RM Auctions, North America's premier collector car auction house, will offer the bubble-topped 1955 Ford Custom "Beatnik" from famed designer Gary "Chopit" Fioto at its annual Monterey Sports and Classic Car Auction, scheduled for August 18-19 at the Portola Plaza Hotel in Monterey, California. The "Beatnik," a lavender-hued 1955 Ford that's been skill-fully reworked into a bubbletop, will headline RM's first-ever Kustoms Night on Friday, August 18th, showcasing a dozen important hot rods and kustoms from the foremost designers and fabricators in the nation including Gary Fioto, Chip Foose, Rick Dore, Ken 'Posies' Fenical, Zane Cullen and Milt Brown. The prime time feature presentation will be part of RM's prestigious Monterey auction event that coincides with the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance Weekend.
"The 'Beatnik' embodies the essence of a custom car," says Rob Myers of RM Auctions. "It stays true to the spirit of the original '55 Ford but mixes new parts and styles to transform that image into something that is completely unique and unmistakable. The value of these custom cars is increasingly high because they are one-of-a-kind creations. Serious bidders will compete for cars that no one else has in their collection."
"Beatnik" was an extensive, four-year project from Gary Chopit Kustom Cars, Inc. and started by completely removing the roof from a '55 Ford. Fioto used a mix of Cadillac and Lincoln components, including canted quad headlights for the front fenders, then grafted on a Cadillac rear end. The powerplant, which can be seen through a large hood opening, is a highly polished Chevrolet small-block V8 with six carburetors. The "Beatnik" won the coveted $20,000 grand prize at the Darryl Starbird's National Rod and Custom Car Show this year in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The win was a poetic one for Fioto, who read Starbird's feature articles as a kid growing up and chopped his first top when he was 11. The "Beatnik" is estimated in value at $350,000 - $450,000.
RM will also offer Chopit's equally radical 1950 Mercury hardtop, better known as "Tuf Enuff," at the Monterey sale. Many would insist there was nothing left that could be done to a 1949-51 Mercury. Chopit politely begged to differ. His head-turning '51 Merc, known as Tuf Enuff, gave a new look to the custom car icon (Est. $175,000 - $250,000).
A unique facet of the automotive landscape, hot rods and kustoms are generally considered to be a post-World War II American styling trend. Now internationally revered, rods and kustoms have large collector and club followings in the UK, Europe and even Japan. For many years such cars were an "underground" passion for discerning automobile enthusiasts, not achieving full recognition for their significance until the 1990s and invited to attend the prestigious Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance.
RM has consigned more than a dozen important hot rods, kustoms and prototypes for the Monterey Sports & Classic Car Auction, including:
* Chip Foose's "Speedster" (Est. available upon request)
* 1937 Studebaker "Extremeliner" by Ken "Posies" Fenical (Est. $250,000 - $350,000)
* 1932 Ford Speedster "Full Speed Ahead" by Zane Cullen (Est. $150,000 - $200,000)
* 2005 Apollo Monza Spyder by Milt Brown (Est. $145,000 - $195,000)
* 1926 Ford Roadster "Golden Era" by Rick Dore (Est. $125,000 - $175,000)
* 1992 Harley Softail Custom " Holly DeVille" Motorcycle (Est. $55,000 - $85,000)
RM Auctions will offer approximately 200 of the world's finest vintage motor cars at the 2006 Monterey Sports & Classic Car Auction and other exciting consignments will be announced soon. The auction will be held at the elegant Portola Plaza Hotel at Fisherman's Wharf in Monterey, California. Activities are held August 17, 18 & 19th, with auction previews daily on Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 9:00 a.m. until 6:00 p.m. The auction sale times are Friday, August 18th and Saturday, August 19th evenings from 5:00 p.m. to 12:00 a.m.
Admission to the Monterey Sport and Classic Car Auction sale is $30 per person, with children 12 and under admitted free of charge. An auction catalog is available for an additional $100 U.S., including shipping and handling within North America, by calling 800-211-4371 or visit www.rmauctions.com.