If you were in the market for a 1957 model convertible, Branson, Missouri, was the place to be October 24th.
The highest sale bid at the 57 Heaven Museum auction was
$300,000 for this Dual Ghia convertible on a Dodge chassis with
315cid Red Ram hemi engine.
Mecum Auctions sold the entire contents of the 57 Heaven Museum.
As the name implies, this exhibit was a tribute to the automobiles and culture of the year 1957. Owner Glenn Patch had decided to liquidate the collection, reportedly to pursue real estate development interests.
This Chevrolet El Morocco hardtop conversion sold for $135,000 while
its convertible fraternal twin brought $230,000.
Convertibles made up half of the 70 vehicles that have been exhibited in Branson for the last four years. Patch had set out to collect and restore every convertible model for the year. That meant not just one Buick but a Special, Century, Super and Roadmaster, and so forth. That being accomplished, he continued to add hardtops and station wagons, and a pickup of every make.
The 57 Heaven Museum has been housed in the lower level of the Dick Clark American Bandstand theater on Branson’s entertainment “strip.” Authentic dealer showroom dioramas, a drive-in burger stand and a theater, Texaco service station, motel and other structures provided period settings for displaying the vehicles.
Everything in this Texaco service station diorama was among some
360 display items sold.
All the cars were restored and maintained in No. 1 condition, but had been drained of fluids and had the batteries removed for long-term
temperature-controlled display. They and some 360 display items thus were sold as is, where is.
The logistical problem was solved by seating bidders in the Dick Clark auditorium and displaying the auction items on two large screens. A cameraman went slowly around the cars, showing all angles and details and directly feeding the images to the screens upstairs.
Photo images were shown of the exhibit items, also.
Dodge Custom Royal convertible has the Super D500 dual-carb
engine. Oasis Motel sign and display sold separately.
The car sales led off with a Larkspur Blue Chevy Bel Air convertible with dual-quad carb 270hp V-8 and most accessories offered that year.
The selling bid of $110,000 seemed low. Maybe most of those who’ve yearned for a ‘57 Chevy already have one, because prices for most of the other convertibles were above that figure, including three of the four Buicks. So were two Chevrolet El Morocco conversions, a convertible and a hardtop, which went for $230,00 and $135,000 respectively.
The one that started it all for Glenn Patch in the early 1990s, a white and gold DeSoto Adventurer convertible, finished with a winning bid of $250,000. (All prices listed are before a 10% buyer’s premium.)
Interestingly, the dark red Cadillac Series 62 Deville convertible at $245,000 outshown the gorgeous, amethyst-finished Eldorado Biarritz
at $210,000. The top sale price of $300,000 was reserved for a red Dual Ghia, with coachwork by Ghia of Italy on a Dodge chassis powered by a 315cid Red Ram hemi.
And who’d have expected to see a fire station exhibit with a fully equipped 1957 Mack fire truck? It sold for $37,500.
Taking a last stroll through the museum after the sale felt like returning to take down the decorations after the senior prom.
Or switching off the last episode of “Happy Days.”
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