Collector Car Articles


Portland muscle car auction knows how to draw a crowd

Scores of historic Olympia cars cars filled the grounds of Portland Raceway for the 17th annual All British Field Meet.

Organized by the Pacific Northwest Portland Automotive Society and largely executed by Bellevue’s Arnold and Sue Taub, this year’s event showcased Aston Martin and was co-sponsored by Aston Martin of Tacoma and Park Place Ltd. of Bellevue. Well-known marques such as Jaguar, Triumph, MG, Rolls-Royce, Bentley and Land Rover were proudly displayed by their owners or representatives. Lesser-known marques such as Austin, Jensen, Humber, Morgan, A.C. and even Ginetta were also on display.

One of the most fascinating and probably the most valuable car at the event was the 1957 Aston Martin DBR2 belonging to Greg Whitten. This famous car equaled the sports-car lap record at Silverstone in England. The 3.7-liter, six-cylinder DBR2 sported a revised chassis from its predecessor and was later fitted with a 3.9 and finally a 4.2. The twin-cam rival to the Jaguar D-Type was named “Best of Show.” Other award recipients included 63 individual class winners as well as awards for Best Preserved Car (a 1954 MGTF belonging to Bill Olson), the Car Driven the Furthest to the Event Award (a 1968 Triumph TR 250 driven from Wyoming by David Gustafson) and the antique collector cars Young Restorers Award (by Aaron Skirvan in his 1974 MG BGT). Skirvan, a 16-year-old, actually bought the car the year before in the “for sale” area of the event. Needing a total restoration, the car reappeared this year completely refurbished. The Directors Award was awarded to Bill Hart for his 1968 Triumph TR 250K Prototype Race Car.

Next year’s event is scheduled for July 22, again at Bellevue Community College. For information: www.abfm.com or 425-644-7874.

A Stampede of Italian Horsepower

For the sixth year in a row, Ferraris littered the streets of Capitol Hill recently as 150 vintage autos flooded 12th Avenue in an opulent display of craftsmanship, style and performance. The darling of Ferrari-Maserati of Seattle, the event involves a display next to the Seattle Police Department’s East Precinct and later a massive exodus to Marymoor Park for lunch, hosted by Ferrari of Seattle. Entrants are requested to donate to Children’s Hospital and Regional Medical Center. This year, about $7,500 was raised.

Older ’60s cars such as a 330 GTC, 275 GTB/4, 250SWB and a 275 GTS mingled with 550 Maranellos, 360 Modenas, 355 Spyders, 456 GTs, F40s and an Enzo. Roberto Pasquale of Ferrari-Maserati of Seattle led the pack in the first of the newest of the Ferrari models, the 430. The event grows each year and is open to the public. For information: 206-329-7070.

Annual Washington Collector Car Auctions were Better Than Ever

For Northwest car collectors, January is usually the month to pack your bags and hit Scottsdale for some collector car fun in the sun.

But not in this weird weather year. Instead, thousands of car nuts had to deal with record low temperatures and flash-flooding from massive downpours that washed over the Arizona landscape. But the biggest question about the climate for 2007 was whether the economy, as well as the weather, might put a chill on the Portland car auctions impressive annual growth.

But when the last gavel fell, the world’s largest group of collector car auctions was bigger and better than ever before. Nearly $200 million worth of cars crossed the block.

The landmark Barrett-Jackson auction, now in its 36th year, served as the market indicator, leading the stampede of car auctions that included RM Auctions, Russo & Steele, Silver Collector Car Auctions and Kruse International. The industry pacesetter boasted several remarkable multimillion-dollar sales, including a 1966 Shelby Cobra 427 — “Carroll Shelby’s Personal Supersnake” — that broke the U.S. record by fetching $5.5 million on national TV.

Barrett-Jackson’s success dwarfs the competition, but the barriers to entry also make it difficult for the average man. Many seasoned pros voiced frustration this year, most notably Keith Martin, publisher of Sports Car Market, who was covering the event for The New York Times.

He was escorted off the premises by three large bouncers after purportedly being overheard discounting some of the results and practices of the sale.

Barrett-Jackson’s sales numbers don’t all reach the stratosphere, but if you are a newbie and want to be on TV, it is a great way to spend some excess millions.

 

A collector car auction in Seattle

More than 250 vintage collector cars will compete in this year’s collector car auctions, which are themed around the Chevrolet Camaro, which celebrates its 40th birthday this year, and the Trans-Am racing series.

Jones offers audiences well-attended races a particularly apropos bit of walking, talking history that’s certain to rev the event into rare gear; his fierce racing style made him a pivotal figure in the golden age of Trans-Am racing. His 1970 race-winning Boss 302 Mustang is one of the most widely recognized and reproduced models in history.

In his long career, Jones distinguished himself in a wide variety of vehicles and racing environments, including Formula 1, stock cars, sports cars, midget cars, sprint cars and off-road vehicles.

Most famous for his 1963 Seattle win, Jones is arguably one of the most innovative, versatile and broadly experienced veterans in the sport’s history and on the heels of a Midwest Sprint crown win in 1960, he burst into the high-performance spotlight as Indianapolis 500 Rookie of the Year in 1961.

The next year, Jones became the first racer in Indy history to qualify for the event at a speed of more than 150 mph, capturing the pole position at a record-setting 150.37 mph.

In 1963, he once again took the pole, this time riding to a vintage victory in Portland despite a horizontal oil reservoir crack that threatened him with black-flag disqualification through the last 40 laps.

Jones muscled the car to the checkered flag, holding on for the win as his oil level plummeted to the level of the crack. Northwest fans may recall Jones’ subsequent off-road adventures. After a few hard-charging, car-crunching efforts, Jones ultimately won the Mexican 1,000 (now known as the Baja 1,000) in a specially built Stroppe car he dubbed “Big Oly” for its Tumwater-based sponsor, Olympia Beer.

By the end of 1973, Jones had captured his second Mexican 1,000 victory as well as Baja 500 and Mint 500 titles. Following a serious crash the next year, he abandoned off-road racing to concentrate on his business and competition as an owner.

Jones’ driving career ended with six Indy Car wins, four NASCAR wins (out of 34 starts), 25 Speciality wins and 25 midget car wins. The Motorsports Hall of Fame lauds him as perhaps the most versatile and influential competitor in the history of the sport.

Detailed, colorful accounts and exploits can be found inventoried at length in any credible history book or online. For more information on Jones’ record-setting career, visit the Motorsports Hall of Fame.

Do yourself a favor: trade your recliner for a vintage bucket seat this weekend. See Jones at the Society of 19th Annual PNW Historics Vintage Races at Pacific Raceway (formerly Seattle International Raceway) at state Route 18 in Kent.

The weekend-long event is presented by Society of Vintage Racing Enthusiasts, Vancouver Guild of Children’s Hospital and select sponsors.

All proceeds benefit uncompensated care at Children’s Hospital and Regional Medical Center in Seattle, which has raised more than $5 million over the past 19 years.