Written by Eric Becker
In the continental United States there are nearly 3 million miles of paved road. Interstates, boulevards and mountain passes crisscross the 48 contiguous states, serving as arteries between the great American cities. There are no lack of sights to see nor things to do, and there’s certainly no better way to explore the land than behind the wheel of a classic automobile.
Offered at the 2020 Barrett-Jackson Fall Auction – all with No Reserve – is the Collection of Lewis and Sandy Little. This collection brings 13 classy candidates to propel your next great American adventure, and there’s something for every driving style. Open-top thrills? Check. Boulevard cruisers? Check. Style? You bet! These classics have style for days and are more than ready for a spirited drive.
Is there a more iconic road trip than taking Highway 1 up the California coastline? We don’t think so, and what better vehicle (in this case, vehicles) to take on this journey than a first-generation Corvette? An intrinsic part of American culture, the two Corvettes offered in this collection match the brilliant hues of the Pacific with their immaculate finishes. The first, a 1958 model, sports a recent respray in Regal Turquoise over a black interior. Drop the all-new soft-top and listen to that dual-quad-fed 283ci V8 purr. The second Corvette is a later example from 1961, finished in the aptly named Jewel Blue. Perfect for those winding coastal and canyon roads, this ’61 ‘Vette is also powered by a 283ci V8, this time topped with a single four-barrel carburetor. Both Corvettes are backed by a 4-speed manual transmission and are ready for that journey on the PCH.
We really couldn’t think of any place more appropriate for these next two stylish icons to cruise than Sunset Boulevard. Perhaps a jaunt down Melrose Avenue or a romp up to Malibu would work, too. Either way, these two Mercury convertibles are sure to enchant and excite, and likely to catch the eye of many in Tinseltown. Draped in a brilliant red finish is a beautifully restored 1954 Mercury Monterey sporting a black convertible top with red piping over a black and red interior. This ’54 Merc features the seldom-seen option of factory fog lamps incorporated into the two-piece bumper, and it is amply powered by a 256ci V8 engine paired to a 3-speed automatic transmission.
Ramping up the displacement, the collection’s 1955 Mercury Montclair convertible sports a 292ci V8 engine mated to a 3-speed automatic. Finished in Yukon Yellow, its black top covers the gold-threaded black and yellow seats. The driver of this Mercury can feel the wind on any road and do so in true luxurious style.
Power, poise and timeless styling? Look no further than a classic Ford Thunderbird, ready for a jaunt along Ocean Drive in Miami Beach. Among the tall palms and classic art-deco buildings, a quintessential 1957 Ford T-Bird is right at home and fits the bill nicely. The stunning red Thunderbird is beautifully complemented by a white hardtop and a soft-top, as well as rumbling notes from its 312ci V8.
For those more set on a trip to Cape Canaveral, there’s a T-Bird truly fitting the Space Race’s early years. Finished in Casino Cream, this brilliant, rare and beautiful example of a 1959 J-Code Thunderbird is one of only 1,168 made and is powered by the special-order J-Code 430ci 350hp V8 mated to an automatic transmission. This example features a stunning cosmetic restoration to the exterior finish, black interior and power soft-top. Riding on Kelsey Hayes-type wire wheels with whitewall tires, the ’59 ’Bird is fully optioned with power windows, push-button-open rear deck and power convertible top that disappears for true classic styling. At the ready for take-off is a striking red over black 1962 Thunderbird Sport Roadster. Powered by Ford’s famous 390ci V8, the ’62 rides on a set of wire wheels wrapped in whitewall tires and is more than ready to take flight on an adventure all its own.
For a journey more off the beaten path, a pair of 1950s Willys Jeepster convertibles will have you covered – figuratively, of course. The brilliant 1950 red example on offer underwent a complete nut-and-bolt frame-off restoration and sports an all-new interior and 141ci 6-cylinder engine. Keen for a bit more power? Then a 1951 Jeepster hot-rod sporting a yellow finish with black accents, an all new black soft-top and a 305ci Chevy V8 is ready. The next option is a fully restored 1960 Willys Maverick wagon. Produced for only two years, while Willys sponsored the TV show “Maverick,” this stunning example adds extra chrome on the sides, and an arrow extending onto the hood marks this model as a Maverick. This is a striking vehicle with its wagon body, two-tone green exterior and a very well-done restoration.
If ever there was an ultimate road-trip-mobile it might be this: An absolutely stunning 1961 Volkswagen 23-Window Microbus. Restored in 2001, the bus is perfect for long journeys on the open road. The 1,600c 4-cylinder engine and 4-speed manual gearbox may not make for the most powerful powertrain in the Little’s lovely collection, but those 23 windows and the memories to be made more than make up for it.
Nearly everyone has a road trip story involving a station wagon, perhaps one like the 1951 Ford Country Squire Woody Wagon in the collection. Finished in a dark green exterior with a tan interior, the humble Woody Wagon is a cross-country American icon. The 239ci V8 and 3-speed manual transmission are the perfect combo to take the road less traveled and embark on discovery.
Northeast Tennessee may be an odd place to take road trip in a British sports car, but when the car is a 1962 Sunbeam Alpine and the road is the famed HWY 421, aka “The Snake,” you know you’re in for a good time. Powered by its original 1494cc 4-cylinder engine and topped with the original carburetors, the lithe Alpine is the perfect driver’s car to tackle the corners. Couple that with a 4-speed manual, and a true analog driver’s experience awaits. The Sunbeam underwent a full frame-off restoration and is ready to delight the lucky individual who will sit behind the wheel.
The 13 cars in the Collection of Lewis and Sandy Little offer a diverse example of collectable classic – and classy – cars, and a unique opportunity to explore the byways from behind the wheel of some truly notable automobiles.
Check out the entire Collection of Lewis and Sandy Little in the gallery below.