Icons of Speed & Style Auction...
Icons of Speed & Style Auction...
Chromes&Flammes european'fans : Welcome to RM Auctions/California !
Remember 20 years ago, you read with passion and love, many many specialty'cars offered for you by the famous publisher Patrice De Bruyne.
Pass the time, rest the passion, and now maybee you have the money for buy yours old'dream's...
RM Auctions will hold the Icons of Speed and Style auction on September 26th, 2009 at the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles, California.
RM is offering this single-owner collection of more than 80 very eclectic and extremely cool cars, all offered without reserve.
The auction title – Icons of Speed & Style – is very appropriate, as many of the offerings are considered cultural icons of the roads, drag strips and race tracks of America.
Highlights of the collection include the radical 1965 Dodge Deora Concept Car, a 1969 Dodge Charger Daytona that was the first stock car to exceed the 200 mph barrier, several Ed “Big Daddy” Roth customs, the Little Red Wagon drag car, 1951 Tom Beatty Belly Tank Lakester, among many other notable offerings.
Also on auction as part of the single-day event are various items of ‘kustom kulture’ memorabilia, ranging from Ed Roth posters through to a Von Dutch Power Drill and various engines.
The Icons of Speed & Style auction preview will take place on Friday, September 25th from 9:00am – 6:00pm, with the auction starting at 11:00am on Saturday, September 26th.
Admission requires the purchase of an official auction catalog available for $80.00 USD (plus S&H where applicable).
The catalog admits two and must be presented at the entrance to the sale to be granted entry.
For more information, visit www.rmauctions.com.
1965 Dodge Deora Concept Car - Estimate Unavailable.
SOLD : $324,500.00
Designed by Harry Bradley and built by Alexander Brothers; won Ridler Award at 1967 Detroit Autorama; adopted by Chrysler Corporation, becoming one of their most popular show cars.
101 bhp stock (Est. 115 bhp modified), 170 cu. in. overhead-valve inline six-cylinder engine with Offenhauser intake manifold and dual carburetors, three-speed manual gearbox, solid front axle with parallel semi-elliptic leaf springs, solid rear axle with parallel semi-elliptic leaf springs, four-wheel hydraulic drum brakes. Wheelbase: 90"
Spectacular!...that’s the best single word description for the remarkable Dodge Deora. When people see this futuristic cab-forward pickup today, they’re certain it’s an AMT scale model or a “Hot Wheels” car come to life. But it was the other way around. Created as a spectacular one-off custom, this Ridler Award winner from the 1967 Detroit Autorama was adopted by Dodge Division of Chrysler Corporation, and became one of the company’s most popular show cars. Created by one of hot rodding’s premier designers, the Deora was handcrafted by two of the best custom car builders of all time.
Here’s how it all happened:
Detroit’s famed Alexander Brothers, Mike and Larry, won considerable acclaim with a customized Ford Victoria called, “The Victorian,” and the “Silver Sapphire,” Clarence “Chili” Catallo’s unforgettable “Little Deuce Coupe,” which appeared on the cover of Hot Rod magazine, and on the cover of the Beach Boys’ album of the same name. In 1964, they wanted to build a “far-out” custom truck using one of the Big Three’s new cabover mini-pickups. They tapped a talented friend, Harry Bentley Bradley, to design it. The “A Brothers” had discovered Harry when he was a student at Pratt Institute in New York City. They’d followed his career path to General Motors, where he apparently did freelance design work on the side.
The plan was simple. The Alexanders were certain that Dodge would give them a stock A100 truck to customize once they’d seen Harry’s futuristic design sketches. And if Chrysler Corporation didn’t bite, they would try Ford Motor Company, who’d just introduced their own Econoline cabover. Years later, Harry Bradley, who never pulled punches, told Motor Trend’s writers, “Of the three cab-forward pickups on the market at the time, the Dodge was unquestionably the homeliest.”
But Harry obviously saw something beautiful and decidedly avant-garde in the basic shape of the little cab-forward truck. “What I wanted to do,” Bradley recalled, “was get rid of that phone booth cab and integrate the upper (section of the body) with the lower. The finished truck would have no doors on either side. “I didn’t want cutlines,” Bradley declared. “We were always told at GM to play down cutlines. If cutlines were wonderful,” he continued, “Ferraris would have them running down their sides.” Harry Bradley insists he always thought of this design “...as a conceptual proposal, rather than a customizing solution.”
That left the practical problem-solving up to Larry and Mike Alexander. Just how would the driver and passenger get inside? The ingenious answer was through the front window, which in execution, became a large, forward-opening glass hatch that the clever “A Brothers” fabricated using the lift-up rear window from a donor 1960 Ford station wagon. More about that in a moment:
The Alexanders liked Harry Bradley’s radical design. To everyone’s surprise and delight, so did the powers that be at Chrysler, who donated a stripped A100 as a sacrificial lamb. Mike and Larry began by whacking off the stock cab completely, right down to the floorpan. When the new roof section was tack-welded into place, it rested just about where the stock steering column had been. Bradley’s original vision was that the front-opening hatch would be a one-piece unit, hinged at the roof’s leading edge, like the tailgate of a hatchback or the liftgate of a modern station wagon.
But the stock A100’s flimsy A-pillars would never have supported that arrangement, so Mike and Larry ingeniously crafted a split door setup. The rear section of the 1960 Ford station wagon, rotated 180-degrees, became the new cab roof. What had been the Ford’s rear window, was now the Deora’s new windshield. Hinged at the top, it was controlled by an electric motor that activated an hinged arm that was plated for looks and drilled for lightness. The “A Bros” hand-fabricated a lower front panel that fit neatly between the headlights. That panel, which became the lower portion of the cab’s only door, was hinged on the right side for ease of entry and exit.
Transforming Harry Bradley’s futuristic sketches into a working trucklet took all the ingenuity the Alexanders possessed. They may have used a BMW Isetta for inspiration. The stock steering column was replaced with a folding horizontal strut that rotated forward from the left side of the body to let the driver in and out. It locked into place when the driver was seated. The steering wheel was a stylish butterfly-shaped yoke, reportedly made from an Oldsmobile steering wheel, which would have been right at home in a small aircraft.
The steering box itself is a modified Chevrolet Corvair unit. The vertical steering column runs up and out of sight through the left cab body panel. A small sprocket on top of the column is connected via a roller chain to another sprocket about 12 inches to the right, on the end of the swiveling bracket, which in turn, is connected to the steering wheel. A finger-operated latch mechanism locks the wheel in front of the driver. During entrance and egress, the steering column tilts forward so the driver can squeeze by. The stock A100 foot pedals were already mounted in the floor, so they didn’t need to be relocated. Engineers at Hurst Performance Products developed a custom floor shifter for the stock Dodge three-speed manual transmission.
The Alexander brothers wanted the occupants to sit low, inboard of the front wheel wells, so the slant-six was moved rearward about 15 inches to make room for the bucket seats. The engine now protruded into the pickup bed, but the show truck was never really designed as a practical hauler, so it wasn’t a problem. There was never a plan to stuff a big V-8 in this vehicle. Its sleek silhouette requirement would not have tolerated it.
In order to achieve that ultra-low look, the radiator was relocated in the bed as well, just ahead of the rear axle. Twin air intake holes were cut into the bottom of the bed, and an electric fan was used to draw in cooling air. That meant that the fuel tank had to be moved from its stock location behind the rear axle to a new position just behind the reconstituted cab. The pickup bed itself was covered with a hard tonneau that was secured by chrome hood locking pins, so no one could see the magic that went on beneath it.
To effectively lower the chassis, the Alexander’s raised the front frame rails and ran the front springs through the axle. Short-coupled industrial shocks replaced the original tubular shock absorbers in front. They also modified the rear suspension. The overall height of the truck went from about 72 inches in stock form, to just 57 inches after modifications – that’s a 15 inch difference! Contoured bucket seats leaned rearward just a little to accommodate the Deora’s two stylish occupants. The cockpit itself was trimmed in pleated leather. In keeping with this car’s atypical design, the instrument panel was relocated to the driver’s side door, and a center console held a speedometer and the tachometer.
At the 1967 Detroit Autorama, the Deora completely swept the show, winning nine trophies plus the coveted Don Ridler award for the best new custom car. It was a poignant moment for Mike and Larry Alexander. Their father died on the morning of the Autorama setup day, but their mother convinced them that their Dad would have wanted the Deora to be shown. Interestingly, that was the only time the “A Brothers” ever showed the car in competition.
After the Deora was completed, Chrysler leased it to display on their auto show stands with their own concept cars, where it reportedly caused a sensation. Chrysler Corporation, who’d had nothing to do with the design save the donated A100 itself, claimed this car was a quantum leap in advanced vehicle styling. Today, over 40 years since it was first created, the Deora still resembles a car of the future. It should be noted that the remarkable mini-truck was conceived in an era where crumple zones and crash tests were unheard of, so there were no design compromises required for safety considerations. The cabin is small, but two adults can sit comfortably inside.
Jim Bradley told Motor Trend, “Chrysler never seemed to understand that we used (a lot of) Ford parts to build this car.” Besides the 1960 Ford wagon tailgate and a small section of the station wagon’s roof, the rear window was borrowed from a 1960 Ford sedan. And that’s not all. 1964 ½ Mustang taillight bezels formed the surrounds for the twin side duct exhausts. The taillights are especially clever. Hidden under the wood veneer panel that runs across the rear, they are only visible when they’re illuminated. Viewed from behind, the lights themselves are reflected in a polished stainless steel strip that runs underneath them. They were made from sequential turn signals found on a Ford Thunderbird. When the directionals are activated, the flashing lights blip outward from the center.
Not long after it debuted, the Deora became one of the first 16 “Hot Wheels” model cars offered to youngsters all over the country. Harry Bradley, who had left GM to join Mattel, noted Mattel’s research in that era showed that every kid in America owned at least 1.3 miniature “Hot Wheels” cars. “I don’t think many people knew the Deora was a real vehicle,” he mused.
Rod & Custom actually tested the Deora in its September 1967 issue. Editor Spence Murray reportedly drove the car more miles in one afternoon than it had ever been driven, and he was very impressed. “Our test drive went off without a hitch,” he reported. Larry Alexander knew that (the) Deora would perform up to the standards of any mass-produced pickup truck,” Murray wrote. “But I had to prove it to myself.”
After the first year’s lease was up, Chrysler arranged to lease the Deora for a second year. They requested a new look for 1968, so it was repainted in Lime Green Pearl. After the second year, Chrysler did not renew its lease. The Deora was sold to Al Davis, a noted custom car enthusiast. Davis passed away in 1970. His son, Al Jr., stored the car for a while, then took it on the show circuit in 1982 and won a Championship. In 1998, the Deora was taken out of storage and re-restored to resemble its 1967 appearance. The Alexanders hadn’t kept the paint formula, so it’s believed the present color is a little “greener” than the original gold. The born-again Deora wowed ‘em once again in 2002 at the 50th Anniversary of the Detroit Autorama, when it starred in a display of famous Alexander Brothers customs. Many people couldn’t believe this car had been built over 40 years ago. It’s still that good.
One final note: the unusual “Deora” name was chosen after AMT, the well-known model car manufacturers, held a contest to name the vehicle. The winning name was supposed to mean “gold” in Spanish. It was apropos because of the show car’s original Candy Gold color. AMT’s 1/25th scale model of the Deora was produced in great volume, but they’re scarce collector’s items today. Mattel’s “Hot Wheels” sold millions of miniature Deoras in several colors. The Deora’s winning bidder will receive extensive records on this car from the consignor, including copies of Harry Bradley’s personal notes on its design.
Custom car aficionados agree, there’s nothing like the Deora, and there never will be. If you loved this car as a model, imagine what it would be like to own the real thing?
RM Auctions would like to thank Thomas Voehringer and Angus MacKenzie, of Motor Trend, for portions of the research used in this description.
1932 Ford Khougaz Lakes Roadster - Estimate $250,000 - $350,000.
SOLD : $214,500.00
Multiple award-winning Early Lakes Roadster by Jim Khougaz.
Est. 225+ bhp, 286 cu. in. flathead V8 engine with four Stromberg 81 carburetors, three-speed manual transmission, solid front axle with semi-elliptic leaf spring, solid rear axle with semi-elliptic leaf spring, and four-wheel hydraulic drum brakes. Wheelbase: 106"
Ford’s classic 1932 roadster, better known as the Deuce, has been, and always will be, the quintessential American hot rod. The car offered here, the Khougaz Lakes Roadster, is unquestionably outstanding, with elegant, timeless lines that transcend its age. However, with top speeds of over 130 miles per hour readily attainable, it offers more than handsome classic looks. Cars like the Khougaz Lakes Roadster were equipped with heavily modified flathead Ford V8 engines that delivered as much as four times their original power rating. With such power, most examples were driven hard and fast, with this particular Ford being no exception. Running on alcohol fuel in 1946, this famous roadster topped 141.95 miles per hour at El Mirage Dry Lake. Interestingly, its builder, a tough, battle-tested former Army Air Corps B-17 waist gunner named Jim Khougaz, had his own way of dealing with the Deuce’s “barn door” aerodynamics.
Khougaz channeled his ’32 roadster a full seven inches over the frame, then handcrafted a filled and sectioned grille shell to match. To compete with the smaller-silhouette and more competitive T-bodied lakesters of the era, Khougaz faired the body into the frame, and then fabricated a full-length aluminum belly pan. A flat spoiler panel in front of the grille shell also helped to keep the nose down at speed. Running without a windshield, but with a full tonneau cover fitted, Jim’s roadster cut beautifully through the wind.
Although there was not much time at high speeds to check instruments, Khougaz installed an original ’34 Auburn instrument panel, complete with a full set of period Stewart-Warner convex-lens gauges and a Bell fuel pressure pump. The Deuce’s distinctive finish was a custom shade of blue with dark red wheels, while a pair of classic ’39 Ford teardrop-style taillights and a rolled pan finished the rear. For street use, Khougaz fitted a ’32 Ford windscreen with a three-inch chop.
After considerable experimenting, Jim built his own high-output 286 cubic inch flathead V8 engine using the best speed equipment of the era including a Winfield SU-1A cam, finned high compression Edelbrock cylinder heads and a four-carburetor Edelbrock intake manifold, with spark provided by twin Wico magnetos, which were later replaced by a Harman and Collins magneto. The engine block was ported and relieved, with all reciprocating parts carefully balanced, a specialty that would later help Jim to earn his living. The hood was extended by two inches, with the hot engine enclosed between custom louvered side panels.
At first, the roadster served double duty as Jim Khougaz’s street and race car. He built a custom column-shift setup for the three-speed manual transmission and installed a ’48 Ford steering wheel. As his speeds climbed on the dry lakes, the car became more successful and more competition-focused, until it was virtually unusable as anything but a racer. After winning a sizable collection of coveted Southern California Timing Association (SCTA) timing tags, Khougaz retired the car in the mid-1950s.
Occupied with his growing engine balancing business and the building of a T-lakester, Khougaz stored the ’32 roadster intact in his loft for 40 years, then sold it to Indiana dentist Dr. Mark Van Buskirk, who shipped it to Dave Simard’s East Coast Custom in Leominster, Massachusetts, for a comprehensive five-year, body-off restoration. Although it had been unused for decades, the roadster was very complete and Simard was able to save a great deal of the original sheet metal. He and his crew fabricated a new belly pan that is a work of art and wherever possible, they used original or correct NOS replacement parts. Steve Pierce, of Gilford, New Hampshire, matched the original interior in pleated cordovan leather and fabricated an authentic tonneau cover, while Viking Auto matched the paint to a sample found on the car.
Mark Kirby of Motor City Flathead built the 286 cubic inch flathead engine with all the correct parts, including a quartet of carefully rebuilt and tuned Stromberg 81 carburetors. The engine is equipped with a set of chromed lakes pipes that can be uncapped, or the exhaust can be routed underneath the car through a pair of Smithy’s mufflers. Debuting at the 2001 Grand National Roadster Show, the restored roadster won the coveted Bruce Meyer Preservation Award before appearing at Pebble Beach (2003) in the Hot Rod class. It went on to win the Hot Rod class at the 2004 Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance.
In addition, Van Buskirk ran the Colorado Grand and California Mille events with the roadster, and it has competed at the Monterey Historics as well. At Hershey in 2004, it was AACA-certified as an authentic race car, winning a First Junior Award. Other show wins include trophies at the Rodeo Drive Concours d’Elegance, Eyes on Classic Design and many others. Numerous articles have included features in The Rodder’s Journal, Street Rodder Magazine, Rod & Custom, Old Cars Weekly, and Hop Up.
This car is simply a kick to drive. Sitting at ground level, with the wind rushing by and the powerful flathead rapping through its shortened pipes, you feel, even for just a moment, what Jim Khougaz experienced at El Mirage. It is simply glorious. In 2006, the chopped and channeled Khougaz roadster was chosen as one of the Best ’32 Fords of All Time, joining an exclusive group of just 75 highly respected Deuces, and it was displayed at a special pavilion at the 2006 Grand National Roadster Show.
A feared competitor in its day, the resurrected two-seater has been a relentless trophy winner wherever it has been shown. A comfortable driver as well, it has also participated in events including the Pasadena Roadster Club Reliability Run. Today, this historic roadster stands ready for its First Senior Award at Hershey; it is eligible for every historic hot rod show as well as all the 1000-mile specialty events, and it is ready to cruise to the nearest Friday night gathering. The crisp crackle of its unmuffled exhaust brings smiles whenever it appears. It is certainly one of the most versatile hot rods in existence, eligible for nostalgia drag racing, vintage road racing, dry lakes racing (with just a few SCTA-required additions), hot rod road tours and more.
Opportunities to purchase historic hot rods with unquestioned provenance like this one are rare. The new owner will possess a true period hot rod, beautifully restored, that is instantly recognizable, highly coveted and universally respected. This is a Deuce for the ages.
1970 Chevrolet Chevelle SS 454 LS6 Convertible - Estimate $500,000 - $700,000.
SOLD : $264,000.00
Ray Allen drove to 1970 NHRA Super Stock World Championship; sold for $1,242,000 at Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale in 2006 at height of muscle car market.
450 bhp, 454 cu.in. RPO LS6 V8 engine, single Holley 780cfm four-barrel carburetor, M40 Turbo Hydra-Matic 400 three-speed automatic transmission, RPO G80 Posi-Traction rear axle, independent front suspension with unequal-length upper and lower control arms, coil springs, and anti-roll bar, four-link rear suspension with 12-bolt rear end housing, unequal-length upper and lower control arms, coil springs and anti-roll bar, and vacuum-assisted hydraulic front disc, rear drum brakes. Wheelbase: 112"
From its introduction in 1964, the Chevelle was a market-leading success story, thanks to attractive styling, an extensive options list, and sheer value for the dollar. While initially powered by a number of inline sixes and small-block V8s, performance fans quickly realized that the Chevelle could also accommodate the Mark IV “big-block” engine being developed by Chevrolet in the wake of the infamous 1963 racing ban. Starting with the limited-production Z-16 of 1965, and racing versions campaigned by Malcolm Durham and Dick Harrell on the dragstrip, the Chevelle established a formidable reputation. However, in NHRA Super Stock drag racing, Chevrolet faced an uphill battle by 1968 against the factory-backed Cobra Jet Mustangs and Hemi-powered Chryslers that dominated the winner’s circle.
While Chevrolet did produce the limited-production 427-powerered COPO Camaro and Chevelle in 1969, big changes for 1970 included the end of GM’s corporate edict forbidding engines larger than 400 cubic inches in its intermediate models, including the Chevelle. In turn, Chevrolet’s “big block” V8 was enlarged to 454 cubic inches and formed the basis of the LS6 option, clearly intended to help Chevrolet wrest control of Super Stock drag racing from Chrysler. While the LS6 was never officially advertised as an option for the Chevelle, certain Chevy dealers could, and did, help their customers obtain the ultimate “bowtie” weapon.
The newly redesigned 1970 Chevelle SS, with its robust body-on-frame construction and 112-inch wheelbase, was the perfect platform for the incredible LS6 engine, which was underrated by Chevrolet at 450 horsepower and 500 pounds-feet of torque. With its 11:25:1 compression ratio, big-valve cylinder heads, 780 cfm Holley carburetor, and radical solid-lifter camshaft, the new 454 was supported by a stout four-bolt main block and a forged reciprocating assembly, and backed by either an M-22 “Rock Crusher” four-speed manual transmission or a hard-shifting M40 Turbo Hydra-Matic 400 automatic. Depending on rear-end gearing, which ranged from 3.31:1 to 4.10:1 at the factory, LS6 Chevelles were capable of easy 13-second quarter-mile times, with traction severely limited by the bias-ply tires of the day. Fuel economy was 10 miles per gallon at best, and annual insurance premiums approached one-third of the purchase price of the car. Clearly, economy and cost-effectiveness were not its objectives. In fact, Hot Rod Magazine summed up the car best in a 1970 road test, entitled “Earth Mover”.
Meanwhile, die-hard Chevrolet Junior Stock racers, including Ralph Truppi and Tommy Kling of New Jersey, dominated the Junior Stock ranks of NHRA’s North East Division during the 1960s. Truppi, widely acknowledged as a master at finding the perfect engine, drivetrain, and chassis combination for a winning car, was also a skilled interpreter of the NHRA rulebook and relied on brainpower rather than financial power for the competitive edge. Truppi later joined forces with Tommy Kling on the “Terrible Tangerine” 1957 Chevy station wagon driven by Ray Allen, a young but highly skilled driver with an abundance of natural talent. The Truppi-Kling team found ways to extract additional performance with incredibly careful preparation. This level of detail was a major factor in the team’s success.
Naturally, when Chevrolet released the LS6 Chevelle, Truppi-Kling ordered a Fathom Blue SS convertible equipped with such options as a ZL2 Cowl Induction hood, a column-shifted automatic transmission, bucket seats, radio delete and roll-up windows, for a planned assault on the Chrysler-heavy NHRA SS/E class. Major sponsorship was by Briggs Chevrolet of South Amboy New Jersey, a well-known performance-oriented Chevy dealer that also sponsored the celebrated funny cars of “Jungle Jim” Liberman. The convertible body was chosen for its factory-added structural reinforcements that provided additional weight at the rear, which, along with subtle chassis tuning, allowed the car to launch hard with the front end heading skyward on each pass.
There were questions, however, about the car’s convertible top. The NHRA ultimately agreed to allow the car to run without a roll bar, provided the top remained up at all times. While details of any internal modifications to the engine remain unknown, the Chevelle definitely featured NHRA-legal engine modifications including Hooker headers, an L-88 style solid-lifter camshaft, and an Edelbrock Tarantula single-plane intake manifold, which mounted the factory-supplied Holley carburetor. Meanwhile, the driveline featured a nine-inch Vitar torque converter, 5.14:1 rear end gears by Zoom, and Cragar S/S wheels with narrow front tires and NHRA-legal slicks at the rear.
As prepared, the Chevelle was expected to be quick, but even its driver, Ray Allen, was surprised by its brutal performance. Following domination of NHRA’s North East Division, Allen and the Chevelle won the NHRA World Finals at Dallas, Texas in October 1970. Next, Allen traveled to California in preparation for the inaugural NHRA Supernationals. Upon arriving at Orange County International Raceway, he hoped to make a few practice runs to shake down the Chevelle. However, Chrysler Corporation had rented the track to test a virtual fleet of its own racing cars. Undeterred, Allen approached Chrysler’s Dave Koffel and requested his permission to make a practice run. Koffel agreed, but Allen was still forced to wait for hours while the Chrysler SS/D cars, which were one class higher and theoretically faster, were making their passes. According to Allen, while the Chryslers were clocking quarter-mile times in the mid-11 second range, “…we went out and ran 11.01 seconds, and the Chrysler guys just died…the next week, at the first NHRA Supernationals at Ontario Motor Speedway, we lowered our own national record to 11.33 seconds. This was the first nationally televised drag racing event on ABC’s Wide World of Sports, and we made a big impression there.”
Aside from the Chevelle’s shocking performance at the Supernationals, Allen recently said the Chevelle was “…an oddball, unique car. I mean, the way it left the starting line with its front wheels up, and it was the only Chevy that qualified, and it was a convertible at that. It was the only Chevy in the class at Dallas too, and that’s why they (Chrysler) built that special Superbird to try to eliminate us.” The Superbird referred to by Allen was intended to be campaigned in SS/EA by Chrysler stalwart Jack Werst. Never intended to win races, its sole purpose was to defeat Allen during the early rounds of a major event. Built with a Chrysler-supplied 512 cubic inch “cheater” Hemi, extra weight at the rear, a slightly altered wheelbase, and staggered front wheels, this car would have definitely failed an NHRA tech inspection.
The NHRA quickly caught on, and threatened to disqualify Werst if the shenanigans continued. As related by Allen, “Chrysler tried to throw us out earlier at Indianapolis, claiming that only 17 or 18 LS6-powered Chevelle convertibles were built, while the NHRA required at least 50.” Even long-time NHRA announcer Dave McClelland intervened the next day by driving up to the NHRA people with an LS6 convertible. After that, and some further investigation, the NHRA was satisfied that since Chevrolet had produced well over 4,000 LS6 Chevelles in hardtop and convertible form, as well as a number of Chevelle-based El Caminos, the production requirements were met. Millions of sales and sponsorship dollars, as well as the pride of two corporate giants, hung in the balance. According to Allen, “There was a lot of money at stake. Chrysler sold racing cars right off the showroom floor for years, and they didn’t want to lose.”
Nonetheless, the Truppi-Kling Chevelle dominated NHRA Super Stock competition and was undefeated during 1970, winning the NHRA North East Division championship and the most important National events, including the 1970 World Finals and the 1970 Supernationals. After the 1971 racing season, Allen moved up to a Pro Stock Vega, and Claude Urevig, another Truppi-Kling team member, took over the car from 1972 until about 1974-1975. Following this period, the car’s history is somewhat shrouded in mystery with various accounts confusing this car with the Smith-Gainer 402-powered 1972 Chevelle, another Truppi-Kling car. According to Allen, though, this 1970 Chevelle was sold following the death of Claude Urevig during the early 1980s. Later, Allen searched for the car, locating it in Georgia. By this time, the car had been considerably modified for racing, and the owner, who was well aware of its famous background, was not interested in selling.
About a year later, though, the owner died and Allen received a telephone call advising that the Chevelle was indeed now for sale. Allen purchased it and soon began to accumulate new sheet metal, as well as the other components needed to restore the Chevelle to its original appearance and specifications. However, life intervened, and Allen sold the partially restored Chevelle to musclecar expert Chip Gerst of Costa Mesa, California, who completed the interior and applied removable vinyl race lettering and sponsorship decals, recalling its former racing glory. As many enthusiasts already know, this racing legend created a sensation in 2006 when it was previously offered for sale, and today, it is offered in mostly original appearance and specification, complete with photographs of the restoration, a copy of the original title to Truppi-Kling Competition, and two sets of wheels and tires. The LS6 454 cubic inch engine includes all of the original-type emissions equipment.
The “Killer Car”, as this particular Chevelle became known, ended Chrysler’s domination of NHRA’s Super Stock classes at the peak of the musclecar era. It continues to electrify generations of racing fans today, and its offering presents an incredible opportunity to acquire one of the most important pieces of American motorsports history in existence.
RM Auctions would like to thank Ray Allen for his assistance with this description.
1965 Dodge A100 Pickup Truck - Estimate $200,000 - $300,000.
SOLD : $550,000.00
Ex-Bill 'Maverick' Golden, the 'Little Red Wagon' and the 'Original Wheelstander' was called America's Most Famous Race Vehicle by Hot Rod Magazine in 1979.
Mid-mounted 426 cu. in. Chrysler Hemi V8 supercharged engine, 727 Torqueflite transmission, 5.14 differential,
The 1960s found drag racing exploding in a number of directions. From hot stockers out of Detroit to the gasser wars to streamlined dragsters, there is good reason why the sixties have and always will be considered the sport’s Golden Age. And few vehicles that came out of that fertile era could equal the Little Red Wagon.
This was a project that went astray from what was first intended. Dodge had actually been offering a standard size D-series pickup with a 413 cu. in. (later, a 426) Street Wedge engine option installed on the assembly line, and a version with some special parts had even been racing in the B/Factory Experimental class during 1962 and 1963. Jim Schaeffer and John Collier of Dodge’s Truck Divisions in Detroit had gotten the job of taking the new 1964 A100 ‘Forward Control’ compact truck and putting a 426 Hemi engine in it for A/FX and exhibition drag racing. The 90-inch A100 model, brand new for that year and available in van format as well, would certainly be a hairy ride with seven liters of NASCAR-designed lung in it.
To mount the engine in the truck effectively, it was set back 20 inches using a custom sub-frame that housed the entire driveline, resulting in a 48-percent front, 52-percent rear weight distribution. It used the drag racing intake with cross-ram carbs and S&S headers. The transmission, a Chrysler 727 Torqueflite automatic, was coupled directly to the differential. Weight was removed throughout the truck so the final effective weight was less than 2,700 pounds even with the heavy hemispherical engine. The final work was done by noted subcontractor Dick Branstner, who had won the U.S. Nationals in the Color Me Gone Dodge super stocker with Roger Lindamood driving. Jay Howell, an associate of Branstner’s, was tagged as the driver and the truck began its shakedown runs at Cecil County, Maryland on September 19, 1964.
Howell would be noted as a serious funny car driver in the latter part of the decade, but the little truck did not want to handle at all, and after a couple of scary runs at speed, he decided to call it a day (though Super Stock and Drag Illustrated got a feature for its second ever issue, and it ran in the centerspread). Continued testing showed that the truck still wanted to pull the nose in the air, so Dodge PR rep Frank Wylie, who had helped push the initial effort, called a noted West Coast driver named Bill ‘Maverick’ Golden to drive it during an upcoming Dodge Tough Trucks commercial.
Maverick, a former Marine, had become well known for the Dodges he had been running for the West Coast Dodge Dealers Association during the early 1960s and had set several records that had helped make Dodge competitive in a sea of 409 Chevys and tri-power Fords. Regarded foremost as a quiet thinker, Golden was credited for advances in Super Stock racing during those formative years that allowed him to often stun the competition; he and Wylie had built a strong working reputation during those years. In his new 1964 Hemi Charger, he had won the local but hot Super Stock class at Pomona for several consecutive weeks before heading out on his summer tour on the AHRA circuit in Ultra Stock trim. In the late fall, he agreed to drive the truck for the ad. After a couple of passes at Motor City Dragway, he brought the truck back to California for filming at Fontana Dragway and came away with stunning results – the nose rode in the air a full 600 feet before he bounced it to the ground!
Golden realized quickly that, if he could somehow control the truck’s antics, he would have a great opportunity to use it for exhibition racing. Unfortunately, he also needed some minor medical attention due to the A100’s violent, at-speed landings he had already experienced. Late in the year, he made a deal to buy it from Dodge, and got over the pain long enough to be part of the January season-opener at Lions Drag Strip in Long Beach at C.J. Hart’s request (and a big $1,000 in appearance money). That show in front of 10,000 awe-struck fans and the nation’s top magazine and newspaper photographers, put the Little Red Wagon on the map.
The money poured in; Maverick remembers he had to put in two telephones to keep up with requests. Only Don Garlits and TV Tommy Ivo commanded more appearance money than Maverick did, and Maverick continued to refine the package over the next several years. At this time, Maverick was running the truck injected on heavy loads of nitromethane. Mickey Thompson, who was also a friend and confidant, suggested swapping to a supercharged alcohol program and provided all the parts need for the changeover. In 1967, Maverick built another 1965 A100 up as a show vehicle to take to non-racing appearances.
The adage that racing evolution is written in blood proved true in the wheel standing business as well. The original 1964 truck was destroyed in Albuquerque in 1969, its replacement (supercharged with center steering and the first hydraulic rear gate) was wrecked in 1971, and a third Little Red Wagon built from those remains almost killed Golden in a high-speed flip in Canada in 1975. Once he recovered, he took the show truck out of mothballs and converted it to active duty. This would be the truck that raced as the Little Red Wagon for the next three decades.
Technologically, Maverick, together with other pioneers in the wheel standing business, worked hard to find ways to make their vehicles safer and even more interesting for the spectators. For instance, titanium blocks could be used off the rear part of the vehicle that dragged to create rooster tails of sparks. Steering was accomplished with an independent braking system that could apply the caliper on either rear wheel; a marked point on the steering wheel ensured that the front wheels were pointing forward when ‘coming in for a landing.’ The floor area was opened up so the track in front of the driver was visible. To run the quarter in 10 seconds at over 130 mph on the narrow tracks of that era required skill, fast reflexes, and courage; Maverick had all of it.
The truck presented here was more than just a pretty face; this rendition of the Little Red Wagon was seen by tens of thousands of fans over the years. It was raced longer than any of the others, and is obviously the one that is closest in age to the now-destroyed original due to its 1960s era conversion. In 1977, Maverick ran this truck into the Guinness Book of World Records with a run that carried the front wheels 4,230 feet, the length of over three quarter-miles. Perhaps most importantly, this one was never crashed at speed, and maintains a very large degree of its originality as a racing machine.
By the mid-1980s, Maverick actually had several projects going at once, and the older truck was temporarily retired for several seasons while he used a late model Dodge on the tractor-pulling circuit. During the 1990s, this truck could be seen regularly at specialty nostalgia races and Mopar-style events, maintaining its status as an icon of the sport. From the time he put the show truck on the track to the end of his career, Maverick would build just one replica of the 1960s-style truck, which has been on display at the Don Garlits Museum of Drag Racing in Florida since its recreation. The truck offered here retired from active racing in 2003.
Awards came to Maverick from all quarters due to the fame of the Little Red Wagon – among the highlights were Car of the Year by AHRA (1966), America’s Most Famous Race Vehicle by Hot Rod magazine (1979), Car Craft Magazine All-Star Team (1969), Showman of the Year by IHRA (1977), King of Showmen by Drag Racing Almanac (1967), Super Stock Magazine Hall of Fame (1995), the International Drag Racing Hall of Fame (2002), and on and on. In the minds of many historians, it was and remains the single most famous exhibition vehicle created for the sport of drag racing.
As built, this truck represents both the early and later technology of the wheel stander. Obviously, the vintage body speaks for itself. The paint scheme is the one that the truck wore for much of its later career, somewhat subdued from the prior 1980s renditions. Maverick painted the truck himself in a hue he created in keeping with the moniker. He also credits a blessing from a priest when the car was first converted for racing duty in the 1970s with keeping it from entering the same bent-metal notoriety as its predecessors; a cross remains painted on the cab pillar to this day as a result. Headlight covers were created early in the truck’s existence; no bulb could have survived the hard bouncing that occasionally resulted in all four wheels leaving the ground. The windshield area is open as well.
There remains an air of authenticity around the vehicle; though it has been cleaned up, it maintains the raceday patina from when it was finally parked. Chrome is visible on many accessories like the differential, shocks, and suspension parts, all which were visible to all as the truck covered the racing surface on its rear wheels. While one rear shock is used for the truck for itself, there are multiple shocks mounted for the custom hydraulics Maverick developed which finally kept the violence of the weight transfer to a minimum.
A 6-71 supercharger on a mid-mounted 426-style Chrysler Hemi, set up to run on alcohol, is coupled to an A727 Torqueflite transmission and 5.14 rear gearing, all installed on a subframe Maverick created that was built similar to the original sub-assembly of 1964. This truck was center-steered, with the independent braking system, and many other one of a kind parts like the aforementioned hydraulically-lowered wheelie/tailgate arrangement. The vehicle was turnkey when Maverick sold it, exactly as it was when he parked following its final ever runs in Milan, Michigan in 2003. It was still running low 10-second times.
In a recent conversation with Bill, he jokingly admitted that he was not sure anybody but outlaw custom builder Jesse James would still be crazy enough to actually drive the Original Wheelstander, the Little Red Wagon. We do know that this particular lot represents a unique opportunity to own an iconic part of racing history with legendary status, a world record history and an unquestionable pedigree. Additionally, it has been the subject of numerous diecast scale models over the years, several of which will be included in the car’s sale.
1951 Tom Beatty Belly Tank Lakester - Estimate $200,000 - $300,000.
SOLD : $209,000.00
Multiple Bonneville record holder; hit 243.438 in 1962, making it the fastest belly tank lakester ever.
Est. 400 bhp, 303 cu. in. GMC-Oldsmobile V8 engine, de-stroked to 260 cu. in., 1956 Oldsmobile Hydra-Matic transmission, solid front axle, Halibrand Quick-Change rear end with independent suspension. Wheelbase: 110"
Tom Beatty was a dedicated lakes racer who later became a speed equipment manufacturer. In 1950, he was working for Barney Navarro, one of the best early speed merchants. At that time, a few successful racers who used Edelbrock equipment ran their flathead V-8 engines on potent, horsepower-inducing nitromethane. Navarro countered with forced induction. He and Beatty built a flathead with a GMC 3-71 supercharger fed by four Stromberg 48 carburetors. With this blown V8, Beatty’s T roadster was competitive, but its aerodynamics left something to be desired.
Late in the 1951 season, Beatty fabricated a new lakester based on an aircraft drop tank. Following Bill Burke’s earlier example, dry lakes racers bought war surplus 165- and 315-gallon aircraft drop tanks, used to extend the range of P-51 Mustang and P-38 Lightning fighter planes, and converted them into wind-cheating bodies for dry lakes racers. Both men studied airframe construction by closely examining planes at a local airport. Using lightweight, chrome-moly steel tubing, mostly ¾-in O.D., Beatty meticulously constructed a strong and rigid “truss-type” chassis.
Other innovations included independent rear suspension, with swing axles fashioned from early Ford components, to ensure the power was constantly planted on the dry lake’s uneven surface. While earlier tanks used an abbreviated in-out gearbox, Beatty fitted a modified Ford gearbox, and used second and high gears to better accelerate up to speed on the short lakes course. He inverted a Model A Ford front axle, then mounted a transverse leaf spring directly behind it, for a lower silhouette and improved aerodynamics.
The December, 1951, issue of Hop Up, commented on Beatty’s effort: “Finally an original tank has come along – built by Tom Beatty.” The article continued, “Since the day Bill Burke brought the first surplus drop tank-bodied car to the lakes, all other cars of this type have been carbon copies of his first efforts. Burke’s car was ahead of everything else at the lakes in those days, but now, (Hop Up declared) it is about to be outmoded.”
Beatty and Navarro brought the freshly-completed lakester to the 1951 Bonneville Nationals. For its debut, the tank was painted black with “Auto Accessories Company” painted on the side. Running a 296 cubic inch Mercury flathead V-8 and the blower setup, on alcohol fuel, in the “D Lakester” Class, Beatty made a torrid 188.284-mph run in his brand-new tank, instantly establishing it as the fastest open-wheeled car at that event, and the fastest lakester built to that date.
After his winning year in 1951, with Belond as the sponsor, now painted red and white, the tank was called the Belond Equa-Flow Special. Beatty commissioned famed racecar builder Frank Kurtis to fabricate a streamlined, aluminum fairing. The ensuing publicity greatly benefited Navarro Equipment and Belond exhaust systems. And this was just the beginning...
Tom Beatty understood that supercharging was key to his success. He continued to develop the 3-71 setup, adding V-belts until he was using eight at a time. Plagued by connecting rod failures, he ‘boxed’ the rods by welding on side plates, re-machining and balancing them. Beatty ran boost pressures as high as 15:1. And although he blew more than his share of highly-stressed flatheads, when his engines held together, he managed the fastest times. The Beatty flathead-powered tank set SCTA’s ‘Top Speed of the Season’ at the dry lakes for five straight years, from 1951 to 1955. Tom did it again in 1959, with a blown Oldsmobile engine. No one else even came close.
Running at Bonneville in 1952, Beatty succeeded in running a 203.61-mph one-way, again becoming the fastest-open-wheeled car. Featured in the November 1952, issue of Hot Rod, the Beatty tank was named “Hot Rod of the Month” and it was illustrated with a classic Rex Burnett cutaway drawing.
Plagued by four successive engine failures IN 1954, the irrepressible Beatty returned in 1955, sponsored by Weiand Power Equipment, with the tank repainted yellow, and clocked a two-way average of 211.267-mph to become the 16th member of the much-respected 200-mph Club. In 1956 and 1957 at Bonneville, Beatty turned 211.888 mph and 209.180 MPH respectively, setting “C Lakester” records that still stand.
Reportedly, the Beatty belly tank handled so well that Tom was invited to give a few high-speed demonstration runs at Carrell Speedway, where he dazzled the crowd, throwing up clay in the turns. At Bonneville, he was known for dramatic 200-mph U-turns on the salt at the conclusion of many runs.
Encouraged by his success, in 1958, Beatty opened up his own shop, Tom Beatty Automotive Engineering in Sun Valley, CA. The flatheads were approaching obsolescence. Overhead valve V-8’s were being used to set more and more records, so Beatty switched to Oldsmobile V-8 power, and adapted the Ford transmission. He cast his own blower manifold, manufactured a blower drive, and “pruned” a 6-71 GMC supercharger so it would better fit in the cramped engine bay, while accommodating six Stromberg 48 carburetors. The new setup proved itself first time out. Running a 303 cubic inch Olds V8, de-stroked to 260 cubic inch for higher revs, with a GMC 6-71 blower and six Strombergs, Beatty set a new Bonneville “D lakester” record of 232.98 mph.
Along with the engine change came a new look. The tank was repainted in two shades of blue with Tom Beatty Automotive engineering emblazoned on the sides of the canopy. Weiand and Grant Piston rings were co-sponsors. Beatty began making and selling his own 6-71 blower manifolds and multi-belt blower drive set-ups (he didn’t trust Gilmore belts). The newly-established Tom Beatty Automotive Company also built Olds engines for drag racers.
Beatty was a relentless competitor. In 1959, at the salt flats, he pushed the tank, now with the Olds V8, to another D Lakester record of 239.38 mph. Running on a shorter lakes course, that year, he set the SCTA dry lakes record of 212.26 mph
Old Bonneville salts still recall Tom Beatty’s 150-mph ’40 Ford push truck. He often used his previous year’s race engine in his sedan delivery, to ensure he’d get fast starts. Ever the innovator, to accommodate the larger-sized Oldsmobile engine, the modified ’56 Olds 4-speed Hydra-Matic transmission, and the Halibrand quick-change rear, Tom lengthened the tank’s tubular chassis some 14-inches. Now, in lieu of a push truck, the Hydra-Matic allowed him to start on his own. Still competing hard in 1962, Beatty bettered his earlier mark with a record-setting average: 243.438 mph – making his tank the fastest open-wheeled car again.
In 1963 the Beatty tank was described as “the oldest on the salt.” Tom made a 252-mph one-way run, but was unable to back it up for a record. In 1966, he discovered the sport of dune buggies. Delighted to have a pastime he could enjoy with his family, Beatty retired his now-legendary tank, and it rested in a corner of his shop until it was sold, to Tom Gerardi, who separated the engine from the tank and disassembled it. Beatty died later that year.
The tank passed to Mark Dees, a noted racer and historian. After Dees died in 1997, the tank was purchased from his estate by Dave Simard, an acclaimed New England-based hot rod builder and historic hot rod restorer.
Simard painstakingly gathered up the original parts, found the correct freshly-built, blown Olds V8 built by Tom Beatty, and a cache of authentic spares, then reassembled the Beatty tank as it last ran. He brought it to Bonneville in August 1998, for the 50th Anniversary of the event.
Belly tank lakesters like this one are seldom available for sale. The Beatty tank is the most innovative, the fastest and most successful belly tank lakester ever built, both at the dry lakes and at Bonneville.
A remarkable survivor, it remains a tribute to the skill and courage of Tom Beatty, who ignored convention and devised a better way of building a classic open-wheeled racer. A supercharging pioneer, he helped prove forced induction could achieve unprecedented power outputs. Tom Beatty could do it all: he designed, built and drove this belly tank, achieving countless records.
Complete, authentic, with impeccable provenance, the availability of the historic, un-restored Tom Beatty belly tank represents a unique opportunity
1969 Dodge Charger Daytona - Estimate $400,000 - $600,000.
SOLD : $214,500.00
Ex-Cotton Owens and Buddy Baker; first NASCAR Grand National to post lap over 200 mph; won 1970 Southern 500.
Est. 550 hp, 426 cu. in. pushrod overhead valve V8 engine, four-speed manual transmission, independent front suspension with coil springs, live axle rear suspension, front disc, rear drum hydraulic brakes. Wheelbase: 117"
“Win on Sunday, sell on Monday” was never more important than in the years that crossed the intersection of the Sixties and the Seventies. These were the days of all-out, no holds barred, performance. Ford, Chrysler and GM deployed teams of engineers, drivers, mechanics to devise technical advantages and finesse the rules makers.
In the late Sixties the focus was on engines and power. Chrysler, GM and Ford deployed fabulous, exotic engines – the porcupine head Chevy, the Dodge and Plymouth 426 Wedge, Ford’s threatened sohc 427 – while NASCAR, NHRA, USAC and an alphabet soup of other sanctioning bodies and promoters fiddled with rules to try to keep one brand from running off with everything, keep the cars looking like something fans could buy in the showroom on Monday and keep one step ahead of the imaginative ways cagey guys like Dale Inman, Smokey Yunick and Bud Moore came up with to gain an advantage over their competition.
The most egregious example of manufacturers’ specialization to meet NASCAR and USAC production requirement is Chrysler’s 1963 creation of the second generation Hemi engine and then putting it into the wildest automobiles ever offered to the general public, the 1969 Dodge Charger Daytona and the 1970 Plymouth Road Runner Superbird.
Chrysler was getting hammered on the NASCAR ovals and the NHRA strips in the early Sixties. The story goes, too, that Chrysler Chairman Lynn Townsend’s teenage sons were coming back from Woodward Avenue and giving their dad the word that his company’s products were nowhere. In late 1962 Townsend gave the go-ahead to create a second generation Hemi. To minimize development time and costs it was based on the basic dimensions of the 413/426 wedge block so it could be machined on existing tooling.
Working with a nearly impossibly short deadline, the 1964 Daytona 500, Chrysler’s program was a success, with Hemi powered Plymouths taking the top three places and five of the top ten. Richard Petty’s pole-winning speed for the 500 was more than 13 mph faster than his pace in 1963.
NASCAR banned the Hemis in 1965, then relented. Ford withdrew in 1966 citing the Hemi’s advantage, then came back when NASCAR allowed them dual 4-barrel carbs. Chrysler came back in 1967, dominating the season in his Plymouth. Ford responded in 1968 and 1969 with the Holman-Moody Fords driven by David Pearson.
The Winged Warriors
The dominance of Ford was more than Chrysler could countenance. Rather than creating limited production aerodynamic bodies (like the fastback Charger) Chrysler turned to its design studios with the objective of creating a production car that was aerodynamic on the track but also stylish and handsome on the showroom floor. The new 1968 Charger hardtop was a beautiful, sleek, design but it wasn’t aerodynamic enough. Something more was needed.
It was the Charger Daytona 500, with flush grille and extended fastback rear glass worth a minimum of five mph. It also prompted Ford to unveil its counterparts, the Torino Talladega and Cyclone Spoiler. They completely dominated the Charger at Daytona in 1969.
The Chrysler designers went back to the drawing boards and reviewed their data from wind tunnel testing. Two teams of Chrysler designers came up with essentially the same conclusion: replace the Charger’s ring bumper with an extended aerodynamic nose cone and a low front spoiler.
It worked, but it also exacerbated the nose lift problem. Conventional wisdom would counter that with a rear deck spoiler but in practice it would have to be so large most if not all of the advantage created by the nose would be lost. Working simultaneously in the wind tunnel and trying promising changes on the Chelsea test track the solution was found: a wing mounted on tall pylons at the very back of the rear deck. The height of the wing was set not by aerodynamics but by the simple realization that it had to clear the rear deck lid when it was opened.
Other design features were added. Running with the nose down helped reduce lift but caused the front wheels to rub the fender tops at speed. They cut out the offending fender areas and added bumps for a little more clearance. Excessive turbulence at the windshield corners was tamed with wind deflectors on the a-pillars. It was outrageous, but it worked.
Planned as a 1970 model, a bomb dropped on the engineering staff when the introduction date was pushed up to September, the date of the 500 mile race at the brand new superspeedway at Talladega, Alabama. Track testing at Chelsea continued in parallel with production of the 500 copies needed to meet NASCAR’s requirements. On July 27 Charlie Glotzbach lapped the Chelsea oval at 204 mph.
Then testing revealed that the Talladega surface and the record speeds were fatiguing the tires. Many top drivers and teams boycotted the race including Chrysler’s test driver, Charlie Glotzbach, although a Daytona driven by Richard Brickhouse won at a carefully controlled reduced speed.
In 1970 the Charger Daytona and its new stablemate from Plymouth the Road Runner Superbird came into their own and were nearly unbeatable, winning 38 of the season’s 48 races. One of the leaders was the Dodge Daytona entered by Cotton Owens and driven by Buddy Baker.
Cotton Owens grew up with NASCAR from the earliest days driving modifieds. In 1959 he finished second to Lee Petty in the season points with 22 top ten finishes in 37 races, including winning the Daytona Beach and Road race in Pontiac’s first NASCAR victory. In 1960 he won his qualifying race at the Daytona Speedway, the first NASCAR race carried on live television.
He was one of the team owners consulted by Chrysler in 1962 before development began on the new Hemi, telling Chrysler, “I told them if they’d go back to the Hemi engine I’d do it. The Hemi builds more horsepower than any other engine…. Dodge promised if I’d sign I’d get a Hemi, so I signed under those conditions,” and became part of the effort from the very beginning. ("All Around The Track", Anne B. Jones and Rex White, McFarland 2007).
In 1969 Owens teamed up with Buddy Baker, son of NASCAR pioneer Buck Baker from Darlington’s Rebel 400 on. The pair scored an impressive series of results including a run of eight straight top ten finishes at the end of the season.
Owens and Baker started 1970 off strong, starting their Daytona qualifying race from the pole and finishing second to Charlie Glotzbach but an ignition problem put them out of the 500 itself. Problems dogged them at Rockingham and Atlanta but Baker in the #6 Charger Daytona were the class of the field in the Alabama 500 at Talladega on April 12, leading 101 laps until a spin and a fire put them out of the race.
It was in this race as Baker was leading the field that he accomplished the feat which will forever make this car famous: recording the first NASCAR race lap at over 200 mph.
The accomplishment was heavily promoted by Chrysler, even more than the continuing successes of the Chargers and Superbirds, because it was a singular accomplishment. It led inevitably to another of Bill France’s competition building innovations, the carburetor restrictor plate, which has forever limited superspeedway speeds to well below 200 mph.
Baker drove Owens’ #6 Charger Daytona to a second place finish in the Firecracker 400 at Daytona in July, to fourth at Atlanta in August, sixth in Michigan on August 16, fifth at the Talladega 500 August 23.
With this car Baker then won the Southern 500 at Darlington on September 7 by a lap over second place Bobby Isaac. On the same weekend Cotton Owens was inducted into the National Motorsports Press Association Hall of Fame at Darlington.
By now NASCAR had announced the rules for 1971. They limited the aerodynamically bodied cars to just 305 cubic inches displacement, spelling the end of the brief, brilliant career of the Dodge Charger Daytona and its counterparts from Plymouth, Ford and Mercury. When this car was in an accident at Charlotte on October 11 (after qualifying third and leading twenty laps) Owens rebuilt it as a display car to participate in Dodge’s national promotion of the 200-mph lap. In rebuilding it, he made the changes to the interior, doors and windows that are visible today.
It was displayed by Dodge at Cobo Hall in Detroit in January 1971 then was brought back home to Spartanburg before being taken to Darlington – NASCAR’s first superspeedway – and put on display in the museum there. It remained on display for the next generation, an example of a famed, golden era in American racing.
On July 19, 2005 it was released from the museum and brought once again back to Cotton Owens Garage in Spartanburg, South Carolina. Cotton himself put in new oil, pulled the plugs and oiled the cylinders, disconnected the distributor, put in a new battery and cranked the engine to pump oil pressure. With new plugs and the ignition reconnected he hooked a line from a gas can to the fuel pump and squirted some gas into the carb.
She fired on the second try.
Since then Cotton has done further work to tune, clean and prepare the car. It was acquired directly from Cotton Owens in 2005 by the present owner who has had it carefully and consistently maintained in his museum by professional staff.
Other than the mechanical work to bring it back to operation after nearly thirty-five years on display it is exactly as it was after Darlington and Charlotte in 1970. Its Hemi roars with the sound of a legend: the first NASCAR Grand National Cup series automobile to turn a race lap at over 200 mph. It is a feat which will never again be experienced, not only because it is the first, but also because safety concerns will never again see a Winston/Nextel/Sprint Cup car lapping at speeds like that in a race attended by the public.
It is one of the landmarks of American racing, built and tuned by a legendary driver-mechanic-team owner, extensively authenticated by him, driven by one of the stars of NASCAR Buddy Baker and powered by the incomparable Race Hemi. It is one of few NASCAR Grand National series cars from this epic era to survive untouched and carefully preserved. Exactly as raced, it is a reminder of a time when racing and racers admitted to few limitations in speed, ingenuity, determination and courage.
1940 Ford Convertible Coupe - Estimate $200,000 - $300,000.
SOLD : $231,000.00
One of the first 'Valley Custom' creations; won at Pebble Beach Concours in 2005 and San Francisco Rod & Custom Show in 2006.
Est. 200 bhp, Ford Flathead V8 engine with Offenhauser cylinder heads and three Stromberg carburetors, three-speed manual transmission, solid front axle with transverse semi-elliptic leaf spring, ¾-floating rear axle with transverse semi-elliptic leaf spring, and four-wheel hydraulic drum brakes. Wheelbase: 112"
Over half a century ago, when hot rodders were stripping roadsters and coupes to run faster at California’s dry lakes, the custom car crowd was equally zealous about completely restyling their rides, improving the looks of lower-priced Detroit iron and achieving the upscale appearance of more expensive cars.
Initially the province of skilled body and fender men, customizing began as an adjunct to collision repair, but there was soon such a large following that some shops, especially in California, began working exclusively as customizers. The efforts of the best-known early custom artisans began to be seen and copied nationally in 1948, with the inaugural publication of Hot Rod magazine. The word and many of the tricks and techniques soon spread across the country, thanks to features in Road & Track, Motor Trend, Hop Up, Rod & Custom and Honk! as well as a number of other publications from coast to coast.
While it lasted, the custom era produced some truly unique automobiles. The earliest customs remain the purest conceptually, relying on extensive metalwork and the selective use of “borrowed” items like grilles, trim, hubcaps and headlamps from more expensive donor cars of the period, such as Buicks and Cadillacs, to alter and streamline their appearance. Chopped and filled hard tops or padded Carson tops, sectioned hoods, molded fade-away fenders with enclosed rear skirts and inset rear license plates were just a few of the custom touches that underscored a trend lasting for decades.
A list of the most influential early custom builders has to include Sacramento’s Harry Westergard. In greater Los Angeles, the best-known customizers were Gil and Al Ayala, Jimmy Summmers, the Barris brothers, Sam and George, and the shop many aficionados consider the best of the early customizers, Burbank’s Valley Custom, which was owned and operated by two brothers-in law, Clay Jensen and Neil Emory. The late Dean Bachelor, a talented author and editor who had worked for Jensen and Emory, and later at Hop Up magazine, called Valley Custom “a superb establishment.”
“The custom shops of Southern California,” Bachelor would write in Rod Action, “developed their own style, flair, attitudes, philosophy and subsequently, clientele.” Valley Custom patrons tended to be from Glendale, Burbank and the San Fernando Valley. Bachelor felt that customers “… liked the ‘Valley Custom Look.’ This appearance,” he noted, “almost invariably was restrained, simple and tasteful.” The shop’s reputation, wrote Bachelor, “came largely from their superb metal work, requiring very little lead and no putty (then commonly used to fill and reshape automotive exteriors), and their fine paint jobs.”
Valley Custom did not hesitate to tackle major restyling projects. Chopping and channeling were specialties and the duo of Jensen and Emory sectioned several then-and-now-famous customs during the era. Sectioning was the most complex task for a customizer. It involved immense skill in determining how to enhance a car’s best proportions after as much as four inches of metal was removed from its original proportions.
One of the first and subsequently most famous Valley Custom creations was the chopped, channeled and sectioned 1940 Ford Convertible Coupe offered here, which was built in 1948 for Ralph Jilek of North Hollywood. A four-inch section was removed from the hood sides, the doors and the rear quarter-panels, while the fenders were raised and all wheel openings were re-radiused. This car was further lowered with a dropped front axle, a five-inch rear frame kickup and a set of reworked springs. Slim 1941 Studebaker taillights were fitted along with 1947 Chevrolet bumpers. All superfluous chrome trim was removed and the hood was peaked. Glen Houser’s Carson Top Shop then complemented the magnificent metalwork with a custom, lift-off padded top.
Jilek told Hot Rod’s editors that he had been planning to buy a new model car, “… but Detroit had nothing I liked at their price.” Therefore, he used his new-car savings to build the custom, noting that the process took two years to complete. His car was Hop Up Magazine’s “Custom of the Month” in February 1952, enhancing Valley Custom’s already formidable reputation. It is important to note that Jilek’s convertible was finished in jet black lacquer, a color that will reveal the tiniest flaw, of which there were none. That took confidence, but that skill level was what distinguished Valley Custom’s work.
Clay Jensen eventually acquired the car from the Jilek estate, kept it for 25 years and then sold it in disrepair to his son Ron, who subsequently sold it to Don Orosco. Orosco, a noted collector, won the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance Hot Rod class twice with the ex-Dick Flint ’29 roadster (partially built at Valley Custom) and Alex Xydias’ So-Cal ’34 competition coupe. Unwilling to undertake another major rebuild, however, Orosco sold the Jilek ’40 to its next owner, former Indianapolis and Trans-Am racer Tom Gloy, who commissioned a painstaking, ground-up restoration by Steve’s Auto Restoration that was completed just in time for its debut at the 2005 Pebble Beach Concours.
On August 20, 2005, with the spirits of Jimmy Summers, Harry Westergard, Clay Jensen and Neil Emory undoubtedly looking on, a parade of low-slung, brightly painted customs, exhausts burbling and crackling, emerged out of the fog and rolled onto the 18th hole at the Lodge at Pebble Beach. In the midst of gorgeous 8C 2900 Alfa Romeos and Figoni et Falaschi Delahayes, the customs made their grand entrance and were quickly surrounded by crowds of admirers.
As displayed, this incredible Ford Convertible had it all: gallons of black lacquer, a sectioned hood, a low, white Carson padded top with the original plaque, radiused wheel openings, wide whites and a dazzling tuck and roll interior. No stone was unturned in this car’s restoration. Its modified, three-carbureted Flathead V8 sports a rare (one-of-two) Kong distributor and an even rarer Stewart-Warner generator-driven tachometer, in addition to Offenhauser cylinder heads and Fenton exhaust headers.
At Pebble Beach, the Valley Custom 1940 Ford garnered a coveted Red Ribbon and later, it took First in Class at the 2006 San Francisco Rod & Custom Show. The Ford also won its class at the 2006 Grand National Roadster Show in Pomona, finishing ahead of the famed Calori coupe. Very few classic early customs have survived. This remarkable example, precisely restored and with unquestioned provenance, is certainly one of the finest.
1932 Ford Five-Window Coupe - Estimate $200,000 - $250,000.
SOLD : $176,000.00
Built by Don Tognotti, 'The Avenger' won the 1961 Grand National Roadster Show Class at Oakland.
331 cu. in. Chrysler Hemi V8 engine with four Stromberg 97 carburetors on a Weiand manifold, external exhaust headers, three-speed De Soto manual gearbox with floor shifter, tubular front axle, semi-elliptic leaf springs, front and rear drum brakes, solid axle ’42 Ford rear end with semi-elliptic leaf spring. Wheelbase: 110"
This “Aztec Golden Copper” lacquered ‘32 Ford 5-window competition-style street and show “Deuce” coupe was built by the late Don Tognotti, a noted Sacramento area entrepreneur and promoter whose 1914 “King T” won the coveted America’s Most Beautiful Roadster (AMBR) award in 1964. Tognotti later went on to own and manage the Grand National (Oakland) Roadster Show. He purchased this soon-to-be radical deuce from Bob King in June 1960, quickly set about making it a show winner and succeeded beyond his wildest expectations.
An early example of ‘wedge channeling,’ where the body was dropped a few inches lower over the frame in front than in the rear, (for a more pronounced ‘rake)’, the sleek Tognotti coupe’s roofline was chopped 3.5-inches, and the roof was filled. It was then radically channeled ten inches in front and eight inches in the rear, over a 4-inch stretched, pinched and narrowed ’32 Ford frame.
A dropped tubular front axle, a flattened semi-elliptic leaf spring, with split wishbones and inclined airplane-type tubular shocks smartly lowered the front end. A filled cowl vent, solid roof insert, and a rolled rear tail pan completed the major body modifications. The extended 110-inch wheelbase helped showcase this coupe’s aggressive, permanently raked stance, and gave it a very distinctive appearance.
This hammered hardtop’s competition flavor stemmed from its “suicide” front end, 331 cubic inch ’51 Chrysler Hemi power plant, eight individual chromed headers that sweep all the way under the rear axle to flared exhaust tips in the rear; its beefy ‘37 De Soto 3-speed floor shift transmission with a competition clutch, external four-into-one headers, and polished Halibrand slotted and polished mag wheels with 8:20 x 15 Bruce “pie crust” whitewall drag slicks. Inside the trunk, an 18-gallon fuel tank with a Bendix electric fuel pump feeds four Stromberg 97 carburetors on a polished Weiand intake manifold. A chromed firewall, typical of popular modifications in that period, reflects the polished and plated Hemi.
The coupe’s lavishly rolled and pleated Black Antique Naugahyde interior – even the headliner is black – is unusual because the black-grained instrument panel, replete with period white on black winged Stewart-Warner speedometer, water temperature and fuel gauges, is located on the floor between the two bucket seats. The steering wheel is a three-spoke, race-inspired Bell Auto Parts accessory; the shift lever sports an aggressive custom shift knob and the steering column has a chromed rippled cover that matches this car’s competition theme.
Period show touches include a neatly filled and peaked grille shell with an insert made of 3/8ths-inch clear plastic rod and horizontal X-shaped mesh bars. The lower portion of the shell was omitted and instead, a rolled front panel covers the chopped frame horns. Circular ’60 Corvair taillights accent the lower rear panel. Both the hydraulic brake and clutch pedals are ‘swung’ units, operated by a matched pair of chrome-plated, firewall-mounted master cylinders.
Right after it was completed, the altered wheelbase five-window convincingly won its class at the Grand National Roadster Show in Oakland in 1961, and starred on the cover of Car Craft the following year, where it was featured in a special July 1962 article called, “Those Swingin’ Coupes/Sedans.” Tognotti’s freshly-built show coupe won seven major awards and countless others in its first two years of competition. A show sensation, right from its outset on the circuit, it took “Outstanding Coupe” at Sacramento, Fresno and Hayward, the “Sweepstakes” award at Yuma City, first place at San Francisco, and “U.S. Western Champion” at Oakland. In an unusual move that proved the coupe’s viability, Tognotti frequently drag-raced this car, as well.
After Tognotti had probably won all the awards there were to win, the coupe was sold to Bob McCloskey and was featured in Rod & Custom in September 1962. McCloskey added his own racy touches: a GMC 6-71 supercharger, an Isky 5-Cycle racing cam, Hilborn fuel injectors and lightweight Jahns pistons. These additions boosted the Hemi’s output to 490-bhp. The new owner also added vestigial finned fenders, front and rear.
Next the Avenger was sold to an Oregon man who reportedly installed a blown Chevrolet V8 engine. Jack Ivie of Tacoma then purchased the Avenger and showed it in 1982 at the 26th Anniversary Portland where it won first in its class, apparently fitted with a blown 327 cubic inch Chevrolet engine.
In 1996, Ivey sold the coupe to Ken McBride, a major Seattle collector of sports and classic cars, who commissioned a first-class restoration to ready the car for its Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance showing in the Hot Rod Class in 2001. McBride’s restoration was facilitated by Don Tognotti’s original hand-written notes, which detailed every modification to the car, along with the cost of each item. Ken McBride kept all these painstaking records, which will be presented to the winning bidder.
McBride enthusiastically drove the Avenger on the Pebble Beach Tour. Exhaust blasting and Halibrands flashing in the sunlight, it was the only hot rod class car that year to finish the driving event. While the Tognotti coupe did not win an award at the Concours, it impressed everyone with its aggressive stance and the sound of that hefty Hemi running through eight straight pipes.
Don Tognotti’s Avenger has all the desirable provenance of a top-flight historic hot rod...a famous owner, a multi-carb Hemi V-8 engine, drop-dead good looks, multiple show wins, serious provenance and a well-documented history. Best of all, it is fast, loud and eminently drivable.
1961 Chevrolet Corvette Drag Racing Car - Estimate $350,000 - $450,000.
SOLD : $247,500.00
Ex-'Big John' Mazmanian; only 15,300 original miles; restored to racing condition.
316 cu. in. supercharged Chevrolet V8 engine, four-speed manual transmission, independent front suspension with unequal-length A-arms, coil springs and anti-roll bar, live rear axle with semi-elliptic leaf springs, and four-wheel hydraulic drum brakes, with a supplemental braking parachute. Wheelbase: 102"
While drag racing gained popularity nationwide through the 1950s, the epicenter of its popularity was southern California. This was the land where speed and engineering prowess often went hand in hand with beauty and mechanical excellence. Spurred on by fellow car club members, parts availability, and a growing performance-oriented group of periodicals, racers began to gravitate toward a more serious trend in modifications. This was the case of John Mazmanian of Whittier.
Mazmanian was typical of the sort of guy who made up the serious base of Golden State performance enthusiasts in the pre-muscle car era. He had bought and rebuilt his first car, a Model A Ford, while still in grade school (so he knew it inside and out before he could ever legally drive it). He was a member of the Gophers Car Club, which had been a crucial part of the Southern California Timing Association since prior to the Second World War, but like many had left the salt behind to try his hand at drag racing. That culminated in one of the more important vehicles of the early 1960s, the stunning Corvette offered here.
By 1960, the 31-year old Mazmanian was operating a successful waste management and removal business. He decided to go all out and buy a new 1961 Corvette in late 1960; VIN 108675100093 documents that this was the 93rd Corvette to come down the assembly line that year. One of 10,939 produced that year, with the base price of $3,934. It was equipped with RPO 419, the 237.75 optional removable hardtop. The very first ‘Big Go West,’ NHRA’s just-named Winternationals to be held on the Pomona Fairgrounds in January 1961, would give John and his nephew and driver Rich Siroonian a chance to try something new. The duo had already been competing with Stock and Gas class cars (some which had been tuned by Don Nicholson); the Corvette would fit into NHRA’s hot Sports Production classes.
Established for 1960, the SP divisions were created to give racers in both imported and domestic vehicles a chance to race; Sports Car – Domestic featured Corvettes and early Thunderbirds, while Sports Car – Imported would be Porsches, Volkswagens, and their ilk. These were combined into a single group of five Sports Production classes rated on shipping weight to advertised horsepower, and ran in what was then known as the Street Eliminator division. Changing the car (such as swapping in a more reliable American engine, a commonplace occurrence among the hot-rod set of the era) moved it up into the Modified Sport Production classes, of which there were four classes. Before he was done, Mazmanian’s Corvette would be winning in both configurations.
For 1961, after reportedly using the car to clean some clocks on the streets of Southern California, Siroonian had the Mazmanian & (Earl) Wade ‘Vette running in the high 12-second range to take home Winternationals class honors in the hastily-established AA/SP class (apparently thanks to the Corvette’s new 315-horsepower 283 cu. in. engine) with a 12.94 at 109.96 mph; according to Mazmanian at the time, the speed was record-setting. The 19-year-old driver then went on to run through the Street Eliminator division field on Sunday afternoon, going all the way to the final against Johnny Loper’s Willys for runner-up honors.
By the time the event happened again in 1962, changes had been made to the car that were radical enough to move it over into the CM/SP division. Pictures from the 1962 Winternationals show it was still not the beast it would become – it had the stock grille in place, and the wheelwells had not been opened up yet, but it did have a American Torque-Thrust wheels and a low-profile scoop on the hood. Regardless, the look was all business, and proved it indeed was when it won the CM/SP class title and another speed record at 113.84. He then downed Loper’s Willys during the Street Eliminator runoffs on Sunday (though he did not go to the final round that year; former partner Earl Wade won that title in another Corvette in A/SP trim). The entire car had been repainted in 24 coats of Candy Persimmon by Junior Conway, Eddie Martinez had done a roll-and-tuck interior including the trunk, and almost everything that could be bolted on was chromed or polished. As a result, Big John’s fast Corvette had also taken third place honors at the big Winternationals Car Show that NHRA held just before the competition event.
The car was soon in the shop for some serious upgrades. The engine received a Crank Shaft Company ½-inch stroker that pushed the displacement to 316 cu. in. Atop this went a 4-71 GMC supercharger and a Hilborn injector. Hot parts from Iskendarian and Edelbrock further reworked the engine’s internals. The factory four-speed was removed and replaced with a B&M two-speed Hydromatic. The grille was removed and a polished Moon gas tank was added front and center in its place, and now the chromed externals jutted through the hood and off the wheel hubs. After stiffening the suspension, the rear wheel wells were opened up one afternoon at San Gabriel Raceway to fit a bigger rear tire. According to then crew chief Dick Bourgeois, Mazmanian had about $10,000 tied up in the car (Big John admitted the modifications had cost more than the car itself had).
It was in this condition that it drew the attention of track-goers with an 11.11 at 129 mph at the original Fontana Dragway during an AHRA championship race that summer, as well as the cameras of Petersen Publishing. It was featured in this format in the October 1962 issue of Rod & Custom. This was followed up with a cover inset and feature in the March 1963 issue of Hot Rod magazine itself. By the time the 1963 Winternationals had rolled around, the car had been modified again. The engine now displaced 327 cu. in. thanks to a fresh 3/8-inch stroker crank, and the blower was now a fat 6-71 GMC; co-driver Bones Balough and the guys at Bill’s Garage had put that one together, and the car was now moved up into the BM/SP ranks.
But things were changing; Siroonian had ended up in the Army in 1963 (Balough was driving), and Mazmanian, who had initially stated he would build a new Sting Ray for the sport divisions, instead decided that George Montgomery, Fred Stone, and the guys in the Gassers classes needed some company. He turned his attention to building the first supercharged Hemi-Willys for 1964, and the rest was now drag racing history.
Perhaps one more point is in order. Mazmanian’s Corvette was likely the first current-model stock-body car to be supercharged, and was highly visible during its active career. Within 12 months of its retirement, both Dodge and Mercury would themselves use supercharging on factory-backed late-model vehicles of their own in an effort to promote those cars. These exhibition machines in turn bred a new form of late-model drag racing, one that ended up being called ‘funny car.’ Because of its unique position in racing history, this car may indeed be one of the true catalysts of that soon-to-come era.
At any rate, once Mazmanian decided to sell the car and join the ‘gasser wars,’ the Corvette ended up with a new owner in Minnesota, was raced only briefly, and changed hands a couple of times until a collector named John Lange ended up with it. In 1989, after several years of pursuing it, Bloomington Gold winner Steve Hendrickson acquired the unrestored car to begin a complete restoration; that effort was completed in 1998 in time for NHRA’s Hot Rod Reunion in Bakersfield, where Mazmanian was being honored and was reunited with the car for the first time in over 30 years.
Never radically changed since 1964, this Corvette retained a great deal of original equipment despite its race background – windshield, top, radio, etc. – plus original racing equipment like the Moon tank in the grille. Hendrickson embarked on a plan to apply techniques normally reserved for high-end Corvette restorations on the vintage racecar. As one change since its California days had been fender flares, a rear clip was installed - to not bring it back to stock but to replicate the original unique cut-outs. The original frame was detailed, as were the factory chassis components. Among other things, Deist supplied a fresh ribbon-slot parachute, racer Tony Nancy sewed a fresh blower cover together, and Jon Kosmoski, founder of House of Kolor paints, helped prep and then repaint the distinctive candy hue on the car. The interior was faithfully brought back to its show-stopping status. The stance of this car for those who recall it is unmistakable – that is because the same oak blocks that Big John had selected to raise the center crossmember up for drag-strip clearance remain in place after all of these years.
The motor package chosen was the one based on the original Ed Iskendarian-recommendations, the early 1962 version using a ½-inch stroker crank and using as many original speed parts as could be found. With extensive paperwork available, this engine was rebuilt with basically no expense spared including all-new hardware and parts; a 6-71 GMC blower with a four-port Hilborn injector on a Cragar intake is again atop the engine, fired by a Vertex magneto. Chrome and polish abounds, including the ceramic-coated headers. However, a factory Borg-Warner T-10 four-speed returned to the transmission tunnel in place of the problematic race unit, though the steep 5.14 rear gear set remains in the racing-type differential. As a final touch, a correct vintage racing helmet was found, repainted, and signed by both Mazmanian and Siroonian.
Hendrickson admitted that some special pieces were very hard to acquire, most importantly a set of real period-created 10x16 M&H Racemasters for the wide back wheels. The Firestone 6.70x10 Deluxe Champion bias ply tires on the front rims are NOS. However, many items like the column-mounted Sun tach are the very ones installed when the car was setting records, making the car very authentic when measured against other racing restorations in this field. Steve Coonan photographed the car once it was finished for Rodder’s Journal; it ran in Issue Number Seventeen with accompanying text and history.
The final part of this package is something very rarely seen – copies of the actual paperwork Mazmanian filled out for both the Rod & Custom story of 1962 and the Hot Rod story of 1963. These dossiers also include copies of photographic outtakes from the magazines files and the hand-edited text pages for the print type-setter. As a result, a huge amount of invaluable data, some of it seen in Mazmanian’s own handwriting, can be used to show the car’s authenticity and verify its timeline. Additionally, this car was the subject of a highly detailed 1:18 scale diecast model by Precision Miniatures.
While history-setting Corvette road race cars are among the rarest and most valuable of the breed, very few drag versions have surfaced, and none at all have the notoriety that this one did, setting records, winning events, and being covered in the most important periodicals of the day. A Corvette like Big John Mazmanian’s 1961 will not surface again.
1929 Ford Model A Roadster - Estimate $150,000 - $200,000.
SOLD : $121,000.00
The 'Saad, Teague & Bentley' Roadster set B/Fuel Roadster record at Bonneville in 1973 with 266.043 runs.
1,000+ hp 360 cu. in. supercharged, fuel injected Chrysler Hemi V8 engine, three-speed manual transmission, live axle front suspension with transverse leaf spring, rigid rear suspension, two-wheel brakes. Wheelbase 103.5"
Salt. The human body can’t exist without it, but too much of it is fatal. It was Ab Jenkins, famed for his legendary single-handed 24-hour record runs, who introduced a whole new meaning to “salt” when he recognized that the immense lake bed between Utah’s Great Salt Lake and Wendover, Utah presented the ideal surface for sustained high speeds.
Early automobilists had used Pendine Sands in England and the beaches at Ormond and Daytona in Florida for their speed records but beaches came and went as smooth, reliable surfaces. They depended upon finding a window in the daily ebb and flow of the ocean that created a usable combination of composition and gentle erosion that left an elusive band of flat, smooth, firm surface between the dunes and the sea.
Bonneville and its counterparts in America’s arid southwest between the Rockies and the Sierras were dried up relics of ancient lakes. Formed from millennia of runoff, their vestige was a soluble composition of salts left behind when the waters ran off and the remaining moisture evaporated in the region’s relentless sunshine. The surface was blindingly white, but annually replenished by rains and mountain runoff which refreshed the surface. Gravity left it smooth, flat and immense in the summer and fall when the water level receded.
In the case of Bonneville, by far the largest of America’s dry lake beds, there are 159 square miles of flat, smooth salt, equivalent to a box over 12 miles on a side.
Ab Jenkins drove the first of his many 24 hour endurance runs there on a 10-mile circle in 1932. With Jenkins’ urging in 1935, Malcolm Campbell abandoned Florida’s Atlantic beaches for Bonneville, setting the first of many land speed records at Bonneville in Bluebird at 301.337 mph.
Al Teague first arrived on the Bonneville salt in 1967 as a spectator with George Bentley and George Morris, who were running a 259 cubic inch flathead-powered roadster. He was back only year later in 1968. He brought this car, the Sadd, Teague & Bentley 1929 Ford Roadster, which was less of a stranger to the salt than Teague. It was built on Deuce rails in 1956 by Gene Ohly for Nick and Ernie Sadd. First powered by a fuel injected Ardun flathead, it had made its first trip to Bonneville in 1957 and turned in a one-way speed of 211 mph in 1963.
In 1965 the roadster began to resemble its present self, receiving the red-orange paint scheme it proudly wears today, its famous 76 number and turning from Chevrolet to Mopar hemi power. It began a protracted campaign to capture the Fuel Roadster record which would not realize its result until the next decade.
The pursuit of speed records on the Bonneville salt is an exercise in patience and persistence. Most teams have to live within strict budgets set by their own determination and pocketbooks. Sponsorship is rare, and rarely involves significant dollars. There is no prize money. Often during days set aside for Speed Week water levels underlying the racing surface are high, rendering the salt unusable or restricting the length of the course. Sometimes it rains, which makes a year’s planning and preparation pointless. Other times it doesn’t rain enough to replenish the surface. A single faulty fitting or fatigued component can kill an engine before a run can be made. Even more often weather or equipment failure mean a record-setting run can’t be backed up to go into the SCTA record books.
On the other hand the sanctioning body, the Southern California Timing Association, has a class for everything, from reaction-powered jet cars and multi-engine streamliners to sub-100 mph Crosleys. Everyone has a chance to play, and play they do, every year in mid-August.
A change in the SCTA rules in 1970 allowed the team to build a bigger engine than the 300 cubic inch hemi permitted up until then. With the new engine they set an A/Fuel Roadster mark of 220 mph at El Mirage in July, then turned 232 one way and 229 on the return at Bonneville. It was still not the record, but came close, and it was done with the 300 cubic inch C/FR engine after the big engine was hurt on the first fast run. A year later in 1971 Teague clocked 241 mph one way, the first 240+ mph run for a roadster, but the old Cadillac gearbox that had been in the car since it was built in 1956 gave up under the strain of years on the drag strip and record runs on the salt.
The “Sadd, Teague & Bentley” number 76 was completely rebuilt for 1972. In qualifying runs it turned 252 mph. In the first record run an oil line fitting let go, but even after shutting off the blocky roadster was timed at another 252 mph run. Makeshift repairs got them back on the course with a speed of 249 mph for a two-way record average of 250.805 mph, the A/Fuel Roadster record the team had been pursuing for five years.
After an engine swap to a 354 cubic inch hemi, the “Sadd, Teague & Bentley” roadster went back onto the course, turning 235 mph in pursuit of the B/FR record. Then, coming back to the pits on the return road in the dark, it collided with a Ford Ranchero coming the other way. Both drivers suffered non-life threatening injuries but the roadster was bent and essentially totally destroyed.
A year later in 1973 the “Sadd, Teague & Bentley” roadster was back, completely rebuilt with herculean efforts from the team and some invaluable financial support from additive manufacturer Steed Industries. Powered by a blown 360 cubic inch hemi in search of the B/Fuel Roadster record cut off by the prior year’s accident, it cranked out an amazing 268 mph, then backed it up with a return run which set the B/Fuel Roadster record of 266.043 mph.
The physics of accelerating the brick that Henry Ford built to speeds like this is summarized in an observation written by Tom Senter in a December 1972 feature story on the Sadd, Teague & Bentley roadster. “To give you an idea just how much wind that car has to push, Al was timed at 252.98 at the four-mile board, where he shut off. Without using the brakes or chute, coasting out of gear, he was clocked at the five-mile board at 144.59, a loss of 110 mph in one mile. The thing is a house on wheels.” It took only about 18 seconds to coast that mile. It takes that long to read the preceding quote.
Meticulously rebuilt and restored by the team who built it over years and years of competition and incorporating parts like the blower and Hilborn injectors that were made in the mid-1950s, the “Sadd, Teague & Bentley” Roadster is a legend in American record-setting history. With a competitive career that spanned the better part of two decades in both drag racing and on the salt, it is one of the foremost examples of the craftsmanship, ingenuity, creativity and determination of the many talented individuals who made Southern California’s speed culture vibrant.
Al and Harvey Teague, George Bentley, Gene Ohly, Nick and Ernie Sadd, with the help of many other like-minded individuals, wrote a colorful, exciting history with this number 76 roadster, carefully rebuilt and restored by the team who built and raced her.
1965 Road Agent - Estimate $250,000 - $350,000.
SOLD : $187,000.00
Ed 'Big Daddy' Roth creation. Ca. 100 hp, 145 cu. in. overhead valve opposed six-cylinder engine, two-speed Powerglide automatic transmission, live axle front suspension with torsion bar, independent rear suspension with coil springs, two-wheel drum brakes.
While most Roth rods started out as bent conceptions of bodywork and chassis, Road Agent, created in 1964, was different. It was conceived as a radical drivetrain first. The severe wedge-shaped body followed as a consequence of Roth’s prescient decision to abandon big front-mounted V8 engine(s) and look to more innovative rear- and mid-engined layouts which gave his free-form concepts even more freedom to innovate dramatic bodywork.
The front-engined, rear wheel drive layout came close to maxing out with Mysterion’s pair of canted dual FE Fords. The dry lakes crowd could keep on adding engines. The drag bunch could pile massive superchargers on top of cubic inches. They were real cars but caricatures of Roth’s fanciful tee shirt monsters’ rides. Always a step (or two, or three) ahead of the wave, Roth rethought the entire subject.
Rod & Custom kept pushing the envelope, too, and Joe Henning sketched some outside-the-box concept designs. Roth disdained their front-mounted V8s and identified their flaws: obscured vision and a heavy and bulky drivetrain that encroached on the passengers’ area and interrupted the body’s visual flow. Ed had been reading Hot Rod’s annual recap of the design features as Indy Cars quickly moved from front- to mid-rear engined layouts.
He probably remembered, too, that Mysterion, for all its water-cooled twin Ford V8 muscle, had no realistic provision for radiators.
Roth seized upon Chevy’s then-new Corvair with its air cooled opposed flat six. Rear-mounted behind the rear axle it didn’t offer much to tight, integrated designs like Cooper, Lotus and that other Southern Californian iconoclast Mickey Thompson brought to the Speedway in 1963. Mid-engined, though, it was a fink of a different configuration.
Roth built a simple trussed four-rail frame of 1 ¾-inch 4130 tubing, then installed a 2-carb hopped up Corvair in the middle with a standard Powerglide automatic turned around to take the power from the front. He used the standard Corvair swing axle independent rear suspension (the one Ralph Nader later trashed – zinging Nader appealed to Roth) with coil springs and got the whole thing running.
Not surprisingly, the reversed Powerglide worked fine, but provided two speeds going backwards and only one, the Corvair’s reverse, going in the usual direction. Fixing that took a big dose of Southern Californian hot rod ingenuity, turning the differential upside down and a lot of creative plumbing to make it work. Roth’s layout employed a ’37 Ford tube axle up front.
He reprised the cup-mounted coil springs he’d used with effect on Mysterion but they were largely for show. The real springing was a cross-mounted VW torsion bar secured at its outside ends that supporting the axle with a single center arm. An Austin provided the steering gear and thee front wheels with Astro centers mount motorcycle tires, which are original to the car, as are the rear tires. In fact, the rear wheels are stamped with Roth on the inside.
Running and driving, the concept was nearly complete. A set of four exhaust pipes, admittedly superfluous on a flat six but looking great, completed the mechanicals. Roth and Joe Henning then came up with something appropriately bizarre to clothe it. With nothing in front of the driver except the wheels and suspension and an engine with a top-mounted cooling fan and carbs behind it driving a set of 6.70-15 narrow whitewall rear wheels the most sparse, simple layout was a narrow-nosed wedge shape. That is just what Roth and Henning developed.
It included a Roth bubble top over the passenger compartment. He and Acry Plastics had some experience by then and they molded the Road Agent’s bubble in a petal-shaped plan view. The orange-tinted plastic and contours suggested nothing less than a B-movie alien’s brain. There’s a wonderful photo of Road Agent at a car show with the dome reflecting the hall’s coffered ceiling that highlight its resemblance to the brain surface’s ridges, grooves and fissures.
Quad headlights were placed low in the nose behind translucent covers in eye-shaped ovoid openings that heightened Road Agent’s alien anthropomorphistic rendering. A small blanked-off recess in the nose between the lights credited the history of radiators that was missing from the air-cooled Road Agent. Roth created a whimsical winged Boyce Motometer hood ornament that had no thermometer in it, just an “Ed Roth” identification.
The body, molded with Roth’s “spitwad” technique, tapered back around the passenger compartment and flesh-colored dome and over the engine and rear suspension in a fair approximation of a paper airplane dart. Teardrop appendages erupted on each side of the dome. At one point they’d been conceived as complex antennas but in the end were simplified to harmonize with the simplicity of Road Agent’s fiberglass body. A single flattened oval at the back of the rear deck contained the rear lights. Below it the Corvair drivetrain and suspension is hung out there in the open for all to see and appreciate. An ovoid nerf bar, thin and fragile to the point of being little more than a broad curb feeler, marked Road Agent’s rear extremities. It was painted by Larry Watson with the pin-striping done in white by Roth.
The interior’s bench seat is rolled and pleated in Rose Pearl vinyl with matching deep pile carpet. A Dixco tach and pair of Stewart-Warner twin blue gauges are all the instruments the driver needs, and all that Roth provided. Only a lip-shaped ovoid headrest set high up above the body within the translucent dome extending across the seat’s full width and the tiny Delmonico television in the passenger’s door panel elevate form over function in the otherwise purposeful interior. The shifter handle is made from a ratchet wrench.
First featured in Rod & Custom in March 1964, Road Agent was accorded a two-page feature in the next month’s issue, then got Hot Rod’s attention in October. Roth then sold it to the Brucker Family’s MovieWorld museum before it joined the Harrah’s Collection and eventually found its way into an East Coast museum. Renowned Roth guru Mark Moriarty acquired the car in 2006 and sold it to the current owner in 2005. Moriarty restored Road Agent in 1997, meticulously retaining its originality in the process. It was displayed at the Los Angeles Museum of Art’s 2000-2001 “Made in California” exhibit, with the Roth rods at the 2006 Detroit Autorama and at the Petersen Museum in Los Angeles in 2007.
Road Agent marks an important departure in Roth’s rods. It was conceived and designed from the inside out, first as an innovative chassis and drivetrain incorporating air cooling and mid-engined dynamics. The body is functionally minimal. If it weren’t for the teardrop appendages, the eye-shaped headlights and the bright orange dome it could be the prototype for a mid-engined, Corvair-powered dune buggy, a genre that wouldn’t appear in Southern California for years.
Which, in a nutshell, typifies Ed Roth. He happily discarded preconceived notions, seeking new ways of achieving high performance and dramatic appearance. None of his creations better express that quest and its success than Road Agent, an accomplishment which has been amply recognized with a succession of exhibits, features and publications which give in the impeccable provenance of the work of kinetic art which it is..
1966 Druid Princess - Estimate $150,000 - $250,000.
SOLD : $203,500.00
Ed 'Big Daddy' Roth creation.
Est. 325 hp, 383 cu. in. Dodge overhead valve V8 engine, three-speed automatic transmission, live axle front suspension with coil springs, live axle rear suspension with coil-over springs, two-wheel drum brakes.
The popularity of customs, hot rods and show cars spread quickly around the country in the Sixties borne on the pages of magazines like Rod & Custom, Hot Rod and myriad imitators. Popular media from beach blanket surf movies to national television recognized that including a hot rod or, better yet, an exclusive custom car broadened the appeal of their programming and gave it trendy immediacy. Rods and customs soon appeared both incidentally and as important bit part players.
The force in creating these themed vehicles was George Barris, the “King of the Kustomizers”. Ed Roth appreciated his commercial acumen while also being disdainful of it. He observed, “… whenever the studios’d call I’d always send ‘em over to Barris because he had that stage presence to sell those 500 buck jobs for five grand.”
As the Sixties advanced Roth’s interests broadened. Roth tee shirts were in such demand that he had to adopt standardized silk screened designs to keep up. Mail order supplanted sales at car shows where the Outlaw and Beatnik Bandit had drawn traffic. Revell’s royalties on Ed “Big Daddy” Roth customs – said to be only 2¢ per model – were a gusher of cash in the Sixties when Revell was selling them by the millions.
Roth looked ahead and saw the future in stable, fuel thrifty, simple and inexpensive three-wheelers. A few years later he took to driving a tiny Honda 600, another example of how Roth, unbound by conventional thinking, was years and even decades ahead of his time.
Eventually the producers of ABC-TV’s The Addams Family series came to Roth requesting a distinctive automobile for the ghoulish family to drive on television. He rose to the occasion with one last outlandish creation, Druid Princess.
In a departure from Roth’s practice, Druid Princess (named by Robert Williams – the Druid thing was big in those days) was a built up rod with plywood covered in fiberglass. Its design owed nothing to aerodynamics. It was all about style and faux elegance.
Built by Dan Woods and “Jake” Jacobs on a 2x4” rectangular steel tubing frame, Druid Princess had coil spring live axle suspension with drum brakes at the rear only. Power was supplied by a B-series Dodge 383 and a Torque-Flite automatic. Roth went to great lengths to include a 6-71 Jimmy blower with Hilborn injection system. It was a fake, hollowed out and covering up a Carter AFB four-barrel. Holes were drilled in the blower case to reach the carb adjustments but everything on the blower appeared to work, from the injector butterflies to the drive belts and pulleys. It just didn’t pump any air. White painted long head pipes joined up in large collectors with huge oval cutout covers, then disappeared into a conventional rear-exit exhaust system, chromed of course.
Its front axle mounted full size blackwall tires on chromed Cragar S/S wheels with similar Cragars at the rear. The suspension was chromed at both ends and giant canister-style chromed brass headlight housings, patterned after a 1909 REO, were mounted close together, low and in front of the axle center line. If something on Druid Princess wasn’t painted white it was chromed.
The coach-shaped center door body was built from plywood sheet. Plywood was also used to form the long, surfboard-shaped blade front blade fenders and their brief rear counterparts. The body was elaborately trimmed with complex decorative elements. Roth described how they came about in the book “Hot Rods by Ed ‘Big Daddy’ Roth” by Ed Roth and Tony Thacker (MBI, 2007, a delightful cross-section of Roth-iana and first-person recollections well worth the $25 MSRP and also the source of the earlier Roth quote.)
“Those deco pieces come from a picture frame manufacturer in Hollywood…. I went over to the guy’s shop & there was all these workers mixin’ up this mixture of horse hoof glue & sawdust into this real doughboy type guck. It smelled pretty good but tasted terrible. Then they’d pour it into these floral-shaped molds. Some looked like little angels & others like these real swirly flowers. … I knew they were right for the Druid Princess decoration. I got me a coupla sacks full for 25 bucks and went home & started cuttin’ and pastin’.”
Roth insisted that the small luggage trunk behind Druid Princess’s coach be a child-sized coffin – not just something that looked like a coffin but the real deal. That took some doing since undertakers didn’t sell coffins except to contain remains. Roth finally found the son of an undertaker who was hip. He brought $200 and a van to the back alley after working hours where lucre and casket changed hands. The battery and a surplus North American Aviation aircraft gas tank were interred in the sarcophagus. Larry Watson veiled the Druid Princess in purple – a unique process that produced a unique texture and pattern. The interior was upholstered with purple diamond tufted seats piped in white. The interior trim was white with purple piping. Purple velvet draperies with white tassels trimmed the windows.
Somewhere in the course of building Druid Princess ABC called with the news The Addams Family had been cancelled. Princess was completed as a show car and was featured on the cover of the January 1967 Rod & Custom before being dispatched on the show circuit. It was Roth’s last magazine cover car.
It was eventually found by Roth’s son Darryl and restored with its color scheme reversed to predominantly purple with white accents. The present owner acquired it in January 2006 and it was immediately sent to the Detroit Autorama to join the other featured Roth cars in that year’s show. In 2007 the owner commissioned Fritz Schenck to conduct a complete frame-off restoration, at which time it was returned to the original colors, including the complex veiled paint process.
It was selected as one of the lead cars in Rod & Custom’s reprise of “Fifty Years of Rod & Custom”. Roth, attired in the grey leggings, baggy pantaloons and frilly white shirt appropriate to a Druid Princess’s footman, is pictured with it in the lead shot.
It is Roth’s last show car. It would be two decades before he turned out his next sizable four-wheeled concept, L.A. Zoom in 1989. Saved by Darryl Roth, restored to show car condition and featured in magazines and the most important shows, its condition is impeccable. It is one of Roth’s most recognizable show cars and marks a watershed in his unrelenting pursuit of advanced ideas, designs and whimsical creations.
1970 Honda 600 Coupe - Estimate $30,000 - $40,000.
SOLD : $22,000.00
Personal car (and rolling advertisement) of Ed 'Big Daddy' Roth.
36 hp, 598 cc overhead camshaft, air-cooled two-cylinder engine, four main bearings, single Keihin side-draft carburetor, front-wheel-drive, four-speed manual transmission, and front disc, rear drum hydraulic brakes. Wheelbase: 78.75"
By the early 1960s, very few “car crazy” teenagers in the world had not yet heard the name of Ed “Big Daddy” Roth. A larger-than-life character whose cars dazzled onlookers with wild lines, colors, and chrome, Roth was as much an artist and self-sufficient marketing expert as a hot rodder.
Although Roth loved typical rods, he also liked the unusual in his personal everyday cars. He fell in love with the new Kaiser Henry J, but soon removed the “hump” from the grille. After his discharge from the Air Force, Roth could not keep up with the payment schedule, so he bought a 1948 Ford sedan. Soon, it was embellished with signage advertising his painting skills in pin striping, flames, scalloping, and a multitude of other custom techniques. This rolling advertising became an integral part of Roth’s way of life, and was continued on the various vehicles he owned and drove over the succeeding years.
In 1970, Roth purchased a new red Honda 600 Coupe, to which he quickly applied a myriad of slogans and advertisements to promote his considerable portfolio of skills. The tiny Coupe performed yeoman duty over the next few years before being replaced by a series of Honda Civics, and it most certainly was a unique sight, with a man of Roth’s physical stature behind the wheel weaving through California’s increasingly congested traffic. As well as being used as a rolling advertisement, the diminutive Honda was frequently pressed into service hauling Roth’s numerous VW trike bodies and their associated components.
Time has taken its toll on the lower rocker panels of the Honda, which do call for repairs, but this in no way will interfere with the original Roth-applied signage and lettering. Inside, the interior is complete, and some areas may require renewal. The Honda’s 600 cc two-cylinder engine runs well, and little is required with the exception of some minor mechanical servicing to return the Honda to cruise and show duty. As a rarely seen “microcar” in its own right and an example of Japan’s growing stature in automotive exports, this small slice of Americana with Roth’s personal touches will certainly continue to draw crowds wherever it goes.
1961 The Wagon-Master Riviera Exhibition Dragster - Estimate $125,000 - $175,000.
SOLD : $209,000.00
Four engine dragster built by Tommy Ivo.
Four 454 cu. in. Buick V8 engines, four-wheel drive, Halibrand championship differentials, Kent Fuller 100-inch chrome-moly chassis.
The innovation fostered by the backyard attitude of hot rodding didn’t always follow a conventional template, and there were many one-off creations that showed up over the years which have left officials either cursing or scratching their heads. Drag racing would title these machines “exhibition vehicles” – cars that did not really fit into the overall scheme of competition but would have no trouble bringing the fans to their feet. This particular dragster, the Wagon-Master Buick, has been long considered the first such machine, and was perhaps the most famous touring thrill show that never even pulled the wheels off the ground.
Young TV Tommy Ivo, the former Mouseketeer and movie star, loved racing and had originally put together his four-engine dragster for active competition in 1961 during NHRA’s ban on nitromethane fuel. In those days before factory racing and the accompanying muscle car era moved the curve forward in terms of engine technology, Ivo had selected a somewhat oddball combination of big-inch “nail-head” Buicks, so named for the small valve design. Displacing 454 inches each thanks to CT chromed stroker cranks, this quad of iron lungs was considered fairly durable, and Ivo intended to use that huge total displacement for sheer quantity as opposed to parts-damaging high-RPM levels. Ivo also was familiar with the engines due to previous efforts with the Buick design.
Connected in tandem and chain-driven to the driveline, the monster Ivo created used four-wheel drive and had a real ability to fill the landscape with tire smoke as all four slicks grappled helplessly for traction. Possibly the heaviest combustion-driven dragster ever, the car weighed 3,555 pounds, made use of magnetos in a fuel-injected gasoline environment and was detailed and well-polished to boot. By the early 1960s, it was already becoming evident that there was a large audience for something more outrageous and exciting and vehicle owners like Ivo (who had toured nationally with a twin-Buick dragster in 1960) began creating cars that could actually be brought in by promoters for the sake of selling tickets.
Hot Rod magazine called the new car “Ivo’s Roaring Showboat” and it lost no time living up to that reputation. One significant but little known fact was that Don “The Snake” Prudhomme, who had crewed for Ivo on the 1960 tour and painted this car originally, made the first runs in the beast when Ivo’s studio bosses on the Margie show found out and said, “Sorry, pal, you can’t drive that!” When the show was cancelled soon after, Ivo was likely the only happy cast member; his acting career was over and it was time to go racin’! He would do that for the next 30 years.
Ivo never forsook his desire to compete, and over the years he clocked many, many firsts that are sometimes forgotten due to cars like the Showboat. So in the mid-1960s, he chose to sell the four-engine behemoth and focus on his top fuel program. The car went to friend and fellow Road King car club member Tom McCourry.
However, like any circus act, it is only completely thrilling when it is novel. While the sport would record less than a handful of four-engined cars, the advent of funny car racing and the growing desire to be relevant in the exploding car culture led McCourry to reconsider just how he would continue to expose the “Showboat.” That soon led him to noted metal craftsman Tom Hanna for a body, and since there were four nail-head engines in a 110-inch package, the result was the aluminum Wagon-Master Riviera station wagon. McCourry would campaign it for several seasons, and it ended changing hands in the Midwest a couple of time, eventually landing with noted Indiana racer Norm Day. The car never truly lost its popularity and was updated to the paint scheme it has today during those later years.
TV Tommy had seen it all, done it all, raced at tracks nobody but the locals knew about, piloted dragsters, funny cars, jet cars, and more. But when it came time for him to retire, he made a deal with Day and brought the car back out for one last big show. Speaking with the late Woody Hatten in an extensive interview published in the defunct Super Stock & Drag Illustrated magazine in 1982, Ivo confessed that of all the cars he had owned and driven, this one was special. It had seen a lot of miles (or rather quarter-miles), and Ivo spared no expense at that time taking it down to its bare essentials for the first time since 1961. Tens of thousands of dollars later (Ivo never did any of his projects halfway), it was ready for one last tour of America with its originator pushing the loud pedal.
“It’s a lot harder to drive than you think,” he admitted at that time. “This car has to be driven from one end to the other. If it goes somewhere, you have to herd it back into the lane. It’s solid sprung all the way around and it just bounces down the track.” Indeed, the action photo shot by Eric Rickman in Hot Rod magazine’s December 1961 issue (which is the story that got Ivo in trouble at the movie studio) shows the rear wheels coming off the ground as the car is slowed by an immense 24-foot ring-slot parachute!
This particular lot is the sport’s first real exhibition vehicle, piloted to its retirement by its creator, a drag racer whose popularity nationwide was rarely surpassed. Displacing 1,816 inches, complete with vintage speed parts, an unmistakable appearance, and never truly equaled in terms of notoriety, the Riviera Wagon-Master encompasses the innocence of the early 1960s, the drama of the evolution of the funny car, the climax of a legendary career and the popularity of today’s nostalgia movement. This is a genuinely unsurpassed opportunity to make the famed Wagon-Master the showboat of any car collection or heritage display.
1968 Lola-Colt T150 - Estimate $150,000 - $250,000.
SOLD : $82,500.00
Ex-Al Unser, Vel's Parnelli Jones 'Johnny Lightning Special' won many times in USAC.
Est. 900 hp, 159 cu. in. turbocharged dual overhead camshaft fuel injected V8 engine, four-speed Hewland LG500 manual transaxle, four-wheel independent suspension, four-wheel disc brakes. Wheelbase: 99"
Opportunistic American mechanics, drivers and team owners were quick to recognize a good thing, so just a few years after Jimmy Clark and Graham Hill set the Indianapolis crowd on their ears with their mid-engined Lotuses and Coopers, American chief mechanics flooded the oval tracks and road courses of the USAC Champ Trail with mid-engined cars.
Jack Brabham’s first appearance at the Brickyard in 1961 with his little 2.7-liter Coventry Climax powered Cooper saw him qualify 13th, finish 9th and take home a heroic payday by the grand prix standards of the day. The first to recognize what was happening was the ever-resourceful Mickey Thompson. He teamed up with Dan Gurney with a proprietary chassis and aluminum Buick V8 power to qualify 8th in 1962.
Like the Stones following the Beatles’ British Invasion, 1963 made it clear the Indy roadster was on its way out when Jimmy Clark and Gurney brought Colin Chapman over with lightweight Lotuses powered by Ford V8 engines. Clark was barely beaten by Parnelli Jones in a Watson-Offy roadster. Jones took the lesson to heart.
In 1964, 12 of the 33 starters on the bricks were mid-engined. Their builders read like a directory of Gasoline Alley: Watson, Epperly, Huffaker, Vollstedt, Thompson and Halibrand. Only two builders, Lotus and Brabham, came from across the pond.
In 1965 only a single roadster, Gordon Johncock’s Watson, finished in the top ten. There were only six front-engined roadsters in the 33-car field. In 1966 there was only one roadster left, driven by the appropriately named Bobby Grim. The transition was complete. In just five years the composition of the Indianapolis field and the shape of American Big Car racing had been completely transformed.
Standing still wasn’t an option, though, when Andy Granatelli’s STP Corporation showed up in 1967 with the four wheel drive turbine driven by Parnelli Jones. After leading nearly every lap of the rain-interrupted race a 25¢ part in the gearbox failed, bringing the “Whooshmobile” to a halt and turning the race over to A.J. Foyt’s Coyote-Ford V8.
There were subtexts to these momentous seven years, including Ford’s drive to dominate all forms of racing from Grand Prix and Le Mans to the drag strips, NASCAR ovals and USAC open wheelers. Firestone and Goodyear battled each other like the heavyweight champions they were, neither giving nor asking for quarter.
The advantages of four-wheel drive had been shown in 1967 and George Bignotti sought to profit from combining it with the Ford V8 in 1968. He bought a single four-wheel drive Lola with Ford V8 power for Al Retzlaff to be driven by Al Unser. It was this car.
In the 500 Unser qualified the 4WD Lola outside the second row in sixth position but crashed on lap 40 when a spindle broke. After being repaired in England it returned in time for the USAC road course race at Indianapolis Raceway Park. Unser proved his versatility by winning both ends of the two-heat feature. His victory came just a week after taking his first USAC Championship victory on the dirt at Nazareth. He followed op on these wins with another victory later in the season at Langhorne.
A major development in 1969 was the foundation of the Vel’s Parnelli Jones Ford team. With backing from Ford and Firestone Vel Miletich and Parnelli Jones set up their own team, buying out Al Retzlaff and acquiring along with his Lola-Fords the services of legendary chief mechanic George Bignotti, his co-chief Jim Dilamarter and driver Al Unser. The objective was not only to dominate USAC racing in North America but also to race competitively in international grands prix, carrying the Firestone banner into territory dominated by Goodyear.
USAC had reacted to the perceived advantages of 4-wheel drive by restricting them to just 10-inch tire widths, effectively robbing the promising but expensive technology of its advantage and not incidentally protecting the installed base of USAC car owners. Bignotti and Dilamarter converted this car, wearing USAC #3 signifying Al Unser’s 1968 driving championship standing, to rear wheel drive with side-mounted fuel cells and the distinctive “coal chute” rear decks feeding air to rear-mounted oil coolers.
Recognizing the extent of the modifications, it was renamed the Vel’s Parnelli Jones Special.
In its first race at Phoenix, Al put the Vel’s Parnelli Jones Special on the pole but the Ford dropped a valve on lap 14 while in the lead. After Hanford on April 13 the show headed for Indianapolis for the month of May.
It rained, and rained some more throughout the first week of qualifying. Unser was fast, but broke his leg in a motorcycle accident while waiting for the weather to clear. This car was turned over the veteran Bud Tingelstad who qualified 18th and was classified 15th when a Ford valve again let the team down on the 155th lap. Jim Malloy qualified and finished second with it in the
Rex Mays Classic at the Milwaukee Mile, then seventh at Langhorne with Rislone sponsorship. Unser crashed in practice for the 151 mile road course race at Continental Divide on July 6, taking over Malloy’s #15 car for the feature but dropped out with a broken suspension.
Al capped this car’s season with a win from the pole at Phoenix on November 15, finishing second in the driver’s championship to Mario Andretti, a remarkable accomplishment considering that after his motorcycle accident at Indy he had only 19 starts to Andretti’s 24.
For 1970 the Lola-based Vel’s Parnelli Jones Special was again modified with aerodynamic improvements and changed its identity yet again to “Lola-Colt.” Bignotti and Dilamarter built two more cars using this proven and highly developed car as the pattern. They were known as “P.J. Colts”.
Miletich and Jones signed Topper Toys as the team’s season-long sponsor. Its dramatic “Johnny Lightning” blue livery with bold yellow lightning bolts outlined in red has become one of racing’s most recognized and brilliant liveries. The diminutive gravity racers enjoyed much success, primarily on account of their unique launch feature, a small hook which engaged a catapult device for a faster launch than their better known competitors.
For the 1970 season this car became Al Unser’s entry on short paved ovals and road courses on his way to a legendary season in which he would win ten of 18 starts including the Indy 500, record 15 top-5 finishes and capture eight poles. It was close to total domination and set Al Unser on his way to his total of four Indy 500 wins.
With this car he won at Phoenix in the season opener, at Indianapolis Raceway Park in July, the Tony Bettenhausen 200 at Milwaukee in August and the Trenton 300 in October. He was two laps in the lead in the California 500 at Ontario in September when the transmission broke with just 14 laps to go. Other placings include 3rd at Sears Point, 3rd at Trenton, 3rd in the Rex Mays 150 at Milwaukee, 2nd at Langhorne, 5th on the road course at Continental Divide and 2nd at the season-ending race at Phoenix
The following year Unser’s Indy 500 entry was backed up by this car until it was sold to Leonard Faas and J.C. Agajanian to replace their primary entry which was too slow to qualify. Sammy Sessions put it in the show but dropped out on lap 43 with a broken valve. Sessions also raced it in the Pocono 500 on July 3 where it was classified 11th.
It was retained by Faas in as-raced condition and was acquired in 1978 from his estate by a California farmer who kept it until 2001. Its Ford 4-cam Indy V8 was rebuilt by specialist Joe Beghosian before it was sold in 2002. It was acquired by the present owner in 2007 and has been stored and maintained in his climate-controlled facility since then with regular care and maintenance to keep it pristine.
After its sale to Faas/Agajanian its distinctive Johnny Lightning livery was unchanged except for covering the distinctive bright yellow lightning bolts with white and redoing the number and other identification over the original livery. After being discovered on the California farm the over-painting was carefully cleaned and the correct and original Johnny Lightning paint scheme uncovered and preserved. After the car came into the present owner’s collection Joe Beghosian started the engine and conducted a confirmatory test run of the drive train. The shut down and preservation included a meticulous pickling of the methanol fuel system to prevent corrosion. The only departure from its original condition is believed to be the absence of the original shoulder straps.
After extensive research and investigation, Lola Heritage has issued a new ID plate with its original chassis number T-150-02 along with a letter authenticating its origin.
The Lola-Ford/Vel’s Parnelli Jones Special/Lola Colt is a rare, important survivor of the era. It started the Indianapolis 500 three times. Its history as the contributor of 2,930 points to Al Unser’s historic total of 5,130 points in 1970 marks it as one of the most important USAC Championship cars of its, or any, period. The runner-up in 1970, Al’s big brother Bobby, scored a total of just 2,260 points. On that basis – without the reasonable “what ifs” – Al could have won the championship just with the points from T-150-02.
Most professional racing cars of the late Sixties and Seventies have been driven and modified until they are barely recognizable shells of their historic condition and appearance. Its bright, aggressive Johnny Lightning livery is one of the most distinctive and memorable in USAC history. Its condition, originality and preservation are simply extraordinary.
It comes with a packet of data including a stenographer’s notebook full of its original race setup data, original lap charts from the USAC Championship Trail, articles, advertisements, extensive history narrative and race records identifying its placings in the important 1970 season of Vel’s Parnelli Jones Racing and Al Unser.
Preserved in its original, as-raced, Johnny Lightning/Al Unser livery with sympathetic preparation of its mechanical and safety equipment, this will be a stunning, crowd-pleasing car for any event. As a short oval/road course car set up and prepared by George Bignotti’s Vel’s Parnelli Jones crew and the Agajanian team it is adaptable to any opportunity for demonstration runs. It is an important addition to any collection of top rank racing cars with a history, provenance and dramatic appearance which is second to none.
1969 Ford Mustang 'Mr. Gasket Gasser' - Estimate $200,000 - $300,000.
SOLD : $132,000.00
Class-dominating Gasser, built and campaigned by legendary 'Ohio George' Montgomery; purchased directly from the Montgomery himself; GMP recently produced a limited run of 1:18-scale models of the car.
Est. 1,800 hp, 429 cu. in. Ford Boss 429 V8 engine with twin turbochargers, Ford C-6 three-speed automatic transmission, solid tubular front axle with coil-over shock absorbers, 9-inch Ford rear end with coil-over shock absorbers and lateral stabilizer, and two-wheel hydraulic drum brakes at the rear with a single rear-mounted braking parachute. Wheelbase: 110"
Following the first officially sanctioned drag racing event held in 1949 at Goleta, California, where the blown Ford Model A Roadster of Tom Cobbs was defeated by Fran Hernandez’s Edelbrock-sponsored, fuel-burning 1932 Ford Coupe, the rules of drag racing were relatively simple. As the sport quickly developed, a loose class structure evolved during the early 1950s, in addition to the burgeoning dragster ranks, which often featured dual-purpose lakesters.
“Gassers” emerged from the NHRA Gas Coupe and Sedan rules of the late 1950s, which mandated standard wheelbases, limited engine setback, gasoline fuel and very few other restrictions. Two groups of “Gasser” classes emerged, with A through K/Gas for cars with naturally aspirated engines, while the top AA/GS through CC/GS classes were reserved for the quickest and lightest supercharged cars.
The “Gasser” classes were initially the home of dual-purpose cars that were required to retain street equipment including working lights, wipers, starters, generators and all other street-legal equipment. Cooling fans and belts were optional, radiators were required and the cars were also required to be properly licensed for street use, including full exhaust systems and mufflers, which could be disconnected or bypassed for racing. A “factory type” interior was required, but rear seats were optional and lightweight bucket seats were allowed, if two were used and they were fully upholstered. Limited body modifications were permitted as well and in general, the original full fenders and a rear bumper were mandatory, along with four-wheel brakes.
As the forerunners of Funny Cars and Pro Stockers, the “Gassers” carried some resemblance to street cars, providing brand identity heightened by many famous on-track rivalries among the various racing teams. As these cars became more specialized with the lifting of requirements for street legality during the 1960s, they continued to draw record crowds with their blistering performance and thrilling, wheels-up launches accompanied by incredible amounts of noise and billowing tire smoke. Parts manufacturers provided sponsorship and support to many Gasser teams, giving rise to the infamous “cam wars”.
A number of Gasser teams rose to national prominence during the 1960s, including those of “Big John” Mazmanian, K.S. Pittman, Stone, Woods & Cook, but none were as consistently successful as “Ohio George” Montgomery. Beginning with a blown 1934 Ford Three-Window Coupe powered by a supercharged Cadillac V8, Montgomery progressed to his famous 1933 Willys coupe, which he has since trademarked as the “World’s Wildest Willys”. Between 1959 and 1967, the Willys ran with a succession of supercharged Cadillac and Chevrolet engines, culminating in an exotic, supercharged 427 cubic inch, single overhead camshaft (SOHC) Ford V8. In his Willys, Montgomery set nine NHRA national records, with eight class wins and three Eliminator wins at the prestigious U.S. Nationals.
As Montgomery’s success continued, his relationship with Ford Motor Company grew, leading to the retirement of the Willys in mid-1967 in favor of a new Mustang-bodied car at Ford’s insistence, to maintain brand consistency. The new car, known as the Malco Gasser, debuted at the 1967 NHRA Springnationals in Bristol, Tennessee, again powered by a supercharged “Cammer”. The car completely revolutionized its class with its current-model body and outstanding performance. Montgomery also found the aerodynamic Mustang body provided much safer handling than his old Willys. This was an important consideration, given the low eight-second elapsed times of the new car, which was capable of speeds in excess of 180 mph.
For the 1969 season, Ford provided a brand new, hand-built "one-off" fiberglass Mustang body, which Montgomery mounted on a 1933 Willys-based chassis to comply with class rules. The resulting “Mr. Gasket Gasser” successfully debuted in August 1969 at the U.S. Nationals, initially powered by a SOHC 427 engine with a 6-71 supercharger, producing 1,200 horsepower on pump-grade gasoline. Montgomery emerged victorious, taking the Super Eliminator win at this high-profile event. In October 1970, Montgomery switched to a supercharged Boss 429 engine. Soon, the comparatively inefficient, crank-driven GMC-type supercharger was replaced by a radical twin-turbocharger system, which generated 1,800 horsepower, again on pump gasoline!
The Mr. Gasket Gasser remained in this form until October 1975 and with “Ohio George” behind the wheel, the Mustang achieved back-to-back Super Eliminator wins at the NHRA Gatornationals in Florida, in addition to setting six NHRA-certified class records and being awarded two Best Engineered Car awards during its competitive career. Unlike the vast majority of period drag racing machines, however, the Mr. Gasket Gasser was not cannibalized for spare parts or allowed to deteriorate behind Montgomery’s racing shop when it was retired from active competition. Instead, Montgomery carefully stored and maintained his trusty racer along with its other stablemates offered here. It remains today as it was raced.
From its impressively preserved fiberglass bodywork to its sparkling Candy Red metalflake paint finish, the Mr. Gasket Gasser appears as stunning as it did on its 1969 racing debut. The interior retains its original red-anodized tinwork throughout as well as attractive bucket seats with distinctive two-tone metalflake vinyl upholstery. The dash is all business with just the essential gauges, and driver controls include a three-spoke steering wheel and a Hurst Dual/Gate floor shifter. The twin-turbocharged Boss 429 engine features impressively polished plumbing and fittings, while the painted frame and chrome-plated suspension remain beautifully detailed throughout.
The legendary “Mr. Gasket Gasser” Mustang is virtually flawless today and was purchased in 2006 directly from the legendary “Ohio George” Montgomery himself. In addition to many appearances on sponsor handouts and magazine features, the “Mr. Gasket Gasser” was also immortalized recently with the release of a limited run of 2,500 highly detailed 1:18-scale models by GMP. A proven winner in every respect and with unquestioned provenance, this car presents a rare opportunity for drag racing enthusiasts, which is unlikely to be repeated.
Spirit of '76 Bonneville Streamliner - Estimate $150,000 - $200,000.
SOLD : $275,000.00
Al Teague created and driven to a two-way average of 409.978 mph at Bonneville, which is still current record in FIA Category A1, Group I, Class 11.
Supercharged V8 engine, four-speed manual transaxle, staggered front wheels, solid rear axle, disc brakes. Wheelbase subject to interpretation (see text)
Land speed records take a long time to set. Extended development and testing is made more difficult by limited time on the long, flat courses needed to achieve top speeds and availability of the precision timing equipment and crews needed to take speeds and certify records.
Al Teague’s approach, as demonstrated in his steady development of the Sadd, Teague & Bentley roadster, has been the essence of patience. Working largely on his own, funded pretty much from his own resources and earnings as a machinist and millwright, helped by friends and associates in the Southern California speed community, Teague took small, patient steps toward ultimate speed.
If the Sadd, Teague & Bentley roadster taught one lesson it was the importance of aerodynamics. Variously described as a brick, a barn door and a house on wheels, the biggest, nastiest, most powerful engine that could be adapted to the roadster configuration wasn’t going to push it any faster than the mid-two hundred mile per hour speeds it saw with its big nitro-fueled blown Hemi.
Teague and his buddies honored the number 76 roadster with a complete rebuild after its 1972 crash, then polished off its speed record career with the B/BFS record in 1973. It had reached its terminal velocity and a new challenge awaited.
It was this car, still the FIA and SCTA record holder in several classes and distances. How it got there is a fascinating account of purposeful, cautious, steady design, refinement and development.
Construction began in January 1975 soon after the Red Roadster was retired. The large diameter tubing frame was constructed in Al Teague’s mother’s garage. It was designed to fit under a slim lakester shell molded from a splash taken off a streamliner originally built for Denis Manning’s Norton-powered motorcycle. The idea of using a slender motorcycle streamliner shell for a big blown V8 powered streamliner in itself is intriguing and once again shows Teague’s thoughtful approach to the problems of going really fast.
The initial approach was a conventional lakester with four exposed wheels, with a 392 cubic inch blown Chrysler hemi mounted behind the driver taking power through a Weisman four-speed transaxle originally developed for the Ford Mark IVs at Le Mans and Daytona. It made its first appearance at Bonneville in 1976, giving additional meaning to the Teague team’s historic car number, 76, and earning the name “Spirit of ‘76”.
In its initial exposed wheel lakester form with torsion bar front suspension it turned a mile at 260 mph in 1976. Its planned next evolution was to grow a set of streamlined wheel pants universally compared with the design of Frank Lockhart’s ill-fated Daytona special. Fortunately Al Teague fared better than Lockhart. It continued to run as a lakester in various forms as Teague and his crew developed experience with it during the infrequent outings which the availability of good salt allowed. Painful development time was consumed by problems with the twin turbochargers initially chosen to pre-pressurize the cylinders. With only a few chances to work out the setup’s teething problems, it took a few years for Teague and his crew to realize it wasn’t going to work and return to the tried-and-true GMC 6-71 positive displacement Roots type blower which had made the Sadd, Teague & Bentley number 76 Red Roadster so successful.
In lakester form Teague ran the mile at 308 in 1981.
During the 1982-83 rainout at Bonneville, Teague made the decision to minimize frontal area. The rear wheels were pulled in tight to the transaxle. Something more dramatic was required to give the streamliner the aerodynamics of an arrow.
The rules said “four wheels” but they didn’t say how they need to be arrayed. They could be fit close together (like an old John Deere A or Farmall H tractor) but even that wouldn’t fit within the wind-cheating cross-section of the tiny 23-inch wide body. Teague’s solution was as elegant in its simplicity as it was ingenious in its execution: he staggered the wheels with one slightly behind the other [which is why the wheelbase entry in the specs block states “subject to interpretation.”]
In its first passes in 1984 only 268 mph was on tap but it turned its fastest speed in 1985: over 353 mph.
The rear wheels had been exposed on that run. For 1986 they disappeared under faired-in bodywork. The old standby 392 iron block hemi was retired in favor of a new aluminum block Keith Black hemi built by the skilled craftsmen at Gale Banks engineering. That elevated the 1987 speed to 360 mph. Tires, the bane of Bonneville LSR speed merchants in the 80s, became a problem in 1988, blistering and even peeling the treads in the heat generated by trying to hook up 1,800 or so brake horsepower and the centrifugal forces of 400 mph speeds.
Teague recorded his first 400 mph speed through the traps at the end of a run in 1990. It wasn’t sufficient to record a record over a measured kilometer or mile but it showed the streamliner’s aerodynamics and drivetrain were up to the task. The record was still in doubt. It was held by Bob and Bill Summers’ “Goldenrod”, powered by four hemis at 409.277 mph in the mile and 409.685 in the kilometer in 1965.
That epic day came on August 21, 1991 when the Speed-O-Motive streamliner with Al Teague at the controls turned a one-way run at 425.230 (with a trap speed of 432 mph) and backed it up at 394 mph for a two-way average of 409.978 mph, besting the Summers brothers by a tiny margin but doing it in a supercharged single engined car. The kilometer mark set on those runs was an even more impressive 425.050 mph.
Those records, in the current FIA Category A1, Group I, Class 11, still stand.
Development continued and in 2002, in Al Teague’s last runs at Bonneville, he set yet another record, recording speeds of 406.321 mph in the kilometer and 405.862 in the mile in Class 10 which, like the 1991 records, still stand for the Teague-Welch-Banks streamliner.
Over this car’s life as a lakester and streamliner it has set sixteen FIA and SCTA records, an unprecedented history of power, performance, development, aerodynamics, construction and persistence which is probably unmatched by any combination of car, builder and driver except for the prolific Ab Jenkins with his Duesenberg Special and the Mormon Meteors. Its 432 mph trap speed set in 1991 remains the fastest speed a wheel-driven automobile with a single internal combustion engine automobile has ever achieved.
Familiarly known by Teague and his team as “Old Betsy”, this epic accomplishment of individual drive, determination and inspired design and development has been meticulously prepared as if for another run across the Bonneville salt flats. She was acquired directly from Al Teague liveried in her 1991 “Speed-O-Motive” colors and proudly bearing the legendary number 76.
In 2001 Hot Rod magazine included Al Teague’s Spirit of ’76 in its summary of the “20 Fastest Hot Rods of All Time”. The counterpart to the history and accomplishments of “Old Betsy”, the Summers brothers’ “Goldenrod”, is now proudly ensconced within the collection of The Henry Ford in Dearborn.
“Old Betsy” is registered in the state of Nevada with the assigned VIN DR941194T … as a trailer. She’s hardly large enough to haul the heavy load of history tightly packed within her composite skin.
1960 Lincoln Continental Mark V Limousine - Estimate $100,000 - $150,000.
SOLD : $121,000.00
Est. 315 bhp, 430 cu. in. overhead valve V8 engine, automatic transmission, four-wheel drum brakes. Wheelbase: 131"
Elvis Presley’s love affair with exotic, luxurious and sporting cars is well documented. The Memphis native was one of the world’s highest paid entertainers and a pop culture icon unlike any other. His pioneering rock ‘n’ roll style and commercial success not only paved the way for generations of musical trendsetters but also afforded him a lavish lifestyle of unprecedented wealth.
After hitting it big in the mid-1950s and making history with his gyrations to “Heartbreak Hotel” and “Hound Dog” on live television, Presley was commonly referred to as “The King of Rock ‘n’ Roll”. In early 1958, he was drafted for service into the US Army and after completing basic training later that year was posted in Friedberg, Germany, where he remained until 1960. By this time, of course, he was an international rock star, pursued by the media and screaming fans alike.
While in Germany, he drove a white BMW 507, which he leased directly from Glöckler. At various points in his life he also owned a Rolls-Royce, a Ferrari, and a DeTomaso Pantera, which he apparently shot with a gun after it wouldn’t start. The King was known for having a particular affinity for American luxury cars, Cadillacs and Lincolns included.
This particular Mark V Limousine was no exception. Presley ordered the car from Lincoln while stationed in Germany in summer 1959. Serial no. 32, it was sent to Hess & Eisenhardt, the respected coachbuilder known for producing automobiles for many heads of state, including of course John F. Kennedy. Hess & Eisenhardt converted about 300 Mark IV and Vs for 1959 and 1960. Using a standard four-door sedan, the luxury cars featured an upgraded interior, padded vinyl top and custom rear windscreen as well as a divider window and rear controls for the radio and air conditioning in the Limousine version. These cars were ordered and used by various dignitaries, including Queen Elizabeth and, of course, Elvis Presley. Given their price and exclusivity, Continental Limousines were symbols of wealth, power and celebrity.
Upon arriving home to Memphis after completing his service, Presley was photographed in front of this car at Graceland, still wearing his uniform. Thereafter the car was used regularly throughout his movie and music career and it is believed he often drove it himself. Many have even called it one of his favorite cars.
Attesting to the car’s history is a remarkable series of documentation, framed along with the aforementioned photo of Elvis standing in front of Graceland with his limousine. Included in this frame are a manufacturer’s certificate of origin from Ford to Schilling Motors (Memphis, TN), power of attorney signed by Elvis, authorizing the car’s purchase while he was overseas, bill of sale from Schilling Motors, application of title in Elvis’ name and the transfer of ownership to Alan Fortas, Elvis’s friend, after five years.
As presented, the car is remarkably original and equipped with the aforementioned Hess & Eisenhardt features, including rear privacy glass, rear air conditioning controls, push-button AM radio, power windows, CB radio and automatic headlight dimmer.
Elegant and imposing, its provenance is undisputed and its offering marks a unique opportunity for Lincoln Aficionados and Elvis fans alike.
1967 Ford C-Cab Fire Truck - Estimate $75,000 - $125,000.
SOLD : $90,750.00
Built by Chuck Miller; won the 1968 Detroit Autorama Ridler Award.
Small-block supercharged Chevrolet V-8, external headers, custom tubular dropped front axle with semi-elliptic transverse leaf spring, solid Ford rear axle, American 12-spoke front and five-spoke rear wheels, no front brakes, rear drums. Wheelbase: 90"
Chuck Miller, the owner of Styline Customs in Detroit, MI, built notable, show-winning custom cars for years. He also created auto show concept cars for American Motors and Hurst Performance, as well as for Plymouth and Dodge. One of his major successes came at the 1968 Detroit Autorama, where he won the Ridler award with his whimsical, C-Cab Fire truck, which was also named one of the “Top 10 Rods” in the country, that year, by Car Craft magazine. The following year, Miller received critical acclaim with a car that was built to match the success of a Monogram model kit -- the Tom Daniel-designed “Red Baron.” Chuck Miller was very well-known for his little “Zingers,” small-bodied show cars built for Promotions, Inc., with radical blown or injected full-sized V8 engines.
The C-Cab Fire truck played off several popular elements from the Vietnam era: every young man’s enthusiasm for fire equipment; the booming T-bucket craze; a recurrent 1960s-to-1970s hot rod show car practice that Street Rodder magazine called “Wacky Show Rods,” and the popularity of the famous C-Cab Mack and Model T trucks. Combining these themes, Miller built a delightfully daring C-cab T, with a single monocle windshield, tiller steering, a muscular blown small-block V-8, competition-themed American 12-spoke and 5-spoke mags, drilled ladder bars and “pie crust” drag slicks.
Elements of this cute trucklet’s widespread, if a bit “tongue in cheek,” appeal included a pair of abbreviated wooden ladders, Fire Engine style gold leaf “Engine #13” lettering on the cab sides, and the absence of front brakes. Other charming features included older-style drum headlights, vintage Model T taillights (painted red, of course), a winged Motometer radiator cap and a roof rack. While the Fire Truck could be driven on the street, it was really designed to win custom cars shows, and it succeeded decisively, taking the coveted Detroit Autorama Ridler Award in 1968.
In his book, the American Custom Car, author and hot rod authority Pat Ganahl wrote a chapter he called, “Silly Show Cars.” These included Steve Scott’s “Uncertain T,” Dan Woods’ “Milk Truck,” Ed Roth’s “Druid Princess,” and Chuck Miller’s “C-Cab Fire Truck” and the “Red Baron.” So Miller’s efforts were in good company. Major show promoters of that era, like Bob Larivee, the head of Group Productions, Inc., would pay handsome appearance fees for unusual cars like these. A successful effort could result in a great deal of publicity, so many custom car builders were delighted to create them.
Today, the Detroit Autorama Ridler award has become the most sought-after and respected prize on the hot rod and custom car show circuit. Unlike the Grand National Roadster Show “America’s Most Beautiful Roadster” award, which requires cars to be 1937 or earlier roadsters, the Ridler winner can be any rod or custom that’s exceptionally creative, with technical merit and high crowd appeal. Ridler aspirants today spend literally millions of dollars, just to make the “Great Eight” finalist selection, with no guarantee of winning the top prize. The purchaser of this C-Cab Fire Truck will own a Ridler Award winner for far less than the cost of building one today.
1969 Chevrolet Nova 'Jungle Jim' Funny Car - Estimate $125,000 - $175,000.
SOLD : $46,750.00
Won 1969 NHRA Winternationals.
427 cu. in. Chevrolet V8 engine with Hilborn fuel injection and GMC 6-71 Roots-type supercharger, Chrysler A-727 TorqueFlite three-speed automatic transmission, Stage 1 funny car chassis by Logghe Stampings, and two-wheel hydraulic brakes supplemented by two braking parachutes. Wheelbase: 119.5"
During 1966 and 1967, Clare Sanders drove one of the earliest blown, injected and tube-chassied funny cars, Lime Fire, which was quite similar in its concept and construction to the groundbreaking Ford-sponsored cars of “Dyno Don” Nicholson and Jack Chrisman. During this time, the California-based shop used by Sanders was known as the “Funny Farm”, hosting a number of other famous early Funny Cars including the Hairy Canary Chevy II as well as Lew Arrington’s Brutus, which was driven by a rising star named “Jungle” Jim Liberman. All three cars and their drivers then headed eastward to tour, honing their craft with each pass at a multitude of lucrative match races nationwide.
In 1968, Liberman planned a two-car Funny Car team, which would allow many more match race bookings and perhaps a national-level victory or two in the process. Sanders agreed, and the rest is drag racing history. Alternatively known as “Jungle Clare”, Sanders drove the Steve Kanuika-sponsored car, while Liberman drove the Goodies Speed Shops-sponsored car.
For consistency and strong team identification, both cars were cloaked in clean Chevrolet Nova bodywork, finished in medium blue and based on a proven Stage 1 chassis by Logghe Stampings. Notably, in the face of many Hemi-powered competitors, the “Jungle Jim” cars were powered by relatively basic stock-displacement, cast-iron Chevrolet 427 cubic inch engines topped by Hilborn fuel injection and a GMC 6-71 supercharger. Power was in turn delivered to the rear slicks by Chrysler TorqueFlite automatic transmissions, with Sanders capably handling the team’s transmission maintenance duties.
In 1968, Sanders defeated the legendary “Dyno” Don Nicholson in a match race and this victory, as well as a later upset match race victory over fellow Chevrolet stalwart Dick Harrell, vaulted the relatively unknown Sanders to national prominence. In turn, a flood of lucrative match race bookings soon followed for the two-car “Jungle Jim” team.
In February 1969, the “Jungle Jim” Novas both contested the inaugural Funny Car Eliminator event at the NHRA Winternationals in Pomona, California, with Funny Cars finally having been assigned a unique class to compete in. While Liberman bowed out during the early rounds, he wrenched Clare’s Nova, which was tuned “late and lean”, with relatively mild ignition timing and a lean fuel-air mixture that provided maximum performance, but was notoriously hard on the Chevy’s iron cylinder heads, often resulting in cracking. Nonetheless, the team managed to quickly replace a damaged cylinder head, with Sanders going on to win the historic event. Even more match race bookings followed for the remainder of 1969, with both “Jungle Jim” entries appearing at many American dragstrips, where they thrilled legions of fans with their long burnouts, high-speed backups, wheelstanding passes and incredibly strong performance.
Offered today with a handsome and period correct restoration by Mike Guffey to its 1969 specifications, the Clare Sanders 1969 “Jungle Jim” Nova Funny Car retains its uniquely square fuel tank as well as its very sanitary interior tinwork by Al Bergler. Today, the car remains a thrilling link to the roots of Funny Car racing and was featured in 1969 by Car Craft as well as a famous Super Stock and Drag Illustrated article, where the car was disassembled and photographed – a unique promotional opportunity that several other top funny car teams declined. Simply put, this car brought the “Jungle Jim” team to national prominence.
1941 Ford Custom Coupe - Estimate $80,000 - $120,000.
SOLD : $27,500.00
Built by Jack Stewart, the Ayala Brothers and George Barris.
296 cu. in. Flathead V8 with four Stromberg 94 carburetors, three-speed column-shift manual transmission, independent front suspension and semi-elliptic rear leaf springs, four-wheel drum brakes. Wheelbase: 112"
The story of this wild Ford Custom Coupe begins with long-time L.A. Roadster Club member Jack Stewart and famous California-based customizers, the Ayala Brothers. In a Rodder’s Journal article, Pat Ganahl spoke at length with Stewart, who revealed its fascinating story.
He bought this car after graduating from South Gate High School in 1947. Kenny Lewis chopped the top behind Reggie Schlemmer’s shop before Stewart channeled the car himself at home in his driveway with a friend and recently acquired tools. By this time, he had already known George Barris for about two years.
By 1949, he brought the car to Gil Ayala’s shop with the intention of getting fadeaway fenders installed. As Gil was the first one to do California metal shaping, this was quite the professional treatment. Speaking of the work the brothers performed on his car, Jack told Pat Ganahl “At the top, that reverse curve, that wasn’t lead – it was shaped. And the rear fenders, everybody’s weighed 30 or 40 pounds, but he (Gil) had a panel made with a curve in it. Gil made patterns. That’s how he made my hood, in ’50, to look like a 1950 Ford, but made to fit my car. They had to make the hinges and everything”.
The top had already been chopped six inches but Jack couldn’t see the traffic signals and as a result, had them raise the windshield three inches – a job that cost $40, with new glass! All told, the ’41 Ford was at the shop for about a year as Gil made the modifications that Jack wanted, including a ’49 Cadillac grille and different bumpers. It was all done piece by piece and as Jack got more money, they would do more work. Jack, still a young man of course, told Ganahl he would pay Gil three-quarters of his paychecks to have his car modified. In the meantime, it would sit outside in front of the shop, along with the other partially completed projects.
Jack then bumped into George Barris at a party in 1951, who told him “drive it over, we’ll take a look”. Jack was eager to have his car finished and the Ayala brothers had various other projects going on concurrently, including circle-track racing interests. It was Barris who completed the car by rounding the corners on the decklid, wrapping around the rear fenders and doing the taillight treatment. The car was finally finished and painted a bronze color that Barris himself chose.
In the end, however, Jack only owned the car for about another year after it was finished, citing the Korean War that was going on, which had virtually dried up all the cruise-ins back home. He finally sold the car at a show in Anaheim where he won Best Custom. It went to Ohio after that, where it was evidently involved in an accident and almost suffered a junkyard fate. Bob Drake of Indiana traded his Ford Five-Window Coupe for the car and set about restoring it to its former glory.
He repaired the grille and body panels, all the while trying to retain the car’s originality, even hunting down the original matching bronze interior to make sure it wasn’t lost to history. As for the engine, he reports replacing the Cadillac engine it had at the time with a Ford Flathead that had been used for racing and which he fitted with an Iskandarian camshaft that came from a Bonneville car, among other modifications. He worked on it sporadically for quite a few years until it was finally done and capable of being driven at 70 or 80 mph on the freeway, without a problem.
Jack Stewart finally saw the car again in the 1970s and was reportedly amazed and delighted his old car still existed. It’s appeared at many shows since then, won various awards and been featured in several magazines. It carries the unique touches of famous personalities like the Ayala Brothers and George Barris and is truly an inspired piece of design and craftsmanship.
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1965 Ford E100 Econoline Van - Estimate $40,000 - $60,000.
SOLD : $19,800.00
Former Movie World utility van, with graphics and modifications by Von Dutch.
110 bhp, 170 cu. in. inline six-cylinder engine, single-barrel carburetor, three-speed manual transmission, straight front axle with semi-elliptic leaf springs, live rear axle with semi-elliptic leaf springs, and four-wheel hydraulic drum brakes. Wheelbase: 90"
With car-crazy 1950s Southern California as the backdrop, the Brucker family began operating a very successful enterprise, renting automobiles to various Hollywood movie studios. The Bruckers rapidly amassed a collection of over 1,000 cars, as well as an incredible assemblage of movie studio props and memorabilia. By 1970, Jim Brucker and son Jimmy opened “Movie World: Cars of the Stars and Planes of Fame” in Buena Park, which they hoped would become a major tourist attraction.
To present their collection to the public, the Bruckers hired Ed Roth as their artistic director, who in turn introduced the Bruckers to the famous Lowbrow and custom car artist Robert Williams. During the early 1970s, Von Dutch also gravitated to Movie World, where he parked his bus, which also served as his home and workshop for many years.
True creativity knows no bounds. While this statement certainly applies to all forms of artistic expression, Von Dutch truly personified it. At Movie World, a prosaic 1965 Ford Econoline Station Bus was converted by Von Dutch to serve as the facility’s utility vehicle, with its funky early 1960s styling lending itself particularly well to the already legendary artist’s unique touch. The rear passenger seats were removed, providing ample space for tools, torches and other cargo, while Von Dutch also added an internal fuel tank as well as positive and negative terminals for a 12-volt power supply just behind the driver’s door. As one might expect, the entire exterior of the van was heavily “Dutched”, meaning it features extensive and intricate hand-applied Von Dutch-trademark pin striping and lettering.
Other interesting features include removed headlight trim, a higher-than-stock ride height and wide whitewall tires, with even the hubcaps displaying a neat engine-turned finish around their circumference. The nose of the vehicle prominently features a painted Plexiglas eyeball, intended for Von Dutch’s dog to see the world while riding, appropriately enough, on the van’s “doghouse”, or engine compartment cover.
Offered today as a very interesting working vehicle that was unable to escape the creative onslaught of Von Dutch, this Econoline remains in very presentable, original condition today. As modified, it offers a rare glimpse into the daily life, intense creativity and humor of one of California’s most important cultural personalities.