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Home Car Culture Commentary Blasts from the past: Pratte, Max, Starman and Bizzarrini

Blasts from the past: Pratte, Max, Starman and Bizzarrini

They’re all back, and for a variety of reasons

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Craig Jackson (left), Pratte and former NASCAR racer Rusty Wallace (right)

Remember Ron Pratte, front-row bidder at so many Barrett-Jackson auctions — until he sold his amazing car collection at Barrett-Jackson for $40.44 million in 2015?

Well, he recently was back in the news, for another sale. But this one involved the sale of Pratte’s “sprawling luxury estate,” MansionGlobal.com reported. 

According to the website, the property, on Lake Couer d’Alene in Idaho, sold for close to its $30 million asking price and was purchased by Randolphmire, a “limited company linked to David Whitmire Hearst Jr., grandson of the late publishing magnate William Randolph Hearst.”

Pratte’s SkyPine Estate included 18 acres of land, a 16,620-square-foot home, boathouse and 34-foot wooden Stancraft boat. The sale reportedly included two private jet hangars at the Coeur d’Alene Airport.

Max Girado | Girado & Co. photo

Another blast-from-the-past name resurfacing recently was that of Max Girado, the popular multi-lingual auctioneer for RM Auctions before launching his own high-end collector car dealership in England.

“Between Covid-19, Brexit and the battle between Biden and Trump, it’s fair to say that 2020 has been a crazy year,” Girado wrote in his annual year-end review. “Yet despite the chaos, which seriously threatened our hobby and thwarted virtually every major event, the interest in classic cars is every bit as strong as it was before the world turned upside down.

“Passion has well and truly prevailed, which goes to show that unlike stocks and shares or gold, the car market goes so much deeper than supply and demand. I often say that the market has returned to its happy place after the spike of 2014–2016, and the current picture certainly reiterates that.

“Despite the chaos, which seriously threatened our hobby and thwarted virtually every major event, the interest in classic cars is every bit as strong as it was before the world turned upside down.”

Starman blasted off in 2018, flies back past Earth in 2047

And yet another name back in the news is that of Starman, the mannequin strapped into the driver’s seat of Elon Musk’s original 2008 Tesla Roadster that was shot into space back in 2018.

“Tesla’s Starman Finally Reaches Mars,” reports the comicbook.com website. The car and its occupant are on their way around the sun, and reportedly that will bring them back into the vicinity of Earth in 2047.

Car and driver “probably look pretty different than they did in the last images sent back to Earth,” the website notes, quoting another website, LiveScience.com, reporting that solar radiation likely has disintegrated most exposed organic materials – things like the red paint, the tires, the leather seats, etc. “Eventually, it’s believed that the Roadster will be reduced to simply it’s aluminum frame and perhaps some of the glass, provided they survive impact with passing rocks and debris.” 

1967 Bizzarrini
1967 Bizzarini on the showfield at The Elegance at Hershey | Andy Reid photo

Bizzarrini back? In 1962, after working at Alfa Romeo and serving as chief engineer at Ferrari, where his work included the 250 GTO, Giotto Bizzarrini started his own company, producing V12 engines for Lamborghini and chassis for Iso. In 1965, he launched his own sports car, the Bizzarrini Strada 5300, powered by a 327cid Chevrolet V8. Two years later came the Bizzarrini Europa, this one with a 4-cylinder Opel engine. The company closed in 1969.

Recent reports on both sides of the Atlantic indicate, however, that the Bizzarrini brand is coming back under the guidance of several former Aston Martin executives, including Ulrich Bez, a Porsche and BMW engineer before becoming chief executive at the British auto producer.

Kuwaiti-owned British luxury dealership group Pegasus Brands is backing the project.

Larry Edsall
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.

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