“The numbers matching concours quality Bonneville on display in Ken’s collection is not only a very rare and highly sought after car, it is arguably the highest quality, most authentic and most decorated restored 1959 Bonneville convertible in existence today”.
This fabulous Bonneville Convertible is resplendent in its Sunset Glow exterior. Perhaps the most stunning feature, however, is the interior. In 2009 the prestigious Meadow Brook Concours d’Elegance distinguished the car by naming it the recipient of the Most Outstanding Interior award. The immaculately restored tri-color “Jeweltone” Maroon and Ivory leather interior accented with Mahogany Morrokide and original style “sparkle” carpet defies description and truly must be seen to be appreciated.
Options include the original, extremely rare front bucket seats, power steering, brakes & windows, ‘Wonderbar’ signal-seeking radio with rear seat speaker, two speed windshield wipers/washer, deluxe lamp package, reel-out trunk light, safeguard speedometer, padded dash and spare tire cover. The legendary 389 cu. In. V8 with the Tri-power set up (three 2 barrel carburetors) rated at 315 hp is bolted to a four-speed Hydra-Matic transmission.
Of the 382,940 Pontiacs built for 1959, exactly 11,426 were Bonneville convertibles. For whatever reason, perhaps because so many of them were produced, at first they didn’t attract the attention of the restoration and collection community. When collectors and restorers finally began to appreciate the significance of the ’59 Bonneville for its elegant looks and place in automotive history the cars were mysteriously hard to find. An informal survey of 10,000 members of the Pontiac Oakland Club International revealed that only 160 members owned a ’59 Bonneville and of those less than 40 owned a ’59 Bonneville Convertible. From 2001 to 2011 only 21 Bonneville convertibles were sold at collector auctions. Some speculate that because of the high production numbers they simply got lost in the shuffle and many ended up in scrap yards. Today the cars are rare and highly sought after.
For much of the 1950s, Pontiac was the weakest link at GM. The brand’s reputation for conservatism didn’t jibe with postwar America’s craving for glitz, glamour, and speed. Semon E. “Bunkie” Knudsen V.P. & General Manager of Pontiac Division knew that Pontiac couldn’t justify its existence as merely a nicer Chevrolet. Buick had already carved out a niche as the luxurious brand of choice among doctors; Oldsmobiles were renowned for their sophistication. Knudsen decided Pontiacs would be sporty. He assembled a team of hard-core auto enthusiasts, from a young John De Lorean, who he hired away from Packard to be his assistant on the engineering side to ad man and drag racer Jim Wangers. Then, he added a new top-of-the-line model, the Bonneville, to attract younger buyers. In defiance of an auto-industry gentlemen’s agreement banning racing, Knudsen committed to factory-backed NASCAR and NHRA teams, which soon enjoyed huge success thanks largely to the Pontiac’s newly developed V-8.
The all-new sheet metal for ‘59, developed under the auspices of design chief Bill Mitchell, was the polar opposite of the baroque designs coming out of Chevrolet and Cadillac, with clean, sweeping lines and for the first time, a split grille featuring an arrowhead hood ornament. Although all Pontiacs received the new styling, the most significant in terms of promoting the marque’s fast-living image was the Bonneville. Knudsen loved the new look on prototype cars except for one flaw: the extremely broad body drooped awkwardly over the 1958-spec chassis. To remedy this fault he directed that the wheels be pushed out 5 inches for a more aggressive look. While this improved ride and handling, “Quite frankly, it was done as a styling move,” admits Wangers. Nevertheless, the new car’s 64-inch track – the widest in the industry at the time – provided the perfect hook with which to sell Pontiac’s new performance image. Wangers and his team promoted the added handling, comfort, and security offered by Pontiac’s new “Wide-Track” lineup to the buying public. It worked.
The dramatically restyled Pontiac Bonneville was one of 1959’s biggest hits. The iconic Pontiac split grille design, ‘Wide-Track’ stance and legendary 389 V-8 were all introduced in 1959. Motor Trend Magazine awarded this trendsetting Pontiac its ‘Car of the Year’ trophy. The ’59 Bonneville’s formula was simple; stunning style plus ample V-8 power and clever marketing equals sales. Sales for ’59 increased by a remarkable 76 percent (to 383,320 units), and the once-stodgy brand caught the attention of America’s budding youth culture.
Pontiac would follow this simple method with wild success throughout the ’60s and ’70s before GM’s finance and sales-oriented brand managers – Wangers calls them “little boys in men’s suits” – interfered and slowly but surely steered the brand to its death.
Sadly, after 107 years in business, the last Pontiac rolled of the GM assembly lines in 2009. The Bonneville nameplate itself also departed in 2009, ending one of the longest uninterrupted runs in American automobile history. Ironically, Pontiac could have met a earlier end 50 years ago and never have even lived to see its glory days, if not for the efforts of one man, Semon E. “Bunkie” Knudsen, and the success of one car, the 1959 Pontiac Bonneville.
Triumph Model with McCormick Seeder
Only 1,690 made in 1953
2010 AACA National Award Winner
Replica Of My First Car In 1958
See Through Roof
1 Solid Color Convertible Of 41,268 Made
2011 & 2013 AACA National Award
Air Conditioned-1,800 Convertibles Made
2001 AACA National Award Winner
1 of 17 with F Code Supercharger
630 Made And Only 8 In This Color
Only 839 convertibles made
700 Made Only 12 Are Known To Exist
26 were Fuel Injected and 1 was 4 Speed
One of less than 10 known to exist
2007 AACA National Award Winner
Only 248 Convertibles Made
6 of 4,451 made in this configuration
91 of the 121 convertibles had 4spd trans
1 of 12 Manual 4 Speed Convertibles
Only 18 LS6 4 Speed Convertibles Made
1956 Chevrolet Bel Air Convertible Acquired March 2013 On display in the Ken Nagel collection is possibly the rarest 1956 Chevrolet Bel Air Convertible ever to roll of a GM assembly line. To the casual observer, this strikingly beautiful Bel Air Convertible seems to be just another remarkable restoration of one of the 41,268 treasured classics that Chevy made in ‘56. A second look at the 57 year old beauty, however, confirms that there is something unusual about this gleaming Bel Air Convertible that goes beyond the continental kit, sparkling chrome trim, wire wheel covers, exhaust extensions and all the other bells and whistles typical of a highly optioned piece of certifiable automobile art. Closer inspection reveals what may not be readily apparent at first glance. The paint scheme is Monotone instead of one of the Tu Tone color combinations typical of the ’56 Bel Air. More significantly, of the 41,268 Bel Air V-8 Convertibles made in 1956 this is the only known factory, produced Bel Air Convertible to have rolled off the assembly line with Inca Silver paint and a solid monotone scheme. That’s right, one of one! The 1956 Chevrolet color charts offered 10 different solid colors […]
1959 Chevrolet Impala Convertible 283 CI 290 HP Fuel Injected 4 Speed F59F208746 Acquired March 2, 2015 1959 produced some notable historical events. Vince Lombardi was named coach of Green the Green Bay Packers, Fidel Castro took over Cuba, American Airlines flew the 1st transcontinental commercial jet flight and Hawaii became the 50th state. And, Chevrolet introduced their all new, redesigned, longer lower wider Impala. Chevrolet magazine and newspaper advertising promoted the full-size Impala with the 290 HP 4 speed “Fuelie” as a fuel efficient “Sports Car for Five”. Sometime after the 15th of May, 1959 someone walked into a Chevrolet dealership and ordered a Roman Red Impala convertible with a fuel injected 283 Cu In engine and four speed transmission. A full-size impala convertible with what amounted to a Corvette drive train! What could they possibly have been thinking! The 290 HP “Rochester Ram-Jet Special” fuel injected 283 Cu In engine with solid lifters, 10.5:1 compression, Duntov cam and 4 on the floor was capable of propelling the Impala to a top speed in excess of 130 mph! A wicked fast car between the lights by day and a luxurious top down boulevard cruiser by night. Multiple sources […]
1957 Chevrolet Bel Air Convertible – Dual Quad Acquired January of 2006 After scoring 997 points out of 1000 in concours judging, this stunning example of late ’50s automotive art, acquired from the prestigious Ron Pratt collection, now rests comfortably on its laurels in the Ken Nagel private collection. Assembled in St. Louis, Mo in March of 1957 fitted with the “evergreen” 283 ci/245 Hp V8 engine built February 21, 1956 in Tonawanda, NY, sporting twin Carter 4 barrel carburetors capable of feeding about 760 cfm, topped with the famous “batwing” air cleaner, Power Glide transmission, Posi Traction rear end, then sprayed glossy Matador Red with a red interior with silver seat inserts, this car was indeed sparkling from the very beginning. For 1957 Chevrolet made a whopping 47,562 Bel Air convertibles. By all accounts the car was an immediate success becoming an instant classic and the iconic image of ‘50s era cars. Chevrolet made available 16 solid color combinations and 15 two-tone color combinations. When asked why he made so many different color combinations available on the 1957 Chevrolet, Ed Cole replied, “It will take more than styling to sell cars”. And, he was right. Matador Red, especially […]
1970 Pontiac GTO Ram Air IV Convertible VIN 242670Z134463 Acquired November 10, 2015 It is generally accepted that in 1970 Pontiac made 12* GTO Convertibles equipped with the Ram Air IV (WW) engine and the 4-speed Muncie transmission. What is left to conjecture is how many of them still exist? At this writing, the speculation is that there might be only 2 or 3. What we do know for sure is that one of them is in the Ken Nagel Collection. How many of the 12 were ordered with Palomino Copper** paint, Sandalwood soft top, body accent “Judge” stripes (option 422, $26.33) and the Spring-Shocks Ride/Handling package (option 621, $4.21)? No one really knows that either. Not many, that’s for sure. A question that often comes up at car shows is “what’s the difference between a Ram Air IV GTO and a Ram Air IV GTO “Judge”. The answer is, not much. The cars were identical except for the “The Judge” package. The build sheets for both cars will list “4 BBL R/A IV” (option # 347, $558.20) as the engine option. When the Ram-4 engine option was installed in any GTO, handling & drive train upgrades were automatically […]
1968 Shelby Cobra Jet GT 500 KR Convertible Acquired April 2009 Scheduled to be built at the Ford plant in Metuchen NJ on May 21, 1968 Kens Shelby KR actually rolled off the line two days late on May 23, 1968. After a trip to Ionia MI to get the Shelby treatment it was shipped to Jim Aikey Ford in Des Planes IL. (the dealership closed many years ago). Ken found this flawless KR convertible in Chicago, not far from the dealership that originally sold it. He stumbled upon it while attending the World of Wheels car show at the McCormick Center in Chicago during 2007. He couldn’t put the car out of his mind and left the car show determined find the owner and make an offer to buy it. More than two years later, his plan finally came to fruition after he obtained the owner’s contact information and phoned him about purchasing the car. The owner Dennis Neva informed Ken that it was indeed for sale. Neva had gotten the car from the original owner more than two decades earlier. In 2004 Neva started a full nut-and-bolt rotisserie restoration using N.O.S. and custom hand-fabricated parts. Beginning with […]
1957 Chevy Bel Air Convertible – Fuel Injected Acquired June 2003 ’57 Chevys are widely considered to be among the most well known, most desirable and rare American made collector cars in existence. Just the mention of “’57” in the company of auto enthusiasts conjures up a mental image the 1957 Chevy. Chevrolet built 1,499,685 cars in 1957. 47,562 of those were convertibles, not exactly meager numbers. Naturally, today quite a large number of the convertibles are still around. For example, 813 convertibles made it across the collector car auction block between 2001 and 2011, to say nothing of the vehicles that traded hands privately. Prices ranged from over $300,000 to the mid $40,000 which is to be expected as not all examples are up to concours standards. These numbers are not exactly the definition of “rare” in the world of collector cars. So how does a car become the rare and desirable collectable exception among cars produced in such large numbers and sold at such a wide range of selling values? Here’s how it happens. The car starts life as one of 47,562 basic Bel Air convertibles. Then it is lavished with over 50 factory and dealer installed […]
1960 Chrysler 300F Convertible Acquired December 22, 2010 The fabulous 1960 300F featured in Ken’s collection is one of only 248 convertibles made that year. Impeccably finished in stunning Toreador Red it is a very rare combination of elegant grace and incredible power. When most cars were struggling to get to 200 HP and muscle cars were still in the future, the 300F was in a league of its own boasting the performance of a race car and the comfort of a limousine. The 300 series can trace its design history back to the giants of automotive styling. It started life under the direction of the talented and innovative Virgil Exner. Before moving to Chrysler, Exner had worked for GM under the guidance of the legendary Harley Earl. Exner also worked for Raymond Loewy’s own design firm. Raymond Loewy is known as “the father of industrial design”. He shaped the look of America for over 50 years. Among his works were the Greyhound bus, the Coca-Cola bottle, the Lucky Strike package, the Studebaker Avanti, Air Force One livery and NASA’s Skylab space station. It is little wonder that the seldom seen 1960 300F convertible with its luxurious power, elegant […]
1957 Pontiac Bonneville Convertible Acquired June 2008 Pontiac built 630 Bonneville Convertibles for ’57, one for each of its 630 dealers. Every car was fitted with a Rochester fuel injection system and all but 12 of the cars were painted Kenya Ivory (white) with either red or blue trim. 8 cars were finished in charcoal grey with matching leather interiors accented in white. Only 3 of the 8 are known to exist today. The car on display in Ken’s distinguished collection is 1 of the 3. A true automotive icon of the 1950s, this fuel-injected Bonneville is also one of the rarest Pontiacs ever made. It is not an overstatement to say that the remarkable presentation of Ken’s car places it among the finest examples, if not the finest, of these most rare and desirable Pontiacs. While the “Bonnie” was all about style and performance it was not lacking in luxury as revealed by the Remington electric shaver in Ken’s car. Obsessively restored by Dick Hoyt of Canoga Park, a respected ’57 Bonneville specialist and the authority on ‘57’s, the level of restoration is jewel like in appearance and astounding in its attention to detail. Hoyt at one time […]
1956 Mercury Montclair Convertible (Tuxedo Black over Carousel Red) Acquired July 2014 This spectacular “Big M” Montclair started life in Los Angles California on January 5th 1956. It was the 188th car off the assembly line that day becoming one of the 7,762 Montclair Convertibles produced that year. Delivered to a dealership in Oklahoma, the car found its way to Texas where it was stored outside and exposed to the elements for a number of years. The car was in deplorable condition when it was acquired in 2006 by Bill McCauley of Carriage House Automobile Restorations in New Lenox, IL. Complete with the original engine and drivetrain intact and otherwise unmolested Bill began the arduous full concours level restoration process in 2007. Recognized throughout the Midwest for their impeccable accuracy and attention to detail, a Carriage House concours level frame-off restoration ensures that every nut, bolt, bracket and fixture is restored using the finest finishes consistent with factory specifications. In 2011, the completed car emerged in “show room” condition and was added to the Ken Nagel Collection in 2014. Of the few remaining Montclair Convertibles, the authenticity and workmanship of this example is unsurpassed. The numerous awards (see below) accumulated […]
1966 Mustang GT K-Code Convertible VIN # 6R08K121925 Acquired December 2016 Before there were Mustangs, before there were Shelby’s, there was the Ford “Windsor” V8 engine. Production began in 1961 for installation in the 1962 model year Ford Fairlane and Mercury Meteor. The small-block was designed as a successor to the Ford Y-block engine. The 289 cu in version was introduced in April 1963. Later, in the 1963 model year a special order ““HiPo”” 271 HP K-Code version was developed for the Ford Fairlane and Comet. The compact light weight “Hi Performance”, “Windsor” engine became an option for the Mustang starting in June 1964. At precisely that point in time the Mustang went from being a fantastic looking “secretaries” car to a true performance sports car unmatched in its all-around performance as a road going GT. This multi-award winning Mustang GT convertible, VIN # 6R08K121925, came off the line at the Ford assembly plant in San Jose, CA on October 20, 1965. Loaded with options and fitted with a K-Code engine, it is now part of the Ken Nagel collection. The stunning California native was restored to showroom condition in 2003 and was awarded 1st Gold Concours Award (684 […]
1958 Buick Series 700 Limited Convertible Acquired 2007 Finished in “Sable” black with contrasting red “Cape Buffalo” leather interior and flawless chrome, the exquisite example displayed in Ken’s collection represents the pinnacle of luxury and styling excess of the 50’s era automobile. Only 839 Limited Convertibles were ever produced. Today less than two-dozen of them are known to exist. To find this special drop top, Ken wrote letters to 25 different members of a national Buick club. He asked if anyone had one and was willing to sell. Only one owner responded to say he was ready and willing to part with his Limited convertible. “He owned it for 21 years,” Nagel said. “He wanted to restore it but never did.” As part of the deal, the seller included $10,000 worth of hard to find, new old stock parts he had been collecting. Ken Immediately commissioned Bob Kuehn Auto Body in Stanton, NE to undertake the restoration. Known for his painstaking attention to even the most minute detail, taking care to disassemble every nut, bolt and screw and recondition or replace with NOS parts, Bob and his master craftsmen took three years to complete the stunning restoration. This masterpiece […]
1957 Oldsmobile 88 Convertible Acquired December 2009 Olds turned 60 years old in ’57 and celebrated by introducing a convertible to the Golden Rocket 88 series for the first time. Of the 384,390 total Oldsmobile’s produced in 1957 only 6,423 were 88 convertibles. It is believed that fewer than 750 convertibles were equipped the 3 two-barrel carburetor J-2 engine option* and fewer still with factory air conditioning, making this documented 3 owner car exceptionally rare. The tri-power set up was only offered for two years, ’57-’58. Ken’s gleaming Charcoal black 88 had undergone a complete restoration by the time he bought it but was showing some age. He commissioned Bob Baker of Old Car Restorations in nearby Yorkville, IL to conduct a body on major refresh. To find a concours quality 88 convertible with both the J-2 engine option and factory air conditioning today is exceedingly rare. Made in Lansing MI., It was delivered to its first owner, Joseph Allen in Sanford Lee North Carolina in 1957. With contrasting red and white leather seats the interior is further highlighted by the sparkling chrome dash gauges, the first to feature a printed circuit board, sandwiched between red and white accents. […]
1969 Oldsmobile 4-4-2 W-30 Convertible (Four-Speed) Acquired December 2015 The car on display in Ken’s collection is 1 of 91 built. Oldsmobile produced 4296 4-4-2 convertibles in 1969, 121 came with the W-30 upgrade only 91 of which had four-speed transmissions. With the exception of this car, it is not known how many others are still in existence. Considered to be undoubtedly one of the finest 4-4-2 examples in the country, Ken became only the fourth owner of this spectacular and rare Oldsmobile when he acquired it from the prestigious Milt Robson collection. Finished in dazzling Saffron Yellow paint with Black stripes and fitted with a 360 hp, 400 cu. in. V-8 engine with 10.5:1 compression, four-barrel carburetor, four-speed manual transmission, dual exhausts (hence the 4-4-2 designation), independent front suspension with A-arms and coil springs with four link and coil springs at the rear, police duty front discs with rear wheel drum brakes, the car is in better than new condition. The fully documented history of the car has John Kasdorf purchasing it new off the Story Oldsmobile showroom floor in Lansing, Michigan for $4,203.69, which included the optional close-ratio four-speed manual transmission ($184.80), power steering ($100.05), Super Stock […]
1954 Mercury Monterey Convertible Acquired January 2007 Our story starts in Wayne Michigan, June 1954. A Mercury Monterey Convertible rolls off the assembly line and finds its way to the East Coast. Years later, in 1974 it turns up in the possession of Mr. C. W. Williams of Chesapeake, VA. Mr. Williams owned the car for several years, preformed necessary maintenance and generally kept it in good condition. In 2002 Mr. Ron Krauss of Glassboro, NJ discovers the car for sale on the internet. He purchased the car intending to restore it. Mr. Krauss enjoyed the car for five years but somehow never got around to restoring his prized possession. About that same time, Ken was searching for a Merc to restore. He knew exactly what he wanted. His very first car was a ’54 Merc and he carried a picture of it in his wallet ever since he sold it in 1961. As fate would have it, Mr. Krauss became aware of Ken’s search and contacted him. The two hit it off immediately and in 2007 Ken became the Merc’s newest owner. Soon after, Ken had the well preserved car shipped to Bob Kuehn in Stanton, NE. Ken […]
1953 Buick Skylark Acquired May 2006 Buick celebrated its 50th anniversary in 1953 by putting a Motorama show car into actual production. Named Skylark, this limited-edition was an ultra-luxury, full-size sports convertible. It was a Harley Earl creation all the way. This stunning automobile was based on Buick’s experimental sports car, the XP-300, which created a huge amount of excitement in 1952. With so many customers wanting to place orders for an XP-300, Buick banked on that interest and built the Skylark. The 1953 Skylark was one of the most expensive cars in Buick’s lineup and in the collector car market; ownership of a Skylark is considered an acquisition of remarkable historic significance. The magnificent example on display in Kens collection is #38 of 1690 produced in an “off production” area of the GM plant in Flint Michigan. It was possibly built either the 2nd or 3rd day of full Skylark production. Bill Oldenburg of Galena, IL started the restoration intending the car to be his personal car for the occasional cruise night and some top down driving thru historic downtown Galena. However, once he completed the concours level restoration he knew it was too perfect to ever drive […]
1956 Mercury Montclair Convertible – Verona Green over Heath Green Acquired October 2013 This “Big M” Montclair started life in Los Angles California on January 23rd 1956. It was the 145th car off the assembly line that day. Apparently, the car spent most of its life in California, as research indicates it was titled there as late as 2002. While in California it came into the possession of William Maynes who subsequently moved to Glide Oregon. In 2013 Maynes sold what was essentially a restorable hulk in complete and original condition to Bob Kuehn of Stanton NE. Bob in turn passed ownership to Ken Nagel that same year. In the fall of 2013 Ken commissioned Bob to begin a full concours level restoration. Recognized as one of the country’s foremost restoration experts specializing in 50’s era Mercury, Bob is known for his painstaking attention to detail and fastidious authenticity. Incorporating both factory NOS and fully reconditioned parts to bring the car to “as new” condition, the artfully done frame-off, nut and bolt restoration took more than two years to complete. The time and attention Bob lavished on this car makes it one of the best if not THE BEST […]
1958 Chevrolet Bel Air Impala Convertible F58J195799 1958 was the first year for the lavishly equipped Impala trim package. It was only available on the Bel Air in two body styles, convertible and sport coupe. The Impala script, insignia and crossed flag emblems on the front of the hood, ribbed body sill panels, large chrome air scoops ahead of the rear wheels on the fenders, a competition style deep two spoke steering wheel with Impala medallions, and Impala script on the dash along with six taillights gave it a luxuriously sporty look that was distinct from other Chevrolets. A rear radio speaker grill was standard. New twin driving lights were a first as was the new wrap around windshield. The 1800 series V8 Bel Air Impala Convertible displayed in the Ken Nagel collection started life in the now shuttered Janesville Wisconsin assembly plant. Chevrolet made a goodly number of Impala convertibles in ’58 but few were as highly optioned as this 348 Cu In 280 HP Tri Power (three two barrel carburetors) concours quality example. Kens stunning Impala Convertible features some unique and very rare options (i.e. Vacuum Ash Tray) making it a highly desirable collectable. The optional dual […]
1958 DeSoto Firesweep Convertible Acquired May 2011 Only 700 DeSoto Firesweep convertibles were built by Chrysler in 1958, a mere 12 of which are still known to exist today, this absolutely stunning restoration is one of the 12. Finished in flawless red paint accented by the rare Spring Edition chrome trim package many consider it to be THE one of the twelve. Riding on a magnificent set of wire wheels fitted with period correct wide white wall tires the car looks spectacular with the top up or down. It is truly a sight to behold that draws crowds and captivates observers transporting them, if just for a moment, back to a time when automobiles were rolling works of art. In December of 2011 Tim Fagan one of the previous owners contacted Ken and provided him with an extensive history of the car. The known history starts in 1966 when Alvin Krenzien of Norfolk Nebraska bought the car on a bill of sale. The car was not much more than a rolling “barn find” covered in dust, dirt and straw. Stripped of its engine, transmission and many other parts it was at least dry and practically rust free. In 1982, […]
1957 Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz Convertible Acquired May 2010 Seldom has a motor car created such intense excitement as the all-new Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz Convertible for 1957. With styling inspired by Motorama show cars, the ultra-prestigious Eldorado Biarritz oozed opulence. From the massive shimmering chrome grille, dual winged front fender ornaments, to the American style rear fins mounted on European-look rounded fenders, commonly referred to as “chipmunk cheeks”, on to the chrome rear panels that swept from the rear wheel arches into a wraparound bumper featuring molded exhaust outlets; all seductively pulled together in stunning dramatic fashion by the rounded rear deck lid. And of course, as with all convertibles, it looked most exquisite with the top down and the parade boot in place. Even in the fantasy world of Harley Earl there was nothing like it before or since. If reading this description out loud leaves you breathless, well that’s the condition the car was meant to leave you in. Allegedly one of the hardest ‘50s era cars to restore because of the scarcity of parts due to the low production numbers and amount of hand work, a concours quality Biarritz is truly a sight to behold. One of […]
1959 Dodge Custom Royal Lancer Convertible Acquired October 15, 2014 Wrapping ‘50s automotive engineering advancements in packaging inspired by space travel, jet aircraft and painted with a pallet of bright pastel colors, reached the pinnacle of perfection in 1959 with the production of the Dodge Custom Royal Lancer Convertibles. The end of the ’50 also marked the end of the era of flamboyant design, making the Dodge Custom Royal Lancer Convertibles the icons of the age and the last of their kind. In ’59, of the 151,850 Dodges built, 16,550 were Custom Royals, 984 of which were Lancer convertibles. Only 5 to 10 of these magnificent milestone cars are known to have survived the ravages of time. The extraordinary masterpiece on display in the “Ken Nagel Collection” is an extremely rare example that features both the dazzling Rose Quartz and Coral Special Two Tone paint scheme and the new, powerful Super D-500 383 Cu In 345 HP “Wedge” V8 engine. This stunning car rolled off the line, factory finished in shimmering Rose Quartz/Coral, on March 2, 1959 at the Dodge Main Plant in Hamtramck, MI (Detroit). Ken’s car somehow found its way to Mexico where it was discovered missing […]
1962 Pontiac Bonneville Acquired November 2012 “Maybe the most breathtaking 1962 Bonneville on the planet.” Accolades like this just aren’t heard every day in the world of collector cars. But when they are you can bet they are directed at something exceptional. The elegantly stunning 1962 Bonneville convertible they are talking about now resides in the stable of the exquisite Ken Nagel collection. Viewing the car in person it is easy to understand how it graded out at 996 pts. By the time 1962 rolled around Pontiac styling had shed the outrageous wings, fins and ’50s era glitz for a more powerfully sophisticated & elegant look in their top of the line cars. The cars were still large as life with their “wide track” stance and bold interiors but no longer did they look like vehicles that could take you and five of your closest friends for a spin around the solar system. “Make it right – no shortcuts”, that was the charge Steve Brody gave to the expert craftsman he enlisted to help him bring the run-out ’62 Bonnie back to life. After coming off the assembly line in Pontiac Michigan this Bonnie found its way to upstate […]
1957 Ford Fairlane 500 F Code Skyliner Retractable Hardtop F7FW305543 Acquired September 2016 A common saying in the collector car community goes something like this, “You buy the story and a car comes with it”. In the case of this ultra-rare 1957 Ford Fairlane 500 F Code Skyliner Retractable Hardtop the story is certainly compelling and the car that came with it nothing short of extraordinary. As if being only 1 of 17* Skyliners fitted with the F-Code Supercharged V8 engine and the only one known to exist with factory installed “POWER WINDOWS – FRT ONLY” isn’t compelling enough, the background includes all the elements of a good car story; an unusual history, a trunk full of top awards, stewardship by some of the most respected collectors in the country, a Las Vegas casino and of course the obligatory “little old lady” who only drove it to the grocery store and somehow managed to blow up the engine. Like all stories, it’s usually a good idea to start from the beginning. The beginning for the F Code Skyliner starts the day it came off the assembly line June 7th, 1957 at the Ford plant in Dearborn, MI. It was […]
1970 Chevrolet Chevelle LS6 Convertible 454/450 HP, 4-Speed Acquired May of 2014 It is generally accepted that there were only 18 1970 Chevrolet Chevelle Convertibles fitted with the LS6 454/450 HP engine and 4-Speed transmissions constructed by Chevrolet. They were the most powerful cars of the day and the last of the breed. The extraordinary example displayed in the Ken Nagel collection is one of the 18. How many still exist is unknown as is the number that were painted Fathom Blue. Not many, that part is for sure. This very rare and historically important car is finished in gleaming Fathom Blue with White SS stripes. The beautifully appointed Ivory interior features bucket seats and a power operated White soft top. After starting life the third week of March 1970 at the GM plant in Van Nuys California this stunning LS6 was shipped off to a sleepy little East Texas cattle/cotton railroad town near Shreveport, LA. It sat on the showroom floor at Hullett Chevrolet Company in Waskom Texas (pop. 1,460) for less than two weeks when it was sold to its first owner, James G. Reid of Shreveport. As luck would have it, it remained in the Shreveport […]
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