Waaaay bitchen vehicles once owned by the likes of John Wayne, Burt Reynolds, Eddie Van Halen, Richard Carpenter and other celebrities go on view starting at 9 this morning in Newport Beach–before they are rolled into daily Russo and Steele auctions Friday through Sunday.
More auction details are at the end of this post, but first here are six of the autos I'd be happy to accept as Father's Day presents …
1) 1957 Ford Thunderbird
Former owner: Burt Reynolds
The 312 cubic-inch, first-generation '57 'Bird comes complete with a copy of the DMV registration from 1979, when Burt Reynolds Productions purchased it near Hollywood. It's benefited since then from a $45,000 restoration and is billed as a great car to drive. Get this: It has only 63,000 original miles on it!
2) 1975 Pontiac Safari Custom
Former owner: John Wayne
Duke commissioned legendary customizer George Barris' shop to modify the then-new 1975 Pontiac Grand Safari station wagon, which was also the last vehicle the legendary actor purchased and drove before his passing in June 1979. Barris Kustoms restored the Pontiac in 2013 and it remained in the Wayne family until recently. An eye patch from the personal John Wayne memorabilia collection of Michael Wayne accompanies the sale of the car (which I'd be happy to keep here in Wayne's Orange County home, gift givers. Just sayin').
3) 1934 Ford 4 Door Custom Sedan
Former owner: Eddie Van Halen
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee enjoyed a solid, well-built '34 that was customized with shaved door handles for a clean and smooth overall presence, rich red paint, a tan cloth interior and air conditioning. Powered by a B&M-blown Chevy 350 and GM overdrive automatic, the '34 rides on a full-independent suspension including a full Jaguar IRS. It comes with a guitar signed by the Van Halen members, although I'm not sure if that is the David Lee Roth, Sammy Hagar or Gary Cherone version of the band.
4) 1967 Shelby GT500 Fastback
Former owner Bill Goldberg
The NFL star-turned-pro wrestler-turned TV host's former Fastback comes equipped with a rare 428 Interceptor engine, which was rebuilt for performance. Its many factory options and features include a C-6 Cruise-O-Matic transmission, front disc brakes, functional lower rear brake scoops, Le Mans stripes, Traction-Lok, tinted glass, factory A/C and 15×7 10-spoke wheels.
5) 1932 Ford B-400 hot rod (a.k.a. "The Deuce")
Former modifier: Boyd Coddington
Surely you've heard the Beach Boys' hit "Little Deuce Coupe." This is the car that inspired it. Because the originals were simple cars, they were easy to strip down and modify, with Ford's new-for-1932 "Flathead" V-8 engine responding very well to performance upgrades. This led to a cultural phenomenon, an entire aftermarket industry and countless publications. The hot rod up for auction is one of the last from the late Boyd Coddington's legendary shops in Cypress and La Habra. Featuring the former Disneyland machinist and TV host's signature design and construction prowess, it rides on a complete Boyd custom hand-made chassis. Power comes from a Roush-built Ford 358 cu. in. unit complete with electronic fuel injection, MSD ignition, roller cam and rocker arms, and special exhaust headers, hooked to a Ford overdrive transmission.
6) 1954 Chevrolet Corvette Roadster
Former owner Richard Carpenter
Formerly among the collection of avid enthusiast Richard Carpenter of The Carpenters fame, the 'Vette comes with a previous title documenting the former Downey resident's ownership. Finished in the highly sought after Polo White exterior with a red interior, the Roadster is an original with matching numbers. OK, confession time: I saved this one for last because it's the one out of the six that I really want in my driveway by Daddy Day.
These vehicles and more than 400 other "exclusive" European sports and American muscle, hot-rod and custom cars are up for auction in Russo and Steele's 2015 Newport Beach auction at Newport Dunes. Auction previews run daily from 9 a.m. Visit www.russoandsteele.com for more details.