Jolson, Garroway, DJ cars on Gooding’s Arizona docket

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Original 'Today Show' host Dave Garroway was first owner of this 1938 Jaguar SS | Gooding photo by Matt Howell
Original ‘Today Show’ host Dave Garroway was first owner of this 1938 Jaguar SS | Gooding photo by Matt Howell

Cars formerly owned by jazz singer Al Jolson, television newsman Dave Garroway, and Los Angeles disc jockey B. Mitchel Reed will add celebrity provenance to the docket for Gooding & Company’s annual Scottsdale auction, which is scheduled for January 20-21, 2017.

The cars are a 1932 Packard Twin Six 906 individual custom convertible sedan once owned by Jolson, a 1938 Jaguar SS 100 3 1/2-liter owned by the Today Show host, who also was a sports car racer, and a barn-found 1958 Porsche 356 A Speedster Super once owned by the popular DJ.

“We are excited to present these cars in our diverse Scottsdale lineup that offers a group of exceptional motorcars across multiple marques and collecting tastes,” David Gooding, auction house founder and president, said in a news release.

“Our auctions offer something for every client, from exceptional classics with beloved provenance, to recently discovered barn-finds – which have been wonderfully preserved, to contemporary sports cars with limited mileage, and everything in between.”

Al Jolson was first owner of this custom-bodied ’32 Packard | Brian Henniker photo

The ’32 Packard once owned by Jolson is one of only two Twin Six 906 individual custom convertible sedans with coachwork by Dietrich. Jolson had the car custom built for him and delivered to his Los Angeles home.

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By 1959, the Packard was acquired by Harold Crosby, a well-known enthusiast who restored the car for unveiling at the 1963 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, where it won its class and also received reserve best of show honors.

Robert Friggens purchased the car in 1972 and owned it for 39 years until selling it to David Kane, who restored it again, this time to its original dark gray over brown leather interior. Once again, the car went to Pebble Beach, again winning its class.

Gooding has not released a pre-auction estimate on the car’s value.

The ’38 Jaguar SS was among the first to bear the Jaguar name and among the first to be able to exceed 100 mph. In Gunmetal Gray over silver interior, it was sold to H.P. Terry in England, where it was raced until 1948, when it came to the U.S. and into Garroway’s ownership. Garroway was the first host of NBC’s Today Show and, like Walter Cronkite of CBS was a sports car enthusiast and racer.

Garroway had the car repainted in an off-white and also replaced the original engine with the first DOHC XK120 engine sold to a private individual. The engine change boosted the car’s performance potential.

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Garroway also had the interior recovered with brown leather from six full alligator skins, according to Gooding.

He sold the car in 1978 to collector Steve Sim Roberts, who placed stories about the car in 70 magazines. Roberts sold the car in 2007, and it went back to England for a Jaguar Daimler Heritage Trust Certificate and a “sympathetic” restoration by DK Engineering.

The pre-sale estimated value is $450,000 to $525,000.

’58 Porsche Speedster has been stored in two garages since 1974 | Brian Henniker photo

The ’58 Porsche is a final-year 356 Speedster with such model-year upgrades as updated rear suspension, quicker steering and a 1600 “Super” flat-four engine good for 75 horsepower. Reed became the second owner of the car and with his wife owned the car for 12 years. They sold it in 1970 to its current owner, who refused to have it repainted, Gooding’s news release said, so it would be less tempting for potential thieves.

In 1974, he drained the car’s fluids, removed the battery and put the Speedster into a garage. He moved in 2000, but in the move simply transferred the car from one garage to another.

Gooding has set a pre-sale estimate of $200,000 to $275,000, and the car will be offered without reserve.

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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.