Like fishing stories or tales of when Uncle Zed fought during the zombie invasion, there are plenty of bizarre collector car stories around and in that series of tubes that is the Interwebs. For your automotive pleasure, here are some of the m0st bizarre collector car stories, as suggested by the autoLanka.com forums.
The $250,000 Bugatti blunder
In 1964, fishing equipment tycoon John Shakespeare decided he needed some new hobbies. His collection of 30 Bugattis and rare parts just weren’t doing it for him anymore. Skiing and skin diving suddenly sounded more appealing, so the chum dinger of a businessman sold his collection for $250,000. That collection included a Royale very much like one that would end up selling 18 years later at auction for $8.7 million.
Down on the farm
Ferruccio Lamborghini (of Lamborghini sports car fame) started out as a farm equipment manufacturer. He happened to own a Ferrari 250GT with clutch trouble. He told Enzo Ferrari about the problem, but Ferrari rebuffed him, saying he should “go back to driving tractors.” Striking back at Ferrari, Lamborghini put a tractor clutch in his Ferrari, and the move inspired him to eventually produce his own gran turismo-class cars that give Ferrari a run for its money.
‘Jailhouse Brockett’ nabbed for insurance scam
In the late 1980s, English nobleman Lord Brockett faced grim financial tidings. So he cut up his rare, highly-insured Ferraris and buried them. Then he reported them stolen and walked away with the insurance money. Eventually, however, Brockett’s car fraud escapades caught up to him – he attempted to sell a fake Ferrari 250 GT SWB to someone who knew better. Soon the good lord became “Jailhouse Brockett.”
‘I’m Not There,’ says James Dean’s death car
When a movie icon dies in a Porsche 550 Spyder, that car becomes legend. That’s what happened to James Dean as he was driving to a race near Salinas, Calif., on Sept. 30, 1955. The legendary wreckage went on to appear in such roles as “Flaming Car Number 5” in driver’s training/teen horror films like “Blood on the Highway” and “Signal 30.” One time when the remains went on tour, they disappeared. If James Dean knows where they are, he isn’t talking.
Bill Cosby feared the Super Snake with all the horses
Comedian Bill Cosby loved Euro sports cars, so American sports car maker Carroll Shelby took it upon himself to build an American beast that could top 200 mph. What Shelby came up with – the Shelby Cobra Super Snake — had 900 horsepower. As Cosby described it in his standup: “The car was idling, I was in neutral, I hadn’t put my foot and the gas pedal, and already, the car was killing people.” Sadly, that’s exactly what happened to Tony Maxey, who eventually came to own Cosby’s car. Maxey lost control and plunged into the Pacific Ocean.
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Bill Cosby’s Super Snake