A highly unusual group of vehicles is scheduled to cross the block February 25-27 in Greensboro, North Carolina, where 10 — count ‘em — 10 rare 1959-model-year Chrysler products have been consigned to the GAA Classic Cars Auction by their owner/collector.
“I started collecting ’59 Dodges because I learned to drive on a ’59 Dodge Royal 4-door sedan,” Thomas McGlothlin said in explaining his passion for cars from that model year.
First, McGlothlin set out to collect one of “every body style, every engine, every transmission and every 1959 Dodge series from Coronet Royal to Custom Royal,” he said.
That set complete, he decided to add “one of everything Chrysler made in ’59 — Imperial, Chrysler 300, and I got a Plymouth Sport Fury.”
As McGlothlin would learn, 1959-model Chrysler products are extremely rare, especially those with nicely preserved interiors, a requirement McGlothlin had for nearly all of the cars he would buy as he traveled across the country, pursing cars he found on the internet or at auction.
One pleasant discovery was a 19,000-mile example that still had the plastic factory seat protectors in place.
“You can find ’57 Chevrolets left and right, but you can’t find ’59 Chryslers,” McGlothlin discovered.
“Oddly enough,” he added, during his search for ’59 Dodge and Chrysler products, he discovered that ’59 Mercurys are also very hard to find.
McGlothlin, 74, comes from a successful coal-mining family. He said his first collector car was a 1960 Chrysler 300M hardtop he purchased at a Barrett-Jackson auction.
“I sold it and had four or five other cars,” he said. “But then I found my first ’59 Dodge,” which he found locally in the Bristol, Tennessee/Virginia area.
“You cannot hardly find a ’59 Dodge in any kind of condition that would look like something that came from the factory. Most interiors were gone.”
So why is McGlothlin selling 10 cars from his cherished collection?
“In collecting, if you just buy them and sit on them, do you really have that much fun?” he said. “I have a 12,000-square-foot climate-controlled garage with 27 cars in there. I’m going to sell these 10 and then I’m going to buy something different. I’ve already been looking. I can’t wait to get turned loose on the buying.”
Although he’s selling part of his’59 Chrysler collection, and at no reserve, he’s keeping three from that group — a 2-door hardtop, a 2-door sedan (with 3 on the column, “extremely rare” he adds) and, of course, the Royal 4-door sedan that is a duplicate of the one in which he learned to drive.
Actually, he’s already started.
“I bought a ’72 (Ford) LTD convertible the other day,” he said. “I’m diversifying.”