Hello Friends and Family,

Barrett-Jackson Auto Auction 2019, Part 6

Link to this year's index by clicking here.

To start off this week, we see a 1964 Corvair Monza which has undergone a complete restoration with new paint, new interior, new carpet, and a rebuilt engine. The Corvair was GM's response to the foreign invasion of smaller, cheaper, and more fuel-efficient automobiles — especially the Volkswagen Beetle. Gasoline was cheap and abundant in those days so American manufacturers focused on the bigger cruisers that sold so well and so profitably in the U.S. — that is, until the eventual gasoline shortages of the 1979 Oil Crisis in the wake of the Iranian Revolution. The Corvair was more of an afterthought than a well-thought-out strategy and was ten years out of production when the oil crisis hit.

My grandmother owned one and I found it a lot easier to drive than the big old clunky '57 Ford station wagon that served as my family's transportation of choice. Lucky for me, she came to visit when it was time for me to take the driver's test to obtain my initial passport to freedom, my very first driver's license. Thank goodness she did — with our station wagon's size and bulky clutch (it chattered mercilessly), I'm not sure I could have passed the driving portion of my test. The Corvair was small, maneuverable, and had an automatic transmission — all of which made it a much better vehicle in which to ace that driving test, especially the parallel parking challenge.

Like the VW, the engine is in the rear. This unit is powered by a turbocharged 164ci 6-cylinder engine mated to a 4-speed manual transmission and rides on Rally wheels with new tires. This coupe features a factory power convertible top. It sold at auction for $12,100. It is interesting to note that the original price of approximately $2,492 is equivalent to $20,749.12 in 2020 dollars — sorry, that old Corvair just did not maintain its value.

Back to the land yachts of the 1960s, we see a 1961 Chevrolet Impala Custom Bubble Top sedan. It is finished in Orange Pearl metallic paint with a black roof. The custom interior features a handmade dash, carbon-fiber gauges, custom armrests, sculpted suede headliner, leather upholstery with alligator inserts, custom console and power windows, as well as air conditioning, heat and defrost. Note that 1961 marked the year that Chevrolet ended its obsession (like most of the American auto manufacturers) with immense tail fins — they served no practical purpose but simply a suggestion of a sublime, measurely speed.

This vehicle is powered by a 5.7-liter Z06 engine mated to a GM 4L60E electronically-controlled automatic transmission. It’s equipped with a 373 positraction rear end, Street & Performance belt drive system, 2” drop spindles, KYB adjustable air shocks, air-ride suspension, Aerospace 4-wheel disc brakes with 12” rotors, power steering and 3-piece Asanti wheels. It sold for $60,500.

This restored 1940 Lincoln Zephyr is an example of the second generation of the Zephyr. It has the same basic frontal design pioneered on the 1938 model, and a long, sloping rear end. Over $100,000 was spent on the restoration, and all of the invoices are included. It is powered by the original V12 Lincoln Flathead engine, which was upped to a 292ci and has a maximum 120hp. The engine is backed by a 3-speed manual transmission and a Columbia 2-speed rear end.

Chrome ornaments were de rigueur at the time — and could be in one or more places such as the trunk lid. In contemporary vehicles, the functional controls tend to be hidden — quite a change of philosophy in the automotive arts.

This thorough, nut-and-bolt restoration took three years to complete. After the restoration, the Zephyr was displayed in a private collection. It was regularly started and serviced in a heated and air-conditioned private setting. The sale price for this handsome vehicle was $58,300.

Last for today is another example of my favorite model of the 1950s, a 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air Custom Hardtop. This vehicle has been treated like royalty with a professional frame-off restoration performed, sparing no expense to upgrade this classic into a modern-driving Resto-Mod. It’s powered by a GM high-performance LS1 electronic fuel-injected, all-aluminum engine with cast-iron sleeves that puts out an estimated 425hp, mated to a GM 4L60E automatic transmission. Ceramic-coated long-tube headers flow through a 3" custom MagnaFlow exhaust.

The custom interior features 6-way electric adjustable bucket seats, center console, billet dash with Dakota Digital gauges, chrome Flaming River tilt steering column with a custom steering wheel, Dynamat insulation, custom carpets, and new glass and trim. It also features air conditioning and heating.

Even the trunk received tender-loving care with custom upholstery. Note the pride of the owner, even providing mirrors to show off the undercarriage so that potential buyers could note the lack of rust or deformed structural components. I have seen potential buyers examine the underside of other vehicles using a swivel-mirror attached to an extendable rod — too much money on the line to make a mistake here. This baby sold for $99,000.

To be continued...

Life is good.

B. David

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