Have you seen Barrett-Jackson on tv and made a mental note of putting that on your bucket list? Barrett-Jackson puts on an amazing show, but there is more to Scottsdale Auction week if you are prepared to venture off the beaten track and visit some of the other auctions going on! If you are lucky, you will see some fantastic cars, meet some amazing people and hear some astonishing car stories, just like this one about the infamous Plainsman Concept Car where a chance encounter with the current owner, Mr. Pete Vicari, at Worldwide Auctioneers provided the material for this article!
Note: Yet another interesting article by Tony LaHood. Republished with his approval! Enjoy. -TK
Malcolm Bricklin and John DeLorean are well known to this audience, but do the names James and Edward Gaylord ring a bell? Probably not. Even so, the brothers Gaylord built one of the more interesting cars of its time. Or more specifically, three of them.
The story starts with the brothers themselves, who had the good sense to be born into money. Their father was the inventor of the bobby pin, which made him an extremely wealthy man. His son Edward eventually stepped in to run their Chicago-based family business, known as Gayla, quite successfully. Both he and his brother, James, who operated out of Scottsdale, Arizona, had been lifelong car fanatics, having grown up with Packards, Pierce-Arrows, Stutzes and Duesenbergs gracing the family driveway.
You really don’t see as much of this anymore, for several reasons: first, manufacturers no longer have the kind of mad money it takes to design, produce and market vehicles that disrespect the economies of scale. Also, the once-vaunted “halo effect” is increasingly irrelevant to consumers–after all, is the average Altima or Civic buyer the least bit influenced by the existence of the GT-R or NSX?
And then there’s the matter of political correctness; seriously, if a car maker offered a model geared toward a specific gender or other personal demographic today, howls of protest would reverberate, boycotts would form, and the offender would be made to attend automotive sensitivity training conducted by a newly formed Federal Department of Indignation Resolution.
The 1960 Imperial was thoroughly restyled, along with its less prestigious corporate siblings. The 1959’s toothsome front end was replaced in favor of a smoother visage. Overall lines were smoother too, especially on the two-door Southampton and Crown convertible.
There’s just something about 1950s Cadillacs. It really was their decade. Depending on the era, there’s always that gotta have it vehicle. In the ’30s it was a Duesenberg, in the ’40s most likely a Packard, but in the ’50s a Caddy was the American Dream on four whitewalls. Harley Earl, the head of GM Design back then, did whatever the hell he wanted. And usually, it worked. Take, for instance, the 1956 Cadillac lineup.