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An amazing shoot for a local billionaire's estate

Discussion in 'Transportation' started by p27rpy, May 4, 2011.

  1. p27rpy


    Nov 1, 2010
    Yes, that's billionaire with a "B"!

    I was contacted by an auction company that is in charge of liquidating a portion of the cars. They wanted me to photograph a few of the cars for their publication, and had a very short time frame. I went out last week to shoot and was completely blown away. I had no idea what I was walking in to, thinking it was just a small collection. This notable Houstonian had amassed a collection of over 650 cars worth a staggering $100 million dollars. He had famous movie star's cars (Madonna, Steve McQueen, Marlene Dietrich - the list goes on and on), notable cars from movies, racing, history and more. It was amazing that there was a gem like this in Houston, and I'd never heard of it.

    The caretakers at the warehouse told me that I was actually looking at only 1/3 of the previous inventory, and that I was photographing the "leftovers"...as he said, "All the Enzo's, McLaren's, F50's, F40's and Bugatti's all left about 9 months ago"

    While this was an amazing opportunity, it is very sad that the estate has decided to liquidate all these cars. The previous owner had wanted to strike a deal with the city of Houston to make a museum featuring all these cars so that the public could enjoy them for years to come. It is especially disheartening because it is doubtful that there will EVER be a collection of this quality and size ever amassed in the United States again. What a golden opportunity missed.

    1909 Cartercar Model H Touring. I'd never heard of this brand until now. It goes down as the oldest car I've ever driven! Well, driven as in steered while it was being pulled by a golf cart.

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    1985 Aston Martin Lagonda. What an ugly car! This think reminded me of a stealth fighter, as it reflected ALL the light I put on it which made it very hard to photograph.

    The interior was straight 80's, with a dash layout like an old Macintosh computer and CRT (that's right, CRT) displays. How, um, futuristic.

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    1957 Ford Fairlane 500. Immaculate inside and out. Love the color scheme.

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    1957 Lincoln Continental Mark II. This car won awards at SEMA among many others. This thing was ridiculous in person. Bagged suspension, paint that was so glossy it looked like it was a foot deep. Such a beautiful car.

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    1961 Nash Metropolitan. Called it the "Creampuff", haha. The doors felt like two sheets of steel welded together with nothing in between because, well, that's pretty much what it was. Gotta love safety standards of the '60's.

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    1916 Oldsmobile Model 44 Roadster. Bill Harrah's old car.

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    http://civitello.smugmug.com/Cars/oquinn/i-F42p6rS/0/XL/model 44 interior 3-XL.jpg

    1931 Ford Model A Victoria. I loved the paint scheme on this car. The photos just don't do it justice.

    http://civitello.smugmug.com/Cars/oquinn/i-PpFXvtk/0/L/model a 3-4-L.jpg

    http://civitello.smugmug.com/Cars/oquinn/i-rR8Sn8x/0/L/model a side-L.jpg

    1965 Mercury Park Lane. For some reason, I loved this car. The green dash was awesome.

    http://civitello.smugmug.com/Cars/oquinn/i-5NF6Wpq/0/L/park lane 3-4-L.jpg

    http://civitello.smugmug.com/Cars/oquinn/i-ZdRwWKF/0/L/park lane interior-L.jpg

    1927 Rolls Royce Phantom I Towncar. Very regal looking car

    http://civitello.smugmug.com/Cars/oquinn/i-6jcV57V/0/L/rolls royce 3-4-L.jpg

    http://civitello.smugmug.com/Cars/oquinn/i-ZLs7QK6/0/L/rolls royce emblem-L.jpg

    A beautiful 1955 T-Bird that was in immaculate shape.

    http://civitello.smugmug.com/Cars/oquinn/i-gfPbcwv/0/L/thunderbird 3-4-L.jpg

    http://civitello.smugmug.com/Cars/oquinn/i-wjVctSt/0/L/thunderbird rear 3-4-L.jpg

    http://civitello.smugmug.com/Cars/oquinn/i-KZ9QHJ8/0/L/thunderbird engine-L.jpg

    http://civitello.smugmug.com/Cars/oquinn/i-s6hKKCn/0/L/thunderbird front emblem-L.jpg

    Two quick cell phone shots of the Pope John Paul II's 1975 Ford Escort GL, and FDR's 1941 Presidential Packard Limousine.



    Here are two quick videos I took on my phone so that you can get an idea of how large this place was.



    You can view the rest of the photos here.
  2. amazing collection and a great opportunity for you, great job!
  3. Tom Larsen

    Tom Larsen

    Jan 18, 2008
    That was fun, thanks for sharing.
  4. seres


    Jan 25, 2009
    Yes, thanks for sharing, both the photos and the story!
  5. What a fab set of photo's the lincoln made me laugh out loud, try driving that in the UK today, I had a nash metropolitan when I was young it was made primarily for the US market and having grown up in the motor trade (I had 32 cars before I was 24) this was the most dangerous car I have ever driven.
  6. Big Hobbit

    Big Hobbit

    Nov 14, 2010

    Great set, and thanks for sharing.
  7. p27rpy


    Nov 1, 2010
    haha no kidding! looked like a little tin can on wheels!

    thanks for the comments, everyone
  8. Thanks for sharing. We've got a collection that's very similar here in Tacoma. The late Harold LeMay started collecting years ago ... made his money running the garbage business in the county!! Luckily, the powers-to-be ARE putting together a museum for a portion of the collection.

    Your shots are excellent!!


  9. plugsnpixels


    Oct 5, 2008
    LA area
    Great work! Where can I pick up a couple of these, ha!
  10. viacorsa


    Jan 13, 2010
    I've heard of this collection. But that was many years ago. From what I recall, the owner not only bought every car he liked, but in every variation of color as well. The story I saw featured a row of late 1980s Ferrari Testarossas in a rainbow of colors. It was amazing. I always wondered what became of the collection...so this is sad news to me.

    Oh and for what it is worth, 650 cars in a single museum would have been the absolute LARGEST car museum in the world. By contrast, the Mercedes Museum in Germany ONLY has 160 cars.
  11. Kingfisher


    Dec 26, 2010
    I'm on the fence with this one. Cars are meant to be driven and used, at least on a closed course if they don't meet today's standards for road worthiness. As much as I like to look at these wonderful pieces of mechanical history, I prefer to see someone driving down the road enjoying it instead of sitting in a museum. I guess they will last longer in a museum. Even Jay Leno drives his collection.

    BTW> great collection of shots. It must have been very exciting to be around all those cars?
  12. Pegruder


    Dec 14, 2009
    Bayside, NY
  13. Mind boggling being around so many unique vehicles. The videos are terrific - really show you the size of the place.
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