14 Dec

Ed “Big Daddy” Roth cars to assemble at Amelia Island Concours on March 11, 2018

Beatnik Bandit -Photo courtesy National Automobile Museum

Beatnik Bandit -Photo courtesy National Automobile Museum

Amelia Island, Fla. – Futurist and visionary, or instigator and Weirdo? Ed Roth might have preferred the latter two terms as compliments, but as culture consumes counterculture, his legacy as an artist has grown over the last few decades, to the point that some have labeled him with the former two compliments and to the point that the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance will showcase several Roth-built cars at its 2018 show.
As early as the 1980s, as David LaChance pointed out in his profile on Roth in the July 2017 issue of Hemmings Classic Car, art galleries and museums began to take notice of the work Roth had done 20 years earlier, likely due to the fact that some of the many, many children who bought Rat Fink stickers, wore Mother’s Worry T-shirts, and built AMT-produced Outlaw models had grown up to become influencers in the world of high art.
“He lived long enough to see his work rediscovered… and to be toasted by the mayor of San Francisco with a day in his honor,” LaChance wrote.

Outlaw - Photo by Alan Mayes, courtesy Spritz by Fritz

Outlaw – Photo by Alan Mayes, courtesy Spritz by Fritz

Roth began building hot rods, then painting and pinstriping them himself, long before his art propelled him to a national stage. However, with his fiberglass-bodied Outlaw, built in 1959, he discovered not only that crazy custom car creations could earn him a few bucks from car show promoters eager to use the cars to bring in crowds (who would then pass by Roth’s booth and buy a T-shirt or two), they could also earn him some free publicity via the car magazines of the day, equally eager to spotlight something wacky.
“He wanted to build cars but Roth didn’t want to build just any cars, or even any hot rods,” Ken Gross said in the write-up for the 2007 RM Icons of Speed and Style auction, which featured several Roth vehicles. “It took fantastic cars, conceived and built outside the mold of convention to satisfy Roth.”

Mysterion - Photo courtesy Beau Boeckmann.

Mysterion – Photo courtesy Beau Boeckmann.

Roth then followed the Outlaw with the Beatnik Bandit in 1961, the Rotar in 1962, the Mysterion in 1963, both the Road Agent and the Orbitron in 1964, the Surfite in 1965, the Druid Princess in 1966, and the Mega Cycle (a.k.a. Captain Pepi’s Motorcycle and Zeppelin Repair) in 1967 before turning his attention to choppers and trikes. Only in the late Eighties would he build more cars, among them L.A. Zoom, the 1995 Beatnik Bandit II, and the Stealth 2000. Each car Roth completed with his famed spitwad-and-plaster method progressively pushed the boundaries of automotive design and engineering; almost all of them were immensely impractical for street driving, but most of them could at least roll in and out of auditoriums and show halls under their own power.

Orbitron - Photo courtesy Beau Boeckmann

Orbitron – Photo courtesy Beau Boeckmann

As Rat Fink mania died down in the latter half of the Sixties and Roth shuttered his studio, however, the various cars he built scattered to the four winds. Some went on display at the Cars of the Stars museum and ended up in the Brucker brothers’ collection, the original Outlaw has ended up at the Petersen Museum, and Roth personally donated the Beatnik Bandit to the National Automobile Museum in Reno. Others, including the Road Agent, the Druid Princess, and the Tweedy Pie T-bucket, passed through the hands of collectors such as Mark Moriarty and Ralph Whitworth. The Mysterion has disappeared and thus inspired at least two replicas while the Orbitron, long thought vanished, turned up in 2007 serving as a trash bin outside an adult bookstore in Mexico.

Druid Princess - Photo courtesy RM Auctions

Druid Princess – Photo courtesy RM Auctions

While some of the cars have gathered at events in the past — notably the 2006 Detroit Autorama — the Amelia class represents the first such concours class honoring Roth, who died in 2001. Other featured classes at the Amelia Island Concours will focus on the Porsche Carrera, Auburns, the Jaguar XKE, the cars of Martini Racing, the 50th anniversary of the Ferrari Daytona, pre-war MGs, early electric cars, and cars built for hunting.
The 2018 Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance will take place March 9-11. For more information, visit AmeliaConcours.org.
Courtesy Daniel Strohl, Hemmings.com

18 Feb

Copper-trimmed concept car Exemplar I on display at Amelia Island Concours next month

Exemplar I on display at Dragone Classics Showroom in Westport, Conn.

Exemplar I on display at Dragone Classics Showroom in Westport, Conn.

Amelia Island, Fla. – Like many concept cars, the Exemplar I nearly didn’t survive to the present day. After two full years on the show circuit, only a last-minute stay of execution kept it from getting crushed. Yet, instead of returning to the public eye, it has remained largely out of sight for the last 45 years, a condition that will change this spring when the newly restored Buick-based one-off appears at Amelia Island Concours on March 13th.
Unlike most concept cars, however, the Exemplar I didn’t emerge from a major automaker’s styling studio. Rather, its genesis lies with the Bridgeport Brass Company in Bridgeport, Connecticut, and the Copper Development Association, the industry group behind the 1964 Mercer-Cobra. That car built on a stretched Shelby Cobra chassis and bodied by Sibona-Basano after a design by Virgil Exner and his son, Virgil Exner Jr., came about as an attempt by the CDA to convince Detroit to expand its use of copper beyond simple wiring – the exact same reason for the Exemplar I.

Sleek styling by Mario Revelli, built by Carrozzeria Coggiola of Orbassano, Italy

Sleek styling by Mario Revelli, built by Carrozzeria Coggiola of Orbassano, Italy

“The purpose is to present engineering innovations for greater safety, comfort and performance, and to demonstrate new decorative applications of copper and bronze,” the CDA wrote in its brochure for the Exemplar I. As with the Mercer-Cobra, the Exemplar I used copper in its disc brakes, its radiators, and pretty much wherever other cars used chrome – as engine decoration, as exterior trim, and extensively throughout the interior.

Cutaway showing copper disc brakes, cooling and electrical systems

Cutaway showing copper disc brakes, cooling and electrical systems

Without any experience in automotive design and manufacturing, however, CDA officials had to outsource the car’s construction. They started by acquiring a 1967 Buick Riviera fitted with a 360-hp, 430-cu.in. V-8 then turned to Carrozzeria Coggiola of Orbassano, Italy. Sergio Coggiola had founded the carrozzeria just the year before after serving as the head of Ghia’s prototype shop since 1952, and quickly became known for turning out prototypes, though he’d also intended the carrozzeria to serve as a styling studio.
To pen the Exemplar, Coggiola turned to Mario Revelli de Beaumont, who began designing special-bodied cars in the 1920s for numerous coachbuilders and automakers. Revelli went for a modern combination of angles and curves with a back-half shape that somewhat resembles the later second-generation AMC Javelin, if the latter had flush glass between its flying buttress C-pillars. Along the way, he made sure to insert as many copper highlights as possible, particularly in the interior.

Copper trimmed instrument panel, steering wheel and console

Copper trimmed instrument panel, steering wheel and console

Finished late in 1967, the Exemplar I debuted privately for Bridgeport Brass and CDA execs and then publicly early in 1968 at the New York Auto Show. Whether it influenced any automaker to include more brass or copper in the construction of new cars, there appears to be no record, but it traveled to numerous auto shows over the next two years, until CDA officials decided to crush it either in late 1969 or early 1970. Thanks to the National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act of 1966, one-off cars at that time had virtually no chance of becoming street legal, and the CDA thus couldn’t legitimately sell to the public a vehicle that couldn’t be registered for the road.

Only the intervention of Bridgeport Brass president Herman Steinkraus kept that from happening. Steinkraus, a prominent southern Connecticut businessman and supporter of the arts, reportedly decreed the Exemplar I too beautiful to be destroyed. So he bought it and, according to collector Manny Dragone, kept the car under cover and unseen on his 25-acre estate in Darien, Connecticut, until his death in the late 1980s.

In the meantime, the CDA built at least six more cars. A second Exemplar came along in 1972, another Revelli design but this time based on an Oldsmobile Toronado. Apparently unsuccessful in bending Detroit’s ear on copper trim, the CDA then switched tactics and began building conceptual electric cars which, of course, used lots and lots of copper wiring.

Rear window glass featured advanced electrical-defrosting system

Rear window glass featured advanced electrical-defrosting system

Dragone and his brother, George, based out of Bridgeport, came across the Exemplar I in about 1990 and bought it from the Steinkraus estate. Not until this year did they decide to give it a cosmetic restoration, in preparation for the Dragone Fall Auction. “With all the copper and brass, it’s just outrageous,” Manny Dragone said. Dragone later reported that the Exemplar bid up to $850,000 but didn’t meet its reserve price. As result, visitors to the Amelia Concours will be able to enjoy the car as part of the “Concept Cars Beyond Detroit” class.
Article by Daniel Stahl, Hemmings Daily
Photos & images courtesy Dragone Auctions

Exemplar I spare tire behind grille for crash protection

Exemplar I spare tire behind grille for crash protection

25 Jan

Vintage race trophies to appear with cars that won them at Amelia Island March 13th

The Borg-Warner Trophy and Al Unser in the Johnny Lightning Special, twice winner Indy 500 Photos: Sarah Stierch and courtesy Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum.

The Borg-Warner Trophy and Al Unser in the Johnny Lightning Special, twice winner Indy 500. Photos: Sarah Stierch and courtesy Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum.

Amelia Island, Fla. – Of course, race cars get all the attention: They’re fast, loud, oftentimes flashy, and driven by men of legend. But those men of legend don’t just race for the thrill of it. They race for the money, the recognition and, not least of all, the trophies. For the first time ever this year, some of the most prestigious and historic motorsports trophies will gather in one place as the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance pairs them with some of the most noteworthy cars that won them.

The idea for the pairings came, according to Amelia Island founder and chairman Bill Warner, over a couple of beers. “A bottle of Guinness with Donald Osborne at the Mille Miglia,” he said. “Seriously, Donald showed me a Mille Miglia trophy while I was over there, and I thought, why not get a collection of them and match them with the cars.”

So Warner went to work putting together a list of the most famous trophies in motorsports. Some seemed like no-brainers, like the Borg-Warner Trophy, which has gone to the winner of every Indianapolis 500 since 1936 and remains with the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Warner decided to pair it with the Ford V-8-powered Johnny Lightning Special that Al Unser drove to victory in both 1970 and 1971 and that nowadays resides in the Unser Racing Museum in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Jamie McMurray, Chip Ganassi, Dario Franchitti with Harley J. Earl and Borg-Warner Trophies Photo: Indianapolis Motor Speedway

Jamie McMurray, Chip Ganassi, Dario Franchitti with Harley J. Earl and Borg-Warner Trophies. Photo: Indianapolis Motor Speedway

Frank Wheeler and three other local men opened the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in 1909. Prior to the inauguration of the Indianapolis 500 in 1911, the Wheeler-Schebler company sponsored the Wheeler-Schebler Trophy Race at the track. The $10,000 trophy was sterling silver and designed by Tiffany. Descriptions of this masterpiece of silversmithing put its height at anywhere from seven to eight and a half feet. It was the traveling trophy for winning the premiere events of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s race meets in 1909 and 1910. The Trophy was retired briefly with the introduction of the Indianapolis 500 in 1911, but reinstated in 1913 as the prize for the team leading at the 400-mile mark. As the deed stipulated that the trophy would be permanently awarded to the team winning it for three consecutive years, it was presented to driver turned entrant Harry Hartz when his Miller-Hartz cars won the award in 1930, 31 and 32. It was returned to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in the 1950’s and stands proudly today at the Speedway’s Hall of Fame Museum. At Amelia Island, the trophy will be paired with the Old Number 10 Buick, winner of the 1909 race.

Harry Hartz with the Wheeler-Schebler Trophy in 1932

Harry Hartz with the Wheeler-Schebler Trophy in 1932

Other trophies that will go on display include the Harley J. Earl Perpetual Trophy, awarded to winners of the Daytona 500, which will be paired with the Richard Petty No. 43 Plymouth Road Runner that won the 1971 Daytona 500; the Stevens Challenge Trophy, awarded from 1927 to 1954 to any manufacturer capable of sustaining 60 miles per hour over a 24-hour period at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, which will be paired with a Cord 812 speed record car; the 1965 24 Hours of Le Mans trophy, which will be paired with the Ferrari 250LM that Masten Gregory and Jochen Rindt drove; the 1949 24 Hours of Le Mans trophy, which will be paired with the Ferrari 166MM that Luigi Chinetti and Peter Mitchell-Thomson drove; the 1914 French Grand Prix trophy, which will be paired with the Mercedes that Christian Lautenschlager drove; the Maurice G. Bauer Trophy, “awarded” to winners of the Cannonball Baker Sea-to-Shining-Sea Memorial Trophy Dash, paired with the Ferrari Dino that Jack May and Rick Cline drove in 1975; and the trophy awarded to the winner of the Race of Two Worlds (500 Miglia di Monza), paired with the 1958 John Zink Leader Card Monza Special Watson-Offenhauser roadster that Jim Rathmann drove.

1909 Alco “Black Beast” two-time winner of the Vanderbilt Cup Photo: Hemmings

1909 Alco “Black Beast” two-time winner of the Vanderbilt Cup Photo: Hemmings

In addition, the display will pair a replica of the Challenge Cup presented by W.K. Vanderbilt Jr. (the original sits in storage at the Smithsonian) paired with the 1909 ALCO Black Beast; and the Alec Ulmann Trophy from the Sebring 12 Hour, which will be paired with an OSCA MT4, built by the Maserati brothers and overall winner of the 1954 race.

Warner said the trophies will go on display in the Ritz-Carlton hotel from Thursday through Saturday and then take their positions on the field with each car on Sunday, March 13th.

Article by Daniel Strohl, Hemmings Daily

About The Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance

Now in its third decade, the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance is among the top automotive events in the world. Always on the second full weekend in March, ‘The Amelia’ draws over 250 rare vehicles from collections around the world to The Golf Club of Amelia Island and The Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island. It is a celebration of the automobile like no other. Since 1996, the show’s Foundation has donated over $2.75 million to Community Hospice of Northeast Florida, Inc., Spina Bifida of Jacksonville, The Navy Marine Corps Relief Society, and other deserving charities. The 21st annual Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance is scheduled for March 11-13, 2016. For more information, visit www.ameliaconcours.org

Masten Gregory and Jochen Rindt’s Ferrari 250 LM lead an all-Ferrari podium in the last win for Ferrari at Le Mans to date in 1965 Photo: Le Mans (Sarthe France)

Masten Gregory and Jochen Rindt’s Ferrari 250 LM lead an all-Ferrari podium in the last win for Ferrari at Le Mans to date in 1965 Photo: Le Mans (Sarthe France)

18 Jan

“Rain Man” Buick coming to Amelia Island Concours on March 13th

Restored 1949 convertible is considered a "styling landmark"

Restored 1949 convertible is considered a “styling landmark”

Amelia Island, Fla. – A late entry is coming to the 21st Annual Amelia Island Concours’ Post War American Production class March 16, 2016: The 1949 Buick Roadmaster convertible, one of two used to make the film “Rain Man,” makes its international concours debut. Wayne Carini of Portland, Conn., star of Velocity TV’s “Chasing Classic Cars,” restored the car for the film’s director Barry Levinson.

You’ll recall Levinson’s 1988 film — it tells the story of Charlie Babbitt (Tom Cruise), a car dealer in financial straits. When his estranged father dies, Babbitt learns the old man bequeathed his fortune to Charlie’s older autistic brother, Raymond (brilliantly played by Dustin Hoffman). All Cruise’s character gets is his father’s prized rosebushes and the Buick. Raymond and Charlie go on a cross-country road trip starring the Buick because Raymond refuses to fly.

Hoffman won an Oscar for his portrayal of Raymond, and Levinson for his direction of the Best Picture classic.

Dustin Hoffman & Tom Cruise in a scene from “Rain Man” with 1949 Buick Roadmaster

Dustin Hoffman & Tom Cruise in a scene from “Rain Man” with 1949 Buick Roadmaster

According to the movie’s production notes, Levinson chose the Roadmaster, with its “pipe organ” grille and art deco styling, because “there’s just something very classic about it,” he said.

With only 8,000 1949 Roadmasters produced, the filmmakers scoured the country before finding three that were in good enough condition to film. The car eventually restored by Levinson had its rear suspension modified to accommodate the extra weight of a camera rig and cameraman, who filmed Hoffman and Cruise from the trunk.

Amelia Island Concours founder and Chairman Bill Warner called the Buick a “styling landmark.” He points out the VentiPort — those holes in the fenders – debuted with the 1949s and is still part of Buick design. “We’re very pleased to have one of Wayne Carini’s restorations on the field once again,” Warner said.

This year’s Amelia Island Concours runs March 11-13, 2016 on the 10th and 18th fairways of The Golf Club of Amelia Island at The Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island. The show’s Foundation has donated more than $2.75 million to Community Hospice of Northeast Florida Inc. and other Florida charities since 1996.

For more concours information, visit www.ameliaconcours.org or call (904) 636-0027.
Article by Wes Raynal, Autoweek/Photos: MGM Studios

1949 Buick Convertible seen in “Rain Man” recently restored by Wayne Carini of Portland, Conn.

1949 Buick Convertible seen in “Rain Man” recently restored by Wayne Carini of Portland, Conn.

13 Jan

Classic Ferrari 335 S Spider could fetch over $34 million at Retromobile auction in Paris next month

The 1957 Ferrari 335 S Spider Scaglietti, estimated sale price: $30-34 million  Photo: Christian Martin/Artcurial

The 1957 Ferrari 335 S Spider Scaglietti, estimated sale price: $30-34 million
Photo: Christian Martin/Artcurial

Paris, France – A classic Ferrari to be featured at an auction to be held in Paris next month may challenge the record for the highest price ever paid for an automobile. The 1957 Ferrari 335 S Spider Scaglietti, once driven to victory by British World Champion Stirling Moss at the 1958 Cuban Grand Prix, is expected by the French auction house Artcurial Motors to fetch between $30 and $34 million. The current record, held by another classic Ferrari sold last year, stands at a whopping $34.6 million.

A former Le Mans lap record holder, this 335 S served the Ferrari factory team in a championship-winning 1957 season during the golden age of road racing, when events were often held on public roads with little concern for the safety of drivers or the spectators that lined the courses. That year, the car made an indelible mark on racing history after another 335 S Spider racing at the infamous Mille Miglia in Italy crashed into a crowd of fans, killing both drivers and nine spectators. The crash marked the beginning of the end for racing on public roads: the 1,000 mile event considered the greatest of the era would soon be canceled.

The Ferrari 335 S, chassis 0674, left the workshops at the start of 1957, fitted with a Scaglietti body, a design born of the requirements of a powerful racing car. It was fitted at that time with a 3.8-litre V12 Tipo 140 engine (315 S) that had twin-cams per bank of cylinders producing around 360 bhp.

In March of that year it was entered by Scuderia Ferrari for the Sebring 12 Hours, driven by Peter Collins and Maurice Trintignant, and finished sixth. At the Mille Miglia in May, chassis 0674 was driven by Wolfgang von Trips to second overall behind the Piero Tariff’s similar Ferrari. On being returned to the factory, its engine size was increased to 4.1-litres, therefore becoming a 335 S. With close to 400 bhp under its belt, the car could reach 300 km/h.

1957 Mille Milia with Wolfgang von Trips at the wheel Photo: Sports Car Digest

1957 Mille Milia with Wolfgang von Trips at the wheel Photo: Sports Car Digest

For the 24 Heures du Mans, the car was given to Mike Hawthorn and Luigi Musso. Hawthorn took the lead in front of the Maserati and Jaguars and set the first lap record in the history of the Le Mans 24 Hours of over 200 km/h (203.015 km/h average speed) but unfortunately the car retired in the fifth hour with mechanical problems. The Ferrari then finished fourth in the Swedish Grand Prix and second in the Venezuela Grand Prix on 3 November with team of Hawthorn and Musso, helping Ferrari to win the World Constructors’ Title in 1957.

In January 1958 it was sold to Luigi Chinetti, the Ferrari importer based in New York. On 24 February of that year, with Masten Gregory and Stirling Moss at the wheel, the car won the Cuba Grand Prix. During the 1958 season, it participated successfully in various American races driven by Gaston Andrey and Lance Reventlow, before being sold to Robert N. Dusek in 1960, an architect living in Pennsylvania.

Mike Hawthorne driving the 335 S at Le Mans in 1957 Photo: Sports Car Digest

Mike Hawthorne driving the 335 S at Le Mans in 1957 Photo: Sports Car Digest

Following this American adventure, the car was brought to France in 1970. The American architect sold it to Pierre Bardinon, the collector who over the years assembled some fifty factory Ferraris comprising the most successful and iconic models in the history of the marque. Kept as part Pierre Bardinon’s private collection for over 40 years, the car has been used and maintained regularly and is presented in excellent condition. Chassis 0674 is estimated to sell for €28,000,000 – €32,000,000 ($30,000,000 – $34,000,000).

Prices soaring well into the eight figures are no longer unusual for cars of this era, which are highly sought after by collectors willing to pay for their own piece of automotive history. Values for very rare cars have skyrocketed in the past decade, and largely defied the 2008 recession in following other luxury items, such as fine art. Though the auction house anticipates the 335 S to fall just short of the record price, it’s common for expectations to be exceeded – especially if more than one bidder wants the car badly enough.

1986 Ferrari Testrossa Spider looks like the 1980s on wheels, estimated sale price $1 million . Photo: Artcurial

1986 Ferrari Testrossa Spider looks like the 1980s on wheels, estimated sale price $1 million . Photo: Artcurial

The Artcurial auction will feature an eye-watering list of ultra-rare classic cars, headlined by a handful other great Ferraris, including a 1962 250 GT Berlinetta once owned by the king of Morocco, a 1963 250 GT short wheel base Berlinetta, and the only convertible Ferrari Testrossa ever built.

This last car, a gift to Fiat chief Gianni Agnelli in 1986, features a silver paint scheme and a solid silver Ferrari badge on the front hood — and the periodic symbol for the element that also marked the first two letters of the Italian auto executive’s surname.

It’s good to be the king. Artcurial’s stunning 1963 Ferrari 250 GT SWB Berlinetta, is estimated to fetch $10-13 million. The 2016 Artcurial Retromobile auction, scheduled for 5-6 February at the Retromobile Show in Paris, will present approximately 130 automobiles over two days. More information can be found at www.artcurial.com and www.retromobile.com

Courtesy: Sports Car Digest/Artcurial

1957 Ferrari 335 S Spider Scaglietti Photo: Sports Car Digest

1957 Ferrari 335 S Spider Scaglietti Photo: Sports Car Digest

22 Dec

Barrett-Jackson to Auction Rare Vintage Race Cars during 45th Anniversary Auction in Scottsdale Jan. 23 – 31

Legendary 1959 Corvette “Purple People Eater”

Legendary 1959 Corvette “Purple People Eater”

Scottsdale, Ariz. – Barrett-Jackson, The World’s Greatest Collector Car Auctions®, will auction several rare vintage American race cars during the company’s nine-day 45th Anniversary Auction, from Jan. 23-31, 2016, at WestWorld of Scottsdale. Three iconic American race cars heading over the block include the 1959 Corvette “Purple People Eater, the famous 1957 Chevrolet 150 #47 “Black Widow” and the 1963 Pontiac Catalina Super Duty “Swiss Cheese”.

“We’re excited to have several famous American race cars from the golden era of motorsports cross our block in Scottsdale,” said Craig Jackson, chairman and CEO of Barrett-Jackson. “Each of these pieces of history played an important part in our country’s racing heritage and will be an enviable part of any collection.”

Jim Jeffords on track to win 1959 B/Production Championship (photo courtesy Hemmings)

Jim Jeffords on track to win 1959 B/Production Championship (photo courtesy Hemmings)

The 1959 Chevrolet Corvette, also known as the “Purple People Eater”, won the 1959 SCCA National Championship in the B/Production class. It started life as a white body/black interior car with a 290 horsepower, fuel-injected 283ci engine and a 4-speed manual transmission. Destined for glory, it was named for its non-factory color, which the Nickey Chevrolet body shop applied to make it stand out during races. The “Purple People Eater” is a part of the Chip Miller Collection, and its auction represents a rare opportunity to own a piece of vintage racing history.

1957 Chevy 150 “Black Widow”

1957 Chevy 150 “Black Widow”

The 1957 Chevy 150 “Black Widow” is one of six original factory-backed NASCAR vehicles. It was awarded the win at the Virginia 500 at Martinsville in 1957 after another race car crashed and injured several spectators. Featuring a frame-off, state-of-the-art, correct restoration, the Chevy features a 283 fuel-injected engine and period correct components, including 6-lug wheels, Fenton headers and exhaust, high-performance Hydrovac brake system, 20-gallon gas tank and a special HD 3.90 rear end.

1963 Pontiac Catalina “Swiss Cheese”

1963 Pontiac Catalina “Swiss Cheese”

The 1963 Pontiac Catalina Super Duty “Swiss Cheese,” earned its nickname when approximately 130 holes were drilled in it to eliminate the boxed rails in an effort to lighten the frame. This particular race car was ordered and designated as a Pontiac company car for engineering purposes and became the final car built under the Pontiac Super Duty program in 1963. It is outfitted with a 421 Super Duty engine and top-of-the-line parts. Only 14 “Swiss Cheese” 421 Catalinas were built before the AMA ban in January 1963.

1948 Kurtis-Kraft KK200

1948 Kurtis-Kraft KK200

Also on the docket is a 1948 Kurtis Kraft KK2000 race car first raced in the 1949 Indianapolis 500 by Sam Hanks; never wrecked, this car appeared at five Indy 500 races, qualifying for two. The engine is the original Horning GMC 270ci with 12-port iron head and the front end of the motor and ancillary drives are the original roller cam developed by Chet Herbert. The fuel injection was developed by Hilborn and the chassis and body is by Kurtis.

For more information on becoming a bidder, follow the link to www.barrett-jackson.com/bid. Enjoy the 45th Anniversary Scottsdale Auction in style with a Barrett-Jackson VIP Experience Package. Information on available packages and how to be a part of this world-class event is available here.

About The Barrett-Jackson Auction Company

Established in 1971 and headquartered in Scottsdale, Arizona, Barrett-Jackson, The World’s Greatest Collector Car Auctions®, is the leader in collector car auctions and automotive lifestyle events. The company produces auctions in Scottsdale, Arizona; Palm Beach, Florida; at Mohegan Sun in Connecticut, and Las Vegas, Nevada. With broadcast partners, Velocity and Discovery Channel, Barrett-Jackson will feature live television coverage in 2016, including broadcasts in over 100 countries internationally. Barrett-Jackson also endorses a one-of-a-kind collector car insurance for collector vehicles and other valued belongings. For more information about Barrett-Jackson, visit http://www.barrett-jackson.com, or call 480-421-6694.

Article & photos courtesy Barrett-Jackson Auctions

Chevy “Black Widow” at Daytona Beach in 1957 (archived photo)

Chevy “Black Widow” at Daytona Beach in 1957 (archived photo)

20 Oct

Pegaso Featured Marque at Amelia Island Concours 2016

Photo Amelia Island Concours

Photo Amelia Island Concours

Amelia Island, Fla. – The Spanish Pegaso marque will be celebrated at the 2016 Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance, scheduled for March 11-13, 2016 at the Ritz-Carlton Amelia Island in Florida.

Pegaso is Spanish for Pegasus, the winged stallion usually depicted as pure white on the Pegaso insignia. Pegasus’ mythological role was to deliver thunderbolts to Zeus. Appropriate, because that was the effect the stunning Pegaso Thrill coupe had on the 1953 Turin Auto Show when the Spanish Touring-bodied grand touring coupe made its public debut.

“That such an elegant advanced design could come from a marketing plan promoting plebian commercial vehicles is a testament to the genius, vision and skill of engineer Wilfredo Ricart,” said Bill Warner, founder and Chairman of the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance.

Ricart was the suave, articulate (he spoke five languages) and urbane creator of the Pegaso automobile. From his arrival at Alfa Romeo in 1936, Ricart was Enzo Ferrari’s nemesis, finally displacing him and creating a fleet of advanced and complex grand prix and competition sports and touring cars. World War II halted Ricart’s leading edge designs for Alfa Romeo and saw him return to his native Spain.

1955 Pegaso Z.102B at the Goodwood Festival of Speed - Photo Brian Snelson

1955 Pegaso Z.102B at the Goodwood Festival of Speed – Photo Brian Snelson

The Pegaso Z-102 was practically a grand touring coupe on a grand prix chassis; detailed with a supercharged, four-cam V-8 of 2.5 liters, a 5-speed constant mesh transaxle suspended by torsion bars and one of the most elegant de Dion rear suspensions conceived. Built in clean workshops by apprentices who were not troubled with the realities of modern mass production or the pressure of a time clock, the Pegaso roadsters and coupes were exotic road toys in the mid-1950s.

Only 84 Pegaso cars were created as nothing more than an advanced apprentice training program for the giant truck, bus and armored car manufacturing enterprise that took root, appropriately, in the former Hispano-Suiza factory in Barcelona, Spain. Nearly ten percent of Pegaso’s total car production will be on the field at the Amelia Island Concours 2016.

A Saoutchik-bodied 1952 Pegaso Z.102 - Factory promotional photo from John Lloyd

A Saoutchik-bodied 1952 Pegaso Z.102 – Factory promotional photo from John Lloyd

Carrozzeria Touring was contracted to produce alloy bodies for the Z.102, though customers could also request coachwork from Saoutchik or Serra. Beneath the skin, frame rails were drilled for added lightness, while the Pegaso used a rear transaxle and differential to optimize front-to-rear weight balance. Power output was initially rated at 165 horsepower, though later increases in displacement would produce as much as 300 horsepower from a 4.7-liter V-8. In between, the factory also offered a supercharger option, which produced 225 horsepower from the 3.2-liter V-8 introduced in 1954.

Given the Pegaso’s extreme pricing, customers expected performance on par with the cars of Ferrari and Jaguar, but the marque enjoyed little success in racing. As a showcase for Spanish manufacturing, however, the Pegaso excelled, and its build quality and attention to detail were reportedly second-to-none. By 1958, however, sports car production was creating an untenable financial drag on parent Empresa Nacional de Autocamiones SA (E.N.A.S.A.), so the Pegaso Z.102 and Z.103 models were killed off to focus on the firm’s commercial truck business.

“Pegasos are technically extravagant cars,” continued Warner. “It’s period Formula 1 technology for the road, wrapped in coachwork by the likes of Touring and Saoutchik. The Pegaso Z-102 did exactly what Ricart and the Spanish government wanted: it brought Spanish industry to the attention of the world, and did it in a very glamorous way.”

[Source: Sports Car Digest & Amelia Island Concours]

About The Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance
Now in its second decade, the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance is among the top automotive events in the world. Always held the second full weekend in March, “The Amelia” draws over 250 rare vehicles from collections around the world to The Golf Club of Amelia Island and The Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island for a celebration of the automobile like no other. Since 1996, the show’s Foundation has donated over $2.5 million to Community Hospice of Northeast Florida, Inc., Spina Bifida of Jacksonville, The Navy Marine Corps Relief Society, Shop with Cops, and other deserving charities. The 21st annual Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance is scheduled for March 11-13, 2016. For more information, visit www.ameliaconcours.org or call 904-636-0027.

06 Oct

Unique 1963 Barris Kustoms Buick Villa Riviera on the block at Dragone Fall Auction October 17th

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Westport, Conn. – It’s no secret that “King of the Kustomizers” George Barris’ first car was a Buick, a 1925 Buick roadster passed down from family when he was just a teenager. But it would be a few years later when his touch would create some very special ones. One of Barris’ early custom cars was a 1941 Buick convertible featuring flow through fenders and a Cadillac grille. It helped young Barris get noticed; in fact he featured it on his business card. Many chopped and channeled “Kustoms” followed.

After the era of the chopped and channeled “lead sleds”, Barris made quite a few customs for movies. This caught the attention of Buick Motor Division itself, who provided him with a new 1963 Riviera to customize. The result was the “Villa Riviera”, a cherry red custom which was repainted white and used in the movie “For Those Who Think Young” (1964) featuring a young Nancy Sinatra and James Darren.

The Villa Riviera was originally created by Barris for use as his personal car. The story began when director Leslie Martinson was visiting the Barris shop in North Hollywood to look at a vehicle that Barris Kustoms was building for another film. At the time, he was quite taken with the Villa Riviera all decked out in cherry red paint over a fire frost white pearl base. Martinson quickly signed a contract that included a clause to repaint the Buick white so it would show up more clearly when filmed. The car was later used in an episode of the popular “Perry Mason” TV series.

Buick Villa Riviera before and during “For Those Who Think Young” production in 1964

Buick Villa Riviera before and during “For Those Who Think Young” production in 1964

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In Barris Kustoms of the 1960s, George recalls the promotional appearances that he made with James Darren and executive producer Howard Koch for the film at theaters and drive-ins in the Los Angeles area: “It was a heck of a lot of fun to see the surprised faces of those folks who were here to see a movie and “the star and the car” were right there at the theater!”

George Barris and James Darren pose in front of the Villa Riviera.

George Barris and James Darren pose in front of the Villa Riviera.

The Villa Riviera has appeared at car shows, accompanied by this plaque which recognizes the contributions of James Darren (as Gardner “Ding” Pruitt III) and Nancy Sinatra (as Karen Cross) to the film.

The Villa Riviera has appeared at car shows, accompanied by this plaque which recognizes the contributions of James Darren (as Gardner “Ding” Pruitt III) and Nancy Sinatra (as Karen Cross) to the film.

After the movie was completed, Barris repainted the car with 35 coats of translucent cherry red kandy paint over a pure pearlescent white underbase. It seems much sportier in the red hue. But Barris wasn’t completely satisfied and kept experimenting. Note the open roof section and the extended fenders. The headlamps are concealed behind the fender ends.

Here's the Villa Riviera again on a post card, this time wearing a Cherry and White scalloped paint treatment. The wheels have also been changed. It may have been more successful in solid Cherry.

Here’s the Villa Riviera again on a post card, this time wearing a Cherry and White scalloped paint treatment. The wheels have also been changed. It may have been more successful in solid Cherry.

Speaking of successful, AMT was so impressed with the Villa Riviera that they featured it as a build option for their 1963 Riviera 1/25 Scale Model. Note the groovy 1960's graphics.

Speaking of successful, AMT was so impressed with the Villa Riviera that they featured it as a build option for their 1963 Riviera 1/25 Scale Model. Note the groovy 1960’s graphics.

The Villa Riviera as it looks today, featured at the 2015 Dragone Fall Auction in Westport, Conn. October 17.

The Villa Riviera as it looks today, featured at the 2015 Dragone Fall Auction in
Westport, Conn. October 17.

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The Barris Buick Villa Riviera will be offered at the Dragone Fall Auction in Westport, Conn. on Saturday, October 17th with a pre-auction bidding estimate of $165,000 to $180,000. Other unique and rare cars to be offered include the 1967 Exemplar I Concept Car built for Bridgeport Brass Co. estimated at $1,200,000 to $1,800,000, a 1924 Supercharged Mercedes 24/100/40 Custom Fleetwood Sport Touring (est. $1,200,000 to $1,400,000) and 1947 Lancia Aprilia Prototype by Pininfarina (est. $450,000 to $500,000).

Sources: Palm Springs Automobilist & Dragone Classic Motorcars

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28 Sep

New Keno Brothers Auction in New York City November 19 Features Historic Ferrari N.A.R.T. Daytona

Photo: Keno Brothers

Photo: Keno Brothers

New York, N.Y. – Over the past 40 years, Leigh and Leslie Keno have gained world-wide acclaim for their passion for beautiful design, exquisite craftsmanship and impeccable provenance. Now, after a lifetime of maintaining a private passion for fine automobiles, the Keno Brothers are bringing their wealth of expertise in classic automobiles and extensive experience in the auction industry to establish Keno Brothers Fine Automobile Auctions. Their inaugural event, Rolling Sculpture, will take place during the heart of the New York art auction season on November 18-19, 2015, at Skylight Clarkson Sq. in Soho, New York City. Within this uniquely suited space Keno Brothers Fine Automobile Auctions will create a multi-sensory experience highlighting the beauty of each lot, while also bringing to life the history of each automobile – starting with one of the most important N.A.R.T. (North American Racing Team) Ferraris.

The 1971 Ferrari N.A.R.T. Daytona racing at LeMans (Photo 24h-lemans.com)

The 1971 Ferrari N.A.R.T. Daytona racing at LeMans (Photo 24h-lemans.com)

Just as some of the greatest masterpieces of art were produced in Italy, so were some of the most magnificent automobiles. The Italian marque, Ferrari is synonymous with beauty, style and speed, and recognized worldwide for its uncompromising legacy of victory on the racetrack. Epitomizing the Keno Brothers’ vision to offer important automobiles with unique provenance, a singular, storied Ferrari is amongst the first of the sale’s offerings to be announced.

The 1971 Ferrari N.A.R.T. Daytona 365 GTB/4 Daytona, chassis number 12467, is among the most historic of Ferrari’s North American Racing Team and will be one of the stars of the Keno auction. Modified for competition from a standard V12 road car, its first major race was the 1971 24 Hours of Le Mans, where it astounded the crowd by finishing fifth overall, behind only the purpose-built and much more-powerful WSC prototypes, with drivers Bob Grossman and Luigi Chinetti Jr. The Daytona came in eight laps ahead of the GT cars against which it would be classified in the future. The Ferrari, which heralded a number of factory-prepped Daytona Competiziones, has a pre-auction estimated value of $4.9 million to $5.9 million.

“Our goal as a company is to channel the trust, integrity and knowledge that we have built throughout our entire lives into every aspect of this new auction house,” said Leslie Keno, Co-CEO and Founder of Keno Brothers. “Our inaugural sale will offer a unique selection of 45 of the most highly coveted vehicles from around the world. Whether a racecar– purposefully built to go extremely fast or a touring car, designed with fanciful curves and sensual lines, each offering has a distinct story to tell.”
“It’s automobiles like these that are carefully curated to present some of the greatest achievements in automotive history,” said Co-Founder Leslie Keno. “Each car is extraordinary and will be elegantly displayed so that its history, styling and special attributes can be appreciated within its unique historical context.”

“We apply the same criteria and principles to motor cars that we use to evaluate works of art—line, proportion, design, originality and provenance,” Co-Founder Leigh Keno commented. “In addition to assessment and essays by the top experts in a particular make and marque, we will provide deep information on each car that makes transactions more transparent, reduces trading friction and makes the learning curve less steep for new collectors and sellers, including heirs.”

Leigh Keno with his Jaguar SS 100 (Photo Jim Motavalli, New York Times)

Leigh Keno with his Jaguar SS 100 (Photo Jim Motavalli, New York Times)

The Keno brothers are applying the same evaluation techniques and scientific technology used in the art and antiques world to the classic car world, in an effort to raise the standard by which cars are assessed and represented.

“When a potential buyer is considering acquiring a work of art by Alexander Calder, Andy Warhol or an exceptional automobile by Ferrari or Bugatti, there should be no “guesswork”, said Leslie Keno. “Many of the technologies we’ve used in the fine art and furniture world will assist us in distinguishing the true condition of these automobiles more accurately than ever before.”

For example, when appropriate, scientists will apply a variety of x-ray analytical technologies used in the art world in order to take the guesswork out of the purchase, allowing potential buyers to bid with confidence.

While car collectors will have the chance to bid on these automobiles during the live event, bidders will also be able to participate online in real-time, thanks to proprietary new software. Developed by Chief Operating Officer and Co-Founder Bradley R. Farrell, this software collects automobile data in new ways, making the rarity and quality of a given automobile easier to understand and giving potential bidders a more informed purchasing experience.

Previously, Bradley Farrell oversaw his own digital marketing and technology company, responsible for creating experiences for companies that included Citrix and Cisco Systems’ global marketing teams.

For further information on Keno Brothers Fine Automobile Auctions, visit KenoBrothers.com.

Source: Sports Car Digest and Keno Brothers Auctions

Photo prnewswire.com

Photo prnewswire.com

19 Aug

1968 Concept Car Exemplar I Developed in Connecticut by Bridgeport Brass Co.

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Bridgeport, CT – Designed by Mario Revelli, a leading automotive designer in the day, and built by Coggiola Carrozziere as a prototype in Turin, Italy, Exemplar I was commissioned by the Bridgeport Brass Company in cooperation with the Copper Development Association. The car’s purpose was to present engineering innovations for greater safety, comfort and performance and to demonstrate new decorative applications for copper and bronze.

A contemporary article in the April 26, 1968 issue of The Chicago Tribune by John McDonnell described the car as follows:

Brass Copper Used to Trim Exemplar I; Prototype Auto’s an Engineer’s Dream
“Exemplar I is a prototype car designed to show how brass and copper can be just as effective for decorative trim as chrome and stainless steel. But it is much more than that, as visitors at the Design Engineers Show in the International Amphitheater (in Chicago) found out this week. Exemplar I is an engineer’s dream. In addition to its racy styling by Italian Mario Revelli, the sleek auto contains many new features that may someday be found on production cars. From road to roof, Exemplar I shows what can be done with a Buick Riviera chassis and engine when cost is no object.

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“Consider these Special Features:

  1. Dual-chamber wide oval tires by Firestone. Dual chambers aren’t new, but their application in wide ovals is. Executives of the Copper Development Association say that Firestone will come out with these treads soon; when the outer chamber goes flat, the inner chamber holds enough air to keep the tire going.
  2. A “wall-to-wall” tail light system that includes a bank of green lights in the center. These are used to signal following motorists that it is safe to pass.
  3. A large rear window on the fastback that has ceramic filaments that heat the glass to remove ice and snow. Designed by PPG Industries, similar windows are now offered as optional equipment on some European cars.
  4. Tinted glass roof panels that give the effect of a convertible.
  5. Power operated seats that include built-in adjustable head rests and independently adjustable seat backs. The rear seats in the four passenger car also have adjustable backs.
  6. Twin radiators – one for engine cooling and the other for air conditioning. Mounted in the front corners of the engine compartment, they allow greater styling freedom and permit the spare tire to be stored between them for more front-end impact resistance.

“And of course, there is a generous use of copper and copper alloy, 150 pounds in all. Bumpers, side moldings, wheels, interior trim and several components under the hood are all made of brushed or shiny copper and copper alloys.

By comparison, today’s (1968) production cars contain only 35 pounds of copper. Except for the Chrysler Imperial, which uses copper in some interior trim applications, the metal is used in functional uses such as radiator tubing, small electric motors etc.

The copper industry hopes to get Detroit to use copper in many more applications. They showed the car to designers at Ford and Chrysler and got very favorable reaction, they said.

The car is owned by Bridgeport Brass Company.”

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A brochure for the car listed mechanical specifications as follows:
Engine: V-8, 430 cubic inch displacement, 360 hp at 5,000 rpm – torque 475 at 3200 rpm, compression ratio – 10.25 to 1, 4-barrel carburetion using premium fuel
Transmission: Automatic with floor-mounted console shift
Rear Axle Ratio: 3.42 – positive traction differential. Heavy-duty suspension, both front and rear…power steering
Exemplar’s Exterior Dimensions:
Overall Length…216.5 inches
Overall Width…82.0 inches
Tread…Front 63.4 inches – Rear 67.0 inches
Height…53.4 inches

Flash forward to 2015:
The actual car was put in storage for many years by the former President of Bridgeport Brass, and when heirs threatened to sell the car for scrap in 1995, the brothers Manny and George Dragone, owners of Dragone Classics stepped in to save this rare and historically significant automobile. Unfortunately a sister car, Exemplar II built on an Olds Toronado chassis did not escape the crusher so Exemplar I remains one-of-one in existence.
With the rise in collectors’ interest in rare one-off concept cars in recent years, the brothers decided to restore the car to its original glory. Currently the restoration is underway at the Dragone restoration shops in Bridgeport and the car will be the featured vehicle at the Fall Auction at Dragone Classics’ showroom in Westport, CT on Saturday, October 17th along with dozens of other rare classics. Potential bidders can register to bid at www.dragoneclassics.com Bidder registration includes a print catalog, admission to the auction for two people, open bar and dinner for you and your guest and two reserved seats subject to availability.

Courtesy: Dragone Classic Motorcars