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Wednesday, 3 June 2009

"Icons of Speed and Style" will sell special vehicles connected to customisation

Next September 26 will be a special day for lots of car collectors that are in love with custom cars. In this day, at Petersen Automotive Museum, in Los Angeles, California, RM Auctions will offer real pieces of customisation history. We could speak about all of them at once, but it is much better to have a look at each one instead. Be our guests.

This baby is known "Killer Car" and there are reason for that. This 1970 LS6 Chevelle Convertible was driven by Ray Allen to win in almost all NHRA-sanctioned races it entered in 1970 and was crowned as the 1970 Super Stock World Champion. Completely restored, the car was already sold in an auction in 2006 and reached US$ 1.2 million. This time, the initial offer for it will be US$ 500,000 and top bids are expected to reach US$ 700,000. Hard times...

The Alexander Brothers, Mike and Larry, counted on the help of the talented designer Harry Bentley Bradley to buid this 1965 Dodge Deora Custom Pick-Up. This one-of-a-kind vehicle was based on Dodge A100 and became one of the most popular custom cars ever built. So much that Bradley left General Motors to work for Mattel and help create great Hot Wheels designs. The lowest price expected for it is US$ 350,000 and may increase up to US$ 500,000.

This is one of the cars that the famous drag car racer "Big John" Mazmanian had the chance to change: a 1961 Chevrolet Corvette. It was driven by his nephew, Rich Siroonian, to drive the car, what led them to win class honours at the 1962 Winter Nationals. The car was equipped with a 283 bhp small block engine, a four-speed transmission and Positraction. But they were not satisfied and placed a supercharger to help the engine generate even more power. Siroonian won the Bakersfield March Meet with it. The car competed until 1963, when Mazmanian exchanged it for a 1941 Willys. The minimum bid expected for it is US$ 300,000; the maximum, US$ 400,000.

The 1964 Road Agent custom car is another one that must have been known by dozens of kids in the 1960's and 1970's as a toy (such as Deora). It was built by Ed "Big Daddy" Roth. These kids are the same guys that now may be able to buy the real thing. The car was powered by a rear engine, the same one that powered the Chevrolet Corvair, and uses its transmission as well, only turned upside down. The chassis of the car was unique, made of chrome molybdenum steel tubes. If the front suspension seems familiar, that's because it is a 1937 Ford suspension with a VW torsion bar. This incredible-looking vehicle will start at US$ 250,000 and may reach US$ 350,000 if things run as expected.

Another sibling of Dodge A100 is the "Little Red Wagon Wheelstander", created by Bill "Maverick" Golden. Instead of the "slant six" engine that powered this pick-up truck, Golden chose to put a 426 (7-litre) Hemi engine ahead of the rear wheels. This is what made the A100 raise its front wheels and hold them there throughout the drag race. The least RM Auction expects for it is US$ 200,000. The top price may be US$ 300,000. Or more, of course.

This car is based on a 1932 Ford Five Window Coupe. Don Tognotti bought it for US$ 200 in 1960 and started adding interesting stuff to it, such as a 1951 Firepower 331 (5.4-litre) engine with four Stromberg 97 carburetors and a 1937 DeSoto transmission. The final cost of the car was US$ 4,056.22 at the time. "The Avenger", as it was named, won its class at the 1961 Grand National Roadster Show. The car now will be sold for a minimum of US$ 200,000 and may reach a price of up to US$ 250,000. Quite an investment, considering it is also driveable.

Bizarre stuff are normally very close to geniality. Ray Farhner has reached both with its 1850 "Boothill Express". This is the only Kustom Kar ever to be exhibited at the New York Museum of Modern Art. Based on a Cunningham Hearse that was drawn by four horses, it carried Bob Younger' body, one of the members of Jesse James Gang, to Lee's Summit Historical Cemetery in 1889. Considering the way the driver is located in this car, he should already drive the car from inside the hearse, especially when you know it is powered by a 500 bhp Chrysler Hemi engine. Prices may vary from US$ 150,000 to US$ 200,000.

This is the 1940 Westergard Mercury, but you may consider it one of the first custom cars of the world. It was created by Harry Westergard for a man named Butler Rugard, who wanted to have fadeaway fenders, just like the first concept car of the world, Buick Y-Job, had in 1938. Westergard is considered as the grandfather of custom car masters. As such, his Mercury's creation price may range from US$ 125,000 to US$ 175,000.

This 1960 Lincoln Continenal Mark V Limousine was bought at Schilling Motors in Memphis, Tennessee, for US$ 10,544.50. It was delivered to its owner on February 29, 1960. Any clue of the guy who owned this car? Elvis Presley. The car was customised by Hess & Eisenhardt, the same company that created the Lincoln X-100 Limousine in which John Kennedy was murdered, and had everything a car of that time could have, such as two separate units for front and rear air-conditioning and rear power privacy glass. Even though his first owner was "The King", the car is not the king of this list. It is expected to reach a minimum price of US$ 80,000 and a top value of US$ 120,000.

"The Wizard" Top Fuel Dragster is the first car ever to win two Top Fuel World Championships in sequence. Bennie “The Wizard” Osborn managed to do that in 1967 and 1968. His car became world famous and has also turned into a widely known toy. Its price, anyway, is no game at all: minimum of US$ 75,000 and an expected top of US$ 100,000.

These are fantastic vehicles. We just hope them to reach loving hands and careful owners. For the sake of history.

Source: RM Auctions

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