The Petersen Automotive Museum holds one or two auctions each year, but one coming up is especially noteworthy.
That's because many of the one-off specimens are historical or cultural artifacts with such names as "Big Daddy" Ed Roth attached to them. A lot of the 80 cars for sale are recognized by car fans, and include famous dragsters and custom creations from the 1930s through the 1970s.
"I would love to have a lot of these cars for our collections if we could afford it," said Chris Brown, the information and marketing manager at the museum.
The cars and related memorabilia are from the collection of Ralph Whitworth, co-founder of investment advisory firm Relational Investors LLC in San Diego.
Whitworth told the Business Journal that the auction items are only part of his collection and he will be keeping others that he was grown to love. But since the cars were stored 800 miles from his home, he rarely got to enjoy them, so it was time to sell.
"It's fun to collect, but holding the collection isn't as fun," he said.
The catalog for the Sept. 26 auction includes:
- The 1965 Dodge Deora, a concept car that become the basis of the best-selling Hot Wheels toy car of all time. It's the only item in the auction catalog that didn't carry an estimated price.
- The 1964 Road Agent, a custom creation by "Big Daddy" Roth, resembles a wedge-shaped spaceship. Estimated price: $200,000 to $350,000. Another Roth creation, the Druid Princess, was built for "The Addams Family" TV show, and mixes elements of the hot rod look with funeral hearse design.
- A 1969 Dodge Charger that was the first stock car to break the 200 mph mark. It's estimated to sell between $400,000 and $600,000.
- The 1965 Dodge Pickup "Little Red Wagon" was drag racing's most popular funny car. Its estimated price is $200,000 to $300,000.
Brown noted that many of these cars appeared on the covers of Petersen car magazines during their heyday, and were built in Southern California for either Hollywood productions or the local racing culture.
The auction will also feature hot rod memorabilia such as original Rat Fink drawings, tools customized by famed designer Von Dutch and spare engine parts for vintage cars. Some of those items could sell for less than $1,000.
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