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Cars Formerly Owned by Famous People


1957Birdman
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What kind of a premium should someone pay for a car formerly owned by a movie star, say Annette Funicello or any famous person for that matter. In the case of the late Ms. Funicello, it looks like we have an answer. A 1957 Thunderbird that she once owned just sold for $150,000 on Bring-a-Trailer. The provenance is correct but the story is more interesting in that the car bears little resemblance to the car as it appeared when she owned. When she owned it her father had George Barris nose and deck the car and painted it a metallic purple with a silver hardtop. The car now is a bright red and has a custom interior which it did not have before. This is probably a $65K car at best as it sits, so in this car it looks like the Annette factor added an extra $85K to the selling price. I wonder if a Frankie Avalon car would have the same premium?

 

The bigger question is, how much would you pay extra for a car owned by a famous person?

 

Lew Bachman

1957 Thunderbird (not previously owned by Otto Schmidlap)

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I would not pay a single extra cent for a car

owned by a celebrity.  I am interested in a car itself,

and while past ownership may be a brief interesting

story to talk about with other collectors, I pay no

attention to personalities.

 

They're just people.  They have to own cars, toasters,

extension cords, leaf rakes, carpet tacks, etc. just as

we all do.

 

And, to talk about past ownership, one should really be

certain that such claims about car ownership are documented.

 

Edited by John_S_in_Penna (see edit history)
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Most of the time it would mean nothing to me. If you are trying to prove provenance of a race car that would be different. Also something one off like Edsel Ford's speedster or Harley Earl's Y-job it's extremely important but then again the odds of owning those are nil.

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1 hour ago, John_S_in_Penna said:

I would not pay a single extra cent for a car

owned by a celebrity.  I am interested in a car itself,

and while past ownership may be a brief interesting

story to talk about with other collectors, I pay no

attention to personalities.

 

They're just people.  They have to own cars, toasters,

extension cords, leaf rakes, carpet tacks, etc. just as

we all do.

 

And, to talk about past ownership, one should really be

certain that such claims about car ownership are documented.

 

 

I agree with you John, in most cases a car was just another appliance in someone's life. Purchased to be consumed then to be disposed of 

Edited by John348 (see edit history)
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Personally I enjoy and fully support the enthusiasm behind celebrity owned cars.   Some  collect autographs or stamps or toasters or maybe even leaf rakes :lol:

It's not for me to judge what or why others collect things that I consider trash, many look at me as the guy on the block who just wastes his time and money on those junky old cars.   I don't give them a second thought.

Celebrity owned cars have, and will continue to be, (for a period anyway) a collectible commodity as their numbers repeatedly show.   

Maybe this is due to the strong identity that was once connected  to owner and car, more prevalent perhaps from, say the 1920's through the 1960's than anything in the current century.  As cars continue to become just another mundane mode of transport they have lost identity and status, much as celebrities themselves have today, so I expect future generations may not have as much interest in owning a former Kardashian Cadillac or a (Paris) Hilton Honda ....not even a Kanye Kia may stir them.

I heard of the Annette T-bird years ago and thought it was a neat little bit of American history.  Today however it's more a Ship of Theseus as everything that made the car unique to her through the iconic Mr. Barris' hand has all been washed away.  In this instance, with the former owner history completely erased, I'd say very little additional value should be added to this car now, which is a real shame.

Blame it on the Bossa Nova.

 

annette.jpg.78a09b11f54174af6a1444ee93ac6d2e.jpg

 

 

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You should look up the two Mercedes 600 once owned by Elvis and Roy Orbison which sold on BAT in the past year or so. Both obviously sold more than the average price and interestingly the King's didn't make top dollar of the two. It might have helped that someone provided testimonial talking to Roy when he brought his Porsche in for service one day. Both men were obviously drivers....

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I dont have a problem paying a premium for a celebrity owned car, I'm just not sure who's car I would want to own. No one comes to mind at the moment. Somewhat related a Porsche 928 that was used in the movie 'Risky Business' just sold for 1.8 million. Now I thought that one was pretty ridiculous.

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Celebrity cars are a mixed bag I think. I personally could not care less in "most" cases, but there might be a couple celebs where their car might turn my attention. About the only one I can think of might be McQueen, but I wouldn't be paying any premium to own someone else's car just because they had a big name. 

 

There's also a big difference between a "movie car" and a celeb owned car, as the Ricky Business Porsche (good lord what a rip off) and Bullitt car, among many others, have amply demonstrated over time.

 

Someone recently paid $200+k for Michael Jordan's 1996 Mercedes S600 Lorinser, which had a whopping 157,000 miles on it. This is probably a $40k car if owned by Joe Blow, obviously the celeb provenance here meant big bucks. 

 

On the other hand, I have a dealer friend who sold a R107 Merc owner by Kim Basinger a couple years ago. Fully documented. Didn't add $5 to the value. Go figure. I was involved with a 1961 Olds Starfire owned by Mike Ditka before he was really "Mike Ditka". Again, the fact his caboose was parked in the drivers seat for a period of time had no bearing on the value. Made for interesting banter, I guess, but nobody was paying a premium for it.  

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2 hours ago, prewarnut said:

You should look up the two Mercedes 600 once owned by Elvis and Roy Orbison which sold on BAT in the past year or so. Both obviously sold more than the average price and interestingly the King's didn't make top dollar of the two. It might have helped that someone provided testimonial talking to Roy when he brought his Porsche in for service one day. Both men were obviously drivers....

More than of half the 2677 Mercedes Benz 600's made were owned or used by 'prominent' individuals.   Besides Elvis Presley and Roy Orbison, 600's were also owned by John Lennon, Idi Amin, among others.  Some were never actually sold by Mercedes Benz, but used by German heads-of-state, various popes, and others while visiting Germany.  Mercedes Benz 600's are expensive to buy, own and restore, regardless of who owned it when it was new.

 

Craig

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I personally don't understand that much with the value of celebrity owned cars. I see the stupid money musical instruments especially guitars command, then again they players who owned them would have sounded great playing a Dan-Electro out of Sears Robuck Catalog. In those cases those instruments were a chosen "tool" used to create something not an appliance used to point A to point B and back again. I appreciate the historical impact that instrument might have had and the persons hand that made it sing  

Edited by John348 (see edit history)
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Based on my (limited) experience and observations, fascination & willingness to pay premium, sometimes surprisingly high, for “celebrity” owned vehicles (or other things) has always seemed more common in the US than elsewhere and I’ve often wondered why.

 

Edited by TTR (see edit history)
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7 hours ago, GregLaR said:

a neat little bit of American history.

 

Most of the old men I know wouldn't walk across the room to see a neat little piece of American history........... unless they owned it. Then it is the greatest thing that ever existed.

 

Been watching them do that since I was about 11 years old.

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3 hours ago, 1937hd45 said:

Sports Memorabilia that is something I'll never understand, a jock strap brought how much money?

 

I guess you are not into sports? The problem with that stuff is that any of that any of the current sports memorabilia (30 years old and newer) is a lot of it is counterfeit or repetitive, and players would change their jersey's every inning or possession just to sell it as "game worn." There tends to be and abundance of certain items. It is one thing to own it because you want it, to buy things on speculation is foolish.

The demand always dictates the price

 

I don't know of anyone who bought a jockstrap

Edited by John348 (see edit history)
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Several weeks ago there was a somewhat opposite thread on another website about a car that had been owned by a disgraced financineer who had amassed his money by bilking others and stood convicted of numerous crimes. Several persons wrote to express their contempt for the man and his practices and even went so far to say that they would not even want to own the car because of the owner's history. To visit an owner's celebrity upon a car to increase its value seems as silly as damning a car because of a prior owner's evil deeds.   

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I would love to have Al Capone's 1928 Cadillac.  It has been for sale for a while for a cool one million dollars.  Way over priced in my estimate!  Many years ago I remember various cars for sale in Hemming's Motor News that had been owned by "notables" of the '30s.  A 1931 (?) Packard sedan that had been armor plated for Dutch Schultz.  A late '20s or early '30s Auburn that had been owned by Lloyd Nolan.  And, if I remember correctly, another Auburn that was once owned by Melvin Purvis.  His personal Tommy Gun was also up for sale too, I believe.😊

 

Capt. Harley 😉

 

Skirts are for women and not car fenders!

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We have an active group of R107 chassis, or Mercedes SLs 72 - 89 on another site.  A few had celebrity ties, a friend has an SL that was originally Pamela Anderson's.  I had to think about which 80s blonde it was so generally, at least to me it means little.  He did not buy the car for that reason and in fact, it wasn't even noted/promoted in the sale.  It was just another neglected SL but he has paper trail and I would expect, will promote it at sale time.

 

To me, a celebrity who was a true car person, Gable, Cooper, or more recently say James Garner, etc. Would add value.  Of course market determines the value we only determine if we might pay more or not.

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5 minutes ago, Steve_Mack_CT said:

We have an active group of R107 chassis, or Mercedes SLs 72 - 89 on another site.  A few had celebrity ties, a friend has an SL that was originally Pamela Anderson's.  I had to think about which 80s blonde it was so generally, at least to me it means little.  He did not buy the car for that reason and in fact, it wasn't even noted/promoted in the sale.  It was just another neglected SL but he has paper trail and I would expect, will promote it at sale time.

 

To me, a celebrity who was a true car person, Gable, Cooper, or more recently say James Garner, etc. Would add value.  Of course market determines the value we only determine if we might pay more or not.

 

Your friend's car probably has pretty decent airbags, though.

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15 minutes ago, Captain Harley said:

I would love to have Al Capone's 1928 Cadillac.  It has been for sale for a while for a cool one million dollars. 

What is the 1934 Ford Bonnie & Clyde 'Death Car' worth now, in light of the fact it was never even owned by them?

 

Craig

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This reminds me of our neighbor while I was growing up. Her father was Abe Lincoln's physician and she was quite proud of a pair of Lincoln's reading glasses that had been passed on to her.

 

I can see some old crank looking at them and going "Hrrrumph. Those aren't My prescription."

 

 

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48 minutes ago, ejboyd5 said:

Several weeks ago there was a somewhat opposite thread on another website about a car that had been owned by a disgraced financineer who had amassed his money by bilking others and stood convicted of numerous crimes. Several persons wrote to express their contempt for the man and his practices and even went so far to say that they would not even want to own the car because of the owner's history. To visit an owner's celebrity upon a car to increase its value seems as silly as damning a car because of a prior owner's evil deeds.   

That happened here as well:  Michael Eugene Kelly - Passes - Sunday December 22, 2013 - Studebaker Drivers Club Forum

 

Craig

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If it were a celebrity car I would stay away from it. 25 maybe 30 years ago I had a customer that purchased Captain Kangaroos Jeep Cherokee at the estate of the deceased, the damn thing was worn out and the new owner had to dump a boatload of money into it to get it inspected. I do not believe he paid much for it but thought it would be a good investment because of who owned it. His kids did not even know who Captain Kangaroo was.

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2 hours ago, f.f.jones said:

What about the McQueen/Bullett mustang? Over-priced and over-valued? $3.4M !!

What do you think?

Bullett mustang.jpeg

Big difference between a movie car and a car that a movie star owned... the former generally seems to bring more dollars than the latter. The Bullitt car was a pretty big outlier though in part because the family did like a 45 year slow play on the question of where it was and if it even existed anymore. Brilliant, as collectors had four decades to wonder about it. I know I did...

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4 hours ago, JACK M said:

Probably most of us here did indeed watch her grow up...

 

She was around before me, and I discovered her

Mickey Mouse Club and Disney programs on Youtube.

She seems to have been a kind and unspoiled person.

 

Her serialized movie "Annette" (made by Walt Disney)

has timeless values that are just as valid today---

 

 

Edited by John_S_in_Penna (see edit history)
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13 hours ago, f.f.jones said:

What about the McQueen/Bullett mustang? Over-priced and over-valued? $3.4M !!

What do you think?

Bullett mustang.jpeg

Overvalued because there is NOTHING that was out-of-the-ordinary about it.  It was a bog-standard Mustang anyone could have ordered at the time.  The Marti Report for this particular car doesn't make any mention of its provenance at all, unlike some which state 'Tag: Carroll Shelby', etc.  And further, as far as color combinations and options, there was nothing about it that made it a '1 of 1' car.

 

If it was like the two 1967 Toyota 2000GT roadsters that were specially made for 'You Only Live Twice', THEN it could be worth a seven figure price tag.

 

Craig

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