Hello Friends and Family,

Link to this year's index by clicking here.

Barrett-Jackson Auto Auction, Part 8

We continue our shopping with this 1957 Ford F-100 Custom pickup all decked out with beautiful custom flames. As I recall, cars and trucks with such paint jobs were the coolest of the cool competing only with the "candy apple" paint jobs — which had such incredible depth, putting modern metallic finishes to shame. I do like the seller's marketing description, "This 1957 Ford has that hot rod custom truck look that everyone is after".

What would any collection of 1957 vehicles be without some '57 Fords such as this Fairlane 500 2 Door Coupe with the distinctive taillights. My family owned a '57 Ford station wagon (remember them?) — in fact, it was the car I learned to drive in. Stick shift with a terrible clutch. If you could drive that car, you could drive anything.

New for 1957 was the Ford Fairlane 500 Skyliner — a hardtop convertible. The seller states that it "looks just as fresh and exciting as it did a half century ago". My memory of them was we considered them pretty cool but somewhat impractical because the trunk had to house the hardtop when in use as a convertible.

If you've never seen one operate, check out this vintage Ford commercial featuring Lucille Ball and Desi Arnez — click here — or this second version also starring William Frawley and Vivian Vance (Fred and Ethel from the I Love Lucy show) — click here.

I noticed that there is a decent selection of current hardtop convertible models from various manufacturers such as the Mazda Miata ($27K), BMW 3 Series ($50K - $60K), Mercedes SL550 Roadster ($103K), Ferrari California ($194K) and Bugatti Veyron 16.4 Grand Hardtop Sport ($1.9M). That last price was not a typo — to be precise $1,985,000.

And 1957 marked the last year of the Ford Thunderbird two-seater. This particular vehicle is an Arizona car and thus has never experienced rust (according to the seller).

Quite honestly, this vintage T-Bird appeared to be in great shape. I love the old Thunderbird logo with its turquoise paint complementing the shiny chrome.

And do you remember when cars had trunk locks with swiveling covers? You don't see that much on today's cars.

In my opinion, 1957 was also the epitome of Chevrolet design. Curiously, the '57 Chevy was not as popular as GM had hoped and Ford outsold Chevy for the first time since 1935.

However, today it is much more prized among collectors than same vintage Fords. According to Wikipedia, a meticulously restored '57 Chevy can bring as much as $100,000. This one sold for $68,200 — a real bargain, n'est-pas?

Wow, a 1957 Studebaker. Founded in 1852, the company started as a wagon manufacturer, making wagons for farmers, miners and the military. Studebaker entered the automotive business in 1902 with electric vehicles and in 1904 with gasoline vehicles. They ceased production in 1966.

I was surprised to learn that a Studebaker Motor Company exists and has plans to re-enter the marketplace.

RW Reed wrote the following on their website — "It's undisputable that Studebaker played a significant role in transportation technology. For example in 1902 Studebaker manufactured an electric car, and Thomas Edison bought one of them. Some people hear the name Studebaker and think of the vehicle, or more specifically, the bullet nose cars from the 1950's. Other people speak of Studebaker's innovative, forward-thinking (unique) designs and engineering. However, it seems most people have shared with me that they remember the Studebaker because of its craftsmanship, reliability, power and high gas mileage for its day. It's now 2010, and this marks 158 years behind the historical Studebaker name in the vehicle manufacturing business (wagons to automobiles). Recently, Studebaker Motor Company moved its headquarters to Arvada, Colorado, and endeavors to raise funding for Studebaker concept designs, engineering, prototypes, safety testing, certification, manufacturing and distribution of production vehicles, to include motor scooters, motorcycles, passenger vehicles, pickup trucks, and quite possibly limos and taxis.

"As the entrepreneur at the helm of Studebaker Motor Company, it is my earnest goal to create vehicles that are in some way reminiscent of classic Studebaker's, or in other words, definitively Studebaker, yet brought into the 21st Century, and again to see Studebaker Motor Company the American Icon it once was. It is also my dream to employ Americans in manufacturing and assembly plants on American soil, and making vehicles that not only compete, but have a significant cutting edge in a highly competitive world market."

Even as late as 1957, some manufacturers were still including hood ornaments in their designs. This one is on a 1957 Oldsmobile — another long-running brand name that has now been discontinued by GM.

During the 1950's, Oldsmobile created an image based on its "Rocket" engines and the design of the vehicles reflected that fact. Thus the hood ornament that resembles a rocket (or at least a jet plane).

And you can clearly see that "rocket" influence in the rear fenders and taillights — although I don't recall too many rockets with a continental kit on the back — but it was cool at the time anyway.

To be continued…

Life is good.

B. David

P. S., All photos and text © B. David Cathell Photography, Inc. — www.bdavidcathell.com