The “Al Jolson Packard” – 1932 Packard Twin Six Individual Custom Convertible Sedan (Shooterz.biz © 2011 courtesy RM Auctions)
RM Auctions will lift the curtain on a famous 1932 Packard Twin Six Individual Custom Convertible Sedan, purchased new by American entertainer Al Jolson, and a unique 1939 Pontiac Plexiglas Deluxe Six “Ghost Car,” America’s first transparent car, when its St. John’s sale gets under way, July 30 in Plymouth, Mich.
Held in conjunction with the renowned Concours d’Elegance of America at St. John’s, the upcoming RM sale — formerly known as the Meadow Brook auction — will provide a wonderful celebration of America’s rich automotive history with some 70 collector cars set to go under the gavel. Among the star attractions: no less than 13 Packards; nine Cadillacs; seven Fords; five Oldsmobiles; two Duesenbergs; and the eye-catching Pontiac “Ghost Car.”
“RM Auctions is delighted to be partnering with the Concours d’Elegance of America once again to present an exciting vintage car weekend for motoring enthusiasts,” says Gerry Hockin, chief operating officer, RM Auctions. “The Meadow Brook weekend was a long-standing summer tradition for motoring enthusiasts, and we look forward to continuing the tradition at our new venue at the Inn at St. John’s. As in past years, this year’s auction will present enthusiasts and collectors with a fantastic opportunity to peruse and bid on some of the world’s finest automobiles and Michigan’s own unique automotive legacy, with many examples ‘fresh to the market’ coming out of long-term ownership.”
The ‘Al Jolson’ Packard
Virtually unseen for nearly half a century, the sporting 1932 Packard Twin Six Individual Custom Convertible Sedan with coachwork by Dietrich, engine number 900229, was delivered new to famed American entertainer, Al Jolson, for the princely sum of $6,600. Born in Russia in the late 1880s, Jolson immigrated to America at the age of ten. With starring roles in “Mammy” and “Swanee” to his name, Jolson’s outstanding singing, dancing and acting skills earned him the nickname “The World’s Greatest Entertainer,” leading him to become one of the wealthiest men in Hollywood and in turn, affording him the opportunity to indulge his passion for fine automobiles, including this Packard Twin Six. Very well-equipped, the car was delivered featuring a number of top-of-the-line accessories including twin side-mounted spares with metal covers, chrome wire wheels and the very desirable split windshield. Today, one of just two examples in existence, it remains beautifully presented and boasts a known history and concours showings, including a Pebble Beach award in 1963. (Est. $950,000-$1,150,000).
America’s first transparent car – 1939 Pontiac Plexiglas Deluxe Six “Ghost Car”
(Aaron Summerfield © 2011 courtesy RM Auctions)
America’s First Transparent Car
Another entry attracting significant interest ahead of RM’s July 30 sale is the extraordinary 1939 Pontiac Plexiglas Deluxe Six “Ghost Car,” chassis number 3113436. Built at a reported cost of $25,000, the “Ghost Car” was a pioneering Plexiglas collaboration between GM and Rohm & Haas, and holds a special place in the history books as the first full-sized transparent car to be built in America. Made of Rohm & Haas’s new Plexiglas acrylic material, fitted to a 1939 Pontiac Deluxe Six chassis, the Plexiglas body exposes the car’s innards for all to see. Structural metal underneath was given a copper wash and all the hardware, including the dashboard, was chrome plated.
A highlight of the 1939-40 New York World’s Fair, the “Ghost Car” went on a nationwide tour immediately after its display, later spending several years at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington D.C before passing through a succession of Pennsylvania Pontiac dealers. Today, remarkably preserved and the only known surviving “Ghost Car” of two built, it is fresh to the market, offered at RM’s St. John’s sale for the first time since the early 1980s. (Est. $275,000-$475,000).
Continuing RM’s reputation as the specialists for private and estate collection sales, the St. John’s auction will also feature a select range of important examples from the estate of noted Oklahoma collector, Don Kizziar. Headlined by a desirable 1953 Oldsmobile Fiesta Convertible (Est. $140,000-$180,000) and a beautifully-restored 1953 Cadillac Eldorado Convertible (Est. $135,000-$175,000), the offering will present 13 examples from the collection without reserve.
Additional notable entries for RM’s July 30 sale include:
- a majestic 1929 Duesenberg Model J Convertible Berline, bodied by Murphy, J288/2307 (Est. $750,000-$850,000);
- a well-documented 1941 Packard Super Eight 180 Convertible Victoria with coachwork by Darrin, the only known example exported to Mexico (Est. $300,000-$350,000);
- a stately 1939 Lincoln Model K Custom Convertible Sedan, built for King George VI and Queen Elizabeth and their 1939 Canadian Royal Tour car (Est. $250,000-$350,000);
- a multiple award-winning 1931 Cadillac V-12 Five-Passenger Phaeton, offered without reserve (Est. $170,000-$210,000);
- an early 1907 Locomobile Type E 5-Passenger Touring Car (Est. $125,000-$175,000); and
- a 1942 Ford Super Deluxe V8 Station Wagon, the rarest of all Ford woodie wagons from 1935 to 1948 (Est. $80,000-$100,000)
RM’s St. John’s event will be held at the Inn at St. John’s, 44045 Five Mile Road, Plymouth, Mich., on July 30, 2011, with a full-day preview held on July 29. For full details and to view the digital catalog, please visit www.rmauctions.com
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