Sunday, January 22, 2006

Rockers' Cars At Barrett-Jackson

Several cars connected to rock musicians crossed the block at Barrett-Jackson today.

The most historically significant had to be Elvis Presley's 1960 Lincoln Mark V Limousine. The car came fully documented, from the power-of-attorney letter that authorized its purchase on Elvis' behalf (he was serving in the Army overseas at the time), to the application for title, along with every other concievable piece of paperwork needed to prove that it was, in fact, the King's car. It was customized by the same builders who did the Lincoln that JFK was assassinated in. Very impressive car, and made all the more important because of it's link to Elvis Presley. It sold for $556,200.

The coolest rocker's car sold had to be Alice Cooper's 1939 Lincoln Zephyr Custom Coupe. Cooper is a Phoenix-area local and a huge car guy. During the telecast he confirmed that he did, in fact, drive this car fairly regularly. Low and sleek, with its chopped roof and gunslit windows, this may have been the slickest-looking custom to appear today. The car 's paint scheme matches the album art on Cooper's 2005 Dirty Diamonds CD. It brought $248,400.

Van Halen was also well-represented at Barrett-Jackson, with several cars belonging to Michael Anthony and Sammy Hagar up for grabs. Sammy put up his 1967 Shelby GT500, a car he has owned since 1989. When he joined Greg Jackson up on the podium, Sammy said that since he bought three new cars last year, he needed to free up room. The Shelby Mustang, with it's 500HP, had apparently become too much for Mr. I-Can't-Drive-55, who stated, frankly, "I'm getting too old for this car!" Included with the GT500 were a personally signed guitar and a case of Hagar's Cabo Wabo tequila (also signed). Hmm, a case of tequila and a 500HP automobile...that could get interesting in a hurry. It sold for $270,000.

Van Halen bassist Michael Anthony is a partner in the Bonspeed customization/tuning house, which had five cars in the auction. My favorite of the Bonspeed cars was this 2002 Saleen/Bonspeed Ford Thunderbird Concept. The partnership between Saleen and Bonspeed was supposed to spawn a production run of these cars, but that idea was scrapped when Ford announced that the then-new T-Bird would be a limited-production model. The silver example at Barrett-Jackson is the only one of it's kind. it sold for $70,200. Not a bad deal for a one-off Saleen T-Bird.

See the rest of the Van Halen cars here.

All Photos: Barrett-Jackson

Saturday, January 21, 2006

1950 GM Futurliner Sets Barrett-Jackson Record

A few minutes ago, a Barrett-Jackson record was set when a 1950 GM Futurliner "Parade of Progress" bus sold for an absolutely staggering $4,100,000.

One of the three remaining fully-restored examples (12 were built in total) this Futurliner was spectacular in every single way, looking like an art-deco streamliner locomotive. It is a dominating presence in the hall at Westworld, where the auction is taking place, with it's towering size and massive "GM" badging in front.

The most incredible part of the story? The sellers were hoping they'd get in the neighborhood of $600,000 for the bus. I can only imagine what went through their heads as an all-out bidding war broke out between a 2 or 3 very deep-pocketed prospective buyers. Watching it live on television, I have to say that it was downright exciting, with the thousands of people in attendance cheering each successive bid as if they were watching a football game.

Not a bad weekend for them, eh?

Updated Barrett-Jackson auction results can be found here.

Photo by Barrett-Jackson

First 2007 Ford Shelby GT500 Sells for $600K

Earlier today at the annual Barrett-Jackson collector car auction (results) in Scottsdale, the rights to the first production 2007 Ford Shelby GT500 Mustang were sold for $600,000. The proceeds will benefit the Carroll Shelby Children's Foundation, which helps children in need of cardiac care and organ/tissue transplants.

The scene in Scottsdale was dramatic as one of the red GT500 coupe prototypes was driven onto the auction block by none other than Edsel Ford. Riding shotgun was the man himself, Carroll Shelby, dressed head-to-toe in black. He's the automotive world's equivalent to Johnny Cash, and is every bit as legendary.

Both Carroll and Edsel addressed the crowd from the podium before the frenzied bidding kicked off. A few minutes and $600K later, one lucky person was guaranteed to have 2007 GT500 #001 built to his or her specifications.

The 2007 Shelby GT500 is powered by a 5.4L supercharged V8 that delivers an estimated 475 horsepower and 475 lb.-ft. of torque. Those are numbers that will let it easily live up to it's vaunted name and the heritage behind it.

The Barrett-Jackson auction is pure car porn, and Speed TV is carrying coverage until 12AM eastern tonight, plus more live coverage at 3PM eastern tomorrow. If you're reading this and are sick of the usual lousy Saturday TV programming the nets offer, head over to Speed TV and prepare to have your socks knocked off.

GT500 photos courtesy of the Ford Motor Company

Monday, January 16, 2006

Photoblogging: Jaguar Mk 2 in Paris

Back in September 2004, I had to go to Paris on business. I planned the trip out to include a Saturday stay so that I could get a less expensive airfare. The upside of this was that I had one and a half days to myself. Following the recommendations of a colleague who knew Paris well, I hoofed it. I'm a native New Yorker, so the walking is no biggie, and I know how to find my way.

Paris is a great walking city, with all the character you would expect it to have. The grid is pretty straightforward, and most hotels have perfectly adequate walking maps that make it easy to see where you are and where you want to go.

It was a beautiful day on my final Saturday in the city, and I was lucky enough to happen upon this pretty old Jaguar Mk2 parked in front of a cafe during my travels. I love cars, so I had to capture it.

What I like about this first photo is that you get a great look at the car, which is the obvious subject of the picture, but if you take a second to look at the whole picture, it becomes apparent where it is. The street signs on the buildings, the French flag in the background. There are clues there. I also like how the row of scooters parked next to the car is reflected in its paint. I'm happy with how it came out, considering it was something I bent down and snapped very quickly.

You can download a higher-res version of it here.

This next photo is of the same car. I just went for a closer detail shot, focusing primarily on the grille, lights, and "leaper" on the hood. I'm very happy with how this one came out.

Again, you can view and download higher-res versions of this photo here.

Finally, the last photo is a rear view. It does show of the car's lines nicely in my opinion, but this photo is a bit disappointing for me due to the amount of glare reflecting off the trunk. It almost fully obscures the badging above the rear license plate. If you look right above the bumper on the passenger side of the car, you can see the "MK 2" badge, though. For the sake of being complete, I've included it in this post.

Again, higher-res versions can be viewed and downloaded here.

I hope you enjoy the photos, and I do welcome your feedback. If you are a jaguar aficionado who can tell me the model year, I'd love to know it. Thanks!

Photos Copyright 2004 Alex Nunez, All Rights Reserved.