10 of the more unusual cars sold at Barrett-Jackson 2015

January 30th, 2015

If you’ve never been to the Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale auction be sure to put it on your list of destinations. For a Northerner like me a few days in sunny Arizona surrounded by thousands of beautiful classic cars is the perfect anecdote for the winter blues. A Barrett- Jackson auction feels like as much a sporting event as it does a car auction. The usual classics are well represented and the thirst for American muscle is as strong as ever, in fact I think I saw more Mopar Hemi cars in this single auction than I had seen in my entire life. Dig a little deeper and you’ll see unusual cars you’ve never seen before or didn’t even know they existed. Some of these were well promoted concept cars and others are just rare models or customs.

Here is a list of 10 of the more unusual or rare cars I saw at Barrett-Jackson:

1) 1968 Plymouth Barracuda “Mod Top”


Flower Power collided with the automotive world in 1969-70 when floral interiors and tops could be ordered for a $98 charge on Plymouths. The idea was panned by the automotive press and only 937 Barracudas were ordered with this option. Today only 118 are believed to exist. This Barracuda had a 2 year restoration that was completed in 2010 and sold for $33,000

 2) 1957 Studebaker Provincial Station Wagon


Station Wagons were avoided like the plague by collectors for many years probably because of our negative associations many of us had to them as children. After all, why did Dad have to get a Kingswood when we could be driving a Chevelle SS396 instead? Now Station Wagons are cool and of the coolest ones I saw at Barrett Jackson was this 1957 Studebaker Provincial. As it is 1957 Studebakers are fairly rare to see but a Studebaker station wagon is a rare sight indeed. This fully restored Provincial was absolutely stunning and a bargain selling at $26,400

 3) 1959 Fiat Jolly


Micro cars have become extremely collectable in the past few years and like a puppy dog they’re hard to pass by without a smile. The Fiat Jolly body was built by Carrozzeria Ghia and used the Fiat 600 chassis. The fringe cloth top and wicker seats add to the Jolly’s adorable demeanor.  Jolly’s were popular resort vehicles among the European jet set in the 1950’s. This beautiful example sold for an astounding $71,500.

4) 1967 Pontiac Beaumont


To avoid Canadian tariffs placed on Chevrolet in the 1960’s some unusual hybrid Pontiac-Chevys were created.  This Beaumont was a Chevelle utilizing a Pontiac grill and tail lights with a GTO dash. Powerplant was a Chevy 396. Anyway you slice it, it’s still a beautiful car. This example sold for $47,300.

5) 1951 Crosley Hook and Ladder Firetruck


Built as an amusement park attraction this firetruck is a Crosley pickup truck with a custom ‘Hook and Ladder’ trailer. Kids sat safely between the ladder rungs and fun was had by all! This example was lavishly restored to include all the fire equipment details and sold for $115,500

6) 1929 Ford Custom Pickup “Gone Fishing”


This bar on wheels is the perfect partymobile for any event. Vintage tractor seats create the bar stools and a fold down bench provides seating for extra party goers. A fold down staircase provides easy access for guests. A 4 cylinder Flathead engine powers the truck. Hopefully a bar owner purchased this as it would make for a great promotional vehicle for any drinking establishment. Sold for $44,000.

7) 1990 Concept Sky Commuter Aircraft

Screen shot 2015-02-11 at 3.22.56 PM(Barrett-Jackson)

It seems like flying cars were every futurists vision in the 1950’s. The idea of flying above the traffic gridlock in your own personal vehicle at speeds far exceeding anything a conventional car could obtain was the ultimate exercise of personal freedom. Ford created the ‘Mach I Levacar‘ concept that floated on a thin layer of compressed air but that was about as far as development went in the 1950’s.

In the 1980’s a team of Boeing engineers working for Concept Sky developed 3 prototypes of a personal aircraft called the Commuter Aircraft. Although this prototype is non functioning, power for the Commuters was to be provided by an onboard gas turbine engine linked to each fan via helicopter-based drive shafts for both flying and driving. Sold for $71,500

8) 1954 Kaiser-Darrin Convertible


Conceived in part to compete with the European roadsters that were increasingly  being imported to U.S. shores, the Kaiser-Darrin was arguably the first true American sports car. With sliding doors that rolled on tracks into the front fender and a fiberglass body that preceded the Corvette the Kaiser-Darren truly was an innovative automobile. Unfortunately difficulties with production, a high price tag and a lack of consumer confidence quickly killed the Kaiser-Darrin. Only 435 were built and just a handful remain. This spectacular example sold for $187,000

9) 1950 General Motors Futurliner

Used for “GM’s Parade of Progress” the Harley Earl designed Futurliner was used to show futuristic exhibits to towns and cities across the U.S.. Microwaves, jet engines, televisions and radar were just some of the technological achievements on display. Weighing in at over 30,000 pounds, nearly two stories tall and with a top speed of only 38mph it must have been quite a site to see when a caravan of these rolled into town. Only 12 were ever made and just three remain that are restored to “Parade of Progress” configurations. The Barrett-Jackson Futurliner sold for $4,000,000 with proceeds going to charity.

10) 1954 Pontiac Bonneville Special


One of the better known Motorama Concept cars the Harley Earl designed Bonneville was reportedly conceived after Earl witnessed land speed records being broken at the Salt Flats in Utah. Two were built, a bronze one that debuted at Grand Ballroom of the Waldorf in New York and this green one that was first seen at the Pan Pacific Auditorium in Los Angeles. The green version eventually toured GM dealers throughout the U.S. This one sold for $3,300,000


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

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 Cash finds his Plymouth Savoy

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.


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.


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.


Plymouths for sale on Collector Car Ads.

1962 Junkyard

March 22nd, 2012

Series of photos taken at a Connecticut junkyard in April of 1962.






Photos: Walker Evans Life Archive

Ocean Find: 1964 Bonneville Station Wagon

March 7th, 2012

Unearthed by winter storms in Morro Bay, California is what appears to be a 1964 Bonneville station wagon. The car was reportedly abandoned in 1973 after stalling on the beach and now after nearly 40 years of decay in a salty graveyard this piece of American iron is a nature crafted sculpture. It’s amazing how the backseat and parts of the door panels appear unaffected by the ravages of the elements. The car was gone a few weeks later- perhaps returned to the sculptor for some finishing touches.
pontiac1_smPhoto: Mike L. Baird

Photo: Mike L. Baird

1966 Pontiac Bonneville Rusted AbandonedPhoto: Mike L. Baird
Pontiacs for sale on Collector Car Ads

Warhol and Cars: American Icons

February 10th, 2012


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.
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.

Images: The Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh; Founding Collection, Contribution The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc.

Posing with the New Car

February 9th, 2012

Nothing like the day you bring home the new car. Not a scratch, ding or dent. Photographing the event for posterity is a must as like a magnet to steel, it won’t be long before a shopping cart finds you and tarnishes your new purchase. Have a period photo of you and your new car? Contact us and we’ll add it to the gallery.

1962 Corvair Monza
1962 Corvair Monza

1958 Ford Wagon
New car!

1971 Ford Mustang
1971 Mustang, Mt. Vernon. OH. Summer 1972

1968 Buick GS
New Car

1969 Volkswagen Beetle
My brand new car....some years back in time  :-)

1967 Ford Mustang Fastback

1967 Fastback 390 this was my first new car!

1961 Chevrolet Impala

Mom & 1961 Chevy Impala, ca. 1961

1961 Chrysler Newport

Chrysler, Dodge or maybe Desoto?

1956 Studebaker
Man with New Studebaker - 1956

1967 Plymouth Fury III

The 80 Foot Studebaker

February 8th, 2012

For the 1933-34 Chicago Century of Progress fair,  Studebaker hatched the idea of building an 80 foot long, 28 foot high, 30 foot wide version of their newest and most luxurious model, the President Land Cruiser. The running boards alone were 21 feet long, the wipers three and the tires measured 12-1/2 feet tall. Built on wood framework the exterior was actually made of plaster that was so realistic visitors would scratch the surface with their fingernails to test the composition. Below the running board visitors could enter a 80 person capacity movie theatre that show promotional movies about the new Studebaker models.
Photo: Century of Progress Records, 1927-1952, University of Illinois at Chicago Library.

Cars with Fins

February 7th, 2012

Parking lot shot of Knotts Berry Farm in 1960 at the apex of the fin era. Looks like not one but two Plymouth Suburban station wagons just a few spots apart.
Cars with fins, parking lot at Knott's Berry Farm, 1960

Chicago or Bust

June 10th, 2011


A road trip in a run down jalopy must have been a special experience in 1934 and based on the dirty hands these guys have, there were probably plenty of roadside adjustments needed on the Chevy, but these guys made it all the way up from New Orleans to attend the Century of Progress World’s Fair located in Chicago. Impressed with the artistically bedecked Chevy, fair officials gave the boys a special parking permit near the fairs grounds to display their masterpiece. The slogans on the car include :”2 things don’t mix: gas n gin” and “Our moms home waiting for us” I’ll bet the artist Charles A. Dupaquier, went on to have a fine career as an artist. Photograph is courtesy of the University of Illinois at Chicago Library.

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