Colorful hoods on the Falbo Collection Corvettes | Larry Edsall photos
There’s a lot more to Leake Auction Company’s Oklahoma City sale than the 100 cars from the Tom Falbo Collection. But with those cars — among them some 40 significantly historic Chevrolet Corvettes — crossing the block today at no reserve, it would be easy to limit our focus to just those Corvettes, let alone the 60-other cars from the collection: amazing Cadillacs, a low-mileage Ford GT, GTOs, Mopars, even a Lincoln that was marooned inside a stuck warehouse elevator for a few years.
But as I wandered Friday afternoon through the two huge exhibition halls housing the auction cars at the Oklahoma State Fairgrounds, I found more to appreciate than just the cars Falbo had purchased through the years.
Still, the sight of all of those colorful 427 Corvettes is pretty overwhelming.
1967 Chevrolet Corvette L89 convertible The Falbo Collection includes nearly 20 1967 Chevrolet Corvettes, but it wasn’t until recently, when Corvette restorer Roy Sinor was validating cars for Leake, that it was discovered that one of them was one of only 16 with its massive 427-cubic-inch V8 topped by an aluminum L89 head.
1969 Plymouth Road Runner I’m not usually Mopar a muscle car guy, but the color and stance — perhaps from the S15 “police handling package” — and the details of this 440/390 from the Falbo Collection drew me back for another look, and then another, and yet another.
1976 Cadillac Eldorado Bicentennial convertible Originally part of the Richard Kughn Collection but of late part of the Falbo Collection, this is one of only 200 bicentennials built to help celebrate this country’s 200th birthday. Comes complete with the original “parade boot” for the convertible top still in its original container.
1953 Buick Skylark (replica) custom convertible I generally detest clones and tribute cars, but this faux Skylark convertible from the Falbo Collection — it’s called “The Red Baron” — has such a presence that it demands your attention. A sign in the trunk calls it a “1953 Buick California style Skylark” and notes its Corvette LT4 engine, L60E gearbox, 9-inch Ford rear and “air, heat & music.”
1978 Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz conversion pickup I’m not sure which is longer, the hood of this 1978 Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz that stretches to the horizon or the El Camino-style pickup bed that was part of the conversion done by Wisco of Detroit. OK, that’s it for the Falbo Collection (though there were many others I really liked).
1934 Ford Vicky Speedstar This is one gorgeous hot rod. 355-cid V8, Rats Glass Speedster Vicky body with full fenders, Bobby Alloway chassis, Heidt’s front suspension and four-link rear, Boyd “Junkyard Dog” wheels, champagne and brandywine paint, and much, much more.
1957 Chevrolet Cameo Looks like an original, except there’s a ZZ4 350-cid V8 engine under the hood, and ’69 Camaro front subframe and 9-inch Ford rear, plus some other modern goodies that figure to make this stylish pickup as much fun to drive as it is to see.
1969 Jeep Jeepster Commando pickup Wonderfully detailed, and the top comes off if you want to go topless on the trail.
1966 Oldsmobile 442 sport coupe Though it doesn’t look like something that languished in a barn, this is a reported “Oklahoma Barn Find” and one of only 221 3-speed sport coupes produced. Originally produced with a front bench, but it’s been switched out for a pair of buckets. Pity. There’s nothing like having your girlfriend sit up tight against you on a bench seat.
A former daily newspaper sports editor, Larry Edsall spent a dozen years as an editor at AutoWeek magazine before making the transition to writing for the web and becoming the author of more than 15 automotive books. In addition to being founding editor at ClassicCars.com, Larry has written for The New York Times and The Detroit News and was an adjunct honors professor at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.