RM SOTHERBY’S & THE PETERSEN: KUSTOM KULTURE & PRECIOUS METAL!

RM SOTHERBY’S & THE PETERSEN: KUSTOM KULTURE & PRECIOUS METAL!

A trip to one of the most eclectic auctions this year – RM Sotherby’s at the Petersen Museum – and coming face-to-face with the iconic ‘Rat Fink’, relieves Jim Palam’s decades-old car guy guilt. Here’s his photo-report.

RM SOTHERBY’S & THE PETERSEN: KUSTOM KULTURE & PRECIOUS METAL!RM SOTHERBY’S & THE PETERSEN: KUSTOM KULTURE & PRECIOUS METAL!It was weighing me down, this Car Guy guilt I’ve been lugging around since I moved to California in 1976. How was it that in all these years I had never visited the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles? I really didn’t have an excuse, so when I received an invitation from RM Sotheby’s to attend their final auction of 2018 at the Petersen – showcasing 64 blue-chip collector cars and original Kustom Kulture art by Ed “Big Daddy” Roth and Von Dutch – my eyes bulged like Roth’s ‘Rat Fink’ icon and I excitedly RSVP’d.

As soon as I pulled-into the Petersen’s parking structure on Saturday morning that heavy weight of guilt lifted. There, just beyond the kiosk gate, was an ‘06 Ford GT, a ’27 Ford ‘Track Nose’ Roadster and a Kool recreation of Roth’s ’62 Mysterion Kustom. As the gate lifted I drove past the auction cars that were neatly displayed and dramatically lit.

“This is where dreams are parked,” I thought as I exited my vehicle, grabbed my camera and started my special day – finally – at the Petersen. Let’s take a look at what I discovered…

If you grew up in the 1960s you may not have known who Ed “Big Daddy” Roth was, but you probably had seen his comically grotesque creation, “Rat Fink.” R.F. first appeared in the July 1963 issue of Car Craft and is still to this day one of the most famous symbols associated with the Kustom Kulture movement. This original, full-color version of R.F., above, right, sold for $12,600. There’s no way Mysterion, top, and its big-eye, – parked in front of the kiosk gate – wasn’t going to hypnotize you. This functioning recreation of Ed Roth’s ‘62 twin-engine custom by petroleum engineer Jeff Jones sold for $246,400 – more than double the low-end auction estimate.

RM SOTHERBY’S & THE PETERSEN: KUSTOM KULTURE & PRECIOUS METAL!Bidders and guests were treated to a Champagne Brunch in the preview areas before the auction. Once bidding commenced inside the museum the scene was quite proper and efficiently directed by the RM Sotheby’s and Petersen’s teams. I kept thinking, “This is Hollywood, Baby.” Everyone was well rehearsed and on their marks. When the final hammer fell, sales totaled $40 Million with 88% of all lots sold.

RM SOTHERBY’S & THE PETERSEN: KUSTOM KULTURE & PRECIOUS METAL!Original artwork by Ed Roth and Von Dutch was displayed on the walls of the parking structure surrounding the auction vehicles. It was hard to select just one to feature here but Roth’s “Ford Man” is a great, surviving example. It showcases how pre-computer pen and ink illustrations were often made camera-ready by taping or gluing vellum refinement layers together. “Ford Man” sold with a companion illustration, “Ford Van” for $12,000.

RM SOTHERBY’S & THE PETERSEN: KUSTOM KULTURE & PRECIOUS METAL!What’s red, rare and racy and sold for $22 Million? You’re right – the auction’s top seller – the Scuderia Ferrari campaigned ‘56 Ferrari 290 MM. Team drivers for this prestigious racer included Fangio, Hill, Collins, von Trips, Gendebien and Castelloti. Sir Sterling Moss later raced it under private ownership.

RM SOTHERBY’S & THE PETERSEN: KUSTOM KULTURE & PRECIOUS METAL!Maybe it was her white beret that first caught my eye, but I knew I just had to ask her if she would mind posing by one of the classics. She hesitated for a moment, then grabbed my arm and quickly pulled me over to the ‘61Mercedes-Benz 190 SL. “This color compliments my outfit” she said and then, unprompted, immediately started striking poses. “Hollywood, Baby” I thought.

RM SOTHERBY’S & THE PETERSEN: KUSTOM KULTURE & PRECIOUS METAL!This very rare ‘76 Porsche 935 Turbo was re-imagined for its original owner in Germany by Kremer Racing, thus becoming a Group 5 racecar. It has a 3.0-liter turbocharged flat six engine, paired to a four-speed transaxle, and less than 41,000 miles on its odometer. It fetched $173,600 at the hammer.

RM SOTHERBY’S & THE PETERSEN: KUSTOM KULTURE & PRECIOUS METAL!This unique Ferrari started life as a ‘65 330 GT Series II with Pininfarina coachwork. In 1967 it was transformed by Chinetti Motors and re-bodied as a ‘shooting brake’. Today the car is powered by a 300-horsepower SOHC V-12 and presented in sophisticated bronze metallic. It sold for $313,000, inclusive of buyer’s fee.

RM SOTHERBY’S & THE PETERSEN: KUSTOM KULTURE & PRECIOUS METAL!Motor scooters were introduced to post-war Italians as affordable, easy-to-use, compact transportation. The first Lambretta became available in 1947. This sharp, two-tone, tasseled-leather ’61 Lambretta TV 175 Series II was meticulously restored and adorned with period accessories. It zipped to $33,600 as the hammer came down.

RM SOTHERBY’S & THE PETERSEN: KUSTOM KULTURE & PRECIOUS METAL!Did you know that Toyota 2000 GTs could be refitted with roller-coaster wheels? Just kidding of course, but that fantasy option just might be what’s needed to keep owners calm as the car’s value rises and falls from auction to auction. Still a smart investment for those who grabbed them early-on, this pristine Pegasus White, right-hand drive ’67 hammered at $511,000, inclusive of the buyer’s fee.

RM SOTHERBY’S & THE PETERSEN: KUSTOM KULTURE & PRECIOUS METAL!It’s 1963 and you’ve got $5,700 burning a hole in your pocket. If you’re Bryan A. Frame of Waukesha, WI you know what to do – buy this one-year-only split-window Sting Ray. Optioned with the L75 300-horsepower 327, Powerglide transmission, AM/FM radio and rare factory air, this unmolested Silver Blue Corvette sold for $89,600, inclusive of the buyer’s fee. Nicely done!

MesserschmittThe Messerschmitt is considered by many to be the most desirable Microcar. This Rompin’ Red ’64 Messerschmitt KR 200 is the second-to-last produced and even better, it’s a very rare roadster. It underwent a nuts-and-bolts restoration and a KR201 snakeskin upholstery upgrade. Selling for $57,120 inclusive of buyer’s fees was a reminder that Microcars may be small, but they are still hot.

MesserschmittOK, here’s fuel for the Car World/Art World fire. Neon artist Lili Lakish’s ‘73 Volvo P1800 ES had a fuel injection failure in 1990. Not able to find a mechanic capable of repairing the car (really?) she and her artist friend Juan Carlos hired some car guys to cut a big wedge-shape out of the Volvo. They then constructed a flaming neon art corner wall into the void. The finished work was titled ‘Body Heat – Crashing the Modern’ with hopes of getting the art into the Museum of Modern Art. This car art sold for $18,000 at the Petersen.

RM SOTHERBY’S & THE PETERSEN: KUSTOM KULTURE & PRECIOUS METAL!Having secured my auction images and notes I decided I’d take a peek around the museum before I headed back home. Just steps away from the auction room was the Armand Hammer Foundation Gallery which is currently featuring the Auto-Didactic: The Juxtapoz School exhibition, which showcases high-concept art by lowbrow artists. In a back corner of the gallery stood a human-size statue of Rat Fink. I paused in front and thanked him for finally pulling me in to the Petersen and helping to lift the weight of my Car Guy guilt. Like everything’s Kool now, man!

Words & Photos by Jim Palam, http://www.jimpalam.com/

For the complete ROM Sotherby’s auction inventory and results, please visit

https://rmsothebys.com/en/home/lots/ca18

To learn more about the incredible Petersen Museum, check out https://www.petersen.org/

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MONTEREY CAR WEEK 2018: THE QUAIL!

MONTEREY CAR WEEK 2018: THE QUAIL!

The Quail, A Motorsports Gathering is not your average 16-year-old. Yes, the swagger is there but it’s less arrogant, more confident. And if she exhibits any aggressive behavior it’s in the way she is determined to please all within her intoxicating embrace, blogs photojournalist Jim Palam.

MONTEREY CAR WEEK 2018: THE QUAIL!MONTEREY CAR WEEK 2018: THE QUAIL!So how did I get so lucky to gather here in the manicured splendor of the Quail Lodge & Golf Course in Carmel, floating among the magnificent motorcars, bounteous buffets and beautiful people? Ah yes, I am here to shoot the pictures and tell the stories of the event, now in its 16th year, that many consider the Crown Jewel of all Monterey Car Week events.

So grab a glass of champagne and come-along with me for Part II of my three-part Monterey Car Week report – a peek into the pomp, polish and pleasure that is The Quail. The Rolex Circle of Champions – Best of Show 1953 Lancia Aurelia PF200C, above, was the first car I photographed, not because I’m a predictor of outcomes, but because it truly has magnetic appeal – and it was parked close to the entry point of the show!

You know you’re about to experience something special when it’s not even 8 AM and they’re handing out champagne under the towering entrance gate to The Gathering.

MONTEREY CAR WEEK 2018: THE QUAIL!A feature of the show-winning Lancia that first caught my eye was the chrome bumpers where rear lights would normally be. With seating and controls far forward one appears to be piloting the Lancia rather than driving it.

MONTEREY CAR WEEK 2018: THE QUAIL!“Everything Else Just Became Transportation.” The folks behind the Genesis Essentia Concept Car know how to write a good tagline – and how to dazzle the Quail crowd with a big-screen video backdrop that looped stunning high-definition black & white graphics and cityscapes behind their sleek and sinister showstopper.

MONTEREY CAR WEEK 2018: THE QUAIL!What can I say that hasn’t already been said about this icy-blue Bugatti Type 57 Atlantic Coupe – other than it’s more Pacific on display at The Quail – and a galactic gem wherever it dazzles!

MONTEREY CAR WEEK 2018: THE QUAIL!Porsche hopes to flip the Sizzle-Switch again in 2020 with it’s all-electric Mission E Taycan, which sat book-ended with ‘48 Porsche No. 1 Type 356 on the heavenly white 70 Years of Porsche stage.

MONTEREY CAR WEEK 2018: THE QUAIL!Jose Fernandez of Mexico City had a dream – to build a traditional, handcrafted, coach-built ‘Speciale’ as an homage to the Michelloti-designed, Vignale-bodied racing Ferraris of the early-1950s. With deep pockets, determination and the skills of The Creative Workshop, his Custom Coachworks 1966 Ferrari 330 GT Speciale was unveiled at The Quail. Simply WOW!

MONTEREY CAR WEEK 2018: THE QUAIL!The heart of Mr. Fernandez’s dream car – a matching numbers, modified Ferrari 330 Columbo 60-degree V12, 3,967cc, SOHC, 24 valve motor. It’s a treat for the ears and eyes.

MONTEREY CAR WEEK 2018: THE QUAIL!Ever been too early for something – like the unveiling of the custom-built Hennessey 7.6 Liter Twin-Turbo V8 engine capable of achieving more than 1,600 horsepower at 7,200 rpm? Me neither, until The Quail. I did get to photograph the awesome Supercar she’ll be powering though. I’m good with that.

MONTEREY CAR WEEK 2018: THE QUAIL!You’re looking at Zora’s #58053, the first L88 Corvette prototype development car and Ken Kayser, the insider, one of its owners, and author who has written the definitive story (http://www.tachometerpublishing.com/order/zoras-58053) of this legendary build. It’s believed to be the first St. Louis assembled Corvette with the big-block Mark IV 427 RPO-L72 engine.

 http://www.tachometerpublishing.com/order/zoras-58053 This impressive lineup of legendary Lancias sat ready to rally in front of the winner’s ramp at The Quail. The successful Martini Racing sponsorship with the works Lancia team lasted for over a decade, starting in 1982.

 http://www.tachometerpublishing.com/order/zoras-58053 Chasing Classic Car’s Wayne Carini describes the size a wad of car restoration cash needs to be to bring a classic to The Quail in show-winning condition!

 http://www.tachometerpublishing.com/order/zoras-58053 The gent representing the Jim Glickenhaus SCG 003S Supercar was somewhat tight-lipped about details. There’s nothing sleepy about this Sleepy Hollow, NY- based, 800-Horsepower, 2,700-pound Stradale.

MONTEREY CAR WEEK 2018: THE QUAIL!This ‘78 Dome ‘Zero’ was one of the road-going Supercars developed in Japan by racing aficionado Minoru Hayashi. Dome prototypes were intended to offer an alternative to exotic European Supercars.

MONTEREY CAR WEEK 2018: THE QUAIL!When Curtiss Motorcycles CEO Matt Chambers unveiled the unpainted, all electric Zeus motorcycle at The Quail Motorcycle Gathering back in May he was wearing a suit, albeit without a tie. Just three months later he has added color and performance enhancements to the Zeus and ditched the suit. I like your style, Matt!

MONTEREY CAR WEEK 2018: THE QUAIL!Even though there were only 435 Kaiser Darrins produced, many of you car guys are familiar with its quirky exterior design and sliding channel doors. So I thought you might enjoy this look at this ’54 K-D’s soothing Seafoam interior. Designed by Howard “Dutch” Darrin, power came from 161-inch Six.

MONTEREY CAR WEEK 2018: THE QUAIL!The Senna is the most track-focused McLaren ever built, delivering a power-to-weight ratio of 668 PS-per-tonne (659 bhp). Impressive – but not to the two ‘Twenty-Somethings’ standing next to it at The Quail. “Yeah, it’s fast but this one is just boring looking.” Apparently, the monotone color scheme left them wanting!

MONTEREY CAR WEEK 2018: THE QUAIL!How to standout in a field of Porsches: Go small. This stunning ½-scale, gas-powered 356 ‘Speedster’ is a highly-detailed, fully-functional driver!

MONTEREY CAR WEEK 2018: THE QUAIL!Croatian EV manufacturer Rimac Automobili brought its beautiful blue California Edition C–Two to The Quail. With a sticker price of over $2 million this hyper-EV delivers 1,888 horsepower, goes from 0 to 60 in 1.85 seconds and has an advertised top speed of 258 mph!

MONTEREY CAR WEEK 2018: THE QUAIL!Well guys, I was hoping to finish this report with a cool shot of this wicked ’65 GT350 Mustang. But darn it, this visitor from Belarus walked into the picture. I’m sorry. Stay tuned for the final installment of my Monterey Car  Week coverage – coming soon!

Words & Photos: Jim Palam, https://www.jimpalam.com/

For more information about The Quail Motorsports Gathering and details about next year’s event, please visit https://whatsupmonterey.com/events/monterey-car-week/the-quail-a-motorsports-gathering/457

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GARAGE STYLE: IN THE GARAGE W/ JIM PALAM!

GARAGE STYLE: IN THE GARAGE W/ JIM PALAM!

Our man on the Left Coast spends some time in front of the camera in his garage while Cindy Meitle profiles him for Garage Style magazine.

GARAGE STYLE: IN THE GARAGE W/ JIM PALAM!GARAGE STYLE: IN THE GARAGE W/ JIM PALAM!I first met Jim Palam more than a half-century ago when he was a kid on the pit crew of the legendary “Astoria Chas” Snyder’s ‘67 Corvette powered by an L88 engine, below. The car was KO-MOTION, it was built at Motion Performance, Baldwin, NY, raced by Chas, and I was Editor of Hi-Performance CARS magazine. CARS was one of the Corvette’s sponsors. Chas became a friend.

Everything changed in 1968 when 19-year-old Charlie Snyder lost his life in Vietnam, while serving with the First Cavalry. KO-MOTION went on to win the AHRA A/Corvette World Record at 129 mph in 11.04 seconds. The record was set in Chas’ name by his old team, supported by Motion Performance and still sponsored by CARS.

In 2008 Jim and I met at 303 Gallery in New York City for the opening on my daughter Collier Schorr’s show, THERE I WAS, about Charlie’s short life and his iconic KO-MOTION. It was also the subject of a book – THERE I WAS – written by Collier. It was great seeing Jim again, surrounded by my daughter’s artwork and memorabilia from Charlie’s family and from Glen Spielberg, owner of the legendary KO-MOTION.

THERE I WASKO-MOTION & crew at New York National in 1967. Jim Palam is wearing the Navy Blue shirt.

GARAGE STYLE: IN THE GARAGE W/ JIM PALAM!For the last few years Jim, owner and Creative Director, Jim Palam & Partners in Solvang, CA, has been a valued contributor to CarGuyChronicles. He’s also responsible for the blog’s home page design. Congrats, my friend!

For more information about Jim Palam & Partners, please visit https://www.jimpalam.com/

Check out Garage Style magazine, https://www.garagestylemagazine.com/

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