Category: Corporate

Automotive Love at First Sight

GM PR Image from the Public Domain supplied by the Automotive History Preservation Society (AHPS) Archive.

Ask anyone to shout out the first thing that enters their mind about the late-1970s Pontiac Trans Am, and they will likely answer “Smokey and the Bandit.” While the Pontiac ponycar’s use in the wildly successful Burt Reynolds/Hal Needham movie franchise cemented its iconic status in the public imagination, the Trans Am was my dream car long before the popular movie’s 1977 release.

What’s not to love? The Firebird and its various models, including the Esprit, Formula, and Trans Am, held the line as high-style, high-content cars with a strong performance identity during the turbulent 1970s. I loved how most of the auto industry struggled to meet fuel economy, emissions, and safety legislation, yet Pontiac’s engineering wizards somehow managed to make the second-generation F-Body Firebird not only keep pace but stand proudly as the fastest American car alongside Chevrolet’s Corvette. While the Firebird was indeed available with a thrifty six-cylinder engine, the performance-oriented Formula and top-echelon Trans Am were available with several versions of Pontiac’s 400- and 455-cid V-8 engines, with the 400 and Oldsmobile 403 V-8 making their final appearances in 1979. The WS-6 performance option, available from 1978 through 1981, added performance-tuned underpinnings and 4-wheel disc brakes for outstanding handling and stopping power – ideal for these true driver’s cars.

As a kid, I was captivated by the Pontiac’s magical combination of performance and image – just like millions more throughout North America. Sales were brisk, thanks to high-profile movie and TV placements, including the gold mid-’70s Firebird piloted by James Garner every week on “The Rockford Files.” Friends and I could only wonder as to what engine was under the hood of that car, which was the perfect match for Mr. Garner’s stylish and highly likable TV character.

During my grade school and high school years, I dreamed of owning a Firebird of my own. My opportunity came in May 1984, when I had accumulated enough money to buy a 1979 Trans Am. Not just any Trans Am, mind you – a 10th Anniversary Special Edition Trans Am. It had been used pretty hard by the owner’s son until the keys were quickly revoked and the car was parked. It had a few door dings, but I saw the potential. Or drank the Kool-Aid, as some close to me thought at the time. Anyway, I had to have it. Years of pent-up desire and saving left me no choice. I was hooked.

Thoughts of grateful friends and swooning young ladies swirled in my head as I handed the money to the seller and dutifully made my way to the local license office to get my new plates for the car. All after leaving class and before 5:00 pm! The car had an Olds 403 and automatic transmission, and I planned some choice tweaks to unlock a bit more power. However, the engine’s strong torque output and Safe-T-Track limited-slip rear end were surprisingly adept at breaking the nearly-bald original-style Goodyear Polyglas radial tires loose with a little prodding. Attention naysayers: 185 Net horsepower + limited slip + youthful silliness was a perfect algorithm for squealing tires and plenty of high-speed fun. That power rating sounds punky now, but during the emissions- and economy-crazy mid-1980s, I was at the wheel of a pretty fast and quick road machine.

I loved that car. From its relative rarity (about 8,000 10th Anniversary cars built) to its special silver-and-charcoal paint finish, multi-color pinstripes, huge hood decal, and silver leather interior with matching deep-pile carpeting, it was my dream machine. Every power option available was standard on this ‘bird. Just the GM/Delco 40-channel CB radio was optional. I was intent on keeping my car factory-stock in homage to GM and Pontiac. I even left the factory AM/FM 8-Track stereo system alone. Friends and relatives sympathized with my madness, giving me several cases of 8-Track tapes for the car, featuring plenty of the finest works from Boston, Journey, Led Zeppelin, ZZ Top, Supertramp, and even a few surprisingly good K-Tel compilations of late 1970s and early 1980s hits. Carole King’s Platinum-selling  Tapestry and Boney M’s Nightflight to Venus – complete with the infectious disco hit Rasputin – were unlikely and very guilty pleasures.

Many good things come to an end, however. For me, it was university and a brand new and wickedly quick Ford Mustang LX 5.0 hatchback. Something had to give, and I sold my beloved Trans Am to a young couple who were also afflicted with Trans Am fever and had an insurance settlement in hand to replace their wrecked 1978 black-and-gold Special Edition car. I never forgot my Trans Am and while I was considered not very cool during my ownership of it, I had many happy times in that car and fond memories of it remain today. Happily, during the 2017 Festival celebrations in downtown Auburn, I spied this very nice 1979 10th Anniversary Trans Am on a side street near the epicenter of the celebrations.  I dragged my ever-patient and supportive wife and three teenage kids over to the car, which was far nicer than mine ever was, clearly benefiting from some 15 years of single-owner care and enjoyment.

A very nice 10th Anniversary Special Edition Trans Am spotted at the 2017 Auburn Labor Day weekend Festival celebrations in beautiful downtown Auburn, Indiana. The owner told me he has owned the car for 15 years, and given its great appearance, it showed! I was thrilled to see it.

What was your first “special” car? Comment here and tell us about it!

Glamour Time! Starring the 1966 Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud III Drophead Coupe

A true motoring icon as sought-after today as when new, this 1966 Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud III Drophead Coupe strikes a dramatic pose. The choice of movie icons, top celebrities, and the world’s richest buyers, it is one of our early feature consignments to our upcoming January 17, 2018, Scottsdale auction.

Aimed primarily at America’s famous and wealthy, the Silver Cloud III remains a stylistic icon and one of the all-time finest motorcars ever to come from Rolls-Royce. In fact, it’s cutting-edge styling, luxury, and impeccable engineering make it an ideal classic car for touring enjoyment today. In addition to the “standard” (if that term ever applied to a Rolls-Royce) Saloon, a limited number of coach built examples (328 on the normal-length chassis and 47 on the long-wheelbase chassis) also graced the Silver Cloud III chassis. While quite rare, the Drophead Coupe by H.J. Mulliner Park Ward is even more rare, with just 101 built in all. This example is one of just 52 produced with left-hand drive.

Debuted at the 1963 Earls Court Motor Show in London alongside the Silver Cloud III 2-door Saloon, the Drophead Coupe was coach built by H.J. Mulliner Park Ward. This special model retained the general design language used by Vilhelm Koren for the prior Silver Cloud II and Bentley S2, refined and modernized with a new canted four-headlamp arrangement harmonizing nicely with Rolls-Royce’s signature Greek Temple-inspired radiator shell up front. Now, as when new, the Silver Cloud III continues to epitomize style and luxury and marks the end of an era as the last Rolls-Royce model other than the Phantom VI limousine to utilize traditional body-on-frame construction.

Numbered LSC39C, this original U.S.-specification 1966 Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud III Drophead Coupe is one of just 52 left-hand drive examples produced, according to the definitive book, “Every Cloud Has a Silver Lining,” by Davide Bassoli. A late-production, “Series C” car, it benefits from all the running updates applied to the Silver Cloud III chassis during its relatively brief production run. Additionally, the original details for LSC39C are listed by Lawrence Dalton in “Rolls-Royce: The Classic Elegance,” as well as copies of the original Rolls-Royce chassis card provided by the Rolls-Royce Foundation.

Built to order, LSC39C was delivered to H.J. Mulliner Park Ward to receive its special Style 2045 coachwork (Body No. Z.91) on October 11, 1965. On November 24, 1965, the chassis was tested by the Rolls-Royce factory, with UK Registration Number JGF34D. Following completion, LSC39C was shipped to Rolls-Royce Inc. in New York and then delivered via Ascot Imported Cars on April 4, 1966, to its first owner in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The original equipment was comprehensive, supplemented by a desirable FrigiKing air-conditioning system, most likely a dealer-installed option in period for year-round comfort. The glove box contains the original Owners Handbook, plus registration documents and a handwritten note by the original reading, “11-12-76 Installed all new muffler system 17,800 miles.” The next documented owner of LSC39C acquired the car on March 25,1991 at 37,870 miles. The Consignor, a longstanding Rolls-Royce Owner’s Club member, and marque collector acquired LSC39C in June 1993, using it only sparingly ever since.

As offered, LSC39C clearly benefits from proper care, maintenance, and storage. It retains the majority of its factory-original Valentines Smoke Green paint finish, with selective touch-ups as required. The luxurious interior, trimmed in Stone Connolly hides, remains almost entirely original except for a newer Blaupunkt AM/FM cassette head unit and speakers. Mounting plates for the factory-original radio remain with the car. An ideal purchase for the committed Rolls-Royce collector, this 1963 Silver Cloud III will provide its new owner with a great classic touring experience, as well as an ideal entry for the many shows, concours, and Rolls-Royce Owners Club events held worldwide. Get ready for our second annual Scottsdale auction, slated for January 17, 2018 and experience it for yourself! Register to bid by calling us at 1-800-990-6789 or by clicking here.

 

 

Auburn – Our Home is the Home of the Classics

A fitting group of L-29s in celebration of the 2017 ACD Festival marking the Year of the Cord.

Ever since it was established during the mid-1950s, the annual Auburn Cord Duesenberg Festival continues to draw legions of visitors to Auburn, Indiana, the home city of Worldwide Auctioneers. Situated in DeKalb County, Indiana, Auburn was founded in 1836 by Wesley Park and serves as the county seat of DeKalb County. Auburn also stands proudly as the “Home of the Classics,” where the beautifully styled and technically sophisticated automobiles once rolled off the Auburn, Cord, and Duesenberg assembly plants.

While the great pre-war classic cars produced in Auburn until the late 1930s rank highly among the many attractions and events, including our annual Auburn auction at the National Automobile and Truck Museum (NATMUS), Auburn itself provides a truly wonderful setting. From its many historic landmarks to wonderful architecture, Auburn and its residents are equally renowned for their community spirit and hospitality to visitors.

Great prewar classics in front of the National Auto & Truck Museum. This historic location is the actual building where the Cord L-29 – America’s first front-drive passenger car – was produced.

With far too many of its beauties to fully list here, Auburn is a family-friendly city with a refreshing small-town feel, yet delivers the amenities of many larger centers. In short, Auburn – whether during the Festival Week or any other occasion, is a great place to visit and spend some quality time. Here are just a few images of Auburn, with much more to be added to our various social media pages. We hope you will enjoy these images of what makes Auburn so special!

The beautiful, Art Deco interior of the Auburn Cord Duesenberg Museum, which was originally the company’s administration building during the 1930s.

A truly timeless classic – an Auburn Speedster spotted front and center at the Friday night street festival in downtown Auburn’s town square.

The beautiful water fountain adjacent to Auburn’s Craftsman-era Eckhart Library, nicely illuminated during a perfect late-summer evening – the perfect location for quiet reflection or a delicious picnic.

 

Highlights from Our 10th Annual Auburn Auction

Following up on our 10th annual auction in our hometown of Auburn, Indiana, we are thrilled to announce a 97% sell-through rate, propelled by the Jimmie Taylor collection, the final cars from the Chuck Runyon collection, and the second grouping of vehicles from Allen Smith. Offered without reserve, the cars and motorcycles from these three private collections spanned automotive history from the dawn of motoring and both sides of the Atlantic.

The Brooks Stevens-designed Die Valkyrie concept car, based on the commanding and powerful foundation of a 1955 Cadillac chassis and formerly part of the Brooks Stevens Auto Museum, added a further dash of show-car drama and international flair to the auction.

Opening the auction was the offering of this year’s beautifully handmade charity quilt, “Every Mile is a Memory,” which sold for $11,000. The product of more than 3,000 hours of hand embroidery, quilt work, and love, this wonderful piece drew spirited bids and will its sale will benefit the worthy functions of the Catholic Charities Retired Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP).

The top seller of this year’s Auburn auction was the dashing 1938 Mercedes-Benz 320 Cabriolet B, resplendent in Blue over Tan leather and complete with a wonderful set of fitted luggage inside the trunk, which drew a winning bid of $539,000 including buyer’s premium.

Another exciting sale was achieved by the beautifully restored 1908 Holsman Model 10 High-Wheel Runabout, which was found prior to restoration stored inside the milking parlor of a dairy barn. Sold at $66,000 it is going to a worthy collection.

Continuing the momentum, we are now hard at work securing great consignments for our second annual Scottsdale, Arizona auction, slated for January 18th, 2018. Watch our website and advertising for news as consignments are added over the next few months and contact us to register to bid or to have your special collector car considered for the auction!

 

Exciting New Details on our 1930 Cadillac V-16 Selling at Auburn

The cover car for our 10th annual Auburn, Indiana auction to be held on Saturday, September 2nd, this majestic 1930 Cadillac V-16 Imperial Limousine by Fleetwood is one of the most historic luxury cars ever produced. Aimed directly at the business, political, and social elite of the 1930s, Cadillac’s V-16 remains a design and engineering landmark in every respect with no two exactly alike. In researching the background of this example, Worldwide Auctioneers consulted the GM Media Archive and received a copy of the original Cadillac Motor Car sales order form for this very car.

After it was produced, this Fleetwood Style 4375 Imperial Limousine-bodied V-16 was delivered new to Portland, Oregon, where it was sold by the Collins Bros. Co. All V-16s were sold new to wealthy individuals with the means to purchase and operate them, and this car, number 700859, was no exception, having either been purchased new or subsequently by Jimmy Monaghan, a Portland-based lumber baron. This early provenance came to light by chance just today (Friday September 1, 2017), when Mr. Glenn Mounger, the retired chairman of the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance,  contacted our Auctioneer and Co-Principal, Rod Egan. Mr. Mounger not only recalled our V-16, he had a wonderful personal connection to it.

During the early 1970s, around 1971-1972, Mr. Mounger and his friend, Larry Lattin, were seeking classic cars in Oregon, where they saw 700859 in a lumber camp. Spotted in very good condition and sporting the silver and black colors it continues with today, the V-16 was under the ownership of an aged, but still very spry, Jimmy Monaghan. A sale price was negotiated on the spot with Mr. Monaghan and Mr. Lattin was the proud new owner of the V-16. The adventures continued for both Mounger and Lattin, with the as-yet unproven Cadillac, weighing some 5,000 pounds, needing to be driven over a mountain pass for the trip to its new home with Mr. Lattin in Seattle, Washington. Thankfully, the unrestored car’s brakes were up to the task and the trip to Seattle proved uneventful but enjoyable, with Mr. Mounger at the wheel.

During his ownership of 700859, which we understand to have continued until the late 1990s, Mr. Lattin eventually had the car restored circa 1990-1992. The car would eventually be acquired in 2001 by noted Windsor, Ontario-based collector Mickey Moulder, who detailed the car for the show field and displayed the V-16 at the 2002 Meadow Brook Concours d’Elegance. The next year, Mr. Moulder sold the Cadillac to Jimmie Taylor of Huntington, West Virginia, who made the car the centerpiece of his wonderful museum collection, which was open to the public for free. To ever be able to offer a Cadillac V-16 from the first model year is a thrill in itself. However, with its great history, this Cadillac V-16 marks an even better occasion. Now, it can be yours, offered Without Reserve at Auburn on Saturday, August 2nd!

Avanti – Studebaker’s Design Icon – Now Available in Auburn

Launched for 1963, Studebaker’s Avanti personal luxury/sports coupe was a fresh, exciting design and clearly demonstrated the South Bend company was still a force to be reckoned with. While lacking the economies of scale and financial strength enjoyed by Chrysler, Ford, and General Motors, Studebaker embarked on a bold campaign to reinvent itself when Sherwood Egbert assumed the company presidency in 1961. Immediately, he set to work with a two-pronged strategy, commissioning Brooks Stevens to update the existing Hawk and Lark and enlisting Raymond Loewy Associates to design a new sporty car, named “Avanti,” meaning forward in Italian.

Designed and refined from general directions laid down by Loewy to Bob Andrews, Tom Kellogg, and John Ebstein, who were sequestered in a Palm Springs house and worked 16-hour days over six weeks, the resulting Avanti was fresh and almost otherworldly in appearance. Since Egbert was an aviation enthusiast, the Avanti’s luxurious yet purposeful interior was designed similarly to that of an aircraft cockpit. Given the tight timeframe, Studebaker built the Avanti with a no-rust fiberglass body on a shortened Lark frame with front and rear anti-roll bars. Advertised as a new class of American automobile, the Avanti was at once elegant, sophisticated, and sporty and generated intense demand upon release, but relatively few were built before production ended. Today, the Avanti remains one of the greatest American designs conceived.

The Avanti was built to perform with a complete line of high-performance engines ranging from the “R1” 240-horsepower 289 cubic-inch V-8 equipped with a “3/4 race” camshaft, dual-point distributor, 4-barrel carburetor, and dual exhaust. Famed racer Andy Granatelli developed several tuned versions, including the Paxton-supercharged “R2” version with 290 rated horsepower and rare 335-hp supercharged “R3,” through the twin-carb “R4” and twin-supercharged “R5.” Granatelli set 29 world speed records with an R3-powered Avanti in late 1962, setting the mark as the world’s fastest sports car at 211.292 mph. According to marque experts, only 3,834 Aventis were built in 1963; precious few were built to R2 specification.

Offered from 18 years of sole ownership, this unrestored 1963 ‘R2’ Studebaker Avanti is a prime example of these design and performance icons. See it at our upcoming Auburn auction, scheduled for Saturday, September 2nd at the National Auto and Truck Museum (NATM) on Gordon Buehrig Drive in Auburn, Indiana, and be sure to register to bid at bidders@worldwideauctioneers.com !

Great Examples of Ford’s Historic Model A Offered at Auburn

Ford Motor Company’s launch of the Model A represents one of the most dramatic business turnarounds in automotive and industrial history. While many believed by the mid-1920s that Henry Ford’s engineering and manufacturing genius had seen better days, Edsel Ford, Henry’s visionary son and Ford Motor Company president, successfully lobbied for a replacement for the venerable Model T. Launched in 1927 for 1928, the all-new Model A was modern and more complex, yet much simpler to operate than the “Tin Lizzie.” A new four-cylinder engine produced twice the T’s power output, while the exterior featured handsome Lincoln-inspired design cues.

As expected, the debut of the new Model A was a highly anticipated event, featuring personal comments by Henry Ford in pre-launch advertisements and widely circulated media interviews. Early customers included eventual U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt and Hollywood stars who posed for photos with their new Model A’s, clearly enthused by their fresh styling and sprightly performance. In fact, with the Model A, Ford perfected the art of product placement in one of the most successful new product launches in all of automotive history.

Easy to operate, maintain, and enjoy, the Model A represents everything that is good in today’s classic-car hobby, never failing to draw admirers with their charm and landmark Edsel Ford-directed styling. Offered from the great collection of Jimmie Taylor, these great examples provide a wonderful opportunity for smart collectors at our Auburn auction on Saturday, September 2nd. Be sure to register to bid here!

1929 Ford Model A Roadster

Offered Without Reserve

  • Highly attractive example of one of Ford’s most important prewar cars
  • Most desirable and sporting Roadster body style in excellent colors
  • Very well-equipped and accessorized; ready to tour and enjoy

1929 Ford Model A Roadster Pickup

Offered Without Reserve

  • Enduring older restoration of Ford’s iconic Roadster Pickup
  • Well-preserved, attractive, and ready to be enjoyed or put to work
  • Accessories include side-mounted spare and Atlas auxiliary water bag

1929 Ford Model A Pickup Truck

Offered Without Reserve

  • Outstanding example of Ford’s first closed-cab pickup
  • Well-restored, preserved, presented, and ready to enjoy
  • Accessories include steel sun visor and New York license plates

1930 Ford Model A Tudor Sedan

Offered Without Reserve

  • Handsomely presented and preserved restoration
  • Exciting color combination and outstanding presence
  • Historic Ford model with many wonderful accessories
  • Engine equipped with Auto-Lite exhaust manifold heater

1931 Ford Model A Roadster

Offered Without Reserve

  • Handsome and sporty final-year Model A Roadster
  • Exciting color combination and outstanding presence
  • Historic pre-war Ford model with many desirable accessories
  • Captivating and ready to enjoy

 

Enjoy the Classsic Car Hobby With a True Icon – Henry Ford’s Model T!

Introduced in October 1908, Henry Ford’s Model T represents an uncanny combination of durability, reliability, and affordability. Remaining in production for nearly 19 full years until 1927, some 15 million examples of the beloved “Tin Lizzie” were built. In addition to making Henry Ford a household name, the little car put the world on wheels. The Model T remains an enduring cultural phenomenon today and rightly, it was recognized as the “Car of the Century” in 1999, above 700 other worthy candidates for this prestigious award. In fact, the Model T stands as the world’s first “true” People’s Car, being affordable when new by anyone earning about $5 a day, the wage earned by Henry Ford’s assembly-line workforce in Dearborn.

Today, the Model T is immensely enjoyable and usable. Its legendary durability, a function of the high-strength steel specified in its construction by Ford, makes the Model T startlingly enjoyable among today’s collectors and enthusiasts. Purchase prices are also low, in keeping with the vast production numbers. While certainly not capable of “Fast and Furious” performance, the Model T is perfectly capable of enjoyable touring on secondary roads and incredibly enjoyable. Our suite of Model Ts hails from the wonderful collection of Mr. Jimmie Smith of Huntington, Virginia – celebrating the highlights of the Model T lineage and best of all, they are all offered at No Reserve!

Here are the Model Ts from the Jimmie Smith Collection and they are all ready to be sold at No Reserve from Worldwide Auctioneers at the National Auto and Truck Museum in Auburn, Indiana on Saturday, September 2nd! Be sure to register to bid with us at bidders@worldwideauctioneers.com .

Here are brief details of the wonderful Model Ts we are offering in Auburn:

From The Jimmie Taylor Collection

1913 Ford Model T Touring

Offered Without Reserve

  • Charming example of the quintessential “Brass Model T”
  • The earliest of several Model Ts from The Jimmie Taylor Collection
  • Well-equipped with period accessories and well-fitted folding top
  • Wonderful example of one of the world’s most influential automobiles

 

From The Jimmie Taylor Collection

1919 Ford Model T Depot Hack

Offered Without Reserve

  • Wonderful and authentically presented Depot Hack
  • Fun and usable example of the historic and adaptable Model T
  • Accessorized with two Desert water bags
  • Equipped with electric start, cowl and tail lamps, spare-wheel carrier

 

1920 Ford Model T Touring

Offered Without Reserve

  • A true pre-war motoring icon, essential to any collection
  • Early example with optional electric starting and battery
  • Engaging presentation with glossy paint and very nice upholstery
  • Well-fitted folding top, Ford scripted mats, auxiliary water bag

 

From The Jimmie Taylor Collection

1921 Ford Model T Center Door Sedan

Offered Without Reserve

  • Striking ‘Center Door’ Sedan body style
  • Example of Ford’s first Sedan model
  • Sought-after Model T with well-restored interior
  • Electric starting and charging system

 

From The Jimmie Taylor Collection

1926 Ford Model T Tudor Sedan

Offered Without Reserve

  • Handsome late-production example of the historic Model T
  • A true pre-war motoring icon, essential to any collection
  • Early example with optional electric starting and battery
  • Engaging presentation with glossy paint and very nice upholstery

 

From The Jimmie Taylor Collection

1927 Ford Model T Coupe

Offered Without Reserve

  • Desirable and iconic “Doctor’s Coupe” body style
  • Handsome example from the Model T’s final year
  • Nicely equipped with period accessories
  • Attractively finished and presented throughout

 

Brooks Stevens – America’s Postwar Design Legend

 During the latter half of the 20th Century in America, your daily life was quite likely enhanced or influenced by Brooks Stevens. As one of only a handful of people who invented and defined Industrial Design, Mr. Stevens was a follower of, and a contemporary of, such luminaries as Frank Lloyd Wright, Raymond Loewy, and Alexis de Sakhnoffsky. In fact, Stevens and de Sakhnoffsky became personal friends and the latter spent a great deal of time at the Brooks Stevens Auto Museum during the 1950s. For his part, Stevens’ deep appreciation of de Sakhnoffsky’s 1930 Cord L-29, best known among collectors as the ‘Hayes Coupe’, spurred his drive to purchase this immensely successful show car for his own collection.

Brooks Stevens’ career and business grew exponentially following the close of WW II, with his many design credits including the first civilian Jeep models and mass-production automobile designs for Willys-Overland and Kaiser-Frazer. An avid fan of motor racing and the brilliant designs honed in competition, Stevens also designed and built a series of racing cars dubbed Excalibur and used the name for his striking neo-classic automobiles of the 1960s. He also yearned a return to designing opulent, bespoke cars, resulting in the sleek ‘Diana’ designed and built in 1945 for Diana Lewis Powell, wife of actor William Powell of “The Thin Man” fame. However, the time, expense, and unfavorable economics of such ventures were daunting.

Stevens’ eventual hiring of French public relations representative Guy Storr was pivotal, with Storr’s suggestion that Stevens should raise his European profile by designing a show car for display at the 1954 Paris Salon. Die Valkyrie was Stevens’ inspired reply to Storr’s creative challenge, said to be the right mix of French design sensibilities with a decidedly American presence on an American chassis – supplied by Cadillac – and clothed by Hermann Spohn, one of Germany’s best-regarded custom coach builders.

Low, long, and wide, measuring nearly 22 feet overall, the commanding presence of Die Valkyrie certainly suited the name, which was drawn from the stirring music from Wagner’s monumental opera, Die Walküre. American heritage and V-8 power were emphasized by a bold, V-shaped frontal motif including a large, unique chrome bumper and forward-slanted headlamp housings. The hood was the longest of any prototype car at almost 8 feet, and other design cues included the raked panoramic windshield, large removable hardtop, clean, fin-less rear fenders, a generous rear deck, upright, blade-style tail lamps, and a wrap-around rear bumper.

Innovations were many, including extra-wide doors allowing ease of entry and exit – even for rear-seat passengers, unique power-operated side windows with a large central pane between two vent windows per side, and a modernistic, Brooks Stevens signature black and white two-tone paint scheme, Stevens’ favorite color combination. Other advanced features included illuminated Plexiglas turn signals atop the front fenders and Plexiglas headlight cross pieces to concentrate the headlight beams yet reduce (by 50 per cent) the potential glare faced by oncoming drivers. The spacious interior featured plush upholstery matching the car’s luxurious persona.

The visually striking body was built by Hermann Spohn in Ravensburg, Germany, the highly admired coachbuilder whose work usually graced Rolls-Royce and Mercedes-Benz chassis. Financial backing for the project came from Irwyn Metzenbaum, a Cleveland city councilor, and auto enthusiast. Following completion, Die Valkyrie was shown at the Paris Salon, where it created a sensation for its fascinating body design and demonstrated the stylistic possibilities afforded by its compact V-8 engine and sophisticated chassis, in contrast to the inline fours, sixes, and straight eights long favored by most of the era’s European manufacturers.

Next, Die Valkyrie toured Europe’s auto-show circuit and then it was displayed at the 1955 New York Auto Show held at Madison Square Garden, where it received the “Excellence of Design and Engineering” award. According to Mr. Bortz, an expert in the realm of concept cars, Die Valkyrie is believed to be the only such vehicle to have been awarded a U.S. Patent for its unique design. Clearly, many of its cutting-edge features have appeared, in one form or another, on many later production cars.

Next, Die Valkyrie was purchased by Brooks Stevens for his wife, Alice, and then from 1958, it formed part of the renowned Brooks Stevens Auto Museum collection. Following the passing of Mr. Stevens in 1995, this vehicle was purchased directly in 1997 from his estate by the Bortz Auto Collection in the Chicago area, where it has remained ever since. During 2003, Die Valkyrie returned to Milwaukee as a feature for a celebration of the life and work of Brooks Stevens at the Milwaukee Art Museum, entitled “Industrial Strength Design: How Brooks Stevens Shaped Your World.” Fittingly, the banners along the streets to the Museum heralding the show featured the striking frontal design of Die Valkyrie.

Subsequent exhibitions included the 2012 Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance and the June 2014 CCCA Grand Experience on the grounds of the Gilmore Car Museum in Hickory Corners, Michigan. Blessed with unbroken provenance from new, Die Valkyrie is rightly considered one of the 10 most desirable prototypes still in existence from the 1950s and 1960s. Designed by Brooks Stevens, one of the most influential of all American automotive and industrial designers, Die Valkyrie continues to amaze all who experience it. Soon, you will have the chance to experience it for yourself, at Worldwide Auctioneers’ 10th Annual Auburn Auction on Saturday, September 2nd at the National Automobile and Truck Museum!

Join Us When the Great Race 2017 Comes to Auburn Wednesday, June 28th!

Auburn, Indiana’s historic Auburn-Cord-Duesenberg Museum, quietly awaiting the excitement to unfold when the 150 competitors in the Hemmings Motor News Great Race 2017 presented by Hagerty are scheduled to arrive on Wednesday, June 28th.

On Wednesday, June 28th, the 150 teams competing in the 2017 Hemmings Motor News Great Race presented by Hagerty will arrive in Worldwide Auctioneers’ hometown of Auburn, Indiana. Having departed Jacksonville, Florida on Saturday, June 24th, the teams will make their way on an epic journey covering roughly 2,351 miles bound for Traverse City, Michigan as their final destination on July 2nd. This year’s participants follow in a tradition that started in 1983 that continues stronger than ever.

Seeing the entrants off in Jacksonville was none other than Top Fuel drag racing legend Don “Big Daddy” Garlits, who serves as this year’s Grand Marshal for the event. Driving an incredible selection of cars ranging from a 1916 Chevrolet Phaeton, 1916 Hudson, and 1916 Studebaker Speedster to a mighty 1973 Jensen Interceptor, the vehicles of the 2017 Hemmings Motor News Great Race are almost as diverse as the competitors themselves, who hail from virtually every state and from as far away as England and Japan. A challenging test of driving and navigational skills, the Great Race does cover a published list of destinations from point to point but the actual route of the race is a closely guarded secret that is only revealed to the participants at the start of each day’s stage.

Team Hagerty’s second car – a 1960 Plymouth Fury, driven by Shelbie Buchanan & navigated by Ashleigh Powell – arrive in Murfreesboro (Monday’s lunch stop). Photo credit: Matt Litwin, Hemmings Motor News.

X-Cup competitors Team Murfreesboro arrives in Bowling Green Monday evening. Photo Credit: Matt Litwin, Hemmings Motor News.

Here’s a listing of the Great Race 2017 route and event itinerary, giving you the opportunity to spot the teams on their journey and join them in the action as they arrive:

Saturday, June 24 – Stage 1: Jacksonville, Florida to Tifton, Georgia

Sunday, June 25 – Stage 2: Tifton, Georgia to Chattanooga, Tennessee

Monday, June 26 – Stage 3: Chattanooga, Tennessee to Bowling Green, Kentucky

Tuesday, June 27 – Stage 4: Bowling Green, Kentucky to Franklin, Indiana

Wednesday, June 28 – Stage 5: Franklin, Indiana to Auburn, Indiana

Thursday, June 29 – Stage 6: Auburn, Indiana to Ypsilanti, Michigan

Friday, June 30 – Stage 7: Ypsilanti, Michigan to Frankenmuth, Michigan

Saturday, July 1 – Stage 8: Championship Run from Frankenmuth, Michigan to Sault Sainte Marie, Michigan

Sunday, July 2 – Stage 9: Championship Run from Sault Sainte Marie, Michigan to Traverse City, Michigan

Two-time Grand Champion Rex Gardner & grandson Kolton Hastert arrive in Bowling Green in their 1935 Ford 3-Window Coupe. Photo Credit: Matt Litwin, Hemmings Motor News.

Join us on Wednesday the 28th and help us give a warm welcome the teams participating in the Hemmings Motor News Great Race 2017 presented by Hagerty as they arrive at the renowned Auburn-Cord-Duesenberg Museum on Gordon Buehrig Drive in Auburn. While you’re there, be sure to visit the Hemmings Speedster team, who are spearheading the Alzheimer’s Association “Longest Day” fundraising campaign to combat this life-changing disease that affects so many of our loved ones today. Daily event coverage is at the official Great Race 2017 website (http://www.greatrace.com/) and Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/greatracerally/) , including a full listing of the stops along the way, plus blog posts by the participants, event updates, and great photos of the teams in action during this exciting classic car event. We look forward to seeing you there to welcome the Hemmings Motor News Great Race 2017 competitors and be sure to stop and say “Hi” to the Worldwide Auctioneers team while y9ou are there!