Featured Car of the Month

This delicious Emerald Green 1931 Ford Model “A” owned and 80% built by Lance Marguson from Beavercreek, Oregon.

Believe it or not this gorgeous ride started out as a Model “A” Pick Up when Lance decided he might get more use out of a Roadster, so off came the P.U. Body and on came the Roadster in about fifty pieces later and over a thirty year build time. Both Lance and his wife Sandee were educators in the Oregon City school system for over thirty years and there wasn’t a lot of spare time dedicated to building Boy Toy’s.  This ’31 Roadster takes on the look of a Model “B” as Lance liked the clean lines of the ’32 grill shell over the ‘31 Model “A”.

For power she sports a 350 Chev. w/Mallory Ignition, a turbo 350 tranny and a 55 Chev Rear-End narrowed. He’s running 750/15’s on the rear and 195/14’s up front with a super set of Wheels on all four corners. Fantastic leather interior stitched to perfection by Darrell’s Upholstery, with special thanks going to Don Lowe and A&M Deluxe Customs for their input on the finished look.  We at R&R NW Publications are proud to select this 1931 Ford Model “A” Roadster as our Featured Car of the Month April 2015.

Legends & ’68 Camaros

Ya gotta admire the guys that set the trends rather than just following along. The fearless “free thinkers”. The guys that march to a different tune. The guys that really don’t give a damn what anyone else thinks. Smokey Yunick and Duff Burgess were two guys like that. Yunick you may have heard of, Burgess is my best friend Drew’s older brother. Both became legends among their peers. Oh, and both built race cars out of ’68 Camaros.

Yunick survived fifty plus raids piloting a B-17 in World War II. After coming home he set up shop in Daytona Beach Florida where a fledgling racing club called NASCAR was just getting started. His first winner was a Hudson Hornet but it didn’t take long to draw the attention of the big wigs from Chevrolet. When the small block V-8 was introduced in 1955, Yunick was in charge of research and development. His race cars were always competitive. Over the years Yunick became better known for his ingenuity (and creative interpretation of the rulebook) than winning races. Some of the stories about his escapades became part of racing folklore. The most famous of which involves a rigorous inspection wherein the officials required Yunick to remove his racecar’s fuel cell. Certain that the car was somehow carrying more than the legal amount, the tank was confiscated pending further inspection. Outraged, Yunick reportedly jumped into his racer, fired it and drove off, leaving the officials gas tank in hand. Another tale involved a 1966 Chevelle that supposedly was constructed at 7/8 scale. It turns out that Yunick had moved the body back on the chassis to improve the center of gravity and for that reason, it failed to fit NASCAR’s template.

It is known that Yunick was provided with at least three ’67-’68 Camaros from the factory to rebuild as racecars, only one of those cars exists today. That car was stripped to the bare bones and rebuilt on a rotisserie so that Yunick could get at it from any angle. The body panels were all acid dipped to reduce weight. The windshield was laid back and composed of a thinner safety glass. All bolt-on components were either shaved down or rebuilt in lighter versions. Knowing that he couldn’t get away with altering the stock engine location, Yunick instead Z-cut and lowered the chassis around the motor giving the Camaro the lowest profile possible. As sleek and slippery as the finished racer looked, it was just as aerodynamic underneath.
Yunick set off for Bonneville but when he heard that the factory Cougar team was testing at Riverside (CA), he couldn’t resist taking a detour. With slicks mounted all around and Indy car driver Lloyd Ruby at the controls, the Camaro promptly shattered the track record. Yunick loaded back up and continued on to Utah leaving the Mercury boys in an uproar.

 At Bonneville the car broke several FIA records but Yunick refused to dumb it down enough to pass road race tech. The Camaro was sold to fellow racer Don Yenko who made the required changes and won races in the car including the Daytona GT race in 1969. The car remained a competitive SCCA club racer (still in Yenko’s stable) for another ten years until it was literally falling apart. A decade after that, historian David Tom found the Camaro and restored it to its former glory. Today the Edelbrock family owns and races the car in vintage events throughout the country.

Looking back, Duff Burgess wondered if he’d had A.D.D. as a kid (“hyperactivity” they called it in my day). I’d known him as long as I’d known Drew and we’d struck up a friendship in kindergarten. I don’t remember anything unusual about Duff’s behavior. In fact in my opinion, Duff was cool. He was upbeat and funny. He was always goin’ but it wasn’t “willy-nilly”, Duff always had a plan. If we were drawing, he might sit down and draw with us. Or he might plop down in front of the upright piano and hammer out a little boogie woogie. Usually though, he was building something. I was a night owl but there were nights when I could hear Duff in the next room toiling away into the wee hours.

 Drew and I were H.O. slot car nuts and one morning Duff emerged from his bedroom, his latest creation cupped in his hand. It was a Camaro stripped of all chrome and windows and painted a deep metallic purple. The most impressive feature was its rake- nose to the ground, tail way up. On the rear were mounted the largest sponge slicks I’d ever seen…Ever. Like, wrong scale to be honest but when you’re twelve years old, you don’t argue. Duff casually planted the well lubricated machine on the track and grabbed a pistol gripped controller. What Drew and I witnessed next was unprecedented. Whereas our best racers skittered around the track, chattering like little locomotives, Duff’s Camaro flat git! Effortlessly, almost silently, it glided. It was easily the fastest slot car we’d ever seen. Duff laid down a couple quick ones then put down the controller.

Drew and I were just coming to grips with the reality that we were never going to win a race again…when fate intervened. As he plucked the oily Camaro from the track, it slipped from his fingertips and did a full gainer into a poorly placed bowl of decal water.
Turns out, Drew and I had nothing to worry about because the Camaro never ran again. In all likelihood it was taken back to the bedroom and disassembled and Duff moved on to something else. Why wouldn’t he? He had nothing more to prove. Like Yunick at Riverside, he’d shown us who was fastest without even racing us. That’s how legends roll…

1960 Rolls Royce Hot Rod

Remember the story we did on the big block Rolls, build-in-progress some time back? Well, it’s down on all fours now, it runs, goes, steers and stops. But there is no place to sit, unless you count the up-turned 5 gal bucket and the floor. Now it is going to Ross’s Upholstery, 514 S. McLoughlin Blvd., Oregon City, awaiting it’s new interior install. Look for another feature on this one later.

2015 Winter Rod & Speed Show

Dell Bartolome's 1956 Chevy PU

Dell Bartolome’s 1956 Chevy PU


This show is billed as the “First car show of the Year” and it has happened the first weekend in January for a while now, at the fairgrounds in Albany. It’s a one day show and it draws a lot of really neat cars from around the area. This year’s show was dedicated to Mike Vogler, the founder of the car club, The American Street Masters and lifetime car guy. He passed away in November 2014. Mark your calendar to plan to attend next years’ Winter Rod and Speed Show.


The Vanishing ’26 Ford Model “T” Coupe

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The year is 1959. Oh Yes! The summer of ’59. It was hot like a waffle iron, no matter where or what you touched it was hotttt!

I finally got the model “T” running pretty good, at least you didn’t have to push it to get it started now. A flywheel with some teeth in it helped a lot and a rebuilt starter didn’t hurt either. Thanks to Mr. Schmedding at the gas station for all his help on the “T” plus he gave me a part time job pumping gas. Wow! Pumping gas back in 1959 was like being a “Rebel with a Cause” . . . ’cause those super hot days and nights in the Spokane Valley were about the time those male designers of female fashions introduced the infamous mini skirts and mini shorts.

I’m telling you up front there was not a car that left our gas station that didn’t get the oil checked, the radiator checked, even the water in the battery was topped off under that hood.  Plus all windows were washed at least once inside and out for all female customers. Oh baby the view from that windshield area in those days was almost too much for any red-blooded American boy to handle. But getting back to the vanishing Model “T” update, in those days it was not uncommon to be working two or even three part time jobs. So on the nights I wasn’t pumping gas and falling in love, I was parking cars at the country club out at old Liberty Lake and my third job was helping out at Mom’s CV Diner.

On this given night I was parking cars and as the midnight hour approached my old buddy Donn M. who also worked part time at the country club,  suggested we should take a little break from all this work and stop and have an A&W root beer at the new stand on Sprague Avenue as it was somewhat on our way home. Now Mr. M drove the sweetest little 1930 Chrysler Coupe with a smooth running 4 cyl. for power with three on the floor, that to my surprise got up and turned some numbers. So you guessed it the bet was on.
The loser buys the A & W root beer…

I’m not sure just how fast that stock MoPar and that not so stock Model “T” were moving in a MPH gauge but the competition was getting a little heated. At first I thought my little Flathead V-8 was kinda playing with that straight 4 banger but as things progressed that little MoPar was holding its own and maybe Mr. M was kinda playin’ with us. We had reached Sprague Avenue in Greenacres and we were still bumper to bumper with only about two miles to go to the A&W root beer stand, but for all intensive purposes nobody would be buying root beer on this night as we just flew by a Spokane County Sheriff’s vehicle. We both saw him and were sure he saw us as he turned the red lights on and was in the process of turning around when Donn yelled at me to head to the Albertson’s parking lot and pick him up.

Now Donn turned his lights off and was driving pretty much by feel, and it looked like he might have done this before so I followed his lead and went dark also, getting as close as I could to that old Chrysler. He pulled in and parked just like he owned the place and jumped out of his ride and into mine and we headed right back the same direction with the lights on this time, and it came to pass that driving a 33 year old car might come in handy on this given night as we were just about three blocks from old Mackeys Used Cars and Auto Repair shop. Now using the description used cars might have been abusing the english language a bit as one would have thought to imply used cars, that at least one of them on the lot would have to actually start, but not once in all the years I tried to buy a car in there, not once did they ever actually run.

He had cars and trucks that were from twenty five to forty years old and priced accordingly. $25 to $500 each, you pick it and then they fix it. Just about this time that same Spokane County Sheriff’s car goes by heading towards Albertsons. Well he spotted me about the time I spotted him, but before he could get those red lights on and turned around I was at Mackeys’ and boy the old Model “T” fit right in amongst those oldies. I, of course turned off the lights and headed around back where he had twenty or thirty old beater cars and trucks of all makes. It looked like these may have been the parts cars for all those repairs needed to be done on the cars in the front row.

Well I pulled right back there between a couple of trucks and an old John Deere tractor and ran right over those two to three foot long weeds that were growing up and it appeared the old Model “T” Ford had been there forever.  Donn and I crouched way down in those Model ”T” seats and didn’t move a muscle. Now that excellent Spokane County Sheriff Deputy should have gotten a medal for endurance as he sat out there in his patrol car spotlighting every car on that lot as I’m sure he knew we were in there he just couldn’t find us. He gave us the better part of an hour and then drove off. We left the car there and headed on foot to the A&W for one of the best Root-Beer Floats of all time.  It was the summer of 1959 and we truly made the ‘26 Ford Model “T” Coupe Vanish amongst some of the best of them for a little while in the Cops mind anyway. Oh Ya!  As I recall we went Dutch on the Root-Beer Floats that Night.

P S: The year is now 2015 and the old 1926 Ford Model “T” Coupe just had another Birthday recently and is not looking too bad for a cool 89 years old.  We have created quite a friendship these past 58 years and as you can see she wears a Fresh Moderately New Candy Midnight Blue Paint Job with some High Dollar Class.  The question is why didn’t you hold on to that first car you bought way back then??? I guess it must have vanished with all the rest of those neat boy toys you use to have. Woulda!  Coulda!  Shoulda!

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Lost, but Found!

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If you have ever “lost” something you’ll know what I’m talking about.  I parked my pickup in the driveway one night and didn’t go out again until the morning.  As I walked out to where I thought I had parked my truck I became confused, it wasn’t where I thought I left it.  I turned and looked around at other places I sometimes left it but no, it wasn’t parked elsewhere either.  I stopped and thought for a few seconds. . . what had I done, did I drive something else and forget?

One day I came home from somewhere and as I was parking my car I noticed the front door of my house was ajar.  It wasn’t closed.  I hadn’t been gone a long time, had I forgotten to close it completely?  In both of these incidences, as reality started to set in, I began to be overcome with a sinking feeling, a very scary vulnerable feeling.  I was at first confused, then in denial, then angry, then afraid, “What if the burglar is still here?”  “What if I never get my truck back?”  I didn’t like what was going on nor did I like being victimized.

In March 1970 Rick White went to Westway Chrysler-Plymouth Inc. in Beaverton, Oregon to order his new car.  He didn’t pick one off the lot he wanted it equipped the way ‘he’ wanted it, he wanted it to be special. What he ordered was a 1970 Plymouth, Barracuda or ‘Cuda.  This car was to have a 440 cubic inch engine with three 2 barrel carburetors, a “Super track Pak package, a 4 speed transmission with a Hurst shifter, a console, a Dana 60 posi-traction rear end.  Spoked road wheels, a Shaker hood package, a full lighting group etc.  It was just the way Rick wanted it.  The car arrived at the dealership in April 1970 and Rick picked it up.

Over the years he met and married Jackie, started a family, worked in the construction business and as a family and with a partner they drove and raced the ‘Cuda at PIR and Woodburn Drag Strips.  When the expense of racing got too much for him the car was stored many years until it was retro-fitted back to its stock configuration so it could be driven on the street.  Rick registered the ‘Cuda in his and his sons name because he never intended to sell it, it was always going to remain in the family.

On April 18th 2001 Rick experienced that sinking feeling I described above when he discovered the garage door where the car was stored had been extensively damage and the ‘Cuda was GONE!  Unfortunately Rick did not have the car insured for theft because it was safely tucked away out of sight in a garage.  They reported it stolen, ran ads offering rewards, passed out flyers, literally went looking for the car but it had completely vanished.  His beloved Factory Ordered, one owner Muscle car was apparently gone forever.  Years passed with nothing surfacing on the ‘Cuda.

Fast forward to June 14, 2014 they receive a letter from a lien company saying a local towing/storage company was going to hold lien auction for one Plymouth ‘Cuda for accumulated storage fees amounting to four thousand plus dollars.  Rick and Jackie received the lien auction notice because the registration was apparently still in the glove box where Rick had put it years before and it had his name and address on it.  This was their missing/stolen 1970 Plymouth ‘ Cuda.  Missing for more than 13 years.  Very odd.  Where had it been for all those years?

Rick contacted the lien company who told Rick the name of the local towing company that had the car.  Rick call the towing company and was told yes the car was there, yes it was in pretty fair shape and together with towing company representative confirmed the license number and descriptive information via the phone.  Rick informed the towing company that it was his car, and that it was stolen, and that he, Rick had the title and file full of proof it was his car.  Rick told them not to do anything with the car that he was going to contact the police and send them there to see about the car.  Rick called the police and an officer responded to his house to verify the paperwork and proof of ownership of the car.  Rick showed them the title, original order forms, keys etc.  The officer called the towing company only hours after Rick had talked to them and was informed that the storage fees had been paid and the towing company had delivered the car to the man that had paid the fees.  The officer got the contact info for that person and called him saying he was coming to see the car and was he going to cooperate.  The policeman was told ‘Yes’ the man who had the car now, would cooperate.

From this point onward the story takes many turns.  KATU Channel 2’s Kerry Tomlinson picked up the story and did several prime time news reports on what had transpired.  If you go to their web site you can learn more.  (Visit www.katu.com/news/problemsolvers/ and search White’s Cuda Story for more info.)   Lars Larson from KXL Radio, here in Portland picked up the story, talked to the man who had the car on his live radio program, asking qu-estions like “Where and when did you get the car?”  “Did you get the title?” “The car was reported stolen, twice.”  “Shouldn’t you give him his car back?”

The police said the statute of limitations had expired on the original stolen car report so Rick filed a new stolen car report hoping the police would be able to impound the car.  As time always does, it marched on and the car didn’t get it impounded until July and when they went to pick it up it was completely dismantled.  Many of the parts were “missing,” They got some of the parts back over time but it took quite a bit of time.  Some parts are specific to this model as originally built and many of those parts remain missing.  Because they are specific they are rare, hard to find and very expensive.
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Rick finally got the car and parts back from the sheriff’s impound on November 14, 2014, 13 years, 210 days after it first vanished.  Because the story had received wide spread coverage, a number of people locally and worldwide had gotten involved sending money, volunteering to help with the reassembly of the ‘Cuda.  Mopar/restoration experts stepped up to help the Whites, who are now retired and simply can’t afford the cost of repair and reassembly of the car.

Dave Lentz spear headed the rebuild which began on November 15th when he picked it up on his old “Rat Roddish” tow truck.  Rod Hardison and Dave co-directed the rebuild with the help of Chris Border and Dan Wendland making up the mechanical crew.  Other Technical assistance was provided by Steve Canton, Randy Emery-Bad Boy Toys, (@13635 SE Division, Portland, OR. 503-477-4347) Ralph Albrich, and Sean Machado.  Parts and services were donated by:

Get Bent Mandrel Bending, 10315 SE Highway 212, Clackamas, OR. 503-607-0443
Finishline Coatings, 2889 SE Silversprings Rd. Portland, OR. 503-659-4278
Parts-Mike Parker
Totally Auto-Shaker paint
Advanced Letterpress-Bill Washburn
Craig & Brenda Satalick
Gene Prein

Other Donations; George Denson, Dyre Vaa, David Annin, Vitamins N Things, Bob Land, Christopher Okeefe, Steve Canton, Robert Rice, Tom Nolen, John Lindback, Timothy Hatley-Smith, Scott Luinshi, Kenneth Mutschink, Angela & Ken Jones, Charlie Keel, Michael, Foster, Michael Brinkman, Kirsten Miller, Dave Pilcher, Mike Spooner, Mike Boyce, Mike Foster, Bill Brown, Gary Wade, Jeff Currie, Reed Herring, Stan Ochs, Rian Hamby, Dan Osborne and Bruce Gibson.

These kind and generous folks rebuilt/reassembled the White’s ‘Cuda and it runs, drives, and sits at home in their garage because of their generosity.  The White Family thanks all of those involved for their time, work and aid in the ‘Cuda Project.

Mandrel bent exhaust by GBE Mandrel Bending

Mandrel bent exhaust by GBE Mandrel Bending

Local Favor

bardahl

If you’re a motorhead and you’ve lived in the Pacific Northwest for any length of time, you’ve undoubtedly heard of Bardahl.

Founded in Seattle in 1939 by a Norwegian immigrant, Ole Bardahl’s line of engine additives became world renown by the early 1950’s due in large part to racing sponsorships. Looking back, an unlimited hydroplane christened “Miss Bardahl” was likely the most famous of the racers to fly the company colors but there were literally hundreds of others. Bardahl sponsored competitors at Indianapolis beginning in 1950. As sports car racing grew in popularity, Bardahl saw the value in supporting those competitors as well and the drag racing crowd wasn’t far behind. Midget auto racing became hugely popular after World War II and Clark “Shorty” Templeman was a Northwestern superstar. After arriving on the scene in 1954, Templeman made “short work” of his competition and quickly rose to pinnacle of his division. He is best remembered for his many victories in Bardahl sponsored cars- some painted in a split emerald green and black livery (like the early cans) or a brilliant yellow. Ultimately Templeman won five Washington state Midget titles and another three in Oregon. Proving this was no fluke, he then joined the USAC National Tour and won three consecutive championships in 1956, ’57 and ’58. Once he became a known commodity, Templeman transitioned easily to the larger, more powerful “Big Cars”. He drove in five Indianapolis 500’s scoring a career best finish of fourth in 1961. Interestingly in all of his appearances at the Speedway, Templeman never drove for Bardahl. Sadly, he met his demise in a Midget race in Marion County, Ohio in the summer of 1962.

Ole Bardahl clearly enjoyed the exposure the “Greatest Spectacle in Racing” provided his growing line of automotive additives and continued to sponsor racers there for the next twenty years. Typically the Bardahl entries were painted black but there were exceptions. In 1969 Bobby Unser qualified and finished third in a striking yellow and black checkerboard Bardahl Special. Along with the obvious benefit of promoting your product at a venue of this magnitude, Ole Bardahl used Indianapolis as an opportunity to network with other automotive professionals from all over the world. In the early 1950’s he forged relationships with people like Enzo Ferrari (even sponsored his entries) and Argentine world driving champion, Juan Fangio. It is no coincidence that eventually Bardahl opened manufacturing plants in Italy and Argentina as well as in France, Belgium and Brazil. Curiously, the Bardahl brand today maintains very low profile here in Pacific Northwest where it originated. Much of what is bottled in Seattle is shipped to Central and South America. In 2015 sales of Bardahl products in foreign countries far exceed what is sold domestically. 

1969 WMRA Champion Kenny Petersen drove the Power Punch midget at Tacoma. He is flanked by Bill Siedelman, Tom Glithero and Bob Halmer.

1969 WMRA Champion Kenny Petersen drove the Power Punch midget at Tacoma. He is flanked by Bill Siedelman, Tom Glithero and Bob Halmer.

A contemporary of Bardahl’s (and fellow Seattleite) was a bathroom chemist named Clinton Morey. In 1952 Morey invented a thick, honey-like oil supplement he called Power Punch. Morey wasn’t one to spend much money on advertising or sponsorships but he made a good product and it sold readily. A network of wagon peddlers was established and eventually Power Punch was being sold by route salespeople throughout Washington, Oregon, Idaho and down into Northern California and Nevada. Third generation owner Peter Morey was a boat guy and spent a good chunk of change sponsoring race boats like Bardahl had before him. As far as “wheeled billboards” were concerned, Morey’s preference was drag racing so the few sponsorship dollars he dealt out, went in that direction. The one exception to this rule was Bremerton short tracker Craig Moore who has beat the drum (and the competition) on behalf of Power Punch these past couple of seasons in the Modified ranks.

When shown a photo of the “Power Punch Offy” taken in the late sixties, Morey was puzzled and had no recollection of the car whatsoever. He suggested that the sponsorship was between one of his former wagon peddlers and the car owner- not the factory. Likely, the sponsorship was for free product rather than cash. Regardless, the relationship was short lived.
A bigger mystery was the “Dexson Special” which made its appearance at Northwestern racing venues in the early 1950’s. McClure Distributing Company of Portland produced a fuel additive for passenger cars and chose to promote their product by painting Bud Kinnamin’s Midget to match their retail can. Though the violet and gold livery was distinctive, it didn’t stand out on the racetrack (especially at night) and the Offy didn’t maintain those colors for long.

Unlike Bardahl and Power Punch, Dexson is no longer in business so all that remains are a few old photographs and the cans themselves. Portlander Delbert McClure who owns short track race cars to this day, denies knowing anything about the McClure that spearheaded this ill-fated endeavor.

Forest Grove's Palmer Crowell displays a trophy won in the Dexson Offy.

Forest Grove’s Palmer Crowell displays a trophy won in the Dexson Offy.

 

Feature Car of the Month

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“Classic Old School” 1956 “T” Bird Owners Janet and Larry Lundbom

This candy apple red Bird has quite a history. It seems that Janet Lester’s Dad Harry, first owned the car and Janet drove this little beauty, which was pretty much stock back then, to Centennial High School in 1965 & 66. The big transition her dad made to the car was, he had a deep diamond tucked leather interior added to the seats, dash and to the stock Ford continental kit out back.
Larry and Janet met in 1967 and one common interest was both of their dads loved older Ford classic “T” Birds. Later when Janet’s father decided to sell his ‘56 Larry turned his dad onto this cool Bird that was for sale and Wally added it to his collection.

The car was originally Ford “T” Bird Red and Wally decided to turn it into the Candy Apple creation that you see today. The Candy Apple exterior, complete with the highlighted dark lace scallops really compliment the Deep Diamond Tucked Interior that Janet’s Dad had done 10 years earlier.
The sweetness of the story is Larry and Janet Lundbom still own the car, after all these years, that both of their fathers played a role in making this the super classic show car that it still is today. We at R&R NW Publication are proud to make this our March 2015 Featured Car of the Month. Thanks to the memory of both Wally Lundbom and Harry Lester for their individual contributions to this classic automotive creation.

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Auction Central

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Just about any day is a good day to go check out special interest cars, restored antiques, muscle cars, hot rods etc.  But in the Northwest January often tends to be a little wet and cold and most of those types of cars are snuggled in their respective garages away from that bad weather and out of site.

There are also a number of us old timers that are, what is referred to as, “Snowbirds.”  During the winter months up north the Snowbirds head south to warmer climes, often Arizona.  January in Arizona is just about perfect with regard to the weather.  Usually in the 60’s or 70’s with warm sunshine and blue skies, Arizona offers us a great place to go thaw out, as it were.

January in Arizona has become a destination for car nuts too.  I don’t really know what started it all but my guess is Barrett Jackson created that gravitational pull that draws car guys and gals in from all over the world.  And, as it turns out 5 other auction companies hold their own auctions in the Phoenix area in January as well.  Barrett Jackson is of course televised, semi-live and I’m certain a lot of you watched the coverage on Velocity and The History Channel this year.  I usually watch some of it myself.  This year I talked myself into flying to Phoenix to “cover” the auction scene in person so I could get first hand exposure to what appears on television to be the best and largest car show ever.  It didn’t disappoint either.

Barrett Jackson has a reputation of only selling the best of the best.  This year, long time collector, Ron Pratt was essentially liquidating his “best of the best” collection, many of which were purchased over the years at previous Barrett Jackson Auctions, as we have witnessed if we watched during those years.  Ron’s collection included many ‘one only’ cars, trucks etc. that were purchased for millions and as you probably already know sold for millions this January.  He also had an extensive collection of “Automobilia,” like dealership signs, old gas pumps etc. all in as new condition.  The auction was attended by many collectors that jumped at the chance to get some of that memorabilia and totals exceeding 6.5 million dollars’ worth changed hands, not all of it was Mr. Pratt’s, but you get the idea.  I was completely intimidated by the bids I witnessed when those collectables were crossing the block.  Signs selling for twice as much as I paid for my first house and they weren’t even big signs. This auction was extended five days to accommodate the Pratt Collection.  98% of the cars and memorabilia crossed the block at NO reserve and this year’s sales set a record at $130+ million in sales for Barrett Jackson alone.  See what I mean about intimidation?  That’s an amazing amount of money! See their website barrett-jackson.com to learn more.

Ron Pratt's Parade for Progress. Sold for charity, $4 million.

Ron Pratt’s Parade for Progress. Sold for charity, $4 million.

Locally, Mark Young’s, Northwest House of Hardtops, who has a reputation for only selling “the best of the best” Muscle cars and Corvettes, took some fabulous cars to Scottsdale for the Barrett Jackson Auction.  Most ran through at “no reserve.”  When Mark was telling me about the cars he was taking he mentioned the “no reserve” part.  That raised my eyebrows and I emphasized that that was pretty brave but they all sold through but one, the “Bunkie Knudsen,” 1963 Corvette, that did have a reserve, which wasn’t met.  The rest drew respectable prices because of his rep and Barrett Jackson’s rep, everybody seems assured that these cars were in fact nearly perfect and worth the price.  Mark also bought some cars there and when we were talking about his cars he mentioned that “… if you stand around long enough you’re bound to find a ‘sleeper,’ you just hope it isn’t one of yours.”  Meaning of course that there are deals to be had even at Barrett Jackson.   One things for sure, with 1620 plus cars and trucks, it’s probably the biggest car show in the world and the majority of them are beautifully restored or built and in nearly perfect condition.   nwhouseofhardtops.com

Russo and Steele were also in Scottsdale.  They offered 628 cars for sale, sold 65% of them for a total sell through of nearly $19 million.  The highest selling car was a 1968 L88 Corvette Convertible which sold for $687,500.00.  The least expensive car sold for $4675.00, it was a 1978 Triumph Spitfire 1500 Convertible.

We looked at every car they were offering and we were impressed with the overall level of quality at the Russo & Steele auction.  My observation of their people working on the block was very favorable.  They were very good at what they do.  I’d recommend a Russo & Steele auction to anyone searching for a collector car. Check out russoandsteele.com for more info.

1956 Jaguar XK-140 SE Roadster. Sold $115,500.

1956 Jaguar XK-140 SE Roadster. Sold $115,500.

I’d bet some of you have seen Gooding and Company Auctions on television.  Wayne Carrini with Chasing Classic Cars attends their auctions both as a seller and a buyer. They offer many of the higher end cars that sell in the millions quite often.  Their total sales were $51,516,600.00 with the 10% premium included.  Many of the 162 “lots” sold were Ferraris’, Porsches’, Alfa Romeos’, Jaguars’, Mercedes-Benzs’, Maseratis’ even Volkswagens.  An Aston Martin DB4 Series II, that was a one family owned, left hand drive, unrestored that frankly looked like it had seen better days, and sold for $462,000.00, with the premium.  There was one Camaro, two Corvettes, one Mustang, one 1933 Ford Traditional Hot Rod Roadster, one Crown Victoria, and a few other American Marques, but if you were looking for a large variety of American cars you didn’t find it at Gooding & Company.  What you did find was some absolutely fabulous European make collector cars. goodingco.com for more info.

RM Auctions, a Canadian Classic/Collectable car auction company was in Phoenix this past January as well.  RM Auctions is another company that attracts the million and multimillion dollar cars to its auctions.  Their auction in Phoenix 2015 was amazing.

They had 165 “Lots” and all but 13 sold.  Some were American Cars but the majority had names like Ferrari, Porsche, Bugatti, Jaguar, Lamborghini, Alfa Romeo, Maserati, Aston Martin, Mercedes, Bentley and more.  The numbers were staggering to a poor old retired guy like me.  RM apparently doesn’t publish a total sales number for their auctions but judging from the “sold” list I’d say it’s safe to say the number was enormous.  Seventeen cars sold in the seven figure range with the top seller being a 1964 Ferrari 250 LM by Scaglietti for $9,625,000.00.  That name just sounds expensive doesn’t it?  I’d try to add up the totals for you but I don’t have a calculator that goes that high, seriously!  There were only 22 cars that sold for under $100,000.00 and some of those not that far under.  The least expensive sale was for $16,500.00 of which there were two at that price and one was a motorcycle.  RM Auctions sold some fantastic investment quality cars in Arizona 2015.  Visit rmauctions.com to learn more.

Silver Auction Company based in Spokane Washington was in town in January too.  They too had a significant number of consignments for their auction.  They don’t publish a consignment count or sell through count that I could find; however, I tallied the “solds” and “still for sales” and came up with a total of 320 lots with 208 sold for a 65% sell through, ESTIMATED.  That seems respectable to me.  Their list ranged from collector, special interest cars to modern 2012 models.

From the looks of the pictures of some of the consignments they had some nice looking collector/special interest cars available and judging from the bids many of the bidders agree with me.  They don’t appear to publish a sales total list either so I can’t tell you what that number is but most of the sale prices shown were right in line with the car values I’m familiar with.  Check out their web site for upcoming auctions. silverauctions.com

Bonham & Butterfield Auction is the last auction I’ll talk about for January 2015.  They too were in Scottsdale with a publicized list of 184 lots.  The first 100 consisted of memorabilia, art, sculptures, pedal cars and the like.  The last 84 lots were cars and trucks with marques from all over the world.  Like some of the other auction companies Bonham’s sold cars worth in the multimillions.  One Ferrari sold for almost nine and half million with the premium.  Those Ferraris really sell for a lot of money.  It’s just a coincidence that I’m writing this story on February 18th which happens to be Enzo Ferraris birthday.  He was born this day in 1898.  Bonham’s website is bonhams.com

If you like cars and nice weather you ought to plan on taking the trip to Phoenix one of these Januarys. In fact, that would be a good bucket lister, don’t you think?

1954 Pontiac Bonneville Special, Motorama concept car. Sold $3,300,000.

1954 Pontiac Bonneville Special, Motorama concept car. Sold $3,300,000.

It’s Quiz Time Again

51_Ford

OK What do you get when you Add 56 + 15 + 51 + 55 ???

If you totaled up to 177 you’re in the money . Now the story goes you never and I underline the word never want to get yourself indebted to a little brother who can call-in that high interest debt payment due at any time. The year is 1956 and I was in my 15th year operating a 51 Ford two door sedan dark mint green in color, Cruzing the Gut on old Sprauge Ave. (Hwy #10) in the beautiful Spokane Valley. We used to call it the land of Opportunity. Well the second thing you never want to do is pay that high interest due debt with the keys to your 51 Ford and your Washington State Driver’s License to your little 15 year old brother. (no operators picture required back in 1956) Now I was a cool kid and could pass for sixteen or even seventeen if needed and because I immolated most everything my two older brothers did , I naturally started shaving at around ten. Needless to say by fifteen I already had a pretty good beard coming in and with my five a clock shadow I convinced Richard to pay up his due debt by letting me use his car just one more time and of course I would be more than careful with his 51 baby!!! His baby was running a fantastic flathead with a three pot intake holding three Stromberg 97’s with progressive linkage and dual-point Mallory ignition. That flathead had the coolest most fantastic sounding pipes of any car at the High School and could really get up and burned some rubber. I of course always brought his Baby home with a full tank of petro and even topped off the oil stick when needed. Well back to Cruzing the Gut some how that crazy green 51 Ford 2 dr coupe must have got that new linkage on the gas peddle stuck as before I knew it she was doing 55mph in a 35mph speed trap zone and there sat one of Washington’s finest on a fancy new Motorcycle and of course he had to turn on the red lights and make a big production out of pulling me over. Well remember when I cautioned you not to pay that debt due with that Drivers License etc. etc. etc. now you know why little brother Bob didn’t get a ticket but big brother Richard got burned big time. The year is 1956 at 15 years of age , operating a delicious 51 Ford, doing a moderate 55mph ….OUCH ! I guess the moral of this story is you just don’t let a ten year old kid start shaving that young !!!