Anticipation is building for RM Auctions’ presentation of the renowned John Staluppi Cars of Dreams Museum sale, December 1 in North Palm Beach, Florida. Capping off a fantastic year for the world’s largest collector car auction house, the high profile, single-vendor sale will lift the gavel on a remarkable assortment of American automobiles and more than 60 lots of memorabilia, consolidating RM’s position as the leader in private and estate collection sales.
The result of a decade of dedicated collecting by successful entrepreneur, car dealer, and lifelong enthusiast John Staluppi, the automobiles comprising the Cars of Dreams Museum are the vehicles of Mr. Staluppi’s youth, the golden age of the American automobile. With a strong emphasis on convertibles from the ’50s and ’60s, the sale will lift the gavel on nearly 120 motor cars from the collection, highlighted by a wide variety of some of the finest, rarest, and most desirable American automobiles ever produced.
“From a vast selection of American automotive marques, including Ford, Cadillac, Buick, Oldsmobile, Pontiac, and DeSoto to name just a few, to the town square design that includes a carousel and numerous store facades, the attention to detail that has been applied to the John Staluppi Collection is outstanding,” says Donnie Gould, RM Auctions. “The cars have been superbly restored, regularly exercised, and extremely well maintained by a professional staff, and the memorabilia is such that the museum is like a time capsule of Americana. The sale is generating strong early interest from the collector community, and with all lots offered without reserve, promises a range of exciting ownership opportunities just in time for the holidays,” adds Gould.
Leading the comprehensive roster of automobiles on offer is a highly desirable, complete series of Chrysler letter cars. Reserved for the wealthiest and most discerning buyers of the ’50s and ’60s, the selection ranges from a 1955 Chrysler C-300 Hardtop Coupe, the first production car to offer 300 horsepower right off the showroom floor (Estimate: $75,000–$100,000), to a 1962 Chrysler 300H Convertible, believed to be one of only 44 known survivors (Estimate: $60,000–$80,000). Arguably, the most anticipated of the group is a superbly restored 1960 Chrysler 300F Convertible, one of only 82 believed to exist and ranked the most expensive letter car of its time, listed new at $5,411. Finished in Terra Cotta, the beautifully presented 300F has four leather-covered, contoured bucket seats with front chairs that swivel for easy access (Estimate: $175,000–$225,000). Also of note is an exceptionally rare and beautifully restored 1958 Chrysler 300D Convertible, one of just 55 known to exist (Estimate: $175,000–$200,000), and a fully restored example of the legendary 1957 Chrysler 300C Convertible, Motor Trend’s Car of the Year in 1957 (Estimate: $150,000–$200,000).
The automotive offering also includes some of the world’s greatest street and resto-rods, led by an outstanding 1956 Chevrolet Two-Ten Custom Two-Door Sedan powered by a Toyota TRD NASCAR engine (Estimate: $100,000–$125,000). Other unique offerings include a 1958 Chevrolet Bel Air Impala Custom Hardtop Coupe built by Staluppi’s own workshops and equipped with a LS-9 supercharged V-8 (Estimate: $100,000–$150,000) and an 1969 Chevrolet Camaro Custom SS 572 Convertible with a big block whose red valve covers proclaim “572 Chevrolet” (Estimate: $100,000–$125,000).
Beyond the automobiles and a small series of motorcycles also on offer, the Staluppi Collection sale also features more than 60 lots of memorabilia, ranging from the many life-like stores that line the museum display to one of the most interesting and dramatic pieces of the collection, a historic 1918 Herschell-Spillman 32′ Carousel. Typifying the golden age of carousels in America, the carousel features elaborate and whimsical animals, two abreast, with 14 sweeps, and includes 16 large wooden Alan Herschell jumping horses and two carved chariots. All are brought together in harmony by the rounding boards painted in a vibrant circus theme with mirrors in alternate panels, and illuminated by roughly 550 lights. Prior to joining the respected Staluppi Collection, this unique piece was reportedly operated at the Big Top Market in Florida for 10 years (Estimate: $250,000–$500,000).
Also set to sell to the highest bidder is a fantastic, one-of-a-kind large-scale Lionel train layout, combining numerous action displays, buildings, scenes, and individual dioramas depicting day-to-day movements. Measuring approximately 30 feet long by 15 feet wide and nine feet tall, the intricate display showcases remarkable attention to detail and represents more than 2,500 hours of labor by craftsmen and technicians. For those interested in model railroading, areas of impressive detail include an engine roundhouse, dual layers of track and trains, animated street scenes, as well as a waterfall, mountain pass, and trestle track (Estimate: $60,000–$80,000). Additional highlights poised for the auction podium include an outstanding, post-war c.1950 Arthur Bursens ‘Arburo’ Dance Organ, acquired from the prestigious Milhous Collection many years ago (Estimate: $125,000–$175,000), and a fully functioning, authentic Cretors Antique Popcorn Wagon ready for use and display (Estimate: $20,000–$30,000). The memorabilia offering is rounded out by an eclectic assortment of other collectibles and decorative pieces, including shop facades, street lights, artwork, and neon signs to name just a few.
Full event details and a complete list of auction offerings, along with a digital copy of the auction catalogue and a short video interview with Mr. Staluppi, are available online at rmauctions.com or by calling toll free to 1 800 211 4371 (or +1 519 352 4575 outside North America).
In addition, enthusiasts based in the United States will have a rare opportunity to preview the collection during an exclusive television special on Velocity by Discovery, premiering this Friday, November 9 at 9 p.m. ET. For full details on this special episode of Million Dollar Collections, please check your local television listings.
Event Details – The John Staluppi Collection presented by RM Auctions
Sale date: December 1, 2012; auction commences at 10 a.m. EDT
Preview dates: November 29–30, 2012; preview commences at 10 a.m. EDT on both days
Location: Cars of Dreams Museum, 133 U.S. Highway One, North Palm Beach, Florida, 33408
Admission: Admission to the auction is limited to registered bidders, consignors, and qualified media only. Bidder registration is $150 and includes an official auction catalogue and admission for two to the preview and auction.
For those unable to attend the event in person, Internet, absentee, and telephone bidding options are available, and the auction will stream live at rmauctions.com to provide real-time coverage of the event.
Photo Credit: Lot 258 – 1960 Chrysler 300F Convertible photo credit Teddy Pieper ©2012 Courtesy of RM Auctions