Tom Strongman writes:
In St.Louis, Cliff and Jack Reuter have been playing with cars since Cliff was born, and some of the 37 cars that have passed through Jack's hands have been the stuff of legends.
The list is staggering, but it includes such famous Ferraris as 1962 Ferrari GTO, a 1954 250 Monza "Loud Mouth," a 1953 166 Mille Miglia that was the personal car of Enzo Ferrari's son Dino and two Short Wheelbase Berlinettas.
Jack, now 77, owned many of those cars in the 1960s and 1970s when the prices were relatively modest, but had he kept them, their value would be staggering. Jack sold the 250 Monza in 1968, the year Cliff was born, but in 1999 it brought $2.9 million at auction in Monterey, Calif. Today, a GTO may be worth as much as $30 million.
While describing all of the fabulous cars he has owned, Jack laughed and said, "I bought one car for $3,400 and sold it for $700,000. But then I turned around and bought another car for $700,000 and its value fell to $400,000." Jack has no regrets. Just knowing that he owned some of the most iconic vehicles ever built seems to be satisfaction enough.
More recently, Jack and Cliff have been involved with all manner of Italian sports racers, most notably Bandinis, an Italian sports racer. 750 cc Crosley engines powered many. Some later models had Bandini engines.
Cliff is so enraptured by these cars that he has developed a website, www.etceterini.com , to chronicle Moretti, Abarth, Volpini, Nardi, Ermini, Stanguellini and Siata. Cliff's site is also a repository of hundreds of racing photos, result sheets and programs from the 1950s and 1960s.
The Reuters' newest acquisition is a 1951 Bandini Siluro Motto Crosley 750cc Devin Monza. The original aluminum body was replaced by a Devin Monza fiberglass body in 1957. The car was raced at one time by Clair "Sonny" Reuter (no relation to Cliff or Jack) of Milwaukee. In 1953, this car was raced at the Chanute Air Force Base sports car races that were photographed by Bob Strongman for Road and Track.
"I got into collecting because of my dad," Cliff said. "He always liked little cars." And so they continue, gathering information and maintaining one of the most complete archives about these racers in addition to restoring cars.
Will they restore this fiberglass-bodied Bandini or leave it as is? They're not sure at this point, but they have acquired some of the original open-wheel body pieces in case they want to return it to its 1951 configuration.
(Photo is posted.)