They say timing is everything, and Futurliner owner Bob Valdez is heeding that advice. He’ll be offering his giant hunk of GM history on the internet auction site eBay following the 2008 January Arizona auctions, where a restored Futurliner sold for more than $4 million in 2006.
Futurliner, No. 9 will be offered on eBay following the January 2008 auto auctions.
Valdez’ Futurliner, No. 9 of 12 built and 9 remaining in existence, is not only a piece of GM history, it has had an important part of Futurliner history.
“This is the one that started everything,” Valdez said. “No one knew about Futurliners. A guy named Don Mayton, who worked for GM, saw me coming through Palm Springs at a stop light while he was at a diner. He got a couple pictures, went back to GM and did some research.”
Mayton’s interest in Futurliners quickly grew. He, among many other volunteers, became famous for his work restoring Futurliner No. 10, which is owned by the National Automotive and Truck Museum of the United States (NATMUS).
Had it not been for the fateful intersection between Mayton and Valdez in Palm Springs, Valdez believes that the interest in Futurliners would be much smaller than it is today.
To his credit, Valdez and his Futurliner spread the word about these famous vehicles on the road and by appearances on several television programs, including those on the History Channel and the Travel Channel. Not too bad, considering he had no idea what he buying, other than a good start for a coach.
Valdez also believes his was the first Futurliner to return to the road following General Motors’ dispersement of the vehicles in the late 1950s.
The Futurliners were built for the company’s Parade of Progress in the 1940s and ‘50s. GM updated the Futurliners periodically, the last time being in 1953.
While the NATMUS Futurliner is faithfully restored to original condition, Valdez was forced to undertake a few modifications to get it back on the road after buying it in 1984.
“It was totally destroyed,” Valdez said. “I had to cut it down to a flatbed almost. I had the front end, and that was about it. I had to do the rest by pictures.”
The Futurliner was drivable, but it would only go 5 mph.
The problem was corrected when GM donated a new engine, and over the next 10-12 years, Valdez worked on old No. 9 until it was brought back to the road in its current white color scheme.
In addition to the color scheme and GM-donated engine, Valdez’ Futurliner sports a different transmission, an interior completed in an art deco pattern with stainless steel and chrome and side windows on the hull’s flanks.
Interior of Futurliner to be offered on eBay.
When Valdez’ Futurliner goes up on the internet auction site sometime after the Jan. 20 conclusion of the Barrett-Jackson auction, where the $4 million Futurliner was sold in 2006, it will be the second time Valdez has listed it.
Interior shot of Futurliner to be offered on eBay.
In December 2007, Valdez listed his Futurliner in a seven-day auction where bidding reached $800,000 by 57 bids and was seen by 7,700 viewers. When Valdez relists the Futurliner after Jan. 20, he plans to make the opening bid a cool $1 million, and he plans to sell it.
“It’s just time,” Valdez said. “I’ve had it for 24 years and I’m 66 now.”
For more information on Futurliners, visit www.futurliner.org.