8 offbeat classics to spice up the cooler months

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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.

1929 Ford Model AA Popcorn Truck

1929 Ford Model AA Popcorn Truck front three-quarter
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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.

2009 Maserati Bellagio Shooting Brake by Carrozzeria Touring

2009 Maserati Bellagio Shooting Brake by Carrozzeria Touring rear three-quarter

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.

2011 Ford Mustang GT WD-40 SEMA Showcar

2011 Ford Mustang GT 5-0 front three-quarter
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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.

1942 Dodge 1/2 Ton WC-4 Weapons Carrier

1942 Dodge Half-Ton WC-4 Weapons Carrier front three-quarter
RM Sotheby's/Khiem Pham

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.

1932 Stutz DV32 Custom Roadster

1932 Stutz DV32 Custom Roadster front three-quarter

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

1931 Divco Model H Milk Truck front three-quarter
1931 Divco Model H. RM Sotheby's/Drew Shipley
1933 Twin Coach Delivery Truck front three-quarter
1933 Twin Coach Delivery Truck. RM Sotheby's/Drew Shipley

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.

1935 Ford Model BB Gospel Car “Evangel”

1935 Ford Model BB Gospel Car Evangel front three-quarter
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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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    I continue to enjoy your interesting presentations. Hagerty is a true enthusiast and I plan to insure my soon to acquire special car with you folks and recommend you to my friends.

    As a kid in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada Pop Kelly had a very similar popcorn truck as the one shown. Sure, brings back memories. In his many years of operating, he probably didn’t make a 100k. Just wondering if this is the same one restored.

    Amen, bro; here we have a totally, uh, unnecessary wording.
    Don’t yet know how seriously the LORD takes this.
    We pray that all is, uh, forgiven.

    There are so many car stories your special interest, off-beat ones are the most enjoyable.
    Skip the obvious and more of these please.

    I live within ten miles of one of these old popcorn trucks, I believe it is still in operation every summer.

    One of the things that makes Hagerty a joy to read and respond to is this sort of thing. You do great work and
    are appreciated. And I want the Maserati. It’s stunning.

    I believe the nice Army truck is actually a WC -13 or 21, depending upon the type of gauges on the dash. WC-4’s had the marker lights on the headlights, not on the fenders. They also had a winch which this one does not. These 1/2 tons are hard to ID because there were over 30 different models made in 1941-2.

    We do know that the according to the bumper markings it was the 10th vehicle in Recon. company A, of the headquarters company, 1st Infantry Division. Whoever did the restoration may have made that up however.

    Love the Maserati Quattroporte station wagon/shooting brake. If it were offered as a product model, it would be my choice. Beautiful.

    The Stutz is just too weird, but it is a DV32 Bearcat, so, sure. I want it. But… Studebaker in the front, post war Cadillac in the back and sort of Kaiser Darren in the middle… And that side spear… What were they thinking… But.. Still a DV32 Bearcat.

    The Mustang manages to be a characterature of itself, with the silly deep skirts and the dated graphics. ‘Looks like a 14 year old’s idea of a Mustang. They can keep it.

    I have friends who collect popcorn wagons, but this is a C.C. Cretors popcorn TRUCK. What could be better? And it does make excellent popcorn. Definitely a buy…

    Not feeling any love for the rest. I guess that unless it cooks popcorn, I have no feelings for trucks…

    I have a 1929 Willys Whippet roadster built in Toronto Canada.probably the only one restored/reassembled to this level here in Canada. It belongs to/purchased for my four legged whippet family..four generations.who ride in the rumbel seat

    The nose on the Stutz is a 1950 Studebaker. The 1951 nose was more subtle and didn’t have the horizontal trim on the left and the right. The 1950 Studebaker also had much more prominent grill surrounds like this one has. The 1951 grills were one piece metal castings whereas the 1950 grills were a multiple group of parts; grill was a separate part of the grill assembly.
    I worked on the restoration of a number of 1950 Studebakers and owned a restored 1951 Chanpion for 38 years. The 1950 cars used different parts for the front depending on whether it was a Champion or a Commander model. The Champion parts including the fenders were smaller than the Commander models. In 1951, Studebaker made the front assembly the same for the Champion and Commander models; same grill panel stamping and front fender stamping and assembly. The front fenders were made from two stampings that were welded together. The weld could only be seen from the underside of the fender and it was located just behind the headlight and running at an angle to the hood opening.

    The Maserati is gorgeous. The aberration with a Cadillac back end and the front a Studebaker really? front end is a no go. I mean trying to replicate an XK with that Studebaker front end? yuck. The Twin Coach is cool, as is the what appears to be very original Gospel truck, but what would you do with either of them?

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