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Resource Guide
Auction Central
By Larry Edsall
Back to Community

Classic automobiles are "High Art" for Atlanta museum
By Larry Edsall

High Art

Like the Museum of Modern Art with its "8 automobiles" exhibit in 1951 or the Phoenix Art Museum with its "Curves of Steel" showcase in 2007, art museums are discovering the attraction of the automotive art form. Thus the High Museum of Art in Atlanta offers "The Allure of the Automobile: Driving in Style 1930-1965," which opens March 21 and runs through June 20.

"Our visitors will be surprised to find that today's vehicles come from a legacy of beauty and innovation comparable to the finest decorative arts that may be found in museum collections," said museum director Michael E. Shapiro. "This exhibition will showcase the greatest feats of engineering and luxury design from 1930 to 1965, when cars became synonymous with success, power and wealth.

"Created for the privileged few, the luxurious, custom-built automobiles embodied speed, style and elegance, and influenced art, architecture, fashion and design."

The exhibit will showcase 18 vehicles, including a 1934 Packard Twelve runabout speedster and 1935 Duesenberg JN roadster, both formerly owned by Clark Gable, a 1937 Mercedes-Benz 540 K special roadster, a 1937 Bugatti Type 57S Atalante coupe, the 1937 Hispano-Suiza H-6C "Xenia" coupe, a 1948 Tucker Model 48 Torpedo, a 1954 Dodge Firearrow III concept car, the 1959 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray prototype, and the 1938-39 Porsche Type 64 coupe that has never before been shown outside Germany.


The first major concours d'elegance of the year takes place March 14-15 when the 15th annual Amelia Island concours d'elegance takes place on the island near Jacksonville, Florida.

In addition to vehicles such as the now fully restored Norman Tibbs Special, a one-of-a-kind roadster (see photo) conceived in the late 1940s, the schedule includes a panel discussion featuring racing greats Richard Petty, Don Garlits and Stirling Moss, as well as Petty's Plymouth Superbird, the Birdcage Maserati that Moss raced, and Garlit's famous Swamp Rat dragster.

Cars raced by Petty will comprise an entire class at the concours, which also will feature cars that raced in Cuba, cars you never new existed, and cars that have appeared on the cover of Motor Trend magazine.

RM will hold the official concours auction at the Ritz-Carlton resort. Gooding will hold its event at the Amelia Island Plantation.

After the concours, Classic Motorsports magazine's annual Orange Blossom tour will take participants on a rally from Amelia Island that will visit the Brumos, Living Legends (South Daytona), Garlits, Fantasy of Flight and Bob Tulius museums on the way to Sebring, where the 12-hour sports car race is scheduled for the following weekend.


You'll recall that the highest bid at the recent Barrett-Jackson collector car auction was for a vintage airplane, not a car. Well, it was the same at Mecum's auction at Kissimmee, Florida, except the high bid wasn't made on an airplane but on a classic wooden boat - a 1966 Riva Super Aquarama Series II prototype that sold for $775,000 (not including the 6-percent buyer's premium). The car that brought the most money was a 1935 Auburn 851 boattail speedster for $376,000 while a pair of 1957 Pontiac Bonneville convertibles went for $213,000 and $180,000.

The sale had a 71-percent sell through rate and Mecum reported receipts were up more than 60 percent compared to the same event last year.


Ellen "Nellie" Jackson, matriarch of the Barrett-Jackson auction company and "grande dame" of the collector car hobby (so says Don Williams of The Blackhawk Collection), died February 10. She was 90.

The Jacksons and the Barretts were car-collecting families who moved to Arizona from the Midwest around 1960. They got together to stage a classic car parade and show to raise money for the Scottsdale, Arizona, library and arts center. Raising money for charity became a mainstay of the auction company as it was led through the years by Mrs. Jackson, her husband and their sons.



12 - Gooding auction at Amelia Island Plantation, Amelia Island, Florida
12-14 - 15th Amelia Island concours d'elegance, Amelia Island, Florida
12-14 - Goodguys Spring Nationals, Scottsdale, Arizona
13 - RM auction at Amelia Island concourse, Amelia Island, Florida
21-June 20 - The Allure of the Automobile, High Museum of Art, Atlanta
26-27 - Kruse/Leake at San Antonio, Texas
26-28 - RM auction at Ft. Lauderdale, Florida
26-28 - Legends of Riverside honors Carroll Shelby, Riverside, California
27-28 - Goodguys All American Get-Together, Pleasanton, California


Click here for more articles by Larry Edsall.

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