Kirk F. White's 'remarkable collection' at Auburn auction
By Larry Edsall
When Roger Penske needed a competitive Ferrari for Mark Donohue and David Hobbs to race in the American rounds of the World Sports Car championship, he got a spectacular 512M in a hand-shake partnership with Kirk F. White.
About a year and a half later, it was magazine editor Brock Yates who came calling, wondering if he might borrow another Ferrari from White's stable, in this case a 365 GTB/4 for a cross-country lark called the Cannonball Baker Sea to Shining Sea Memorial Trophy Dash. Figuring Yates and his co-driver (it was supposed to be Robert Redford but ended up being Dan Gurney) wouldn't put very many miles on the car, White agreed to the deal.
"I figured they'd be in jail [for repeated speeding tickets] by the middle of New Jersey," White thought at the time.
Instead, of course, Gurney and Yates not only made it all the way across the country, but they won the now historic race.
Oh, and between loaning out his Ferraris, Kirk F. White was co-founder of what now is considered the prototype classic car auction.
But White wasn't just selling. He also was buying -- cars and much more, an eclectic assortment that included model trains to tether cars to original artwork. Now, at the age of 77, he realizes "it would be preposterous" to leave his children to deal with 40 years of accumulated cool stuff, so he's selling what Auction America terms "the remarkable collection of Kirk F. White" at its big Labor Day weekend event at Auburn, Indiana.
White's collection is as large as it is diverse, filling a nearly 150-page auction catalog with original art and Montaut prints, European model trains and tin toys, automotive and other sculpture, tether cars, even a steam-driven ferris wheel.
White is selling more than collectibles at the auction. He's selling 1932 and 1933 Ford hot rods -- a highboy roadster and a five-window coupe drag car -- as well as a Thunderbird he owned for 20 years.
"I'm just getting to the point where I'm happy with my 120 Jag and one or two other cars," White said. "It's not the big quest for me anymore."
That said, he's not quite done buying.
"We will continue our hobbies, but at a more sensible level," he said, immediately adding that he was eager to get into several boxes just delivered with more stuff he'd recently purchased.
White's isn't the only collection crossing the block at Auction America's Auburn Fall sale. Ed Ewing's collection of nearly 100 cars, primarily post-war American classics and muscle cars, as well as a 1930 Cadillac Sixteen Madame X sedan cabriolet and 1937 Lincoln Model K two-window Berline, will be offered at no reserve.
Other Auburn auction highlights include a trio of Duesenbergs -- a 1929 Model J sport sedan, a 1930 Model J convertible coupe and a 1935 Model SJ dual-cowl phaeton.
The auction is being staged in conjunction with the 57th annual ACD (Auburn-Cord-Duesenberg) Festival, which this year features the Auburn marque.
The weekend also features the sixth annual Auburn auction by Auburn-based Worldwide Auctioneers at the National Auto & Truck Museum, where the featured cars include a 1933 Auburn 12-161A phaeton convertible sedan and a 1934 Pierce-Arrows 12 "Ab Jenkins Special.
Auction action moves to Dallas, England and Las Vegas
The weekend after Labor Day, Mecum Auctions will be at Dallas, Bonhams stages its auction at the Beaulieu National Motor Museum in England and RM stages its big sale in London in conjunction with the St. James' Concours d'Elegance at Windsor Castle.
RM's London event will include:
* a remarkable group of some 70 historic Mercedes-Benz vehicles -- including a 1932 15/75 HP Mannheim 370 S sport roadster, 1936 500 K cabriolet C, 1937 540 K cabriolet B, 1938 540 K special cabriolet A and a 1957 300 SLS racer -- all from one collector;
* Lord Laidlaw of Rothiemay's stunning collection of racing cars -- including a 1966 Ferrari 275 GTB/C berlinetta competizione, 1957 Maserati 250S, 1955 D-type Jaguar and 1960 "Birdcage" Maserati Tipo 61 (like Kirk W. White, Lord Laidlaw is now in his 70s);
* a 1967 Ferrari 275 GTB/4;
* the 007 Lotus Esprit "Submarine Car" from the movie "The Spy Who Loved Me."
Then, two weeks after those events, Barrett-Jackson and Russo and Steele stage auctions along The Strip at Las Vegas.
Click here for event calendar.
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