Archive for the ‘Celebrities’ Category

Sport Magazine gave away Corvettes to MVPs- Sorry Pete Rose!

Friday, May 31st, 2013

For years Sport Magazine would choose an MVP for each of the major sports championships and award them with a brand new Corvette. Sandy Koufax, Johnny Unitas and Frank Robinson were among the sports icons who walked away with a snazzy Corvette for their athletic accomplishments. At a time when many athletes worked in the off season to make ends meet winning a $5,000 Corvette was a significant prize.

Strangely, in 1975 Pete Rose was given an AMC Pacer when he was awarded the MVP from Sport. Pete doesn’t look to disappointed about the Pacer, and with a salary of $175,000 he could easily afford any car he wanted but is that the car a big shot athlete wants to bee seen driving around in?

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johnny-unitasJohnny Unitas with his 1960 Corvette

U1091822Johnny Podres with his 1955 Corvette

sandy-koufaxSandy Koufax with his 1964 Corvette

U1587517-2Frank Robinson with his 1967 Corvette

Johnny Cash finds his Plymouth Savoy

Thursday, May 16th, 2013

In 1972 Johnny Cash was hired to do a series of radio commercials for Plymouth. During a break he he got to talking about the best car he ever owned and declared it was a 1954 Plymouth Savoy. Johnny was at the beginning of his career when he owned the Savoy and the memories of driving from gig to gig with his brother probably made the Plymouth as special as the Cadillacs and Rolls Royces he would drive when he became an established star.

A savvy ad man at the recording session had Johnny say it again and “The best car I ever owned” was recorded and another successful radio commercial was in the can.

Taking it a step further a Chrysler-Plymouth sales manager named F.G. Hazelroth thought it would be a great marketing idea to reunite Johnny with the car he loved so much and a contest was announced to find the nicest ‘54 Savoy in the country. In exchange for the old Plymouth, the winner would be given a brand new Plymouth Fury Gran Coupe and be sent all expenses paid to the Indiana State Fair to present his or her car to the Country legend.

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Entry forms were available at local Chrysler-Plymouth dealers and entrants were required to send interior and exterior photographs along with a detailed description of the vehicle. In all 319 entries were received and from that a final field of 6 was chosen. The final 6 cars were personally inspected by James Bradley who was the Director of the Automotive History Department of the Detroit Public Library.

Choosing the winner proved to be easy as Mrs. Edith Hild, a 77 year old retired school teacher from Tacoma, Washington had a pristine example with just 14,226 miles on the odometer. Despite just driving the car a few miles every week, she would faithfully bring the car into Stevens Motors every Fall for a complete service and waxing.

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On August 28th, 1972 Edith was at the Indiana State Fair where she presented Johnny her 1954 Plymouth in return for a brand new 1973 Plymouth Fury.

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Plymouths for sale on Collector Car Ads.

Warhol and Cars: American Icons

Friday, February 10th, 2012

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A special exhibit is currently on display at the Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh entitled “Warhol and Cars: American Icons” The exhibit will run through May 13th and features more than forty drawings, paintings and photographs form 1946 to 1986. Warhol worked as a commercial artist in the 40’s and 50’s so the span of the work will include drawings he did for fashion magazines he worked for as well as work he did as a fine artist.
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An original BMW-M1 racing car that was hand painted by Warhol in 1979 will be on display in the gallery along with an accompanying film showing the artist painting the car.
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Images: The Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh; Founding Collection, Contribution The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc.

Baseball great Maury Wills scores a new MG

Sunday, December 6th, 2009

In a season-long battle of ballots, Maury Wills stole a short lead and slid home just ahead of Tommy Davis as the most popular Dodger in an annual event sponsored by Roy Rogers and Frank Millard of Frank Millard Sports Car Center in Encino. Maury was presented a brand new MG roadster for stealing the show. Tommy Davis, as runner up, made a powerful stretch drive and was rewarded by Rickey Biagi with a gift certificate for fifty-two weeks of gourmet dining at his Rickey’s Valley Inn on Sherman Oaks Blvd. Photo dated: October 16, 1962.
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The VW Bus Ball

Friday, April 3rd, 2009

Just about everyone knows that the guys in ZZ Top are big car guys. It seems like every time you see them they’re not far from a classic street rod. Well,  the other night my wife had the pleasure of seeing ZZ Top in concert as part of special VH1 concert that was shot here in Chicago. One of the guys she went with is a big art car guy and he mentioned to her that she had to check out the VW Ball owned by ZZ Tops  Billy F Gibbons. What an amazing piece of art!

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Jim Morrison’s Lost 1967 Shelby GT500

Saturday, March 7th, 2009

morrisonlkJim Morrison led a life of excess and mystery so it’s only fitting that he drove an extravagant car to match his superabundant personality. It’s also fitting that his Shelby GT500 disappeared in 1969, never to be seen again.

Rumor has it that Electra records bought Jim the Nightmist Blue 1967 Shelby GT500 for the work done on the self titled debut album by The Doors. One story explaining the cars disappearance had Morrison hitting a telephone pole on the way to the Whisky-A-Go-Go. Frustrated, he walked the rest of the way to the club and either never returned to the accident scene or never followed up with the towing company. Another story had him parking the car at Los Angeles International Airport where the car was left for a long period of time while Morrison traveled. Upon his return the car had been towed and sold at public auction.

What does survive is Morrison’s registration card and footage of Morrison driving his Shelby hard through the desert in an experimental film shot in 1969.

Ernie Banks- Hall of Famer and Plymouth Salesman

Sunday, February 8th, 2009

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Ernie Banks is my all time favorite baseball player. I truly believe that he may be the happiest man on the face of the earth. His eternal optimism and perpetual smile to anyone who has never followed him would at first probably seem like an act. But for someone who has followed him for 40 years I can tell you that Ernie’s happiness is sincere.

Ernie played in an era where ballplayers would work during the off season to pick up a few extra bucks. Some guys worked construction, others dug graves, anything to make some money. Ernie Banks sold Plymouths and I bet he was good at it. With Ernie’s charm, I could see him turning a Valiant looker into a Fury buyer in no time.

The pictures here were taken on November 4th 1959. Ernie was working that day when he found out he was named the National League MVP for the second straight year. You can see Ernie sitting in a Valiant reading the press release about his MVP award. I’ll bet Ernie sold a few Furys that day!

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Buddy Holly’s 1958 Impala

Tuesday, February 3rd, 2009

It was 50 years ago today that Buddy Holly, Richie Valens and J.P. Richardson, known as “The Big Bopper” died tragically in a plane crash near Clear Lake, Iowa. Holly only owned one car in his life, a 1958 Impala that he had his friend and agent Norman Petty purchase on December 18, 1957 from Meadors-Stewart Chevrolet in Clovis, New Mexico. Holly purchased the car so he could have safe transportation for the 100 mile commute between Holly’s home in Lubbock,Texas and the recording studio in Clovis. The car cost a total of $2627.51. It was in Clovis where Holly reportedly tossed his keys to a fellow musician telling him he could use the car until he returned from his tour.

Here is the story of Holly’s Impala that resurfaced several years ago: