Linda Vaughn, the legendary “First Lady of Motorsports” and Baseball Hall of Famer Reggie Jackson will be among the celebrities scheduled to be in attendance at the 20th Anniversary Mecum Belvidere High Performance Auction, which will be held at the Boone County Fairgrounds on May 23-28, 2007. They will join veteran racers, Arnie “The Farmer” Beswick, Bill “Grumpy” Jenkins, “Mr. Norm” Kraus, and Pontiac historian Jim Mattison to help Mecum celebrate 20 years in Belvidere.
It’s really hard to believe that twenty years have passed since we kicked off our Belvidere auction,” said Dana Mecum, President of Mecum Auctions. “We’ve made a lot of friends over the years and we’re so fortunate to have many of them here to help us celebrate.”
As you may already know, Linda Vaughn is known worldwide as “The First Lady of Motorsports,” and gained widespread fame as “Miss Hurst Golden Shifter.” She started her career as a trophy girl and was subsequently hired by George Hurst as a promotional spokesmodel for Hurst. She continued on with Hurst after it was purchased by Mr. Gasket and also did promotional work with for a time with ProLong. More than just a pretty face, Ms. Vaughan is an accomplished marketing executive.
Reggie Jackson’s reputation as a baseball legend was well earned. He played for a total of 21 seasons starting with the A’s in 1967 and retiring in 1986 from California Angels in 1986. He, of course, is best known for his years with the New York Yankees, particularly with his three-home-run performance in Game 6 of the 1977 World Series against the L.A. Dodgers, earning him the nickname “Mr. October.” He was elected to the Baseball Hall of fame in 1993 and is now back with the Yankees, as a consultant and liaison to the team’s players. He is a longtime car enthusiast with an impressive musclecar collection.
Arnie “The Farmer” Beswick’s name is synonymous with Pontiac racing and is a true racing legend. Born on a farm in Morrison, Illinois, he began racing in the early 1950s and began his long association with Pontiac in 1958, with a T-395A Chieftain. From there, he became a fixture in the Super Stock wars of the 1960s and later fielded A/FX and fuel burning funny cars. His multi-car team of the 1969 season included GTOs running in D/Stock, Pro Stock and Funny Car classes. He was elected to the International Drag Racing Hall of Fame in 2006. Two of his racecars, the 1961 “Passionate Poncho” Ventura and the 1969 D/Stock Ram Air IV GTO Judge, will be offered at the Mecum Belvidere auction.
Bill “Grumpy” Jenkins is perhaps the most closely associated with his years in NHRA Pro Stock, where his revolutionary tube-framed, small-block Vega redefined the competition in that class. The truth is, the story of Bill Jenkins goes back much farther than that, when his expertise in engine research and development gained much notoriety and many customers. His 1965 NHRA Super Stock victory at that year’s Winternationals set the stage for a long and successful career, earning him a combined total of 13 national victories through 1975. He was inducted into the Motorsports Hall of Fame in 1996. Jenkins still heads up Jenkins Competition, building engines for Pro Stock teams. His
“Grumpy’s Toy VII” ‘70½ Camaro Pro Stocker will be offered at the Mecum Belvidere auction.
During the 1960s, “Mr. Norm” Kraus and his dealership, Grand Spaulding Dodge were the nation’s premier Mopar performance dealership and later, America’s largest Dodge dealer. They were also heavily involved in racing at the time, fielding cars Super Stock, A/FX and Funny Car classes. Later, he went on to build and market a line of specialty performance cars such the 440 Darts GSS, the 340 Six-Pack Demon and the supercharged 340 Demon GSS. Mr. Norm was inducted in the Mopar Hall Of Fame in 1996. Today, he is continuing on in the specialty car business with the new “Mr. Norm’s GSS Hemi Dart.” His 1971 Dodge “Super Challenger” Funny Car will be offered at the Mecum Belvidere auction.
For Pontiac fans, Jim Mattison has become one of the best assets in the musclecar world. His company, Pontiac Historic Services, provides original factory documentation for 1961 and newer Pontiacs. If you want to know if your car is what it appears to be, Jim and PHS are the definitive sources for Pontiac billing histories. Jim has also done a lot of consulting work with Pontiac, which has resulted in the 1995-96 Comp T/As and the 1996-2002 WS6 Firebirds. Jim also has an impressive record as an SCCA racer and worked at the Chevy COPO offices in the 1960s.