Sunday, 31 August 2014

The Tucker 48

The Tucker 48 was an advanced automobile conceived by Preston Tucker and briefly produced in Chicago in 1948. 51 cars were made before the company folded on March 3, 1949, due to negative publicity, an SEC investigation and a heavily publicized stock fraud trial.

Speculation exists that the Big Three automakers and Michigan senator Homer S. Ferguson had a role in the Tucker Corporation's demise.
Some components and features of the car were innovative and ahead of their time. The most recognizable was a directional third headlight (known as the "Cyclops Eye"). It would activate at steering angles of greater than 10 degrees to light the car's path around corners.
Tucker initially tried to develop an innovative engine. It was a 589 cubic inches (9.65 L) flat-6 cylinder with hemispherical combustion chambers, fuel injection, and overhead valves operated by oil pressure rather than a camshaft. As engine development proceeded, problems appeared. The 589 engine was installed only in the test chassis and the first prototype.

Tucker refused to cede creative control to businessmen who could have made the Tucker ’48 commercially viable. Instead, he attempted to raise money through unconventional means, including selling dealership rights for a car that didn’t exist yet.

Tucker died a few years after he went broke, still working on new designs. Some regarded him as a scam artist, others as a tragic visionary.
At the January Barrett-Jackson auction the final bid came in at an impressive $2,650,000 for this Tucker.

That means the new owner paid $2,915,000 to drive it home.

Saturday, 30 August 2014

Ultra-Luxury Cars

The "super luxury" segment (cars costing more than $100,000) is one of only two to show market growth over the last five years.

Bentley Flying Spur has 550-horsepower engine and all-wheel drive.

"The popularity of super luxury sedans among affluent American consumers has opened the door for automakers to roll out a whole new generation of innovative, amenity-laden models," said Eric Papacek, analytic consultant for Polk. "New models and concepts recently announced by Bentley, Mercedes-Benz, Rolls-Royce and Cadillac are clear signs that the uber car has returned to the American auto scene."
The Ghost. Rolls-Royce has set the standard by which all other luxury carmakers are judged. Its vehicles are opulent and pricey, which makes them the ideal ride of the rich and famous. A Phantom starts around $ 330,000.
Mercedes-Benz brought back the Maybach name and put it on a set of ultra-luxury sedans. Named the 57 and 62 (based on vehicle length: 5.7 meters and 6.2 meters, respectively), the Maybach is quite different from the Rolls. The 57 is considered a driver's car, while the 62 would likely be chauffeur-driven, referred to by the automaker as a "business jet on wheels." Featuring power-closing rear doors, a 600-watt audio system and reclining rear seats with power footrests, the Maybach 62 goes for around $375,000.
Aston Martin DB9. The two-plus-two sports car is offered in both Coupe and Volante (convertible)The hand-built DB9's 450-horsepower 6.0-liter V12 engine is available with either a 6-speed manual or a 6-speed automatic transmission. $ 260,000
The Mercedes-Benz S-Class, CL-Class coupe and SL-Class roadsters all sport supercharged V8 engines producing an impressive 493 horsepower. $ 200,000
BMW recently joined this elite group with its 760 luxury sedan. The top-end of the 7-series lineup offers an expansive rear seating area, impressive handling and excellent performance from its 438-horsepower V12 engine. $ 140,000

Expensive Auction Items

The hand-scribbled lyrics to Bob Dylan's "Like a Rolling Stone" sold for $2 million, a world record for a popular music manuscript and the "the only known surviving draft of the final lyrics for this transformative rock anthem."

It trounced the previous record holder, John Lennon, whose lyrics for "A Day in the Life" sold for $1.2 million.
Jeff Koons' Michael Jackson and Bubbles sculpture. Sold: $5.6 million, 2001.

John Lennon's Rolls Royce. Sold: $2,230,000, 1985.
Eric Clapton’s “Blackie” Stratocaster Guitar by Fender. Sold:$959,500, 2004.

Jerry Garcia's "Tiger" guitar. Sold: $957,500, 2002.
A “Beatles ’65” album signed by all four members of the band. $300,000.

George Harrison's guitar fetched $657,000.
Babe Ruth finished his career with 714 home runs and is widely regarded as the greatest professional baseball player in the history of the sport. $ 5,300.

Shaquille O'Neal custom Michael Jackson glove. $ 3800.

Michael Jordan signed basketball. $ 1400.
A stubless ticket from Cassius Clay's first fight versus Sonny Liston that took place on February 25, 1964 in Miami Beach, Florida. The ticket features head shots of both fighters. Ali would defeat Liston to become the Heavyweight Champion of the World. $ 1920.

Muhammad Ali standing over Sonny Liston after knocking him down in the first minute of the first round of their championship fight on May 25, 1965. The poster has been signed twice by Ali. $ 1250
The King's memorabilia remains in high demand. His jumpsuit was valued at $80,000-100,000, though bidders boosted it to $197,000.

Elvis can be seen wearing the suit on stage in Las Vegas in the MGM documentary Elvis: That's the Way It Is (MGM, 1970).

Friday, 29 August 2014

The Ron Pratte Collection

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz., May 29, 2014 — Barrett-Jackson, The World’s Greatest Collector Car Auctions™, is honored to be selected by world-class businessman and car collector Ron Pratte for the sale of his world-renowned collection at the Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale 2015 auction.

Ron Pratte, a businessman who demands perfection in everything he has a hand in, built the majority of his collection at Barrett-Jackson auctions. This pristine collection includes Carroll Shelby’s personal vehicle – the only remaining 1966 Shelby Cobra Super Snake, that sold for a world record $5.5 million, and a Pontiac Bonneville Special Concept Car, one of only two.

Shelby pegged the car's 0-60-mph time at just over three seconds.
The Pontiac Bonneville Special is a purpose-built concept car unveiled at the General Motors Motorama in 1954, the first 2-seater sports car Pontiac ever produced.

Two "Special" prototypes, one painted metallic bronze and one emerald green, were built with the intention of unveiling them simultaneously at the Grand Ballroom of the Waldorf in New York and the Pan Pacific Auditorium in Los Angeles in 1954.

The current record for a Tucker is $ 1.1m.
The Ron Pratte Collection, featuring cars and over a thousand pieces of automobilia, will be on the docket at Barrett-Jackson’s 44th Annual Scottsdale Auction taking place January 10-18, 2015 with television coverage on Velocity and Discovery.

This 1947 Bentley Mark VI last sold for $ 1.7m

One of only 153 1968 Shelby GT 500s.