What Defines A Classic?
The simple word “classic” conjures up a number of images for most people. It can be something considered the best of its kind or an example of excellence. It is often used to describe something traditional, enduring and authentic. And when we apply the word “classic” to automobiles we open up a fascinating array of possibilities; from the late 1800’s to today’s sleek supercars, they are all classics in their own right.
At Brown’s Classic Autos they are proud to point to an inventory that represents every aspect of motoring’s past, as well as head-turning custom builds. Addison Brown, owner of Brown’s Classic Autos, tells us, “Anyone who knows me, knows I have a special place in my heart for American Muscle cars. I also have a huge respect and admiration for the beautiful designs and engineering throughout the auto industry’s history. Two of my favorites are on the cover of this issue of Highline Autos, an extremely rare 1952 Kurtis 500S reproduction roadster and the 1958 Mercedes-Benz 190SL roadster. So different, but both just amazing!”
The inventory at Brown’s Classic Autos is comprised of both dealership-owned cars and cars taken in on consignment. Quality consignments are treated with the same attention to detail as the Company’s own cars, including Brown’s 100-point inspection, careful detailing, professional photography and marketing across multiple websites. The fully integrated, multi-bay service/ fabrication department can provide complete maintenance and repair for most American, foreign classics and modern muscle cars. Anything automotive, from an oil change and safety inspection to complete turnkey customs, hot rods, muscle cars, classic cars and pro touring g-machines, they can do it all.
At Brown’s, every car that comes into the inventory is first placed in the very capable hands of Tony Arme. Tony’s ability to determine exactly what needs to be done to restore a car to its original beauty, or his vision of customization that will set it apart, is becoming legendary in the auto world. Both his custom builds and his restoration craftsmanship have earned him recognition, and demonstrate an eye for design that is almost as rare as the cars he creates.
Once a dream has been conjured, the next step is to realize it. The fabrication phase of the project is where Tony’s unique skills and talent are most evident, and may be equated to that of a sculptor. This is where we find all the special details that will distinguish the car. At this point the look of the car can be modified by reshaping, remolding the lines of the car and changing the engine and drive train components.
The 1934 Ford Fordor, belonging to Melvin Melton, received a new chassis, new floor pan and custom firewall. They will chop the top and install a filled roof insert and three-piece hood. Inside, there is a modified dash and the added conveniences of A/C. Power 4-wheel brakes, fuel injection and overdrive transmission make that run and drive with ease.
Now that all of the modifications are ready, its time to bring the car to life and give it a heart beat. The assembly is like putting together a puzzle, only a puzzle that requires creativity and often matching two puzzle pieces that originally were not designed to be together. The fit and finish are of the utmost importance at Brown’s, and their attention to detail from the gaps in the body panels, to safety, to tidiness under the hood, are all elements that set them apart from other shops.
The finished products that roll out of Brown’s Classic Autos are some of the best illustrations of artistic automotive form and function to be found anywhere in the world. The distinctive designs accompanied by the best in modern automotive engineering create machines that are both a pleasure to look at and a thrill to drive.
On The Cover
1952 Kurtis 500S Reproduction Roadster– In the early 1950s Kurtis Kraft Indy roadsters dominated the 500 mile race. Billy Vukovich won both the 1953 and 1954 races with Kurtis’ taking the first three positions each year. The 500S is the Vukovich KK500 Indy winning roadster, widened for two passengers, fitted with fenders and headlights to produce a race car which can be driven on the street. Approximately 26 500S models were eventually produced.
Warren Alvord bought this car from Brown’s with the intention of really making it his own. Starting with the body, Warren decided that to make this car truly stand out it needed a facelift. Arme’s team started by stripping it down then fabricated new rockers and hood sides from scratch. They designed and fabricated new side pipes from stainless steel with spring fasteners. The suspension was adjusted for a lower sleeker stance and received adjustable ridetech shocks to get the right look. The goal of this car was to keep it as period correct as possible but safe and fun to drive as well. The Munic 4 speed was set-aside in lee of a tremec 5 speed. The engine was detailed removing unnecessary components and fitted with Cadillac valve covers to pay tribute to the original Kurtis owned by Frank McGurk. The radiator was updated to a custom piece to handle the Arizona heat. A new 8” posi-traction rear end was installed to put the power down and brakes upgraded to vented discs. With the car in pieces, it was decided to change the color. PPG Black was applied to all panels giving it a deep new look. To finish the dashboard, Classic Instruments created custom gauges with the Kurtis 500S logo. The original Halibrand pin drive wheels were powder coated gold with Michelin tires from Coker Tire to complete the look. With the car finished, it truly is more than Warren and Arme’s team expected.
1958 Mercedes-Benz 190SL Roadster – Post-war America saw a flood of European cars to meet the growing demand for racier, less expensive imports as well as the high-dollar luxury motorcars. Mercedes-Benz was one of a handful of automakers eager to design and manufacture cars to fit the expanding US market. This beauty was first delivered new to New Orleans on November 25, 1957 and was owned by an Oklahoma businessman for three decades. When the car came into Brown’s, an assessment was made that the SL should undergo a restoration. With 43,637 original miles, it was completely disassembled, and as part of the restoration process, the engine bay, which housed the original 1.9L/120 HP 4-cylinder engine with a floor-shifted 4-speed transmission, was restored to the factory look. In addition, all the bright work was re-polished and plated, the body painted to perfection and a handmade set of original style 5-piece luggage was added. Finished in black with a matching hardtop, black soft top and the original red leather interior, this beauty is destined to become a cherished part of any collection.
Living The Dream
Highline Autos first reported on Brown’s Classic Autos in our April 2013 issue, with our feature article “For the Joy of the Ride.” At that time, Addison Brown talked about her dream for this dealership and her passion for cars, inherited and nurtured by her father, Jim McGrath. That passion fueled Brown’s success, and led to a meteoric rise to the top in the world of classic car dealerships. In just a few years, Brown’s has gone from a small shop in Scottsdale’s Airpark to its current 18,600 sq. ft. state-of-the-art showroom. Addison says, “We are already bursting at the seams here! With the growth in our inventory, the demand for consignments, along with the expansion of our service department and more space for Tony to do his magic, we are now in the design phase for a bigger, better home for Brown’s Classic Autos, at least tripling our current size. We want to make it a Scottsdale destination, where visitors to the Valley will have us on their list of “must see” while in town. I want to expand the number of events we host throughout the year for the area’s businesses and charitable organizations. It’s going to be really special. When we are closer to finalizing our plans, you guys will certainly be the first to know!”
To view Brown’s Classic Autos complete inventory, go to www.BrownsClassicAutos.com or visit the showroom at 16066 N. 77th Street in Scottsdale. For more information or questions, call (480) 998-4300.