Transport trucks still were arriving Thursday as I worked my way around the garage where the cars are being kept in anticipation of Leake Auction Company’s inaugural Motor City collector car sale. So I got to see only a fraction of the 300 or so cars that roll up onto the turntable at the MotorCity casino hotel Friday and Saturday in an auction being staged with sponsorship from Penske Corporation, which is sort of like the official seal of approval here in the renaissance city these days.
[caption id="attachment_84850" align="alignright" width="300"] A Porsche and a Citroen arrive at the auction
So while some of the star cars were yet to arrive, I saw enough to select more than half a dozen that I’d bid on could I afford it and had a place for them should my bid be the biggest by the time the auctioneer drops the hammer and announces the car “Sold!”
Oh, and while I’ve whittled my preliminary choices down to eight, there are two that are my favorites (so far): That 1955 GMC Suburban Carryall Custom with the LS1 under its hood looks like the perfect vehicle for a road trip with the grandchildren and I so want to drive that retro-looking Revolution mini-roadster by the Vintage Kart Company. Of course, I’d have to fight the grandkids to get my turn behind the wheel.
1936 Hudson Terraplane Series 61 Deluxe Sedan I’m starting with this car because the sale is taking place in the Motor City and that’s where this car rolled off an assembly line 80 years ago. The car has been restored, has a numbers-matching 6-cylinder engine and its original interior. It’s a 24,650 actual-miles car owned for more than 50 years by the president of the Gateway Chapter of the Hudson owners club.
1941 Buick Roadmaster Phaeton Here’s another pre-war classic, restored inside and out and with a 320 cid, 165-horsepower Fireball inline 8-cylinder engine and three-speed manual shifter. Plus I love the detailing on the rear fender skirts.
2008 Chevrolet Corvette custom Based on a Corvette Z06, this creation by Karl Kustoms features a Lingenfelter-tweaked LS7, which means its 427 cubic inches pumps out 660 horsepower you can attempt to control via a six-speed manual transmission. The exhaust is custom, the ride is lowered and the spyder wheels also are custom. Oh, and Karl’s added a third taillamp for that special retro Chevy touch.
1967 Mercedes-Benz 250SL “Pagoda” roadster This one surprised me. I’ve not been a big fan of the Pagoda-roofed Benz SL, but the color — Nissan blue — drew my attention. Besides, the car just finished a restoration with new stainless exhaust, black leather interior, new convertible top, but retains its original five-speed ZF manual which only 112 250SLs got for the 1967 model year.
1972 BMW 3.0 CSL BMW celebrated its 100th birthday recently at Monterey and I realized then that were I a car, I’d be a nimble, svelte CSL, well, at least in my mind’s eye. The ’72 is just back from the Michigan Mille, has a four-speed manual, which I actually can manipulate since I’m left-handed and this car originally was sold in England and has its steering wheel on the right side.
1955 GMC Suburban Carryall Custom Inside are seven captain’s-style seats, so no one can complain. This custom was built over a 2005 Mercury Mountaineer chassis, has an alloy 5.7-liter GM LS1 V8, 4L60E transmission, Ford 8.8-inch rear end, four-wheel disc brakes and rides on 20-inch wheels. Looks retro but also ready for a road trip.
2015 Vintage Kart Co. Revolution mini-roadster This is one of the racers built in Arizona for the Grand Prix of Scottsdale, a fund-raising race on city streets. It has a 6.5-horsepower, 200cc GX-200 Honda engine, 17-inch wheels with Michelin Gazelle tires and fully suspended beam front axle with hydraulic rear disc brake. Top speed is 45 mph. Also on the docket is a dark red No. 72 cart done in a more retro style with leather hood straps and polished grille.
1955 Ford Crown Victoria coupe There’s something about all the metal trim framing the windows and stretching like a basket handle across the roof, plus the Continental kit, that draws me to this Crown Vic, which has power steering and brakes, Select Aire, and a 312cid V8.
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.