Thursday, September 26, 2013

Russo & Steele Invade Las Vegas

Russo & Steele, one of the more popular collector car auctions that I attend in Monterey has come to Las Vegas, setting up at The New Tropicana.

If you in the area, whether you're buying or just looking, get yourself over to the Trop and take it all in. Besides the cars, Russo & Steele puts on one hell of a show.

Setting up for the show.

I visited R&S today to check out the cars. Russo & Steele normally has a good cross-section of European and American Muscle (hence their name - Russo stands for Ferrari (red) and Steele for American Iron) cars. In Monterey they've been drifting more towards the Russo side over the years but here in Vegas there is a preponderance of Muscle.

Here's some of the cars that caught my attention:
How about a 1958, 23 window, VW Bus? These are getting pretty pricey and this example looked darn good.

This beautiful 1957 Lincoln Premier Convertible was having the dust removed (it's breezy in Vegas right now and dust is a problem). There was a time when these weren't exactly on anyone's list but now they speak of an age. 

If you think the new Fiat 500 is small you need to check out this 1968 Fiat Abarth 595 SS tribute. I don't think I'd like to drive one cross-country but it would be great fun on some twisty back roads.

Studebakers have had a following for a long, long time. I find the '57 Golden Hawk Coupe a little odd looking but I can't deny the performance of the supercharged engine. 

You only used to see Willys Coupes at the drag strip (Stone Woods Cook) but they make nice customs too (except for these headlights).

When people think of Bowtie performance they think Corvette, Camaro or Malibu. When I was a kid there were a few full-size Impalas built to go though. This '65 Impala has a 409 with a 4-speed.

R&S rarely has modern era race cars so this 2011 Porsche Boxster (986) racer stood out.

Other than the extreme dropped front end (I like my cars to be driveable on real roads) this '49 F100 was just about perfect. Old style with a modern running gear -yes it has a Ford engine.

This '73 Plymouth Road Runner GTX brought back some memories. Years ago while still an apprentice auto mechanic we had a customer with one. I don't remember what the problem was but I had to take it out for a run of 50 miles or more. When I got back to the shop I told the head mechanic that the steering seemed off. We put it in the air and one tie-rod end was about ready to fall off! 

Sometimes the forgotten muscle car from GM (396 Chevelle, GTO, 442 were the others) Buicks were somewhat factory sleepers. This '72 GS 455 was just about perfect.

The '60 Oldsmobile appears to come from the aircraft carrier school of design, especially this Dynamic 88 Fiesta Wagon. I drove a 4-door sedan like this from Pueblo, Colorado to Toronto, Ontario in 1976 - a great highway cruiser.

How about a '63 Dodge Dart Convertible? This one looked very good.

I doubt too many people out there are looking for a fully restored, 1961 Mercury Comet Wagon but like all old cars there will be at least one person willing to bid on this well restored version.

Sorry but I just don't like these wheels on what is, or could be, a really sweet '66 Lincoln Continental Convertible.

This '50 Ford "Shoebox" looked great but the flattie under the hood needs some attention.

I can almost excuse turning a '78 Volvo Bertone Coupe into a pseudo "IMSA" racer but lime green? You never know what you'll see at Russo & Steele.

Back in 1949 this Oldsmobile would have been a middle-income business man's coupe. Now it's a collectible.

This '23 Ford Roadster would have looked perfect in one of those "hot rod" movies back in the '50s or '60s.

You've always got to have at least one car for the Brit lovers. In Las Vegas it is this 1966 Hillman Husky Estate Wagon.

Another car that never would have been rodded back when I was a kid, this '40 Plymouth Business Coupe keeps its original look. Too bad the builder didn't use a Mopar engine instead of the Chev 350 under the hood.

A 1939 Hudson Country Club 8 Business Coupe is not the first car that comes to mind when you think of a hot rod. This one was very nice with the exception of the wheels that seem to be stuck in the '70s.

Do you remember when a Continental Kit like this on this '55 Buick Century was just about de rigueur on the cool cars?

Mercury Cougar was a Mustang under the skin. Cougar sold a fraction of what Mustang did making the 7.0-Litre GT-E fairly rare.

A nice, mild custom. You might have seen a car like this '53 Ford Victoria Coupe cruising your town.

How about a '40 Ford Coupe? How of you out there build an AMT model like this? (I think the kit came with the parts to make it either a '39 or '40.)

Another couple for the Brits although they don't necessarily belong together; the '65 Healy is worth a ton more than the '72 Spitfire.

There were 3 AMXs. The top one is an early numbered car with a 4-speed and 390 cid AMC engine.

I primarily shot this '58 Ford F-100 because I love the color. The truck is very nicely done.

In '65 you could get a 409 like the Impala shown earlier or a 396 like this version.

Man there was a time when a '58 Mercury Voyager 2-Door Wagon would have ruled the commuter train parking lot. 

This '57 Lincoln Premier Coupe is perfect in this '50s pink.

You can't have an auction without at least one perfectly restored Corvette like this '58.

Can you see some hood cruising the old Vegas Strip in this '49 Cadillac Series 62 Convertible? I can.

Sometimes an engine tells the whole story. A 427 side oiler says it all.

I like this Vette, a '69 Coupe, appealed to me because it was so low-key.

I know beauty is in the eye of the beholder but c'mon. This has got to be just about the ugliest '79 Cadillac Eldorado Roadster.

A "Bullitt" clone on the outside, this '68 Stang featured upgraded suspension and brakes.

Chopped top '51 Ford looked pretty good except for the wheels. At least to me.

It is said that none other than Richard Petty campaigned this Hemi powered McKee race car when Plymouth pulled out of NASCAR in 1965 because NASCAR banned the Hemi. I knew that Petty did some drag racing but I was unaware of his foray into sports car racing. I would imagine this would have been a handful to drive.

Russo & Steele's auction also offers some automobilia.

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