8 offbeat classics to spice up the cooler months
The year’s biggest block of collector car auctions might be behind us, but there are still plenty of major sales to look forward to as we move into fall and winter. These end-of-year events are less about the million-dollar blockbusters that characterize Monterey sales and more about six-figure-and-under stuff enthusiasts might want in their garages.
Although the prices skew toward ordinary, the vehicles themselves do not. In fact, fall and winter may be best time of the year to snag the odd, the interesting, and the strange. There’s quite a bit of offbeat and irreverent collector cars filling catalogs this time around. We trawled them all and plucked a few of our faves from the dockets. Let’s get weird.
Broad Arrow estimate: $100,000–$125,000
You might chalk this one up to the fact that I’m hungry as I write, but of the four off-beat Fords in Broad Arrow’s upcoming Passion for the Drive: The Cars of Jim Taylor sale, this cheeky popcorn truck is my favorite. You’ll be hard-pressed to find a classic that cracks more smiles than a rolling carnival canteen.
Famed popcorn and concessioner C.C Cretors upfitted this 1929 Ford AA as a mobile popcorn and roasted nut stand. It’s replete with wood framing, awnings, wood parquet flooring, marquetry, and beveled glass. A modern 30-ounce Cretors corn popper and Gold Medal nut roaster, powered by an onboard Yamaha generator, make this a restomod of a sort; fine by me, since “patina” isn’t a word you want associated with food.
Bonhams presale estimate: €150,000–€200,000 (~$154,000–$205,400)
A new, limited production coachbuilt car is quite a rare bird these days. Legendary Italian design house Carrozzeria Touring built just four of these five-door estates on the bones of the contemporary Quattroporte, offering elegant utility for hauling caviar tubs, jewelry bags, and cases of wine.
Or, simply a pair of your fanciest shotguns in the Bellagio’s concealed rear gun compartment. There’s also a champagne cooler, and a dog barrier for the pooch, if you trust your pup to not mar the acres of leather and irreplaceable trim in the rear compartment.
This Bellagio was commissioned new by Dr. Carlo Bonomi, the former president of Ducati, who parted with his bespoke Forest Green wagon sometime in 2013. This is the second time this Maserati has come to public auction, so we’ll be keen to see if it beats the price set the first time around.
Broad Arrow presale estimate: $50,000–$75,000
Cosponsored by the famed lubrication company for SEMA’s 2010 event, this custom Mustang appears as though it raced through the SEMA convention hall at high-speed, crashing through every Mustang accessory booth in the process.
The yellow and blue paint extends to the Street Scene Equipment bodykit, offset by a surprisingly austere black leather interior from Katzkin. Underneath all this early 2010s machismo is a suite of significant chassis and powertrain upgrades, including a full Hotchkis suspension, Stillen/AP racing brakes, and a Paxton supercharger and tune that bumps the 5.0-liter V-8 up to a neat 600 hp.
Even if this bright bruiser isn’t to your taste, know it was originally created and auctioned for a good cause, raising over $150,000 in 2011 for charity.
RM Sotheby’s presale estimate: $20,000–$30,000
Looks a little “off,” doesn’t it? While you’re likely accustomed to Dodge’s famed 3/4-ton WC truck, the rarer half-ton is its aesthetically awkward little sibling. Little is known about the history of the 1942 WC-4 on offer at RM Sotheby’s upcoming Hershey sale, but RM notes the truck was restored around a decade ago for use on the owner’s large ranch.
Bonhams’ presale estimate: $150,000–$200,000
Well, this certainly meets the criteria for “oddball.” This strange, swoopy roadster is a custom build overseen by enthusiast Elwood Needy around 1949 after he was inspired by the debut of the then-new Jaguar XK120. Needy purchased a 1932 Stutz as the donor car, shortening the chassis to match the legendary Super Bearcat.
While the idea was to channel as much of the Jag’s aesthetics as possible, a 1949 Cadillac Series 61 formed the backbone of the roadster’s coachwork. With the assistance of an aircraft craftsman, full wooden bucks were built for the stunning rear sections of the body, an elegance contrasted by the 1951 Studebaker rhinoplasty up front.
Needy tragically passed in 1952, leaving the car unfinished. His son took up the mantle and had the car running and mostly completed soon after, only selling the car in 1963 to another enthusiast, who retained and enjoyed the car until around a decade ago, when the seller purchased the custom Stutz.
Now, Bonhams offers this as a complete project car, carrying the auspicious invite to a special class at the 2023 Pebble Beach Concours—provided the car is finished in time, of course.
A Pair of Milk Trucks
RM Sotheby’s presale estimates: $20,000–$30,000 (Divco), $50,000–$70,000 (Twin Coach)
It might seem like this list is trucks all the way down, but retired commercial vehicles make up one of the most affordable and characterful segments of the classic car industry. RM Sotheby’s dairy truck duo are a perfect example; the 1931 Divco Model H and 1933 Twin Coach Delivery Truck tell two different tales of a dairy farm’s milky milieu.
The 1931 Divco showcases the marque’s innovative step-thru frame and idiosyncratic control set-up that could be operated both standing and sitting, an adaptive driving position that’s shared by the 1933 Twin Coach. Both are cutesy little workhorses, but the Twin Coach is particularly adorable, a rolling cartoon box that oozes idyllic small-town America from every rivet.
Broad Arrow Group presale estimate: $60,000–$80,000
If selling popcorn, ice cream, or milk out of a truck doesn’t sound wholesome enough for you, how about some Truth? According to the listing, this is one of a number of “gospel cars” commissioned and used by the Bible Institute Colportage Association of Chicago, each used as traveling platform for spreading the, uh, gospel.
Reverends Ellery G. and Elizabeth Aldridge staffed Evangel starting in 1931, organizing 238 religious services in 67 cities over 5000 miles in the first year alone. All the while, Evangel served as home and hearth with two beds, a toilet, and a small cook stove. This extensive travel schedule wore out two chassis before finding a final home on this 1935 Ford BB platform.
Evangel was sold sometime in the 1950s, later purchased by the Taylor family, with whom it’s remained since. The truck presents in remarkably original condition, retaining hand-painted scripture on the exterior and the unrestored interior living quarters.
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