BIG BUCKS FOR HISTORIC HOT RODS AT MONTEREY
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.
Jack Calori coupe
Art Chrisman coupe