HomeThe MarketNeil Young cars, trains and memorabilia strike gold at Julien’s auction

Neil Young cars, trains and memorabilia strike gold at Julien’s auction


The magic of Neil Young – rock star, car collector and model-train hobbyist – made itself known Saturday when Julien’s Auctions sold off some of his cars, musical instruments and memorabilia, and a “vast” collection of Lionel electric-train items, on Saturday in Los Angeles.

The sale totaled $2 million, including auction fees.

Neil Young cars, trains and memorabilia strike gold at Julien’s auction
Young’s Gretsch sunburst guitar sold at a steep premium

The top seller was a 1953 Buick Roadmaster Skylark convertible, the first one off the assembly line and with a steering-wheel hub that says “Customized for Neil Young,” that went for an impressive $400,000, way above the pre-auction estimated value. All sale results include auction fees.

The next-highest result was for “over 230 pieces of Young’s beloved and magnificent model trains from his lifelong collection of Lionel trains,” according to an auction news release. That sold for a total of $300,000.

Two other automobiles were included in the sale. A rare 1941 Chrysler Series 28 Windsor Highlander coupe, which Young says was once owned by Steve McQueen, sold for $35,200, about twice the estimated value, while a 1948 Buick Roadmaster Hearse, identical to the one that Young and his early band, the Squires, used to haul equipment, and which inspired his classic song “Long May You Run,” sold for $31,250, more than three times the high estimate.

Young’s guitars and recording equipment fetched some monumental prices, such as the group of 16 Universal Audio 610 preamp console modules in black that sold for $68,750, more than six times the estimated value; a 1977 Martin D-19 acoustic guitar for $43,750 against its original estimate of $2,000-$3,000; a white Gretsch Falcon guitar for $43,750; and a 1957 Gretsch Country Club guitar sunburst for $37,500.

The 72-year-old Young, a legendary singer/songwriter who helped drive the folk-rock movement of the 1960s and ’70s, has performed regularly until this year, and says he will be begin again in 2018.

The Neil Young auction ends Julien’s Auctions series for 2017. For information about future sale, visit the auction website.

Bob Golfen
Bob Golfen
Bob Golfen is a longtime automotive writer and editor, focusing on new vehicles, collector cars, car culture and the automotive lifestyle. He is the former automotive writer and editor for The Arizona Republic and SPEED.com, the website for the SPEED motorsports channel. He has written free-lance articles for a number of publications, including Autoweek, The New York Times and Barrett-Jackson auction catalogs. A collector car enthusiast with a wide range of knowledge about the old cars that we all love and desire, Bob enjoys tinkering with archaic machinery. His current obsession is a 1962 Porsche 356 Super coupe.


  1. If this is the Neil Young that I believe you are talking about, he should be donating all funds from selling these cars, etc. to researching alternative energy. Hopefully the person you talk about here is not the same person who was boycotting the Oilsands project in Alberta. Last time I checked antique or otherwise cars, etc burn gas do they not? Why would he have a car collection if you are against using petroleum products? Neil Young is messed up!

    • Yes that is one in the same Neil Young hopefully he donates the proceeds to his own gofuxxhimself fund he’s definitely not welcome in oilsands country the local radio station even took him off the air.

      • Mr. Young if you did sell the cars for personal gain then you should be ashamed of yourself! You being an avid advocate against the Alberta Oil Sands project and what it stands for. If you haven’t planned for already the proceeds from the auction could go to the community of Ft McMurray where the money could help rebuild from the fires.
        -A proud Albertan-

    • Josh (and others) – to equate Neil’s (or anyone’s) car collection as hypocrisy when measured by a stand against a massive oil sands extraction process is a kind of totalitarian idiocy that is an argument for forced sterilization. One of the cars is the one he wrote a song about/to, maybe 40 years ago, the hearse is a copy of one he and his band used to transport their gear in when they were first starting out, and the third used to belong to Steve McQueen. Those toy trains run on electricity possibly generated from coal, or maybe natural gas – We should make him donate the money from those too, right? What if he had a collection of antique oil lanterns? How about antique gasoline pumps? Would that make him a hypocrite? How do you know that he isn’t selling those things that are/were precious to him precisely BECAUSE of his more recent environmental beliefs?! Really, who are you to judge, in your ignorance?

    • Josh – What if he doesn’t drive them? Is he then not "messed up"? Who are you to tell someone else what to do with their money. IMO, you should be be donating all of your sperm to helping research more effective birth control.

  2. Josh – What if he doesn’t drive them? Is he then not "messed up"? Who are you to tell someone else what to do with their money. IMO, you should be be donating all of your sperm to helping research more effective birth control.

  3. The 1953 BUICK SKYLARK was the first Skylark produced by BUICK. It was the 50th anniversary for BUICK MOTOR CARS. I first learned about the Skylark in 1966, my one of my older brothers bought one for $200.00. The drive train was (transmission and rear end) messed with. The priveous owner, or owners did not know much about Buick’s. The Skylark came with the DYNAFLOW transmission only. This Buick had a 3 speed transmission manual in it, no clutch linkage, it was hydraulic linkage with a slave cylinder witch never worked properly. My two brothers fixed the clutch operation, they also replaced the rear end, and got that all squared away. The engine had low oil pressure at operating temperature. They pulled the engine to rebuild it. That never happened. Sadly the car sat in front of my Moms house on a farm up state , NY for 15 years. My Mom had the car crushed a long with a 1947 BUICK SUPER Model 51. I was sick about about it for years. I always loved that Buick. Before it was crushed, I offered my brother what he paid for the car and he refused to sell it to me. My brothers were very handy in repairing their own cars, and we were a Buick family since forever. After the Skylark was crushed, I found another Skylark in our neighborhood, the guy wanted $400.00 for it with no registration or title. No one bought it. It was in the neighborhood for about 4 years at a local gas station. I walked in the station and said, look if you bring it to the junk yard, you’ll only get $15.00 for it. The man replied, “you’re right”. He also said give me $15.00 and it’s yours. I need a car, but I needed a car I could drive. I asked my brother for the registration for his Skylark (NY State didn’t issue titles for vehicles until 1973). The registration was all I needed. He said no! That was the end of the15.00 BUICK SKYLARK


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