BIG BUCKS FOR HIS­TORIC HOT RODS AT MON­TEREY

Hot Rod Deluxe - - Roddin’ @ Random -

Hot rods were hot at the sum­mer Mon­terey auc­tions.

The ex-jack Calori ’36 Ford three-win­dow coupe, re­stored by Roy Brizio for Jorge Zaragoza, sold for $407,000, in­clud­ing buyer’s com­mis­sion, at the Mecum Auc­tion. The late Jack Calori was a Long Beach mo­tor­cy­cle cop whose sleek chopped black coupe was one of the first sig­nif­i­cant cus­tom rods to grace the cover of HOT ROD mag­a­zine, Nov. 1949. This car won First in the His­toric Hot Rod Class at Peb­ble Beach in 2005, along with the Dean Batch­e­lor Award for the Most Sig­nif­i­cant Hot Rod

The win­ning bid­der was Scott Gillen, a long­time Brizio client, owner of a lovely gray ’35 Ford three-win­dow coupe that de­buted at the GNRS last Jan­uary [and the gray, Ar­dun­pow­ered Deuce three-win­dow on our Jan. 2014 cover.—ed.]. Gillen was very pleased with his pur­chase. “I have al­ways loved the Calori coupe,” he said. “And be­cause Roy re­stored it, with in­put from Calori him­self, it’s done per­fectly and it has in­tegrity, like ev­ery­thing Roy does. Let­ting peo­ple see sig­nif­i­cant cars like this one helps keep the sport alive.” The Calori coupe sold at a 2012 Mecum Auc­tion for $300,000 in 2012, so $107,000 is a nice bump in six years.

Ross My­ers, whose col­lec­tion in­cludes the ex-fred Steele, Pete Hen­der­son, and “Ricky Nel­son” ’32 Ford road­sters, bought the Ber­ar­dini Brothers’ ’32 Ford 404 Jr. com­pe­ti­tion road­ster at Rm/sotheby’s in Mon­terey for a heady $324,000 (in­clud­ing com­mis­sion). The Ber­ar­di­nis ter­ror­ized L.A. dragstrips in the 1950s with this fast, white-hot flamed beauty, con­sis­tently run­ning in the low 12-sec­ond bracket and turn­ing trap speeds of 111 to 112 mph. Later owned by Roger Mor­ri­son and re­stored by Dave Crouse and Cus­tom Auto in Love­land, Colorado, the Ber­ar­dini Bros. car also won the cov­eted Dean Batch­e­lor Tro­phy at Peb­ble Beach in 2007, and it was named one of the Top 75 ’32 Fords on the 75th an­niver­sary of the Deuce. My­ers says he’s go­ing to take it to The Race of Gentle­men, where its Isky 404 flat-tap­pet cam, four-carb man­i­fold, and Har­rell heads will surely make the 314ci flat­head­e­quipped car a real con­tender.

In­ter­est­ingly, the ex–art Chris­man, Bon­neville-record­set­ting chopped Model A coupe, with its dis­tinc­tive stream­lined nose made from twin ’40 Ford hoods, was a no-sale at $410,000 at Mecum. An HRM cover car in 1954, it is an early in­vi­tee for the 2019 GNRS Model A Ford Hot Rod cel­e­bra­tion in Jan­uary 2019. The Chris­man coupe won Third in class at Peb­ble Beach in 2001, when rac­ing hot rod coupes were fea­tured, and it was shown by (the late) Art Chris­man him­self.

What do the sales (and nos­ale) mean? Im­por­tant, his­toric hot rods will bring good money these days, es­pe­cially when they are award-win­ning restora­tions by noted builders. And events like TROG en­tice new buy­ers. Kim and Mitch Mc­cul­lough, who bought the Pa­cific Gun­sight Spe­cial ’32 last year, had Dave Si­mard pre­pare it for the beach races in New Jer­sey.

Although it’s not driv­able on the street, I’m re­ally not sure why the ex-chris­man coupe didn’t sell. It cer­tainly be­longs in a mu­seum col­lec­tion. Still, two out of three isn’t bad. The same rules ap­ply for hot rods as for most sig­nif­i­cant auc­tion con­tenders: Doc­u­mented com­pe­ti­tion his­tory, fa­mous own­ers/ builders, and an award-win­ning restora­tion all con­trib­ute to record-set­ting re­sults.

—KEN GROSS

Jack Calori coupe

Art Chris­man coupe

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