the 135 miles from my driveway in Columbia to Gateway's parking lot could easily be traversed in a little over 2 hours time.  





Highlights of the drive include passing by the old North Side of St. Louis next to I-70 .  .  .





.  .  . and skirting the northwest corner of the always delightful East St. Louis, Illinois.





Passing by the Gateway International Raceway complex means the dealership is, literally, around the next bend.





If I had to guess, I would say Gateway’s building used to be an old department store, like an old K-Mart or something similar.





Once inside, visitors must say hello to the security guard.  





Welcome to Gateway Classic Cars .  .  .


« Last Edit: October 06, 2015, 11:48:10 PM by Oldcarsarecool » Logged

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« Reply #6 on: June 04, 2013, 12:51:32 AM »

continued .  .  .
Part 2 of 7





According to their website, Gateway deals in consignments, meaning they will display, advertise, demonstrate, and sell a vehicle for an individual for a fee.  Trades are accepted on a case-by-case basis.  The "Antiques and Treasures" designation on the front of the building shown above is a reference to the various display cases that house model cars and other automotive memorabilia.  





Motorcycles occupied the front row directly across from the sales desks.





Several big motorcycles .  .  .





.  .  . and a few little motorcycles.





I decided to start with the row of cars directly in front of the sales desks and walk toward the back of the building, and eventually to the rows to the right in the photo below.  I'm, essentially, starting in the middle of the display and working my way outward.





Gateway always has a good supply of Corvettes on hand.  My favorite 'Vettes from a styling standpoint are the 1980 - 1982 C3 cars.  This 55k mile 1980 Corvette could be had for $8,595.





At the end of that row sat a 26k original mile Pace Car from 1978.  These cars are quite collectible by themselves.  The low mileage cars, and those equipped with the L82 engine command a premium, as evidenced by the $21,995 asking price.





The Pro-Street Nova looked well done, although I'm not a big fan of painting all the chrome, (or lenses for that matter), the same color as the body.  Asking price was $45,000.





I like the dark blue finish on the 1968 Olds 442.  Asking price was $17,995, which seems a little high.  My guess is that the numbers match and all the documentation was present.





Early Chevy Impala Convertibles are always a favorite, especially when they're this nice.  This 1962 model showed 74k original miles, and was priced accordingly at $27,995.





I like the red/red color combination of this 1965 Chevrolet Chevelle Convertible, although the white top boot is somewhat unusual.





I don't remember why this 1977 Corvette was priced at $11,995, which seems slightly high.  If I had to guess, I would say that either it has been nicely restored, properly modified, or a combination of both.





Neo-classics have always been a favorite of mine.  Howdy Ellenberger had several in his museum in Altoona.  I'm familiar with and have driven some of the more well known names like Excalibur, Zimmer, Johnson Phantom, and Spartan.  I'd heard the name "Corsair" before, but had never seen one in person until today.





The Roaring Twenties Motor Car Company of San Diego, California produced the Corsair in the 1980s.  The custom steel body was styled to evoke memories of Duesenberg roadsters, which it did beautifully in my opinion.  Under the skin sat a very conventional and dependable Ford chassis and drivetrain, which is why the car was titled as a 1984 Mercury.  This particular car was said to be the first ever Corsair made.  Asking price for this 9k original mile car was $29,995.  I'd own it !





This 55k original mile 1988 Trans Am GTA was listed for $10,995.  I've always been a big fan of the GTA Trans Am despite the fact that it never seemed to be as fast as the nearly identical IROC-Z from that era.





After finishing this row .  .  .





.  .  . I continued on to the next row, heading toward the right-hand side of the showroom.





This is a restored 1965 Chevrolet Malibu SS.





No, this is not a super rare RPO Z16.  Those 200 cars, (or 201 cars depending on which source you examine), had the RPO L37 375 hp 396 CID Big Block V-8.  Less than 100 are documented to exist today.  A genuine Z16 is worth well into 6 figures.





This car had the 300 hp 327 CID Small-Block V-8 and Powerglide transmission.  It was restored one year earlier, and showed 116k miles on the odometer.  Asking price was $22,595.





This 1965 Chevrolet Impala SS showed 55k miles, and was listed for $16,995.





I've always been drawn to the "unusual" old cars.  All of us can appreciate seeing a well known collector car that has a strong following like a Mustang, Chevelle, or Road Runner.  I, however, find myself equally drawn to those vehicles less likely to be seen in the spotlight.  This 1963 Chrysler Newport is a perfect example.  It may not be as desirable as its Chrysler 300J sibling.  But it is a really nice condition old car with 58k original miles that can be had for $7,995.  I'd own it in a heartbeat !





I've made comments elsewhere regarding my view of the 1977 - 1979 seventh generation Ford Thunderbird.  Specifically, I find them to be the best styled T-Birds of the modern era.  For 1978, Ford offered a "Diamond Jubilee" edition T-Bird to commemorate Ford's 75th year as an automobile manufacturer.  





This is easily one of my favorites !  The lines are flawless and further emphasized by the beautiful "Diamond Blue Metallic" paint and matching wheels.  This particular car showed 18k original miles and was listed for $13,995.  Like the Chrysler Newport above, I'd love to own this car.  I’d trade the Cirrus for something like this to have as a driver.


« Last Edit: October 06, 2015, 11:47:56 PM by Oldcarsarecool » Logged

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« Reply #7 on: June 05, 2013, 12:53:26 AM »

Checked several times yesterday and today, but the pics still aren't working for me on new posts.
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« Reply #8 on: June 05, 2013, 01:36:06 AM »

Checked several times yesterday and today, but the pics still aren't working for me on new posts.


Sorry about that !  As much as I would love to blame Windows Live, I can't.  This is my fault completely.  Try it again .  .  .
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« Reply #9 on: June 05, 2013, 11:46:24 AM »

Gateway looks like an awesome dealer.  I'd love to buy that 55k white 80-82 for $8595!  Or, that T/A GTA for $10K.  I like their Harley Sportsters, too.
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« Reply #10 on: June 07, 2013, 09:26:44 AM »


.  .  . and a few little motorcycles.




FINANCING! Just in my price range! lmao


Early Chevy Impala Convertibles are always a favorite, especially when they're this nice.  This 1962 model showed 74k original miles, and was priced accordingly at $27,995.

Always loved this era of impalas. Large, and classy.

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« Reply #11 on: June 07, 2013, 12:56:29 PM »

continued .  .  .
Part 3 of 7





Gateway always had a large selection of racing vehicles on hand.  Logan Racing is team from the St. Louis area.





From the Indy car, I turned right, still making my way toward the one side of the display.  There's a lot to like here !





This 87k mile 1973 Pontiac Lemans Sport was listed for $8,995.  The big 455 could be had in '73, but this car had the 400 CID V-8.





The Lincoln Mark Series has been a favorite since my childhood.  I've driven an example of each.  Howdy Ellenberger had a 1956 Mark II, several Mark IIIs, IVs, and Vs.  I owned a Mark VI and Mark VIII, and almost owned a Mark VII.  Technically, there was no vehicle called the "Mark I," though the original Continental introduced in 1940 has often been referred to by this designation.  If you count that, I've also driven a 1948 Lincoln Continental, (Bedford Ford had one in the showroom for a while).  This particular car is a 1975 Mark IV.





This car showed 27k original miles and was listed for $8,995.





Even though they are common today, this car has the optional sunroof which is actually quite rare.  As opposed to a glass "moonroof," this "sunroof" is a motorized panel that slides backward into the roof.





In the era where car interiors are all cookie-cutter tan/gray/black, I can really appreciate the chocolate brown color.  It's very refreshing.





This 1988 Oldsmobile Cutlass LV2 is somewhat of an oddity.  The Hurst/Olds disappeared after 1984, and 442 would take a nap after 1987, (reappearing in 1990 as the "Quad 442).  With the end looming for the RWD G-Body platform, the LV2 Sport Coupe appeared as a proverbial "last hurrah."  "LV2" was the RPO code for the 140 hp 307 CID V-8, meaning mechanically, the car was no different than any RWD Cutlass of that year.  This 48k mile example was listed for $11,995.





Speaking of Oldsmobile .  .  .





This 58k mile 1972 Olds 98 2-door is another of those "normal" collector cars that I would love to have.  





If I was in need of an inexpensive mint condition car, this $8,595 beauty is perfect.


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« Reply #12 on: June 10, 2013, 12:11:36 AM »

continued .  .  .
Part 4 of 7





Buick produced 8,294 Electra 225 Convertibles in 1969, making this car pretty rare.  Power comes from Buick's 430 CID V-8.  Big block Buicks are legendary for the insane amount of torque they produce.  The 430 CID version available from 1967 - 1969 produced 475 ft-lbs of torque at a mere 3,200 rpm.  Asking price was $12,995 for the 166k mile car.





Here we have a nice combination package.





The 1976 Chrysler Newport was another beautiful car that I would own in a heartbeat.  The odometer showed a mere 20k original miles.  Asking price was $9,595.





Customers living in snow states could pick up this 1960 Austin Mini for $8,995 and put it in the trunk of the Newport for some extra weight over the rear wheels.





These two big Cadillacs were also favorites of mine.  





This 1986 Fleetwood Brougham showed 79k original miles, and was listed for $5,995.  The much maligned 4.1L "HT4100" V-8 disappeared after 1985, replaced in 1986 with the practically bulletproof 5.0L Oldsmobile V-8.  While not a powerful car by any standard, (the 140 available horses had more than 4,000 pounds of car to move), the Brougham was a wonderful highway cruiser.  This engine change was one of Cadillac's very few bright spots of the 1980s.





This giant 1976 Fleetwood Brougham showed 56k original miles, and was listed for $5,595.  Power came from Cadillac's famous 8.2L V-8 that made 210 hp.  While that number may not sound impressive, the 380 ft-lbs of torque it produced at an extremely low 2,000 rpm definitely was !





You can probably guess that this 1975 Eldorado Convertible was another favorite of mine.  Asking price was $9,995.





This 50k original mile 1986 Jaguar XJ-S was listed for $7,995.  Power came from Jaguar's famous (silent and vibration free power delivery), and infamous (doing anything other than looking at it could turn into a nightmare project), 5.3L V-12 that made a very impressive for the era 273 hp.





The white-on-white color combination of this 1979 Thunderbird was especially appealing.  Asking price for the 65k original mile car was $5,595.





At the end of this row were two nice looking 1984 Cadillac Eldorado Convertibles.  The white car on the left showed 82k original miles, and was listed for $9,995.  For some reason, I don't have the price and mileage listed for the red car, and it's not shown in the "Sold Vehicles" section of the website.  But the red-on-red color combination is pretty awesome .  .  .


« Last Edit: October 06, 2015, 11:49:16 PM by Oldcarsarecool » Logged

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« Reply #13 on: June 10, 2013, 12:45:20 PM »


The white-on-white color combination of this 1979 Thunderbird was especially appealing.  Asking price for the 65k original mile car was $5,595.





At the end of this row were two nice looking 1984 Cadillac Eldorado Convertibles.  The white car on the left showed 82k original miles, and was listed for $9,995.  For some reason, I don't have the price and mileage listed for the red car, and it's not shown in the "Sold Vehicles" section of the website.  But the red-on-red color combination is pretty awesome .  .  .

I'll take that purdy little black 944 behind it.  Cool
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« Reply #14 on: June 15, 2013, 05:50:59 PM »

continued .  .  .
Part 5 of 7





I rounded the corner to the last row on this side of the building.  I'll head up one side and down the other, then make my way along the back wall.





Old Buicks are always a favorite.  This is a 1949 Super with 45k original miles.  Asking price was $17,595, which leads me to believe that this car was pretty nice.  I particularly love the acres of chrome.





It should come as no surprise that this beautiful 1977 Lincoln Town Car was one of my favorites.





I loved the really unusual green interior, made that much better because of its absolutely mint condition.





The odometer on this car showed a mere 15k original miles.  As such, the asking price on this car was a rather steep $11,995.  I'd take it no questions asked.





I've been a big fan of the Lincoln Mark V ever since they were new.  This 65k original mile 1978 model was listed for $6,995.  





When you think about it, that's not a whole lot for this car.  Like the blue Thunderbird earlier, this car is a Diamond Jubilee edition from 1978, built to commemorate Ford's 75th anniversary as an automobile producer.





Along with the bucket seats and center console, this car had the optional moonroof.





So, it's a loaded, low mileage Diamond Jubilee car, yet it was only listed for $6,995.  When you got closer to the car, the paint issues became pretty obvious.





I'm not sure what happened, (maybe it sat under a carport or something similar).  I'd drive it for that price.





Another one of my favorites from that day !  This is a 45k original mile 1979 Cadillac Sedan de Ville that was listed for $7,995.





Arguments can be made for and against the triple-yellow combination.  Personally, I really like it !





This whole car from front to back was in showroom condition.





This 1966 Ford Fairlane 2-door was a 35k original mile two-owner local car, bought new in the St. Louis metro area.  Asking price was $7,995.  The only thing that would make this car better would be a 427 emblem on the fender.  Of course, if it was one of the 57 Fairlanes produced in 1966 with the 427, you could probably add another zero to the price .  .  .


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