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Does anyone here own a celebrity vehicle?


MarrsCars
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Who here has a star car that was owned at one point by a celebrity or notable figure in history? I don't personally, but my mother was watching an older Pawn Stars episode that featured Johnny Cash's Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow and texted me to chat about it. Coincidentally, one of the men presenting the car was my former client, John's lifelong drummer. They were asking $300,000, got offered $50,000, and said they were going to take it to auction and make $200,000. Turns out it sold for $88,000 at that same auction. This made me reminisce about the time I spent on John's tour bus, but I didn't own it of course. (See my article about Cash's bus here.)

 

Anyway, that got me thinking of that awesome article I believe West wrote about the Tom Mix Cord 812 Phaeton, which is one of my favorite articles of all time. You know the rest, down the rabbit hole.

So tell me what celebrity cars do you have? Before anyone asks, no, the Chevy Celebrity doesn't count.

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About 12 years ago I bought a '51 International pickup that belonged to Roy Rogers at his Double R Bar Ranch here in Apple Valley, CA. Came with a pink slip in Roy's name, signed by him. I thought that was pretty cool. Also '66 T-bird that belonged to Robert Taylor. Missed a Laurel & Hardy car by ten minutes, with provenance from one of their movies. I always keep an eye out for former celeb cars here in SoCal. They pop up fairly regular. Find quite a few but spend more time trying to prove or disprove the history. Just last week a '72 Lincoln came up that was supposed to be one of Nixon's fleet cars. I spent some time with the archive people at the Nixon Library here in Loma Linda but this one came up No Sale. Still looking for Alan Hale (Jr)'s Cadillac.....

Edited by GregLaR (see edit history)
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I am into Chrysler 300 lettercars. There are at least a few still around that were owned by celebrities. I had a '61 300-G that was sold new at Harger-Haldeman, which was the premier Chrysler dealership in  Los Angeles. It has a documented factory black leather interior whereas the standard color was beige-only. I found two matchbooks under the seats from T.T.G. Inc. Sunset-Highland Studios in Hollywood. This was a somewhat obscure but pretty heavy-duty rock and roll recording outfit. Doors, Hendrix, Velvet Underground, Linda Rondstadt, etc. Tried but never could dig anything specific up; sold it to a high-end collector last year who is now finishing up the resto.

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1 hour ago, joe_padavano said:

The last thing I would want to do is to pay a premium for a vehicle owned by someone with more money than brains.

 

I agree, Joe.  It might be a good conversation point--

for 30 seconds--but is that fact worth thousands of extra dollars?

 

Actually, I don't admire celebrities;  I feel sorry for most of them.

Making sudden windfalls, many of them lead lives

filled with indulgence, immorality, drugs, alcohol, and divorce.

Even though they tried, money didn't buy them happiness.

They would admire OUR stable lives.

Edited by John_S_in_Penna (see edit history)
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In 1975 I bought a FI 1959 Corvette that had been restored.  It was my daily driver until the fall of 1978.  After I sold it I was watching a movie that had a Corvette in the opening scenes.  It was a side shot and when the car turned and the front license plate showed I realized it was the same Corvette I had sold.  It was red with white coves.  The movie was called, "Scorchy", with Connie Stevens as the lead actor.  No one had told me it was a movie car when I bought, and of course I didn't tell the buyer when I sold it.  The movie was shot here in Seattle.

I do have a 1938 Cadillac V-16 Town Car that was originally owned by Hollywood movie producer, Darryl Zannick.  I understand he used to have his chauffeur drive him and the star of each movie to the premier of each film opening night.  I wonder who sat next to him for each film?

1938 Cadillac V-16.jpg

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26 minutes ago, Lozierman said:

In 1975 I bought a FI 1959 Corvette that had been restored.  It was my daily driver until the fall of 1978.  After I sold it I was watching a movie that had a Corvette in the opening scenes.  It was a side shot and when the car turned and the front license plate showed I realized it was the same Corvette I had sold.  It was red with white coves.  The movie was called, "Scorchy", with Connie Stevens as the lead actor.  No one had told me it was a movie car when I bought, and of course I didn't tell the buyer when I sold it.  The movie was shot here in Seattle.

I do have a 1938 Cadillac V-16 Town Car that was originally owned by Hollywood movie producer, Darryl Zannick.  I understand he used to have his chauffeur drive him and the star of each movie to the premier of each film opening night.  I wonder who sat next to him for each film?

1938 Cadillac V-16.jpg

 

Wow, now this is cool! I am such a fan for Old Hollywood, even used to live on Rossmore Ave. in LA where many of the old historic Hollywood homes are, and right next to Paramount Pictures. This is just awesome!

 

@John_S_in_Penna I have to agree with you, I knew dozens of "celebrities" during my time working in the biz and maybe two... MAYBE... were genuinely happy people. I think it's less about the sudden wealth than the sudden fame, it messes with their heads, inflates egos to the point they lose lifelong friends, and then there's the "yes men" factor where everyone around you simply agrees for fear of being cut out of the gravy train. I would never name any names, but some people you would suspect the least are the most offensive humans imaginable.

 

@James-Wahl Motors As stated, I lived very near this place, and you're right it could have been almost anybody who owned that car. Didn't even have to be famous of course, just have the loot to acquire a special order.

 

@GregLaR Do you still have the Roy Rogers truck? That would be as cool to me as the Zannuck car above! Have you toured the Roy Rogers museum yet? Good stuff. Oh, you made me remember that I rode in the LBJ/Lady Bird Johnson 1969 Lincoln limo also. A very lovely car by Lehmann-Peterson.

 

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Edited by MarrsCars
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Our 1937 Buick Roadmaster 80C Phaeton (Convertible Sedan) was owned by the City of New York as a Parade Car for Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia. LaGuardia served as NYC mayor from 1934 to 1947. He had previously served two terms as Congressman, representing the Lower East Side of Manhattan, and had some involvement with my grandfathers. The prior owners have (had) photos of the Buick in NYC Ticker-Tape Parades with FDR, VP Harry Truman, General Eisenhower, and General MacArthur.  Probably during the mid-1950s it was auctioned, then spent time in a museum before going to a private collection belonging to friends of ours for several years. I was able to acquire the huge car during the 2008-2009 time frame with a bit over 7,000 miles showing - probably much of it in low gear during Parade duty. The big Buick wears her battle scars proudly.

 

The Roadmaster also transported AACA President Terry Bond and First Lady Sue, as well as Former First Lady Sally Barnett during the Greensburg, PA597b7f7382d7c_FoundersWesternPA20101937Buick081.jpg.894e6642c1917a1c49ec4ce9d8777961.jpg597b801c2c908_FoundersWesternPA20101937Buick066.jpg.b808570246b5c3b3e9d6a66b387f03eb.jpg Founders Tour

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1937 Buick on 2012 Glidden-2.JPG

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Before the fat lady sings I plan to buy a Stutz Blackhawk coupe of the 1970's. I have come close a couple of times and looked at sedans briefly. Those, pretty much, have a celebrity connection at some level. One of Dean Martin's sold within the last year in the 20's.

I am a big fan of the Exners and their revival concepts. Fame is fleeting. The stars of the '70's are as little known by young people as the Stutz. Like the guy at the parts counter asked "Who made Stutz?"

"Its not a real one. Its made from a Pontiac." "Who made Pontiac?"

 

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"Who is that guy?"

 

"Ummmm, kind of a British Johnny Cash." If you want a cowboy's Rolls-Royce.

 

 

 

Edited by 60FlatTop (see edit history)
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Our 1930 Packard was previously owned by F-1 Gran Prix driver Abba Kogan as part of his large collection of Classics in Monaco. Manny and George Dragone brokered the car to Kogan, and later bought it back and re-imported it to the USA. We've driven this great car on Glidden and AACA Vintage Tours.

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Edited by Marty Roth (see edit history)
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MarrsCars,

                        I do not have the Roy Rogers truck any longer. I sold it to a fellow in the mid-west. Before I sold it I was contacted by an International Harvester magazine and they asked if they could post it in their mag. I agreed as long as they'd send me a copy. This is a copy of the brief article they ran.

The Zanuck Cadillac is very cool!

Greg

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The 1941 Cadillac cabriolet was delivered to Commodore Cornelius Vanderbilt's granddaughter - Miss Cornelia - at the Biltmore estate in Asheville, NC, reportedly as a divorce present for her husband John. She then left America's largest home in his care and moved to Europe. Would 1941 have been an optimal time to move there?

 

More recently during basketball finals she transported Chicago's "BENNY THE BULL" through the New Orleans French Quarter.

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1941 Cadillac Front Quarter - Marty Roth 10-15-2017.jpg

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5 minutes ago, GregLaR said:

Marty,

               This shot looks like it was taken in front of Oak Alley Plantation in LA?

oak alley.jpg

 

Yes Greg, you have a good eye for detail. Oak Alley does not allow vehicles on the brick pathway to the river, but specifically authorized this for a photo shoot. We were honored to have been allowed there.

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@Marty Roth Both fantastic additions to this thread, thank you, I have a weakness for Packards. I got ahead on myself, I see the Cadillac now also. Keep 'em coming, you're really making my day!

@60FlatTop I enjoy the oddball looks of those Stutz coupes, I wish you well in your search! The ones I've come across are either essentially factory fresh or run down, don't see many in between, kinda like Avantis. Patrick Stewart officiated the wedding of an acquaintance of mine, apparently everyone who knows him loves spending time with him and he's an animal lover to boot as he's fostering a Pit Bull that he likes to show off on his social media. 

 

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Edited by MarrsCars
Added SirPatStew pup pic (see edit history)
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In early 1956,  one of my friends in the then relatively new CLASSIC CAR CLUB OF AMERICA bought a 1938 "Series 90"  Cadillac V-16 Formal Sedan.  The orig. owner was the entertainer Mae West  (famous for such risqué lines as "is that a gun in your pocket or are you just happy to see me....") She'd given it to a religious organization in Los Angeles - they didn't like its gas consumption  (like other super-luxury super powered cars of that era,  it could barely get 10 mpg) they quickly tired of it,  plus it was a bit pretentious for their needs...!   so they sold it to him for $75. 

 

We felt it was a pretty good deal,   as the car was essentially still in new condition - so it had to be worth at least $150...!    

 

Yes, it was definitely Mae West's car - we found some papers behind the back seat removing any doubt. 

 

In some ways,  by the late 1930's  top-of-the-line GM cars were superior to  my Packard V-12 of the same year.    But I couldn't afford to keep two cars, so I sold it in 1958 for $550.   Pretty good profit..don't you think ?    ( Last time it came on the market it went for around a quarter million,  and is now in a museum in the mid-west somewhere....!  I looked it up - looks like someone over the years has made it even nicer.     Mae West's driver rear-ended someone, damaged the grill beyond repair - so by the time we got it, it had a Series 75 grill.  I see from the museum's site someone found the correct "Series 90" grill for it.

 

I kept the  '38 Packard V-12 - still have it and drive it more or less regularly ( no air conditioning - Packard didn't offer air conditioning till the 1940 production run  so it gets less use during summer heat).

 

As a side note,  1938 was the first year for pressurized cooling systems - both the Packard and the Cadillac could handle extremes of heat and speed a lot better than I can these days....!

 

If I did this correctly, and the photo comes thru - that's Dave and I in a "staged" photo in front of the Hotel Del Coronado at a CCCA meet there.Cad 16.bCad 16.bmpCad 16.bmpmp

 

 

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2 hours ago, MarrsCars said:

 

"So tell me what celebrity cars do you have? Before anyone asks, no, the Chevy Celebrity doesn't count. "

 

 

Yeah, I know, but here in Minnesota we simply don't have celebrities now that Prince is gone. I just wanted to participate...

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I bought a Volvo 1800ES from a man named Stephen Gaskin in early 2014.  He passed away six months later.    I include an excerpts from his New York Times obit and Wikipedia bio  below.  I didn't pay a premium for the car because of his prior ownership, but it is fun to have his story to tell as part of the provenance of the car.  I have since enjoyed learning more about him, his life and writings, and also the extraordinary accomplishments of his wife as well.  When I restored the car, I decided to leave two window stickers (one for USMC, and the other for Plenty, an outreach organization he founded) from his ownership intact.  I have a bucket-list dream of driving it to "The Farm" in Tennessee some day.   Google him sometime to read an unusual American life story.

 

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NYT:  Stephen Gaskin, a Marine combat veteran and hippie guru who in 1971 led around 300 followers in a caravan of psychedelically painted school buses from San Francisco to Tennessee to start the Farm, a commune that has outlived most of its countercultural counterparts while spreading good works from Guatemala to the South Bronx, died on Tuesday at his home on the commune, in Summertown, Tenn. He was 79.

 

Wikipedia:  Stephen Gaskin (February 16, 1935 – July 1, 2014) was an American counterculture Hippie icon best known for his presence in the Haight-Ashbury district of San Francisco in the 1960s and for co-founding "The Farm", a famous spiritual intentional community in Summertown, Tennessee.[1] He was a Green Party presidential primary candidate in 2000 on a platform which included campaign finance reform, universal health care, and decriminalization of marijuana.[2] He was the author of over a dozen books, political activist, a philanthropic organizer and a self-proclaimed professional Hippie. 

 

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2 hours ago, SaddleRider said:

In early 1956,  one of my friends in the then relatively new CLASSIC CAR CLUB OF AMERICA bought a 1938 "Series 90"  Cadillac V-16 Formal Sedan.  The orig. owner was the entertainer Mae West  (famous for such risqué lines as "is that a gun in your pocket or are you just happy to see me....") She'd given it to a religious organization in Los Angeles - they didn't like its gas consumption  (like other super-luxury super powered cars of that era,  it could barely get 10 mpg) they quickly tired of it,  plus it was a bit pretentious for their needs...!   so they sold it to him for $75. 

 

 

This thread is coming full circle in so many ways for me. Mae West lived in a building that was right across the street from me on Rossmore Ave., it was called The Ravesnwood and is still there today. She spent her entire life in Hollywood in that apartment, but passed away long before I arrived in town. Earth Kitt lived there when I was on the block and used to invite any neighbors who were interested for her Poker night.

 

2 hours ago, Hudsy Wudsy said:

Yeah, I know, but here in Minnesota we simply don't have celebrities now that Prince is gone. I just wanted to participate...

 

Fair enough. Was it purple (the car, not Prince)? 

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All of my cars were owned by celebrities. I don't know who they were but I'm confident their families and children loved and celebrated the time they had with them. As for movie stars I couldn't care less.........................Bob

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18 hours ago, 60FlatTop said:

Heather Brewer.

 

18 hours ago, Pomeroy41144 said:

No offense, never heard of her. 

 

17 hours ago, GregLaR said:

The flat top is cool but who the heck is Heather Brewer?:lol:

 

Never heard of her either so looked her up, here's her wikipedia entry: Zac Brewer, formerly Heather Brewer, is an American writer of young adult fiction, living in Missouri with his husband and two children. His debut series, The Chronicles of Vladimir Tod, was published by Dutton Juvenile

 

17 hours ago, Akstraw said:

I bought a Volvo 1800ES from a man named Stephen Gaskin in early 2014.  He passed away six months later.    I include an excerpts from his New York Times obit and Wikipedia bio  below.  I didn't pay a premium for the car because of his prior ownership, but it is fun to have his story to tell as part of the provenance of the car.

...When I restored the car, I decided to leave two window stickers (one for USMC, and the other for Plenty, an outreach organization he founded) from his ownership intact. 

 

 

My Benz coupe was owned by a photographer of modest repute, tho I don't consider it a celebrity car by any means, and it likewise came with several window decals and parking passes, but in the end I decided to remove them as I wanted it to reflect it's new life in Oregon. It came with original California black plates, so had I been living in CA I would probably have kept the other decals together with the plates. Yours is very cool, so he was sort of a Ken Kesey type? Neat!

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My 1976 Cadillac Fleetwood Brougham was purchased new by Jimmy Wakely (America's Singing Cowboy).  The letter from his widow that came with car says that Roy Rogers, Bob Hope, Mickey Gilley, Tex Ritter (John Ritter's dad) and several other actors from the '40 & '50's have been passengers in the car. 

 

Tim

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1 hour ago, 76 Caddy said:

My 1976 Cadillac Fleetwood Brougham was purchased new by Jimmy Wakely (America's Singing Cowboy).  The letter from his widow that came with car says that Roy Rogers, Bob Hope, Mickey Gilley, Tex Ritter (John Ritter's dad) and several other actors from the '40 & '50's have been passengers in the car. 

 

Tim

 

I had NO idea that Tex Ritter was John Ritter's father!!! Jason Ritter, John's son, is also quite an accomplished actor today. 

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