Richard Petty’s Superbird

1970 Plymouth Superbird NASCAR

Offered by Mecum | Harrisburg, Pennsylvania | July 13-August 3, 2019

Photo – Mecum

Well here’s something you don’t see every day: an actual ex-Richard Petty be-winged Superbird. Plymouth built the Superbird in the hopes of dominating NASCAR. Also, it had the intended effect of luring Richard Petty back to driving Chrysler products, as he had jumped ship in 1968 to go run Fords.

This Superbird was restored by the Pettys and has apparently been authenticated as the real deal, though he likely ran multiple cars throughout the season as this is described as the superspeedway and large oval car. Petty won 18 races in 1970, leading to the huge wing and other aero effects being quickly banned from competition.

Power is from a 426ci Hemi V8 that was built by Petty Enterprises, which means it is probably producing more than the 425 horsepower quoted by the factory. The top speed of these cars is over 190 mph, which is pretty impressive if you consider the gearing the street cars had.

This piece of NASCAR history should draw inspired bidding. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Not sold, high bid of $3,500,000.

The Fabulous Hudson Hornet

1952 Hudson Hornet 6 NASCAR

Offered by Worldwide Auctioneers | Shipshewana, Indiana | August 4, 2018

Photo – Worldwide Auctioneers

Worldwide Auctioneers is liquidating the greatest collection of Hudson motorcars in the world. And after studying the catalog, I’m pretty sure this is the crown jewel (Italia included). Hudson’s Hornets dominated NASCAR in the early 1950s with legendary drivers like Marshall Teague, Tim Flock, Dick Rathmann, Buck Baker, and Herb Thomas. This was Herb Thomas’ actual race car from 1952 and 1953.

The Hornets were an underdog car that quickly rose to the top. They were six-cylinder cars in an eight-cylinder world. But their chassis design made the cars quick and nimble. Documents show this car was sold to Herb Thomas in July of 1952 to replace a wrecked Hornet. Driven to 15 victories, this very car led Thomas to the 1953 NASCAR championship. After the ’53 season, this chassis was retired and sold to a private owner who used it as a normal road car.

A different owner acquired it in the 1970s hoping to get it roadworthy. That never happened but by this point its racing heritage had been forgotten. It wasn’t until that owner sold the car to a former Hudson dealer and then-current parts supplier that the history of this car was uncovered. A sympathetic restoration followed, leaving the interior mostly intact.

The engine is a 5.0-liter straight-six with Hudson’s “Twin H-Power” intake system – all good for 170 horsepower (up from 145 from a car off the showroom floor). This is the only surviving example of the “Fabulous Hudson Hornet” racing program of the 1950s. Its legacy cemented by Paul Newman’s character in the Pixar movie Cars and a truly legendary NASCAR racer, this will remain collectible forever. Click here for more info and here for more from this awesome sale.

Update: Sold $1,265,000.

NASCAR Corvette

1953 Chevrolet Corvette Roadster Race Car

Offered by Barrett-Jackson | Scottsdale, Arizona | January 17, 2014

Photo - Barrett-Jackson

Photo – Barrett-Jackson

The Corvette is one of America’s signature automobiles – it’s the signature American sports car of all time. And America’s most-popular form of motorsport is NASCAR… so it’s only natural that there exists a Corvette with NASCAR history.

Ed Cole sent a few Corvettes south to be turned into race cars in 1955/1956. Two of them were destined for NASCAR (this one and a 1955 model). The ’53 ‘Vette seen here was given a high-output 1956 engine: a 4.3-liter V-8 (remember, the Corvette didn’t get a V-8 until 1955), making a minimum of 240 horsepower.

This car is said to have ran on the beaches of Daytona and at tracks such as Martinsville, Raleigh and Bowman Gray Stadium (although I have been unable to verify this). This is a super-rare piece of racing and Corvette history and should command a large sum. I actually saw this car in person this year and got to see it drive (video here, it sounds great!). I asked the representative of ProTeam Corvette who was guarding the car if they were selling anything interesting from their reserve collection this year and he failed to mention that this very car was going to cross the bliock. Oh well, I can buy it now if I so choose. Click here for more info and here for more from Barrett-Jackson.

Update: Not sold, high bid of $2,000,000.

Here’s some actual video of it:

Yarborough Special Cyclone

1969 Mercury Cyclone Spoiler II Yarborough Special

Offered by Mecum | Houston, Texas | April 4-6, 2013

1969 Mercury Cyclone Spoiler Yarborough Special

Photo – Mecum

Ford – make that, Mercury – was involved in NASCAR racing in the late 1960s. For 1969, their NASCAR model was the Cyclone. And NASCAR demanded that any car a manufacturer raced needed to be produced for the street – or homologated. So Mercury took their Cyclone and made it more aerodynamic to make it more competitive on the circuit.

So they built a few road models – “few” being the operative word. NASCAR mandated that about 500 be built. Mercury was feeling generous in 1969 and built 503. They built them all in the first few weeks of 1969 only. It was essentially the same car as the Ford Torino Talladega.

The body was a Cyclone fastback (or “Sportsroof”) with a nose extension. The engine was  a 5.8-liter Ford V-8 (the race car got a 7.0-liter). Horsepower was about 290. Two models were offered, this one being a “Yarborough Special” named for NASCAR superstar and legend Cale Yarborough. Only 285 of this version was built and the red trim sets it apart from its sister car (you can read more here).

Update: Sold $26,000.

Cyclone Spoiler: Gurney Special

1969 Mercury Cyclone Spoiler II Gurney Special

Offered by Mecum | Houston, Texas | April 4-6, 2013

1969 Mercury Cyclone Spoiler II Gurney Special
Photo – Mecum

This is the other version of the Mercury Cyclone Spoiler II (if you’re linking here from somewhere on the site, you can read more about these cars above). It’s interesting that Ford would name a car after Dan Gurney – he wasn’t a NASCAR regular (even though he has one of the highest winning percentages in NASCAR history at 31.25% – the highest among drivers who started more than 3 races). He ran races between 1962 and 1968 – just 16 races. And he won 5 of them (and he did drive Mercurys for owner Bud Moore). Pretty incredible.

Dan Gurney is, hands down, one of the best race car drivers that America has ever produced. Mercury built 218 Gurney Specials for 1969 in honor of him. The blue trim on this one sets it apart from the Yarborough Special. Both of these cars look incredible and are likely coming from the same home. You can read more about this one here and see what else Mecum has to offer here.

Update: Sold $22,000.

A Pair of Mercury Cyclone Spoiler IIs

1969 Mercury Cyclone Spoiler II Yarborough Special

Offered by Mecum | Houston, Texas | April 4-6, 2013

1969 Mercury Cyclone Spoiler Yarborough Special

Ford – make that, Mercury – was involved in NASCAR racing in the late 1960s. For 1969, their NASCAR model was the Cyclone. And NASCAR demanded that any car a manufacturer raced needed to be produced for the street – or homologated. So Mercury took their Cyclone and made it more aerodynamic to make it more competitive on the circuit.

So they built a few road models – “few” being the operative word. NASCAR mandated that about 500 be built. Mercury was feeling generous in 1969 and built 503. They built them all in the first few weeks of 1969 only. It was essentially the same car as the Ford Torino Talladega.

The body was a Cyclone fastback (or “Sportsroof”) with a nose extension. The engine was  a 5.8-liter Ford V-8 (the race car got a 7.0-liter). Horsepower was about 290. Two models were offered, this one being a “Yarborough Special” named for NASCAR superstar and legend Cale Yarborough. Only 285 of this version was built and the red trim sets it apart from its sister car (you can read more here).

Update: Sold $26,000.

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1969 Mercury Cyclone Spoiler II Gurney Special

Offered by Mecum | Houston, Texas | April 4-6, 2013

1969 Mercury Cyclone Spoiler II Gurney Special

This is the other version of the Mercury Cyclone Spoiler II (if you’re linking here from somewhere on the site, you can read more about these cars above). It’s interesting that Ford would name a car after Dan Gurney – he wasn’t a NASCAR regular (even though he has one of the highest winning percentages in NASCAR history at 31.25% – the highest among drivers who started more than 3 races). He ran races between 1962 and 1968 – just 16 races. And he won 5 of them (and he did drive Mercurys for owner Bud Moore). Pretty incredible.

Dan Gurney is, hands down, one of the best race car drivers that America has ever produced. Mercury built 218 Gurney Specials for 1969 in honor of him. The blue trim on this one sets it apart from the Yarborough Special. Both of these cars look incredible and are likely coming from the same home. You can read more about this one here and see what else Mecum has to offer here.

Update: Sold $22,000

Barrett-Jackson: First Half Highlights

Barrett-Jackson’s Scottsdale, Arizona auction is so massive, packed with over 1,000 cars. They roll cars across the stage and hammer them sold starting on a Tuesday and go every day through Sunday. The big cars (like they ones we’ve featured from them) usually go Friday, Saturday, and (to a lesser extent) Sunday. But there are still hundreds of interesting cars that more or less go unnoticed on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. The shadow of million dollar concept cars and ultra-rare muscle cars blots out the shiny patina on the cars of the first half of the auction week. So we present some of the more interesting standouts from the first three days.

First up is this 1981 Pontiac that was used on NASCAR’s road courses in the 1980s. It is a race-winning car having been raced by Tim Richmond, Morgan Shepherd, Richard Petty, and Al Unser Sr. Valvoline-liveried cars have always looked great and with this car’s history (and the fact that it is still being used in historic racing) makes the $25,300 (with buyer’s commission) purchase price seem worth it.

Above is a 1968 Ford Mustang High Country Special – 1 of 251. The High Country Special was essentially a California Special but sold in Colorado. Basically a trim and appearance package and in this case it didn’t do anything for the price, selling for $13,750.

There were also a number of itty-bitty microcars for sale in the first three days. There was a Vepsa 400, some Isettas, and this 1959 Goggomobil TS-250 Coupe. This car is in original condition with a 247cc two-stroke engine that will take this car up to 50 mph. It brought $27,500.

We featured a ’71 Ford Torino GT from Mecum’s Kissimmee auction (which we’ll run down in the next week or so). This is a 1971 Ford Torino GT Convertible and it is awesome. Torinos don’t get the same muscle car love that Mustangs, Mopars and Chevelles get but this might have just become my favorite-looking muscle car. Maybe it’s because I’ve overlooked it for so long – so it looks fresh, but I want it. Too bad I don’t have $37,400 to throw down for it.

One of my other favorites is the 1998 Panoz A.I.V. Roadster. The A.I.V. (Aluminum Intensive Vehicle) was the “new” version of the Panoz Roadster. It features a 4.6 liter Ford V8 making 305 horsepower. It only weighed 2,500 lbs. Plymouth stuffed a V6 in the Prowler. I think of this car as having the performance the Prowler should have. Not necessarily the car the Prowler should have been (the styling of that thing is pretty good). But so is this. It just looks like a blast to drive. Could have been yours for $49,500.

Here’s something you don’t see everyday: a 1968 Mitsubishi J23A Japanese Military Jeep. Actually, you don’t see many 1968 Mitsubishi’s period or any pre-1970 for that matter. Foreign military vehicles are something that don’t appear at American auctions all too often so this would have been an excellent time to pick one up. And for $7,150, you could hardly afford not to.

There were a number of other pre-1970 Japanese classics available. When new, Japanese cars were never perceived as being future classics. Well, that attitude made pristine examples 40 years later relatively hard to find. And restoring a $7,000 car isn’t exactly solid economics. My favorite was this 1972 Datsun 510 Wagon (I like wagons). I should have grabbed it for the $8,525 it sold for.

There are customs-o-plenty at Barrett-Jackson: resto-mods, resto-rods, other things that start with “resto” and rhyme with “mods.” And then there are insane customs. Like this “Hot Rod Hearse:”

If it entered production, I imagine the slogan would be something along the lines of “Be The First Person  to the Graveyard!” It’s pretty crazy but unfortunately it is not street legal. It sold for $17,600.

Classic trucks are becoming quite collectible and auction houses realize this and try and grab the best of them to offer. One make you can never go wrong with is Diamond T. They made mostly commercial trucks but also produced a few pickups for “regular people.” They’re among the best-looking old-school trucks you can buy. Like this 1949 201 that sold for $51,700:

And finally, from the Fun File is this 1931 Ford Model AA Tanker. In Texaco livery, it would make a great static display parked near historic pumps or other automobilia. It’s quite rare but, nevertheless, I recommend driving it – it only cost $44,000.

For complete results, click here.