By David Harris
Published January 04, 2013
1977 Oldsmobile Cutlass Winston Cup Series (Barrett-Jackson)
1970 Plymouth Superbird (Barrett-Jackson)
1964 Plymouth Belvedere resto-mod by Ray Evernham (Barrett-Jackson)
R Code 1964 Ford Galaxie 500 X (Barrett-Jackson)
The great Henry Ford once said, “Auto racing began five minutes after the second car was built.’
For more than 60 years, there are few entities that better represent auto racing in America than NASCAR. From the hallowed grounds of Daytona International Speedway to Sonoma, California’s intricate and picturesque road course, the sport has created a lifetime worth of motor-racing memories. It’s become part of the nation’s collective DNA.
Some of that great stock-car lineage is set to cross the auction block in various forms during the 42nd annual Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale Collector Car Event, where live coverage begins Tuesday, Jan. 15 on SPEED at 7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT.
Everything from NASCAR-inspired resto-mods, actual on-track machinery and production cars with direct ties to the sport, the high-banked offerings are plentiful throughout this six-day event.
(For photos and a catalog description of each car, click on the highlighted lot number.)
One of these special rides comes from the mind of former championship-winning crew chief, car owner and racer Ray Evernham. An avid car collector, he’s attended many a Barrett-Jackson fete throughout the years.
This year to raise money for North Carolina-based IGNITE, which supports adults with high-functioning autism or Asperger’s syndrome, Evernham built a one of a kind, off-the-chain 1964 Plymouth Belvedere two-door hardtop resto-mod.
Lot #1394 is literally something to behold; radiant red in color with a graphite gray interior, this showpiece could double as a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race car. A 358-cubic-inch, fuel-injected Dodge R5-P7 V8 race engine, once driven by Kasey Kahne, was installed that has been re-engineered for street use with more than 750 horsepower at the wheels.
This slant-back machine is all business with on-track components integrated from Scott Riggs 2007 Daytona 500 mount, including its front and rear clips, Dodge competition powertrain, race driveline, four-speed transmission and tunable, track-ready suspension. It also has a front splitter, rear deck-lid spoiler, carbon-fiber panels, race bucket seats, 18-inch NASCAR-inspired wheels and an all-digital, multi-channel input, dual dash display with separate controls for the driver and passenger. It’s a car that celebrates Chrysler winning the 1964 Daytona 500 and later, the NASCAR Grand National championship.
“Ray Evernham’s Plymouth shows an extraordinary level of design and craftsmanship, and a very unique theme,” said Mike Joy, Voice of NASCAR on FOX & SPEED and collector-car expert. “While repurposing NASCAR Sprint Cup cars are not new, hiding the framework and components inside a nearly 50-year-old body shell is certainly a new twist.
“This is a very special build and I hope the bidders take the time to examine it carefully in the display area,” Joy said. “There just won’t be near enough time to describe all its special features when it is up on the block.”
For those who like their collectable cars in a more traditional hue comes Lot #707, the 1977 Oldsmobile Cutlass Winston Cup Series entry built by the legendary Banjo Matthews and driven by NASCAR Hall of Fame member Cale Yarborough. With First National City Traveler’s Checks sponsoring, this Junior Johnson-owned stock car was a key part of Yarbrough’s 1978 championship run.
Crew chief and later car owner, Travis Carter – who worked for Johnson at the time this car performed – grabbed the reigns in 2000 and oversaw its restoration, certification and authentication. This piece of on-track NASCAR history can still move, too, with its revitalized 350-cubic-inch, high-performance V8, four-speed manual transmission. With Yarborough behind the wheel, it hastily found its way around Darlington (S.C.) Raceway in 2004 to celebrate the first night race at the historic facility.
“The Cale Yarborough/Junior Johnson No. 11 Olds is a documented period piece from a championship season,” Joy said. “While the ‘Citicorp meets Holly Farms’ paint scheme isn’t my favorite, from the photos it looks like a short track or road course car. So, is it ready to go vintage racing, or is it destined for a collection or museum?
“I hope the consignor supplies the details of when and where it raced, and what running gear is under it now,” Joy added. “That history and current spec could help drive the auction price upwards.”
On-track machinery isn’t the only collectable inspired by stock car racing, as actual high-performance, factory-built street cars were purposely constructed in small numbers to comply with NASCAR’s notion of “stock.”
The most popular of them were the Plymouth Superbirds and Dodge Charger Daytonas that ruled superspeedways of the day. Hardly popular when they first arrived in showrooms, these limited production, high-performance muscle cars became collector cars as the super-sized Talladega rear wings and wedge-shaped aero bodies were recognized as iconic symbols of an era.
These distinguished mounts are best represented by Lot #1282, a fully fettled, torch-red 1970 Plymouth Superbird with many of the goodies collectors crave, including a 440-cubic-inch V8, black interior and four-speed transmission. This car underwent a complete rotisserie restoration and received its authentication at Galen’s Chrysler Registry.
“Nobody was fooling anybody here,” said Matt Stone, SPEED collector car analyst and noted author. “Never before or since was a factory street car so designed and engineered for one purpose, that being aerodynamic superiority on NASCAR racetracks.
“NASCAR at least insisted that Chrysler build a certain amount of them, available for sale to the general public, to prove that it was a real production car,” Stone added. “That number still wasn’t huge, but at least the company didn’t build three special examples for racing use only, and try to call it a production car. It took more than a little work to make the Superbirds’ aero mods just right for racing but once trimmed and dialed, they won big.
“I give Chrysler huge credit for being audacious enough to conceive, design, build and sell it and appreciate that NASCAR didn’t immediately legislate it out of competition – an all-time muscle car great, to be sure.”
As noted, one of the stipulations placed on manufacturers who competed in NASCAR was that their vehicles be “stock,” or represent an actual production-based line. Aerodynamics started to play a role in the sport, as Darlington Raceway had come online in 1950, Daytona International opened in 1959 and chatter about another “super track” (eventually Talladega) had started to percolate.
From 1960 to 1964, Ford manufactured popular two-door cars known as the Galaxie. They provided the perfect design and aero platform to compete in two of America’s premier competitive environments – NHRA and NASCAR.
Coined the “secret weapon” of Ford’s on-track tool box, these attractive steeds had high-revving, high-horsepower engines, sturdy drive trains and tuned suspension systems, and more often than not, found the winner’s circle to its liking.
Now, one of these rare vehicles has made its way to Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale. Lot #985 is a fully restored, blue-on-blue, one-of-500 R Code 1964 Ford Galaxie 500 XL Fastback. This Ford hosts a 427-cubic-inch V8 under the hood, four-speed manual transmission and a high-performance, nine-inch rear. This particular piece is ready to go, having been balanced, blueprinted and recently freshened.
“I like this car a lot,” Stone said. “1964 is one of the great years for Galaxie, and there’s little doubt that the body’s smoothing and sculpting was a benefit for NASCAR racing. It would not be at all fair to say the car was designed with the NASCAR high banks in mind, but the car’s shape played well there with many wins that season.
“The Mercury version wasn’t as attractive nor aerodynamically smooth as the Ford, even though it was of course based on the same body architecture,” Stone added. “One of the main reasons carmakers so strongly supported NASCAR is the notion of ‘Win Sunday, Sell Monday’ and you can be sure every time a full-sized Ford won a NASCAR weekend, showroom traffic enjoyed a momentary lift.
“This is a really nice example being sold here, with some subtle period mods and aftermarket wheels, but its best feature is the 427/four-speed powertrain combination. If the provenance is right, and it’s a factory 427 car; this should bring good money.”
Additional NASCAR-oriented vehicles and/or items crossing the block;
• Lot #99 – Street legal NASCAR Dodge Charger complete with Mopar V8 crate engine.
• Lot #117 – 2007 Shelby GT Mustang built to promote Ford’s LVMS NASCAR race.
• Lot 1553 – Roush Fenway Sprint Cup engine cutaway signed by NASCAR legends.
The Barrett-Jackson auction takes place Jan 13-20 at WestWorld of Scottsdale, with 39 hours of live coverage on SPEED. For more information about the January event, see Barrett-Jackson.com.
Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale Collector Car Auction live on SPEED
(All Times Eastern; Schedule Subject To Change)
Tuesday, Jan. 15 – Barrett-Jackson live auction, 7 p.m. – midnight.
Wednesday, Jan. 16 – Barrett-Jackson live auction, 7 p.m.- midnight.
Thursday, Jan. 17 – Barrett-Jackson live auction and Hagerty Fantasy Bid Game, 7 p.m. – midnight.
Friday, Jan. 18 – Barrett-Jackson live auction and Hagerty Fantasy Bid Game, 2 p.m. – midnight.
Saturday, Jan. 19 – Barrett-Jackson live auction and Hagerty Fantasy Bid Game, 2 p.m. – midnight.
Sunday, Jan. 20 – Barrett-Jackson live auction and Hagerty Fantasy Bid Game, 2-6 p.m.
Alternate streaming cameras for live auction times are also available at SPEED.com.