Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale, Jan. 10−18, 2015 Features Ron Pratte Collection

Remember the ’55 Pontiac Star Chief Convertible that starred in the fourth season of I Love Lucy? “Lucy Learns to Drive” in Episode 109, Jan. 3, 1955, as Lucy and Ricky Ricardo buy the Detroit road warrior, he teaches her how to drive, she teaches buddy Ethel Mertz how to drive –– and the result is Lucyworld.

That classic (Lot #2004) as well as 140 other cars, more than 1,500 pieces of automobilia and pedal cars from the stellar Ron Pratte Collection will be on the docket for the Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale Auction, Jan. 10−18 at WestWorld of Scottsdale, 16601 N. Pima Road, just off the Loop 101.

Other Pratte Collection cars include the 550-horsepower 2005 Ford GT40 (Lot #1253); a one-of-three ‘Curious Yellow’ matching-numbers 1971 Plymouth Hemi ‘Cuda (Lot # 2519), with under 16,000 original miles; the 2007 Blastolene B-702 Roadster (Lot #2507), a 19.5-foot-long aluminum-bodied two-seater with a 702-cid V-12, inspired by the great French cars of the 1930s; a 1955 Ford Thunderbird Convertible (Lot #2523), VIN Number 0005; 2006 Hot Rod of the Year, a 1932 Ford Roadster (Lot #2030); 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air Custom ‘Chezoom’ (Lot #2041), created by the legendary Boyd Coddington; and, to scare things up a bit, the 1958 Plymouth Fury (Lot #2006), the movie-star, ‘Christine.’

In addition, more than a 100 Chevrolet Corvettes and hundreds of other classic one-of-a-kind vehicles, exotics and muscle cars and charity vehicles will be featured at the 44th annual lifestyle event.

Last year, more than $113 million in sales posted at Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale, The World’s Greatest Collector Car AuctionsTM. Extended this year to accommodate the Pratte’s collection, the annual Scottsdale auction will include 36 hours of live television coverage on Velocity and Discovery and may become the highest sales volume auction in the company’s history, if the robust car market proves its continuing vitality.

Among the Vettes is a ’69 L89 Corvette convertible (Lot #5050) with just 352 original documented miles and winner of the 2014 NCRS Top Flight Award. Also on the docket is a rare Monaco Orange ’69 Chevrolet Corvette L88 2 door coupe (Lot #5049), one of 116 and meticulously restored by the well-known Nabor Bros of Houston, Texas.

If that doesn’t accelerate your pulse, take home a one-off ’78 turbine-powered Jet Corvette (Lot #5070), engineered by Vince Granatelli with the same type of Pratt & Whitney ST6B turbine engine that powered the 1968 Lotus Indy Car. Granatelli claimed it could reach 60 mph in 3.2 seconds from a start.

And, a pair of Corvettes, ’57 and ’07 convertibles with matching VINs, will be sold together. The ’57 Venetian Red Corvette Convertible (Lot #5057) has only 190 miles since a frame-off restoration, and the ’07 Corvette Convertible (Lot #5057.1) has just eight original miles and was factory built with the 1957 colors and options and a matching VIN number.

Pratte in the Winner’s Circle

A Phoenix-area resident, Pratte acquired many of his vehicles at previous Barrett-Jackson auctions and will be auctioning his complete collection.

“This is arguably the most significant collection ever offered in Barrett-Jackson history,” says Craig Jackson, chairman and CEO of Scottsdale-based Barrett-Jackson, which also schedules annual auction events in Palm Beach, Florida; Reno/Tahoe, Nevada; and Las Vegas, Nevada.

The Pratte collection is being sold Tuesday, Jan. 13, and Saturday Jan. 17. Among the other cars:

1954 Kaiser-Darrin –– The two-seater (Lot #2017) combined the talents of industrialist Henry J. Kaiser’s Kaiser-Frazer Auto Company and coachbuilder Howard A. ‘Dutch’ Darrin. Introduced before the Corvette and Thunderbird, it incorporates fiberglass construction, sliding “pocket” doors and three-position convertible top.

The Glasspar Boat Company supplied the innovative bodies. This is one of just 435 Kaiser-Darrins built during its one-year production and benefits from a rotisserie restoration to like-new condition.

Beverly Hillbillies Hillbilly Truck, the “Jalopy” –– Built, signed and purchased from George Barris of Barris Kustom Industries, which has built other showbiz vehicles such as the “General Lee,” the “Munster Mobile” and the “Batmobile,” Lot #2005, is one of five vehicles built for the 12-year TV series and the Beverly Hillbillies movie. It incorporates a 1922 Oldsmobile base and a vintage truck chassis. Load up the family and move on out to Beverly!

1938 Lincoln Zephyr V-12 Coupe Street-Rod –– One of the most famous street-rods ever, this no-expense-spared all-steel custom (Lot #2517) was selected by Goodguys and judged winner of “America’s Most Beautiful Street-Rod” award.

As per tradition, charity vehicles will be a significant component of Barrett-Jackson 2015 Scottsdale. Pratte has directed that his collection’s GM Futurliner (Lot #2501), one of just 12 built, will be auctioned, with 100 percent of the proceeds benefiting the Armed Forces Foundation, a 501(c)3 nonprofit supporting and advocating for active-duty military personnel, National Guardsmen, Reservists, military families and veterans. This is one of a number of charity vehicles to be offered at Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale.

GM design staff, under the great Harley Earl, built the Futurliners for the “Parade of Progress” touring exhibit as part of the GM “Motoramas” from 1940 through 1956. Pratte purchased this one and meticulously restored it in 2006, and it now one of three survivors restored to their original configuration and certainly the finest, with extraordinary attention to details.

“Military veterans, especially wounded warriors, deserve our appreciation and our support,” says Pratte, a veteran of the U.S. Army’s 1st Air Cavalry Division in Vietnam during 1968. “Their continued sacrifices give Americans the freedom to build happy, productive lives. With the help of the great team at Barrett-Jackson, I look forward to raising funds that will make AFF’s mission a success.”

A Bonneville, a Buick and Carroll

Also part of the Pratte collection is the magnificent 1954 Pontiac Bonneville Special Motorama Concept Car (Lot #2500), which he displayed alongside the Futurliner. This car was also designed by Harley Earl as a GM Motorama concept.

Earl, it’s said, watched those great land speed records being set at the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah and named the concept the Bonneville Special. Two of these gorgeous Bonneville concepts were built, a bronze car that debuted at the Grand Ballroom of the Waldorf in New York City and this emerald one, which appeared first in the Pan Pacific Auditorium in Los Angeles and toured major dealerships nationwide, to wide-eyed appreciation, then. And now.

Howard Hughes ensured the last car he drove, his 1953 Buick Roadmaster (Lot #2503), was customized for him, in particular, having it hermetically sealed and fitted with a trunk-mounted 24-volt set of four batteries to power the air-filtering and air-conditioning systems as well as jump-start his airplanes, often at the last minute.

Brian Jackson, Craig Jackson’s brother, discovered the car in Hollywood. Today, it has 5,339 actual miles since new. All 100 percent original, the Pastel Blue-bodied and Seafoam Green-topped car has a blue wool, broadcloth and nylon interior.

Because of Hughes’ predilection for absolutely clean air environments, the trunk’s air-conditioning unit flows air through dust and bacteria filters. The 24-volt electric panel is on the firewall, separate from the standard 12-volt system. The car’s lack of trunk space required that Hughes Aircraft design and install the Continental kit, which totes the spare.

Pratte and the late Carroll Shelby were good friends. Three of those Shelby cars will be center stage at Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale:

1949 MG TC Roadster –– “My good friend in Dallas, Ed Wilkins, owned the car [Lot #2510] and let me drive it in the race. Because it was early in my career, I still had a lot to learn but knew how to go fast. This MG changed my life, because from that point forward, I knew that I wanted to be involved with racing and sport cars.”

That was In May 1952 in Norman, Oklahoma, when he won the first and second race and went on to win at Le Mans as a driver, in 1959 and later to best Enzo Ferrari in 1964 with the great Shelby Daytona.

Formerly a part of the famous Syd Silverman Collection before Pratte acquired it in 2008, this MG won the Collier Cup in 2005 at the all-MG vintage race in Watkins Glen, New York. The original 1250cc 4-cylinder engine, built up to 100-plus horse, is race ready –– and ready to go home.

1969 Shelby GT500 Convertible –– Carroll Shelby owned this magnificent collector car (Lot #2511) since new. Jim Cowles did a five-year concours rotisserie restoration, completed in September 2007. Shelby owned only one other car since new: the first Shelby AC Cobra, CSX2000.

1966 Cobra 427 Super Snake –– Shelby said a Nevada state trooper somehow stopped him in this CSX 3015 (Lot # 2509) doing 190 mph. It is one of the 23 427 Competition Roadsters built and the only remaining one of two Super Snakes. Shelby once said it will get you from start to 60 mph is just a “tick over three seconds.” Somewhere, Carroll Shelby is driving, and he’s driving this car.

Gates at Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale open at 8 a.m. daily.

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