911-Powered: 1984 Cimbria SS Gullwing

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Sometime in the 1970s – no one is exactly sure when – a guy named Joe Palumbo running Amore Cars Ltd in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, introduced the “Super Star of Kit Cars“. He called it the Cimbria. Exactly which car inspired the Cimbria is debatable. Some say it was the Sterling, others the British Nova, and still others point to the Bremen Sebring. Research shows that “Sterling” was the US name for the British Nova – since “Nova” was trademarked by GM in the US. The Sebring – looking remarkably similar to the Sterling/Nova – appears to have come along too late to have influenced Palumbo. In any case, the Cimbria was originally designed to bolt to the ubiquitous VW Beetle pan, but a later custom chassis could accommodate many other engine/driveline configurations. I found Cimbrias with engines from an Olds Toronado, a Pinto, a Porsche, and a German Ford. The SS was the later version of the Cimbria, most notably distinguished by longer doors cut well down into the sill area. Here on craigslist is a Cimbria SS project car with a 1972 Porsche 911 engine built to S-specs, at an asking price of $17,000. The seller is specific about who will gain a response to his listing, so if you call, sound like a “real buyer”. I’m not going to address the rest of his ad; you can draw your own conclusions. The car will need a tow from Long Grove, Illinois. Thanks to Rocco B. for this vintage plastic!

The engine has been fogged and turned but apparently doesn’t run. It’s not an S engine from the factory but was built to S specs by a “famous CA shop” – we don’t know how long ago. The seller says an engineer from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology constructed the car over the course of twenty years. He was unhappy with its MSD ignition unit so he made his own ignition system, which the seller calls a “flux capacitor” (of Back to the Future fame). A heavy load of documents accompanies the car, with diagrams showing the various handmade electronic systems.

The interior has not aged well despite the 2000-mile reading on the odometer. We’re not told what kind of transmission is in the car, but it’s a floor shift – whatever it is. The seller indicates that all the electrics including the door opening mechanism, work. But the paint’s clear coat is peeling, so add that to the “to-do” list.

Gullwing doors don’t resonate with everyone (including me) but this was the 70s, and outrageous was “in”. Here’s a nice comparable from a few years ago; I’m going to bet prices haven’t moved too much from 2019. A buyer will need to love this shape to get involved at the seller’s ask. Just the thought of trying to understand an MIT engineer’s hand-built ignition system is making me dizzy. If this were dropped in your driveway, what’s the first thing you would do with it?

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Comments

  1. Tom71MustangsMember

    I’d call someone to come tow it.

    Like 5
  2. Nevada1/2rack NevadahalfrackMember

    I disagree-I’d yank the engine/trans and THEN call for a tow…
    Frankly, it’s fugly.

    Like 16
    • Doug

      very fugly!

      Like 2
  3. KurtMember

    Very interesting. That drive train alone gives one pause. Wonder why it won’t start?

    Like 1
    • Kim in Lanark

      My first guess is the “MIT engineer” ignition system. What else did he “improve”?

      Like 7
      • Mark

        Looks like cheap junk.

        Like 2
  4. Gary Erlichman

    I bought one of the first Cimbrias in 1976 and loved it. Sold it in 1981 for $7500 . . . calculate that ib “today’s $ . . . Probably one of the best investments in my life.

    Like 8
    • Bob Hilton-Lee

      I just finished restoring a Gen 1 Cimbria. and now up for sale and hopping to get $12k but who knows it’s not like there’s a book value right.

      Like 2
      • Demetris Cousins

        Hi bob im in the market for one restored please shoot me a text or call 219427866

        Like 0
      • Demetris Cousins

        Again please text 2194278466. Im looking to buy ! I don’t want to miss a call

        Like 0
  5. Lester Glenn Heckard

    Are you saying this car still needs few days of work done to your car and what is you’re asking price since it’s not running yet. If the price is right, I may be interested in this project.

    Like 3
  6. TheOldRanger

    If this had been dropped at my house, I would call another guy in the Village who loves to work on all types of cars. John would probably give this one a going over, and it would be purring within the year.

    Like 7
    • Michelle RandAuthor

      Might not take that long…. Maybe just a couple months.

      It’s interesting that so many of these kit cars look like the vehicles from the cartoons I used to watch on Sunday mornings when I was a kid….!

      Like 3
  7. Gerard Frederick

    After scanning the ad I wonder whether the seller is dealing with a full deck. This guy is a fruit cake if ever there was one.

    Like 5
  8. Melton Mooney

    I don’t mind engineering my own parts when I have to, but replacing an MSD box with something homemade would be super counterproductive, imho.

    Like 5
  9. Antonio f Fernandes

    Palumbo copied the Sterling who had a license from the British Nova and was sued

    Like 3
  10. Antonio f Fernandes

    rip off the MIT ignition throw it in the garbage and install a Crane or MSD , 25 years ago i bought an electronic ignition for my ford model A it never worked right threw it away had a extra Crane system for my BMW 2002 modified it to fit the model distributer has been working great ever since starts ate the first click

    Like 5
    • Antonio f Fernandes

      typos, Model A , distributor , at

      Like 1
  11. Howie

    So with that list of cars they are willing to trade for, they are saying they want anything but this!!

    Like 5
    • Jimbosidecar

      Yeah, It’s a very tough choice. Do I trade my Lamborghini Miura or my Honda Civic, says he’ll accept either.

      Like 2
  12. PairsNPaint

    Apparently, he’s willing to trade for anything, including furniture.

    Like 1
    • RallyeMember

      I’m going to save his list for some of my craiglist ads.
      I’d trade my wife’s viola for almost anything on that list.

      Like 1
  13. Solosolo UK Solosolo UKMember

    This guy is a dreamer and thinks that he is selling a car that everybody in America is DESPERATE to own!

    Like 2
    • RC Graham (Vette427)

      They all do.

      Like 4
  14. Steve RM

    That trade list is something. A list of what he doesn’t want would have been easier and shorter.

    Like 3
  15. Dave

    It’s absolutely absurd! I wouldn’t even bother with this guy

    Like 2
  16. harold daniels

    Quite the list, of trade wants, for a non runner?

    Like 1
  17. MGSteve

    I attempted to read the ad . . . . more appropriately called a rant. I can’t even begin to calculate the amount of time they must have spent typing that so-called list. The comments above mine are right on. Let’s see, I do own an ultra-rare Ferrari, and also a recently restored Mercedes Gull Wing (Best of Show at Pebble Beach). I am going to offer these two cars for his Cimbria. Think he’ll accept, or want a perfect Porsche thrown in, as well?

    Like 3
  18. healeydays

    I hate people who put every key word they can think about in their ads. Craigslist use to crack down on these idiots.

    BTW, only would want the engine and transaxle out of this, but not for that price.

    Like 1
  19. Eric AltmanMember

    Not quite clear on what I just read; was that an ad selling a car or an encyclopedic keyword fishing extravaganza?!

    Like 1
    • Solosolo UK Solosolo UKMember

      One thing is for sure, he is NEVER going to sell that car on his terms. The only part of the car worth decent money is the Porsche engine, and then only if it’s in pristine condition, which I doubt. He must think that we were all born yesterday!

      Like 0
  20. Glenn laughman

    Man, this place is turning toxic. Why all the hostilities? The guy is just trying to sell a car. This car reminds me of my 75 Bricklin I bought from Blacktie in New Jersey. I wonder how many of you really own the cars that you shoot your mouth’s off about. This is my last post . This is just a thought from a old Marine veteran. Grow up you wannabes and to the genuine specialty car and bike owners. Get them out of your garages and enjoy them. You take care and good luck with your projects.
    Glenn

    Like 1
    • Solosolo UK Solosolo UKMember

      It’s not that this guy is just trying to sell a car, it’s the way that he is trying to sell his car, and by reading the comments maybe it will dissuade other sellers from coming up with unreasonable demands and requirements from possible interested parties.

      Like 2
    • Gerard Frederick

      Did anyone express particular interest in any of your posts? I am not sure anyone is going to miss them.

      Like 1
  21. Ward William

    Love the exterior and drivetrain, hate the blocky, square theme dashboard and interior, especially the T-bar gear knob.

    Like 0

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