Collector of the Week: Ken Blumer

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Ken Blumer sent in an email about his 1970 Oldsmobile 442:

My brother and I have been into cars since high school in San Diego, CA during the 1950s.

For my midlife crisis at age 50, I purchased a new Corvette convertible with the vanity tag MLC 4 KRB. At age 60, I bought a 1928 Model A Roadster pickup that had been restored and hot rodded to show quality by a retired helicopter pilot.

I continued my passion for pre-World War II cars by commissioning a ’37 Ford Roadster to be built. While waiting for it to be completed, I bought a ’40 Ford Tudor as a weekend driver. I sold it to a Norwegian who was in Southern California on a hot rod buying spree, and my award-winning ’37 Ford Roadster was sold to a successful building contractor in Southern California who couldn’t live without it. So, I began looking for the love of my life, a 1940 Ford Convertible. I found the one on eBay in Bee Spring, KY. After bringing it back to show condition, I got the itch to try something different—- muscle cars.

One rainy afternoon, while browsing thru eBay collector cars, I hit upon Oldsmobile 442s. Not many of them were made with all of the goodies, and the 1970 model seemed to be the pinnacle of their performance era. These cars seemed to be appreciating quickly, and my thought was that I could buy this car right, finish the restoration and resell it at a profit within 12 months. I found a 1970 Astro Blue Convertible with the White Parchment interior, a true 455-ci block with the W-25 Ram Air Induction Hood.

The restoration had been started by the existing and prior owner, but it was not completed. It was a numbers-matching car, but alas, not with bucket seats or a 4-speed. Nevertheless, it had an eye popping color and the tremendous torque was still there. It had the build sheet, Protect-O-Plate, and window sticker. It turned out to be a COPO, and was either a “Brass Hat” or a car produced for GM advertising in Southern Cal. We think the latter.

The original owner, a doctor from Bakersfield, CA, bought it in L.A. and kept it for almost 25 years.

I finished the restoration, but spent quite a bit more than I had planned, as the car on eBay was not in the condition the pictures would leave you to believe.

After a summer of campaigning the car at local car shows, one of my friends who works in publicity at the Petersen Auto Museum told me that a TV producer was going to shoot the first three episodes of a new car show at the Museum, and they were looking for unique muscle cars for the show. I signed up and was accepted. The filming was in November 2009, just before Thanksgiving, but the show was not going to premiere until April 2010. In the meantime, while purchasing a part at Original Parts Group headquarters, their marketing director saw the car in their parking lot and asked if I would be interested in having the car appear on the cover of one of their upcoming catalogs. Of course I accepted, but didn’t know when that might occur.

The TV show, “What’s My Car Worth,” came out in April 2010, and the 442 was almost immediately sold to a viewer from Tustin, CA who saw the car and fell in love with it. He contacted the TV station, and then the producer, who put him in touch with me and the rest, as they say, is history. Keith Martin’s prediction as to value was correct, although I was able to get the higher end of his estimate. The buyer is pleased and the car now adorns the cover of Original Parts Group Oldsmobile Catalogue for 2011.

Why don’t you share your car story and become the next Collector of the Week? Send us a photo of you and your car, a short description of the car and your thoughts on performance. Check back next week, as you may be our next featured collector!