Written by Eric Becker
Remember as a kid seeing beautiful machines cruise down the road and dreaming about one day owning one? It’s a feeling all gearheads share, and a good reason as to why the collector car hobby continues to thrive and expand. Classic cars offer an inescapable romanticism, one that inspires passion, cultivates nostalgia and brings people together. This is what makes the Barrett-Jackson experience so special – it’s a celebration of the machines that move us. Case in point: seven soul-stirring classics from a private collection that will cross the block with No Reserve at the inaugural 2021 Houston Auction. The seven incredible vehicles include wonderfully restored and tastefully modified feats of Americana. Born of Detroit’s golden age, the majority of these machines wear Chevrolet’s bowtie, but Blue Oval fans are also in for a Raven Black treat.
Born in Dearborn, Michigan, in February 1957, this show-quality restoration Ford Thunderbird is easily the crown jewel of any collection. Formerly owned by noted T-Bird restorer Amos Minter, this example is one of only 1,499 E-code 1957 Thunderbirds, with the 312/270hp V8 engine topped with dual Holley 4-barrel carburetors, an aluminum intake manifold and a high-performance camshaft. Adding to the rarity is a 3-speed floor-shifted manual transmission, and this T-Bird is believed to be one of only 522 with overdrive. Presented in the highly sought-after color combination of Raven Black over a red interior, the striking convertible features several subtle upgrades performed by Minter’s team of craftsmen. The driver’s seat was repositioned for additional legroom and a smaller factory-styled steering wheel was also added. Adding to the soundtrack is a stainless-steel exhaust system, and the factory ignition was updated with a more reliable electronic point-less ignition. The stunning Thunderbird also features two tops (a new black Haartz soft-top and a hardtop with portholes), as well as Kelsey-Hayes wire wheels and wrapped in whitewall tires adding to its peerless classic appeal.
Dressed to the nines in Tuxedo Black and wearing the famed white stripes, these two American icons represent the best of Chevrolet’s muscle-bound pedigree. Favored by racers and forged during the peak of the muscle car era most know these two are best considered the “David and Goliath” of the American muscle car: Chevy’s “small vicious animal,” the 1969 Camaro Z/28 RS, and the undisputed champion of the “Stoplight Grand Prix”’ the 1970 Chevelle LS6 SS 454.
The Z/28 left showroom floors as a focused driver’s car motivated by the high-revving and rowdy 302ci V8 and backed by an M21 close-ratio 4-speed manual transmission. This example, an X33 car, was built in Norwood, Ohio, in May 1969 and is equipped with the beautifully sinister Z22 Rally Sport appearance package. The 302ci V8 is fed by an aluminum Cross-Ram intake with dual Holley 4-barrel carburetors and rides on the acclaimed F41 suspension. Make no mistake, this small vicious animal is all about go-fast thrills.
Arguably the definitive poster child for the American muscle car, the 1970 Chevelle LS6 SS 454 was an icon. Big, stylish and menacing, the Chevelle has never shied away from competition – and for good reason. Equipped with the most notorious and frightening big-block engine ever dropped into the engine bay of a Chevrolet, the LS6 came to brawl with 450 horsepower and 500 ft/lbs of torque. Authenticated by renowned expert Jerry MacNeish, this 1970 LS6 Super Sport Chevelle features the original matching-numbers engine backed by a M22 4-speed manual transmission and GM 12-bolt rear end. Keeping power in check is the famed F41 suspension package that features heavy-duty coil springs, front and rear anti-sway bars, box-welded rear lower control arms, power front disc brakes and power steering.
Fully customized Pro-Touring supercar or factory original “Fuelie?” It’s an almost impossible choice as both represent the peak of automotive style and the cutting edge of technology for their respective eras. With the Resto-Mod, in this case a custom 1962 Chevrolet Corvette convertible built by Jeff Hayes at American Speed Shop, you get a fully bespoke creation. Riding on an Art Morrison sport chassis and powered by a 540-horsepower LS3 Hot Cam crate engine backed by a GM 4L70E 4-speed automatic transmission, the custom ’62 invigorates the first-generation Corvette’s classic style and offers more than enough performance to embarrass today’s crop of sports cars. The ’62 brings modern convenience wrapped in timeless style into the fold and offers a thoroughly unique driving experience.
But if it’s a different driving experience you’re after, the Roy Sinor-authenticated Riverside Red 1963 Corvette Split-Window ticks all the boxes. As one of just 2,610 1963 Corvettes equipped with the fuel-injected 327ci/360hp engine, this Split-Window marks a golden opportunity. Built in February 1963, this car was an early body style with storage wells under the seats and features a suite of factory options, including a BorgWarner T10 4-speed transmission, 4.11 posi-traction rear axle, power windows and Wonder Bar AM radio. For many, the glamourous and flash look of the 1963 Split-Window is the driver of choice. These cars were stylish, fast and represent a method of car design we’re not likely to see again.
The “Motoramic” styling, generous use of chrome of course, those fins. The 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air is the definitive example of 1950s American motoring. It’s a machine well-versed in style and with the performance to match. This spectacular example received a full frame-off restoration in 2016 and is finished in Onyx Black paint over a restored red and black interior. The finned beauty is powered by a 1957 EK-code 283/283hp Super Ram Jet fuel-injected V8 engine – which was rebuilt during restoration – and backed by a factory column-shifted 3-speed manual transmission. The Bel Air features factory power steering, heater, AM/FM radio, full wheel covers with spinners, wide whitewall tires and a dual exhaust.
The last of our seven! For those in pursuit of a more utilitarian option, we present an answer. This frame-off restored 1972 Chevrolet K5 Blazer Cheyenne is finished in a Medium Olive with an Olive interior. Power comes from an original rebuilt 350ci V8 engine with a Holley carburetor. This Blazer is equipped with an upgraded 700R4 transmission, Dana 60 front axle with limited slip and 35-spline outer axles, a rebuilt 14-bolt rear end with Detroit Locker 4.56 gears and Tom Woods CV rear driveshaft. The Blazer rides on a 2.5-inch lift kit, and 33×16.5-inch BFGoodrich All-Terrain tires on chrome slotted wheels.
Stunning in their execution, these are machines that have stood the test of time and paved the way for advancements in design and performance. Each vehicle has been meticulously catalogued to the highest level (some accompanied by original documentation), and they all are sure to delight and inspire future generations as they cruise down the road. Be sure to bid so these beauties don’t pass you by.
For up-to-date information on these and other vehicles headed to the 2021 Houston Auction (with more being added daily), click HERE.