Gateway, CO—Emerging victorious from an intense bidding war that ultimately shattered a long-standing single-bid record at the Barrett-Jackson Classic Car Auction in Scottsdale, AZ, the Hendricks Car Collection has acquired the keys to a one-of-a-kind “dream” car—the 1954 Oldsmobile F-88 concept car. On Saturday, January 29, 2005, this rarest of rare cars sold for an amazing $3 million. Now the F-88 waits in an undisclosed location for the completion of its very own viewing room at the Gateway Colorado Auto Museum where it will take its place of honor in the historical timeline of the American automobile.
“It is our Mona Lisa,” stated John S. Hendricks, new owner of the car and the museum’s creator.
“This GM dream car uniquely embodies the revolutionary design spirit of the legendary Harley Earl, the ‘daVinci’ of Detroit. The 1954 Olds F-88 concept vehicle is, I believe, America’s finest example of rolling art to emerge from the post-war era,” said Hendricks.
In a separate release Craig Jackson, president and CEO of the Barrett-Jackson Collector Car Auction, stated, “While most of its brethren were destroyed after their debuts at GM’s Motorama shows, the gold-toned Olds survived this fate to become one of the most historically significant vehicles of its era. Many automobile historians consider the roadster to be one of the greatest expressions of automotive design ever to come from North America.”
Designed by General Motors’s godfather of automotive design, Harley J.
Earl, the Olds F-88 was unveiled at the 1954 Motorama. Many auto
historians consider the F-88 to be an archetype of modern car design with a racy fiberglass body, bullet taillights, open top and lightweight structure. The F-88 has distinctive large vertical exhaust outlets for its “Rocket” V-8 and a prominent wide-mouth grille. Due to lukewarm sales of the newly released 1954 Corvette, GM refused to give the green light for its Oldsmobile division to produce another sports cars. The F-88 and four other cars developed during the XP-20 project were ordered destroyed as was
standard for concept cars not making it into production. As legend has
it, however, this one gold-tone pet project of Harley Earl was given or sold piece-by-piece to E. L. Cord (Auburn-Cord-Duesenberg owner) in 1955 to be reassembled as the sole-survivor of the project. In fact, hundreds of GM internal documents and original blue prints are still with this car. Museum curators are hoping to find out more of this unique car’s history from these documents and records.
Curator of The Hendricks Collection and bidding agent Alan Lewenthal stated, “Winning this remarkable one-of-a-kind dream car for the Hendricks family and the Gateway Colorado Auto Museum was an amazing experience. As the bidding surpassed $1 million, it was apparent that leading museums and serious collectors had done their homework on the unique role of this vehicle in American automotive history. Standing on the stage to witness the historic auction were Harley Earl’s grandson, Richard Earl, and two members of GM’s design team from the 1960’s. When the other museums dropped out of the bidding we simply had to stay in to the end to ensure that this remarkable work of American automotive art could be enjoyed by the viewing public and students for years to come.”
John S. Hendricks and his wife, Maureen, personally attended the auction.
When the bidding surpassed the pre-set bid limit for Mr. Lewenthal, Mr.
Hendricks had to give visual cues to Mr. Lewenthal amid the near-pandemonium atmosphere which erupted on the Barrett-Jackson auction stage as the bidding soared past $2 million on the way to setting the $3 million record.
The $3 million concept vehicle has left the Scottsdale auction site for an undisclosed secure location. Responding to numerous inquiries, Belinda Rhoads, business manager for The Hendricks Collection, stated: “Let’s just say that the F-88 dream car has left Arizona and will not arrive in Colorado until a few weeks before the opening of the museum.”
The Gateway Colorado Auto Museum, now under construction and scheduled for an early Fall 2005 grand opening, is a museum devoted to understanding and celebrating the history, science, design, and social impact of the American car. Only American cars will be featured in the new museum, which will display 32 classic vehicles organized in a timeline dating from a 1906 Cadillac Model H Coupe. The museum will feature cars from the Hendricks Collection which include such unique classics as a 1913 Pierce-Arrow Model
38 Suburban, a 1939 Packard Darrin Super V-8 Convertible Victoria originally owned by the John Deere family, and a 1958 Mercury Turnpike Cruiser Indy 500 Pace Car. In addition to design classics, such as the newly acquired 1954 Olds F-88 dream car, the museum will feature classic vehicles that helped define American culture such as a perfectly-restored
1956 Ford F100 Ice Cream truck, numerous original muscle cars and a special showcase of custom vehicles which illustrate America’s fascination with individual expressions of automotive artistry.
Jack Rouse Associates, the acclaimed museum and exhibition design firm based in Cincinnati, Ohio are creating the car display areas for the museum experience. The museum building is being constructed by Gateway Construction and Design Company of Gateway, Colorado, a general contractor specializing in southwest, adobe-style construction.
The Gateway Colorado Auto Museum is fittingly located in the heart of red rock canyon country of Western Colorado. This spectacular country, full of majestic buttes, mesas, and winding canyon roads, has been the backdrop to countless car commercials reflecting the adventurous aspirations of the American car-buying public. Gateway, Colorado is a one-hour southwesterly drive from Grand Junction on Colorado Scenic and Historic By-way 141.
The Gateway Colorado Auto Museum is part of a larger effort to revitalize the former mining community of Gateway, Colorado with a new scenic and recreation-based economy that takes advantage of the region’s spectacular natural beauty. Financed by the Hendricks family, the project is known as Gateway Canyons and will include the museum, lodging, fine dining, outfitter services, event hosting, and numerous “western” experiences. In addition to becoming a significant destination for world travelers interested in the American West, Gateway Canyons will become the “must visit” destination for car clubs and car enthusiasts from all across America.
John S. Hendricks is the Founder and Chairman of Discovery Communications, Inc. Mr. Hendricks created the Discovery Channel which launched on satellite in 1985 and now reaches over one billion total subscribers in 160 countries around the world. Other services of Discovery Communications include TLC, Animal Planet, The Travel Channel, The Science Channel, Discovery Health Channel, Discovery HD Theater and numerous digital networks. Gateway Canyons is a personal investment project by Mr.
Hendricks. Discovery Communications is not involved in the funding or operations of this Hendricks family initiative in Colorado where the family has owned remote ranch property for over a decade.
Gateway Canyons, LLC is part of Western Sky Investments, LLC and is owned by Hendricks Investment Holdings, LLC. Western Sky Investments, LLC is based in Grand Junction, Colorado. The President of Western Sky Investments, LLC is John Williams who manages the Hendricks’ family investments in Colorado.