Top Collection of American Muscle Carts to Hit Auction Block
Brothers Tim and Paul Wellborn have never been much for foreign rides. Oh, no. It’s the muscle cars made right here in the USA that they love the most. For Tim Wellborn, it all started the day his dad rolled up in a 1971 Dodge Hemi Charger.
“I’d sit in that thing and dream as a little kid,” he told reporters recently. “I turned 16 and wouldn’t you know, the keys just disappeared to that car. That’s probably why I’m still alive. No 16-year-old kid should have the keys to a Hemi. But ever since then I’ve been a muscle car guy.”
In the decades since Dad’s epic roll up the driveway, the Wellborn brothers have amassed one of the nation’s top collections of American muscle cars, creating the Wellborn Muscle Car Museum in Alexander City, Alabama to show them off. Now, 25 of the 70 cars in the collection will go up for bid next month at the Mecum Auctions even in Kissimmee, Florida, Jan. 16-25.
Among the rides sure to command the crowd’s attention are:
- A 1969 Dodge Hemi Daytona with a NASCAR race motor and just 6,000 original miles;
- A 1971 Dodge Hemi Charger R/T that may be one of just three in the world with a sunroof – a next to unheard of option back in the day- and one of only 63 built that year with the 426/425 HP Hemi engine;
- A 1970 Plymouth AAR Cuda, with an original 340/275 HP Six Pack V-8 engine;
- A 1970 Dodge Challenger T/A, unrestored, with 30,411 miles since new;
- A 1970 Buick GSX Stage 1, one of 118 produced with a 4-speed manual transmission;
- A copper-colored 1978 Pontiac Firebird driven by actor James Garner in The Rockford Files;
- And a black 1978 Pontiac Trans Am owned by actor Burt Reynolds and used in several of the Smokey and the Bandit films.
Mecum Auctions officials call the Wellborn collection lots the best group of muscle cars they’ve ever sold – and with good reason, according to Wellborn.
“I’ve known plenty of friends and collectors who are big into foreign sports exotics, and they’re nice,” he says. But for me there’s nothing like American stuff. Something about those big engines and the sound they make. Once that’s imprinted on you, that’s it.”
Will you place a bit on one of these dream machines? Post your thoughts and pics on the E3 Spark Plugs Facebook Fan Page.