Best-of-the-best philosophy pays off as Staluppi sale brings $11.5 million
By Larry Edsall
Auto dealer and yacht builder John Staluppi's car-collecting philosophy has been fairly straightforward: "John had a very precise collecting philosophy that focused on securing only the 'best of the very best'," said Donnie Gould of RM Auctions.
Staluppi's focus was on obtaining the best of the best primarily post-war American cars from the 1950s and '60s heyday of Detroit. He showcased those cars in his "Cars of Dreams" museum in North Palm Beach, Florida, where RM's sale of the collection resulted in $11.5 million in transactions, well above the anticipated sales total.
Although the top sale wasn't a classic car but a 1918 Herschell-Spillman 32-foot Carousel that brought $460,000, Staluppi's eye for quality cars paid off. For example, the top vehicle sale of the day -- $299,750 for a 1956 Cadillac Series 62 convertible, was nearly $100,000 more than the high pre-auction estimate.
Other top sales were $264,000 for a 1968 Shelby Mustang GT500-KR convertible, $206,250 for a '58 Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz convertible and another $206,250 for a '60 Eldo Biarritz cabrio. A 1958 Chevrolet Bel Air Impala custom hardtop, powered by a supercharged LS9 V8, went for $198,000. A unique Lionel train layout, 30-feet long and 9-feet tall, sold for $103,500.
Staluppi reportedly held the sale because, at age 65, he is moving to the western part of the country, where he will start a new collection.
Chrysler museum closing
Though the vehicles on display inside will be preserved, the Walter P. Chrysler Museum is broke and is closing.
The museum opened in 1999 and, amazingly, was the only one of its kind based at a Detroit automaker's headquarters.
Yes, there are cars in the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, but it is much more a general historical museum than a Ford automotive collection. General Motors has a collection of its historic cars, but they are locked away in an almost secret off-campus location that is not open to the public.
Chrysler already owned the building that houses the museum that bears its founder's name and through the Chrysler Foundation has purchased the cars and displays inside and plans to showcase them at special events, such as concours or at exhibitions at other museums.
Imperial Palace gets new name
The Imperial Palace, a Las Vegas hotel that houses a classic car museum, is being renamed as the Quad, but auto collection manager Rob Williams told Olds Cars Weekly that the facility's owner, Caesar's Entertainment, "told us we're going to be here for a long time."
Put a woody under your tree
You likely cannot park a wood-paneled station wagon under your tree this holiday season, but you can celebrate the woody with one of only 500 copies of Fetherston Publishing's wood-bound 400-page book Classic Woodys.
Each book comes in a maple and mahogany "treasure box" that looks like a woody tailgate and includes a Dime Store woody wagon toy, a wood sample set, vintage and contemporary surf decals, classic woody postcards, Woody postage stamps and the 19-chapter book that details the history of wood-clad wagons.
Each treasure chest is $459, which includes shipping within the U.S. See www.dfwoodybook.com for details.
Mecum auction December 6-8 at KC
Or, perhaps you want a real car for Christmas. Mecum Auctions will have more than 750 classics on sale December 6-8 at its sale in the Kansas City Convention Center's Bartle Hall. Among those cars will be the "Twister Specials," a group of three Grabber Orange Ford mustangs, two of them from the 96 specially built 1970 Mach I fastbacks that were part of a special promotion in the fall of 1969 at Kansas City Motor Speedway. Also on the docket are a 1969 Pontiac GTO Judge and 1958 Chevy Impala convertible.
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