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Top 10 AZ Auction 2008
By Larry Edsall
With some where around 4000 classic cars up for bidding at seven collector car auction venues in the Phoenix area this month, we’re in no position to offer a pure “top 10” list.

Besides, which “top 10” list would we even consider? The 10 vehicles most likely to bring bids of more than $1 million? The 10 best bargains for the budget-minded bidder?

So, call it a cop-out if you want, but what we’ve done is come up with a list of what, to one member of the staff, are the 10 most interesting cars available at the auctions.

Because of what I’ll admit to be my eclectic tastes (is it really a character flaw that I’m drawn to Facel Vegas and Studebaker pickup trucks?), as much as I might be intrigued by the ’71 Plymouth Hemi ‘Cuda, the ’73 Ferrari Daytona Spyder or that ’54 Buick Skylark convertible in the Russo and Steele catalog, you’ll find none of them on this list. In fact, once I’d finished the list, I noticed that I didn’t even include Carroll Shelby’s own 1969 GT500 convertible or the ’67 GT500 he originally gave to his son, Mike.

So, what follows is a look at 10 – well, actually 14 -- of what we’ll call the most interesting vehicles scheduled to cross the auction blocks this month in Arizona:

10. 1904 Thomas Model 27 racer
(Kruse International)
Originally built to compete in the 1904 Vanderbilt Cup race, then converted into a production model and restored in 2007 to its racing livery.

9. 1947 Chevrolet Fleetliner street rod
Ken “Posies’ Fenical is one of America’s top hot-rod builders and created the Fleetliner, which uses a Roush-built and supercharged 300-cubic-inch Ford straight six engine to power a radically modified 1947 Chevrolet that features exposed rivets, dropped axles, custom wheels and four seats.

8. 2008 Ford Shelby GT500KR
2008 Dodge Challenger SRT/8
2009 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1
We’ve grouped this trio together because each is the first of its breed being offered for public sale, and proceeds from each of those sales will go to charity. The Shelby money goes to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. The Challenger charges the coffers of Not My Kid., Inc. The ZR1 benefits the United Way of Michigan.

7. 1929 Duesenberg Model J dual cowl phaeton
Model J Duesies demand huge dollars at auction, and the pre-auction estimate for this one, with a dual cowl phaeton body by American coachbuilder Le Baron, is in the $2 million neighborhood.

6. 1941 Raymond Loewy Lincoln Continental

(Gooding) As if the 1941 Lincoln Continental wasn’t exclusive enough, famed New York designer Raymond Loewy drew up his own custom bodywork and had it built by Philadelphia-based coachbuilder Derham, whose clientele included Gary Cooper, Joe E. Brown and Johnny “Tarzan” Weissmuller.

5. 1957 Maserati Tipo 54
This is a 450S Maserati sports racer originally sold to Tony Parravano, a contractor who moved from Chicago to the West Coast after World War II. Parravano owned a stable of racing cars, many of which he lost in an Internal Revenue Service seizure. Parravano was convicted of tax evasion but disappeared before his sentencing, reportedly killed by a former business associate.

4. 2007 Blastolene B-702
Calling themselves the Balstolene Brothers, Michael Leeds and Randy Grubb have created a succession of amazing, 12-cylinder machines, including the Jay Leno Tank Car and this B-709, a big, long and outrageous tribute to the streamlined cars created in the 1930s by various famed French coachbuilders.

3. 1963 Chevrolet Corvette “Rodine”
1963 Ford Thunderbird “Italien”
We’re running out of room, so we’re grouping these concepts together. Barrett-Jackson has made the concept car a focal point of the collector car world and has another pair of aces up its sleeve. The Rodine was done in Italy by Pininfarina while the Italien, despite its Italian-sounding name, was designed and built in Dearborn, Michigan.

2. 1941 Chrysler Thunderbolt
1941 Chrysler Newport
Thought they’ll be sold as separate lots, it’s hard not to think of the Thunderbolt and Newport together. Both were built in 1941 for Chrysler by American coachmaker Le Baron. The Thunderbolt is considered to be Chrysler’s first dream or concept car. The Newport was built as a parade car and was pace car for the Indianapolis 500.

1. Robosaurus
It’s it a delightful irony that a “vehicle” designed to destroy cars would end up being sold at a collector car auction. But Robosaurus is getting a little long in the tooth after 17 years. By the way, this monster machine’s teeth have 20,000 pounds of car-crushing power, not to mention the fact that this 40-foot tall modern day dragon also breathes fire.


Click here for more articles by Larry Edsall.

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