“Big Oly,” the 1969 Ford Bronco-based off-road vehicle that Parnelli Jones and Bill Stroppe drove to back-to-back victories in the Baja 1000, hammered sold May 21 for $1.7 million at Dana Mecum’s 34th annual Original Spring Classic collector car auction at the Indiana State Fairgrounds.
The $1.7 million figure is the hammer price and does not include the buyer’s fee, but boosted the final sales figure to $1.87 million.
Jones was seated in the front row next to his son and former racer, P.J., as eight cars from his personal car collection rolled across the block, led by “Big Oly,” the most famous of all off-road racing machines and owned since new since is was commissioned by Jones for the 1971 Baja 1000.
Jones commissioned “Big Oly” build by Dick Russell and has owned the vehicle ever since. Jones, of course, is the famous and versatile American auto racing star who, at age 87, was in Indy for the auction and to visit the Indianapolis Motor Speedway where he won the 1963 Indy 500 and led in several other races at the Brickyard.
Jones won at Indy driving a 1960 Watson-Offenhauser (front-engined) roadster known as “Ol’ Calhoun.” He was so impressed with the car, now part of the collection at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum, that he had an exact duplicate created. That car sold at the Mecum auction for $375,000 (hammer price).
Also selling (hammer prices indicated) on the Mecum block were the 1974 Parnelli VPJ-4 Formula 1 car driven by Mario Andretti ($460,000), the 2007 Saleen Mustang Parnelli Jones edition 001 ($135,000) and 003 ($105,000), a 1994 Mustang SVT Cobra Indy pace car edition ($42,000), a 1927 Ford T-Bucket track roadster ($10,000) and the 1979 Ford Pinto-based Troyer Modified race car built and raced by Jones’ crew chief Jimmy Dilamarter ($35,000).