The tale of the Midas Coupé, a partially fibreglass-bodied car that evolved from the Mini Marcos. It's a long and complicated story best told elsewhere, because I'm only concerned with one player, seen above, who helped to turn this sporting coupé into something more special.
Here's the thing: as the expensive stuff gets more expensive, the more wealthy among us—as studies are showing—will continue to pull away from the rest. To match the wealth of the Walton family, who started Walmart, you'd need to squirrel away an estimated $147,000,000,000. It's difficult to put that number into perspective, but I'll try…and hopefully not mess up the math.
The sum of all of the 2015 Monterey car week auctions was around $400 million. And if the Monterey auctions were held every single day, and every single day $400 million of cars was sold, it would take just over a year for the family fortune to run dry.
That has no relation to this story except to say: perhaps the truly wealthy will ultimately determine the fate of a large number of beloved cars, taking them out of circulation, as it were. Kit cars could be the future of the average car enthusiast. Or, perhaps as suitable parts supplies dwindle, kit cars will become too much trouble, and only the "blue chip" cars like Ferrari 250s will survive. Enthusiasts will be able to enjoy racing simulators. Next best thing, right?
The Midas Coupé has never really been all that attainable, either in kit or fully-built form. Below, you'll see a number of different variations on the car, from early to late models pictured. I think it's a handsome design, and a great idea extended from the earlier Mini Marcos: clothe simple mechanicals in a slippery shape. Save fuel, save weight, go fast.
Turns out that Gordon Murray—do I even need to mention that he birthed the McLaren F1?—had been thinking of creating a car of his own under very similar design specifications, hence his quote. It must say something that one of the world's greatest engineering minds was content to drive a Midas Coupé around.
I think that's far more interesting than, say, Steve McQueen—enthusiast though he was—parking his tush in the bucket of a sports car. In contrast, Murray was able to not only see the inherent abilities of the Midas but then able to apply his own talents to further improve the car.
These are rare, and still sort of (kind of) made today. But with McLaren F1s priced at around $10 million, when a Midas comes up for sale, the figure is generally between $5-20,000. In the world of car collecting, parking one of Murray's first designs next to his most famous would be an attractive way to fill a garage, wouldn't it?
Just start looking for one before the auction specialists do, OK?