In addition to the pair of Cords featured in the initial report from Motorclassica, it was quickly spotted that there were more American cars in the show. In fact the range was quite astonishing, and in addition to gems like this 1960 Chrysler 300F I bet there are cars here most of you have never seen before (I hadn’t).
Hands up who has ever seen one of these, that JPC also noticed? It is a 1929 Marmon 78, with a straight eight engine. Marmon of course occupies a small but distinguished corner of auto history, having won the first Indy 500 and being one of four road cars ever made with a 16-cylinder engine – the others being the Cadillac, Bugatti Veyron and the handful of Cizeta Moroder that were built. This car sold for $37,000.
Believe it or not there was a second Marmon in the auction, a 1929 Roosevelt Collapsible Coupe. I’m not sure if calling a car ‘collapsible’ sounded better back then? I also wonder if they paid royalties to Theodore Roosevelt’s family for the use of his likeness on the radiator badge? This car was owned by the same collector, and was sold for $50,000
We are back in more familiar territory with the iconic 1947 Chrysler Town & Country. Apparently these were the last year the timber was structural and not just cosmetic, but it sure looked like there was metal underneath holding it all together to Don & I, such as the inner door structure. The 323ci straight eight and 127.5” wheelbase make for either heroic or cartoonesque proportions, depending on your point of view. Long hood, short deck anyone?
Another hugely rare car these days, not that it was ever too common with just 3650 built, is this 1906 Model K Cadillac. It was one of the smaller models offered, shorter in total length than a current Cadillac wheelbase (110” vs 116” Escalade EXT wheelbase), and only 1100lb. It has a single-cylinder engine of 98ci (5” bore and stroke) making 10hp, which would be dropped for 1909. Check out the 22’s though! It was pipped for oldest car at the show by a 1903 Renault.
This 1952 Ford Courier sedan delivery has had one of the most amazing restorations you will see, and it was a surprise to see it also in the auction. Just 6,250 of these were built with the US Postal Service being a large consumer. This one has the 239ci flathead V8 and Fordomatic. The colour scheme is original with some metallic added when it was restored in 2007. It has only done 1,500 miles since then (possibly has won more awards!) so perhaps the owner was just ready to move on to the next project. Unfortunately like the Chrysler, this also ended up being passed in.
The highlight of the American cars for me though were a trio of spectacular 1950’s convertibles, the first one I saw was this 1957 Lincoln Premiere. The dramatic styling is been tweaked by some custom touches and the paint scheme.
Next was a 1953 Buick Skylark convertible, one of the cars built specifically for GM to display their mastery of the automotive craft. It certainly works, with the lowered windscreen accentuating the elegant body lines, as well as featuring the debuting 322 Nailhead V8, and I would love to have one in my garage. As with many ‘halo’ models, apparently the last of the 1,690 built were hard to shift and this time it was no different, as the car did not sell.
The third was this 1956 Buick Roadmaster. I dare say when most people hear that name they think of a large whale-shaped station wagon, but isn’t this so much nicer? This car wasn’t part of the auction, but was surrounded by a 1936 Buick 40 sedan, 1970 GS Stage 1 hardtop and 1970 GS convertible.
One remarkable thing was that this 1969 Boss 429 Mustang was not the only one in the building, as there are/were only 859 of them. This was part of the 50th birthday tribute, the other one was actually for sale.
Another of the 10 Mustang display was this 1968, which has been built up by the famous Sleeping Beauties Restorations in Brisbane into a tribute of the Shelby EXP 500 prototype, aka the Green Hornet, that had electronic fuel injection and independent rear suspension, Thunderbird rear lights and special metallic paint. I can’t imagine it would be easy to replicate the IRS but the feature car is actually true to the original that apparently had the IRS removed before being sold once its usefulness was over.
Going back to much earlier Fords, this 1915 Model T Speedster is an unusual variant, and one that also sees regular use as I’ve seen this a few times before.
Something else that was a bit different is the windscreen treatment of this 1925 Packard, which is a style more likely to be seen on commercial vehicles but not unknown on cars when custom bodywork was still normal on upper class cars. The car was bought new by an Australian at the New York Auto Salon for US$6,500 and converted back at the factory to RHD before being shipped to Australia. In 1936 the car was converted into a tow truck (not unusual), before being restored in the 1960’s to its original state other than the beveled window glass etched with flowers, that was required to be replaced by safety glass.
Into the next decade, it is worth noting this 1936 De Soto SG Airflow. Any time you see an early Airflow, before too many backward steps were applied, it is fascinating to compare them to other cars of the time.
Another decade forward and this 1948 Mercury convertible reminded me of the car from Grease, although that was a Ford. The 46-48 Fords and Mercuries were a popular car here, but I think only the 4-doors were built locally. LHD indicates it is a more recent arrival.
I’ll finish for now with this 1956 Chrysler Newport coupe, another car that didn’t reach its reserve at the auction but one of the more attainable cars in the field. There were some more in the outdoor display, but they will have to wait for another time.