In October I wrapped up my unintentionally epic series of 20 articles based on my trip to the Scottsdale classic car auctions this year. I profiled a couple hundred vehicles, out of about 2700 at the auctions. Despite an almost overwhelming number of very high quality cars, I was a little disappointed that there weren’t more unusual or unique vehicles that really piqued my interest. In contrast, it seemed to me that I remembered there being more of those the last time I was there. So I went into my photo archives from 2010 and sure enough, there were an ample number of cars that really pegged my needle. Click through to see 12 more that I found. This year was the first time I had been able to attend since 2010, so I was really raring to go. I used to live in the Phoenix area and attended Barrett-Jackson almost every year from 1992 to 2006, when I moved to Texas. Local shows and auctions are always fun, but just don’t compare to the pinnacle of automotive display one finds in Scottsdale every January. In quantity and quality of cars, it can’t be beat (especially for American cars).
I’m a big fan of original, unrestored cars, so several of these fall in that category. Apart from that, these are mostly uncommon-now (and a few rare-when-new) models that were really cool to see. Of course, I chose cars according to my particular tastes, but from my time on Curbside Classic I think there are quite a few of us on the site who share many of my peculiar automotive inclinations. I thought it might be worth an article showcasing some of the most interesting cars. Hopefully you will feel the same way.
After this first car, I’ll present these chronologically. There will be links to the Barrett-Jackson webpage profile on each car, which will have more pictures, details and the sale prices for those interested. I’ll show the first 13 today and the rest in part 2.
These first two photos are of a 1958 Jaguar XK 150. I won’t be showing engines or interiors in this article, except I can’t resist on this one. What a gorgeous powerplant! While it looks a little like a tiny V12, it’s a dual overhead camshaft 3.4L (210cid) straight six with dual SU sidedraft carburetors making 210hp and 216lb-ft torque.
Here we have a 1950 Chevrolet Deluxe Styleline that somebody bought new, died shortly thereafter and the car sat for several years until it was bought by another owner who intentionally stored it for preservation. It had a little over 400 miles, amazingly. Click the link for the full story. It’s claimed to be original down to the tires. It helps that it was from northern CA, which I believe has to have one of the best climates for long term vehicle preservation.
A category that I’m a sucker for every time is wagons. I’ll stop and look at anything with a long roof. They are always unusual, even at Barrett-Jackson. When was the last time you saw a 1955 Ford Country Squire? It’s great that somebody did a high quality restoration on one. Though common back when they were new, the faux-woodgrained beauties were rare compared to other Ford wagons, selling about 19k out of the 209k wagons Ford made for 1955.
A 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air hardtop coupe is not a rare sight at a classic car auction, of course. However, a low-mile, unrestored, mostly original one is. The color is what blew me away on this car. I still remember standing and looking at it for a long, long time. The Inca Silver paint is unfortunately not original, but the white roof paint is. So are the interior and the rust free body panels and chassis. This is another northern California car.
Some people don’t like ’57 Chevys, but I sure do. This example shows so well, it really exemplifies the surprisingly graceful, attractive lines that Chevy gave their car in its second facelift on this body. I challenge anyone to say that this particular car isn’t stunningly beautiful, especially from the rear.
One of the most perfectly preserved cars I’ve ever laid eyes on, and certainly the best original condition ’57 Plymouth anywhere, this 1957 Plymouth Savoy was stored in a long term collection from day one.
This car reminds me of the world’s worst preserved 1957 Plymouth, the Tulsa Centennial Time Capsule car, “Miss Belvedere”. You may remember the story of how it was unearthed in 2007, as testimony to the awesome destructive power of water. Here’s what’s happened to it since.
On the topic of Forward Look Mopars, while they are not rare in the collector car hobby, they are uncommon enough to be worth looking at when you get the chance. They really were great looking cars, which unfortunately didn’t have a high survival rate. Their tendency to rust was famous, even when not stored in a water-filled time capsule. This 1958 Plymouth Fury was restored .
Another restored wagon, this 1958 Chevrolet Brookwood was eye candy for someone who likes wagons and ’58 Chevys, such as myself.
The owner had upgraded it during the restoration with a tri-carb 348, Bel Air interior and who knows what else. The result is super cool, though, and I would absolutely love to have it in my garage!
Yet another favorite category of mine is vintage emergency vehicles, be they police cars, fire trucks or ambulances. I actually have had a fascination with cop cars new and old since I can remember. To this day, I make a practice of photographing new police cars and have several books on old police cars. Needless to say, this 1957 Mercury Monterey caught my eye. It was not originally a police car, but on the exterior at least, the recreation is really spot on. I have not been able to confirm if the California Highway Patrol actually had any 1957 Mercurys. Mercury would seem to be a natural for highway patrol work if for no other reason than they had a model called the Turnpike Cruiser!
A 1959 Chevrolet Impala may not be too unusual, but an unrestored one with under 30k miles is a bit harder to come by. And it’s a red Sport hardtop coupe with original paint and interior. On top of all that, it has its original fuel injected 283 and four speed manual!
Love that crazy batwing rear end! Surprisingly, the fuel injected 283 was not the hottest engine in 1959. With a 10.5 compression ratio and 290hp, it is basically the same engine introduced as the top option for 1957, but by 1959 it was outgunned by a four choices of solid lifter 348’s available with 305-345hp.
Pontiacs of the full size variety always get my attention, but this handsome blue 1960 Pontiac Bonneville convertible is striking enough to captivate anyone. Even the baby in the picture likes it.
If the convertible didn’t sate my 60 Chief appetite, the wagon certainly did! This 1960 Pontiac Catalina Safari (also seen in the top photo) was billed as “mostly original”, with new paint and some other minor refurbishment. It really looked good and warmed my wagon-loving heart.
All Pontiacs in 1960 came with 389cid engines, with different compression ratios and carburetion set ups depending on model or options. This one has the optional (for Catalinas) four barrel, making 303hp. The side window treatment was kind of unusual, in the history of wagons. All GM wagons for 1959/60 had the extra window. Have any other wagons had an extra rear quarter window? You might think it was so that sedans and wagons could share rear doors and windows, but it doesn’t look like they do.
A 1963 Buick Riviera is not a terribly uncommon sight at Barrett-Jackson, but it’s also always worth looking at Bill Mitchell’s classic styling statement when you have the chance, isn’t it? The rear of this car is visible in the background in the Jaguar photo at the top.
Is it worth looking at two? Of course! Black or white, take your pick. This 1964 Buick Riviera was also wearing the somewhat unusual wire wheel covers, with no indication the two lots were related. I remember the car, it was stunning in black with a tan interior. Fresh restoration and it sold for only $25k. I think it would go for a lot more than that now.
In fact, all the prices seem pretty low now. I don’t follow the market trends closely, but I think 2010 was in the midst of a downturn in the classic car market that followed a downturn in all markets related to the larger economy (i.e. the recession).
That’s all for this installment. Stay tuned tomorrow for the conclusion which will feature some more gems from the mid 60’s to the 90’s.