Larry Crane picks his favorites at RM Sotheby’s Petersen auction

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Ideal car for cruising Southern California boulevards: Lloyd Bakan '32 Ford 3-window coupe | RM Sotheby's photos

On December 1, Bob Golfen gave us a preview of the highlights of this sale of cars loved by the Southern California car culture. Here are six favorites selected by a long-time Southern California resident and active member of that devoted cadre of SoCal car nuts. For want of a better order, we will list them by manufacture date.

Lloyd Bakan’s 1932 Ford chopped 3-window coupe (see photo above) powered by a Dodge Fire-Dome eight fed by no less than four Stromberg 97 carbs. The car was first seen in print in the November 1956 issue of Rod & Custom, followed a year later in the October 1957 issue of Hot Rod magazine. It was completely restored to its original finishes and won Best in Class at the 2007 Pebble Beach Concours, the same year it is was voted “One of The 75 Most Significant ’32 Fords.” It is on this list because it would be a great Power Tour car or just a Cars & Coffee show stopper.

1937 Cord 812 Supercharged Phaeton

The 1937 Cord 812 Supercharged Phaeton is a perfectly useable ride for one of the 1,000-mile classic car tours. Its beautifully maintained 1987 restoration to an award-winning level of authenticity makes it a good investment, but the aging restoration will need to be repeated before too long and in the mean time it is a fully capable — fast — classic car, much admired by both the cognoscenti and the cool-car enthusiast.

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Rudy Rodriguez’ 1940 Mercury custom coupe

Rudy Rodriguez created a perfect chopped 1940 Mercury coupe. It is difficult to imagine the number of hours spent creating every perfect detail and the elegantly perfected final roofline, but in the presence of this treasure it is the window frames that demand attention. They are so perfectly crafted they seem to defy fabrication science. This celebration of the art of coachbuilding would standout in the most prestigious concours d’elegance anywhere in the world.

1955 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL coupe

A Mercedes-Benz 300 SL coupe, universally known as a Gullwing, is a scientific experiment brought to life and into production brilliantly by men who could do nothing else. It remains one of the best long-distant touring classics extant. As a fabulously successful racing coupe in 1952 it inspired the incomparable Max Hoffman in New York to order 1,000 of them to sell to Americans from his Frank Lloyd Wright sales rooms on Park Avenue. He insisted on having the complex tubular space frame in his production version of the car.  That could only be made in the race department, because in 1951 the Mercedes-Benz production plant had neither space nor time to help with a new racing car — but with an order for 1000….

1964 Shelby Cobra CSX2216

Carroll Shelby’s dream car, the Cobra was prototyped and produced with Ford’s new 260 V8. It was quickly upgraded to the 289 Hi-Po version and went into competition to dethrown Chevrolet’s Corvette, which it did. CSX2216 is restored to its 1964 delivery detail and includes all delivery documentation beginning from AC Cars and a complete ownership history. It would be sad to see this car go into a static collection. It is fast and solidly reliable and should be enjoyed as the sports car Shelby dreamed it would be.

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Lynx Engineering 1969 Jaguar XKSS

Only 16 Jaguar XKSS roadsters were delivered before the Jaguar Brown’s Lane shops were destroyed by fire consuming all the completed D-type bodies planned to be used as XKSS production sports cars. Lynx Engineering was/is a Jaguar specialist tuner with intimate knowledge of both E-type and D-type designs and was able to go into limited production of a hybrid detailed to perfectly match the planned XKSS production cars. This car was completed in 1979 for legendary enthusiast/racer Collin Crabbe and has since been used sparingly by subsequent owners. It is qualified for FIA vintage racing documents and would be a fantastic long-distance rally-tour car.

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Larry Crane has been an automotive literature aficionado from childhood. Car books and magazines represented most of his reading experience. He moved to Southern California in his early twenties to be close to his favorite cars. After a WestPac stint in the Navy, he was offered a position redesigning Motor Trend magazine. Then, for Steve Earle, he created America's first vintage road racing magazine as both editor and designer. FromVintage Racer he joined Road & Track and then David E. Davis Jr., asked him to help create a new kind of car magazine, Automobile. After 12 years, Crane took his family back to Los Angeles to create his dream magazine, AUTO Aficionado, which attracted an impressive cadre of the most influential members of the collector car hobby until the national economy made that one impossible to continue.

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