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Dragone Custom Car Auction




Dragone Auctions teamed up with Lime Rock Racetracks to organize their Classic Car Auction at the 2017 Vintage Festival

From Dragone Auctions

The Lime Rock Auction 2017:

This year Dragone Auctions has teamed up with the great Lime Rock Racetrack for their 35th year of its Vintage Festival where they celebrate the history of speed and the automobile. With 4 days of vintage racing, the festival wraps up the weekend with an incredible Concours located right on the racetrack where it features significant collector cars from around the country. The Dragone auction will be taking place during the Concours on Sunday September 3rd at 11 am and will be located right in the center of the Concours adding a whole new element to an already outstanding event. The Dragone sale, with an incredible number of NO RESERVE cars, will be featuring many great and interesting cars, but most notably:

Dragone is well-known as a diverse and experienced company with a lot to offer. The incredible knowledge and expertise we have gained over the years is invaluable – far more significant than anything that can be offered by the big “show” type auction companies that sell cars without a care for (or an honest assessment of) the car’s condition. Dragone takes pride in our work and in the cars that we sell, and we enjoy what we do. There is nothing more satisfying than to know that we have provided the antique, classic and vintage car world with our knowledge, expertise, and (of course) significant motorcars and restorations, and we will continue to do so for years to come.

This Dragone Auction has besides a long list of amazing cars also a few Custom & Movie/TV Cars listed that we will be highlighted here on the CCC. (All info from Dargoon Auctions website.)

Auction will be held.
Sunday, September 3, 2017 at 11:00 AM

60 White Hollow Road
Lakeville, CT 06039

The Barris 1967 Oldsmobile Toronado
Mannix Roadster

George Barris, “The King of Kustomizers” as he is referred to today is considered one of the greatest customizers of all time. Unlike many of the other great customisers and hot rodders of the 1950’s and 1960’s, George capitalized on his talents, selling his creations to movie stars and television and movie production companies leading to some of the most iconic custom movie and TV cars of all time including the Batmobile, the Muster Coach and many many more.

Considered to be one of the best looking cars created for the big screen by Barris, this 1967 Oldsmobile Toronado “Mannix Roadster” created for the hit 1960’s television show “Mannix.” The car was originally built for the series in 1967 and was used for the first two seasons of the show. When Barris first built the car for the 1967 season, he took a brand new stock 1967 Oldsmobile Toronado and cut the roof off, eliminated the back seat and made a custom tonneau covering the rear compartment making it into a two seat roadster. He then gave it a custom interior complete with a rotary telephone and secret hidden gun compartment. In the first season the bottom of the car was painted black and the headlights had sealed beams in them.

George Barris on the left and actor Mike Connors on the set of Mannix.


Screen shots from the Mannix Roadster in the TV show.

For the second season of the show in 1968 Barris took the car back, changed the headlights to the Euro style halogen inserts, changed the bottom part of the body to red and redesigned the seats and added the heated seat feature with small vents for the heat to come through. The car is currently in the exact same original condition that it was when it left the show in 1968 with original paint, upholstery and accessories including its original rotary phone. After it left the show in 1968 the production company sold the car to Charlie Woods who was an amusement park developer from New York. He was building the “Gaslight Village and Amusement park” in Lake George, New York at the time where he put the car on display in 1973 along with the Greta Garbo Duesenberg, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (movie car) and an assortment of other Barris customs including the Munster Coach, the Little Red Wrecker and Bob Hopes golf cart. Upon the closing of Charlie Woods Gaslight Village the car was sold through the Kruse auction of the museum in the late 1980’s to its most recent owner who immediately put it on display in his own private Museum located in Bristol Tennessee where it was on display with the 1928 Porter touring car from the show “My Mother the Car” also built by George Barris, and the “Rickshaw Taxi” another Barris custom built for the 1970 Worlds Fair in Tokyo, Japan.

The car is also featured on the cover of book “Cars of the Stars” by George Barris himself and Jack Scagnetti. This is a wonderful and rare opportunity to own a significant Barris custom that has a great history, an incredible design and a car that even “The King of Kustomizers” himself was extremely fond of. More info on the Mannix Roadster on the Dragone Website.

The Mannix Roadster was also offered as 1/25 scale model car kit from PMC.

This is how the Mannix Roadster looks today.





1950 Chrysler Imperial  by D.M. Nacional

Sedanca DeVille

When custom coachbuilders come to mind, the great French, Italian and German coachbuilders are the few that really stand out, but there was another coachbuilder in Mexico that was making some really stellar bodies on American car chassis between 1950 through 1955 named D.M. Nacional. Founded by a Mexican business man by the name of Ruiz Galindo Jr. who had a love for cars and especially custom coachbuilt cars after a trip he had taken to Europe where he experienced some of the great French and Italian coachbuilders of the time. American cars were the most common in Mexico at the time and parts were most abundant so American chassis made the most sense. Cost for the D.M. Nacional custom bodies ranged from $3000 to $6000 dollars exclusive of the cost of the chassis, which was quite a bit of money considering a new Cadillac at the time was around $7000. Ford’s, Mercury’s and Chryslers were the most popular chassis used and Ruiz Galindo would make the car to the customer’s specifications. For example, he once added six ash trays in a car for a Chicago business man, a wealthy student ordered a car with leather book cases and a radio fan had a car built with no less than three radios inside the car. Much of D.M. Nacional’s designs were very much inspired by the great European designers and these design cues can be seen in many of their bodies.

The 1950 Chrysler Sedanca DeVille when it was first created at the D.M. Nacional shop.

This brings us to one of D.M. National’s most interesting and stylish coachbuilt cars, the 1950 Chrysler Imperial “Sedanca DeVille”. This particular car by D.M. Nacional is a wonderful example of how European inspiration was instilled into D.M. Nacional’s designes. The front fenders sweep all the way back through the rockers into the rear fenders, just like Saoutchik of Paris. It has a low and long roof line with a removable front section like a sporty and proper European custom Sedanca would have and a very graceful and sweeping rear deck that really gives it a spectacular look.

Even though there were quite a few D.M. Nacional customs commissioned during the time it was in business, little to none of their creations still exist today which is why it is such a treat to see a real D.M. Nacional custom coach built car in person. Not much of this cars history is known other than it is believed to have been originally commissioned and built in 1950 or 1951 and was finished in a sporting yellow and black paint scheme with a green interior and an original photograph can be seen of the car sitting in front of the D.M. Nacional building upon its completion. It was much later purchased by its current owner in Connecticut from its previous owner over 30 years ago. The car has been sitting since then and is presented in its current condition complete with its original D.M. Nacional body tags and its original custom fixed landau bars. Although it is in somewhat tough condition, it would be an incredibly interesting and wonderful car to restore and bring back to its original magnificence. Any concours would be enamored to have this car present on their show field. A true piece of coachbuilding history, and possibly the only D.M. Nacional left today. More info on the D.M. Nacional Sedanca DeVille on the Dragone Website.

This is how the Sedanca DeVille looks like today.





The Barris 1928 Porter Touring Car From

My Mother the Car

Authentic George Barris Kustom Industries custom car
Featured in the 1960’s TV show “My Mother the Car”
From the Harrah’s Auto Collection

As the undisputed “King of Kustomizers,” George Barris who began chopping, channeling, and lowering cars at a very early age and just when television crossed over from black & white to color in the 1960s, George Barris was the man that Hollywood called on when a custom TV car was required. Indeed, many of Hollywood’s most famous detectives, crime fighters, movie stars, and musicians all called on the great George Barris for their custom car needs. Through the years Barris masterfully created some of the most iconic television and movie vehicles of all time like the famous Batmobile, Munster coach to name a few. Thus, when producers introduced the concept of a television show featuring a talking car with a mind of its own, they naturally turned to George Barris to create it.


The debut of “My Mother the Car” aired on September 14, 1965, starring Jerry Van Dyke who played the role of attorney David Crabtree and his 1928 Porter Touring car featured the antics of David Crabtree who buys a used and dilapidated 1928 Porter touring car. The car turns out to be the reincarnation of his deceased mother, voiced by actress Ann Sothern, she talks to him through the car’s radio. The car is subsequently restored and becomes the basis for the show’s antics. The “hero” or star car came from noted actor and hot rod builder Norm Grabowski. Starting with a 1924 Ford Model T hot rod, the studio modified the car with an extended engine compartment, Model A Ford wheels, a brass radiator with the “Porter” script, running board-mounted spare tire, and an outboard fuel tank. Early in preproduction it was realized that a second car would be necessary to create the special effects needed for the show. The studio contacted Barris and the stunt car was finished in record time. Barris and his crew built the stunt car with the ability to hide a driver and give the illusion that it was driving itself through an elaborate system of levers and mirrors. With both the cars ready to go, production got underway with 30 episodes filmed for the season.

Screen shots of the car on the TV show.

Offered here to the collector of unusual and unique vehicles is the actual stunt car built by Barris for “My Mother the Car”. Barris’s custom work is all over this treasure from yesteryear and it’s also a Hollywood car that still retains its special features. The hot rod phaeton look is pure 1960s complete with a side mounted spare tire and triple diamond rear windows in the convertible top. Power comes from a 283 cubic-inch Chevrolet V-8 engine mated to a Powerglide two-speed automatic transmission. The interior is the original pleated Black vinyl and the hidden driver remote location in the rear is still intact and in operable condition. The amazing ingenuity of Barris and his crew is clearly evident in the steering system and telescopic lens that allows the rear driver to see the road ahead. There may be other hot rods, but there is no other car that carries the unique features of this Hollywood icon. When production ended, Barris sold the Porter to the Bill Harrah Auto Collection where it was displayed, until going to another museum in Tennessee. The result is that this Porter has very few miles on it and was recently cosmetically refreshed and is now ready to see the open road once again.

Sadly, “My Mother the Car” ran for just one season, before being relegated to television history. Its creator, Allan Burns went on to create a series of critically acclaimed shows including; The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Rhoda, and later collaborated with others to create Room 222, Taxi, and The Simpsons. The concept of a talking car laid the foundation for another show called Knight Rider and once again, George Barris was called upon to modify a 1982 Pontiac Trans Am for crime fighting antics. Very few cars carry the provenance of being a George Barris custom and a television star, but this 1928 Porter is a car that represents an opportunity to acquire something unique and special and is sure to be the only one at the show. More info on the Mother the Car Porter on the Dragone Website.

The car how it looks today. Inset photo shows an AMT 1/25 scale model kit of the car.



The Barris Ricksha Taxi

Unique one-of-a-kind build
Unrestored original
Featured at the 1970 Tokyo World’s Fair

In the 1970s, when something out of the ordinary was needed in the custom car world, the man to turn to was the great George Barris. Batman and Robin found this out rather quickly, as they fought crime every week in one of Barris’s custom cars. When the Munsters needed a new family coach, it was George Barris who supplied it. Even “The Monkeys”, used a George Barris custom built car based on a GTO platform. In the era of the 1970, Barris’s cars were seen all over, as he supplied custom creations to just about every Hollywood TV show. So, it was that when the organizers of the 1970 World’s Fair needed something unique, they contacted George Barris who created the “Ricksha.” Wild, different, and outrageous are just a few words that begin to describe this custom-build, as Barris’s team pulled out all the stops to make something that had never been seen before.

George Barris with the Ricksha Taxi in front of the North Hollywood Barris Shop. Inset shows a 1/20 scale MPC model kit of the vehicle.

The basis for the build was to create George’s version of an Osaka Taxi for the 1970 World’s Fair. The result was a fully operational and functional three-wheel vehicle powered by an enormous engine. A hand built chassis of rectangular tubing incorporated a swinging third yoke for the super strong front-wheel steering apparatus. Steering was through a tiller that is a simulated Scimitar sword that operates a power-assist unit for steering. The shock absorbers were spring loaded and adjustable to handle the weight and the frame was a strengthened “Z” design that held it all together, with a Chevrolet rear-end, which put all the power to the ground.

This “Risksha,” was a trike like no other in the world. The added features of the Rickshaw are found in the visual cues that are mounted on every angle of this unique build. Starting at the front, its single wheel is a slotted 1960s style rim with a quarter fender over the top. The radiator is covered by an Asian rice hat. A sculptured three-headed dragon air-cleaner covers the 400 cubic-inch Chevy V-8 engine, with a “spaghetti noodle” header system that is a marvel of design. The interior and folding top are fully upholstered and all gauges are chrome bullet shaped. The unique steering system has just the sword and a statue of Buddha graces the rear. Clearly, there is nothing that isn’t unique about this incredible custom and it’s a vehicle that can be looked at over and over in amazement. More info on the Ricksha Taxi on the Dragone Website.

The Ricksha Taxi was also name the Rickshaw Buggy as we can see on the Barris Sticker Cards from the 1970’s.



Rik Hoving

Rik is the CCC editor in chief. As a custom car historian he is researching custom car history for many years. In 2004 he started the Custom Car Photo Archive that has become a place of joy for many custom car enthousiasts. Here at CCC Rik will bring you inspiring articles on the history of custom cars and builders. Like a true photo detective he will show us what's going on in all those amazing photos. He will write stories about everything you want to know in the realm of customizing. In daily life Rik is a Graphic Designer. He is married to the CCC webmaster and the father of a 10 year old son (they are both very happy with his excellent cooking skills)

6 thoughts on “Dragone Custom Car Auction

  • This is less of a comment about the cars and more of a comment about the information posted by the auction company.
    George Barris didn’t build either the Monkeemobile or the Green Hornet car as stated in their write up.. Dean Jeffries did. Barris did own the Monkeemobile for a while as the studio put it up for sale and he bought it. When AMT or who ever it was came out with the model kit of the Monkeemobile, Barris made them put his name on the model box. As In “Geoprge Barris’s Monkeemobile.” I believe that this was one of the reasons behind the “Fued” between Barris and Jeffries.
    You would think by now people would have this all straight. Oh well…..

  • George must have been buying up new Toronados by the shipload! At the time he was building four custom Toronados for Essso Canada to be given away in a contest for the Expo 67 in celebration of Canada’s 100th birthday. George may also have built a fifth for his own use (still trying to confirm this if anyone has info.). A friend of mine has one of the “’67X’s”, but feels as though it my be George’s personal car(which he purported to have called “70X”. George himself could not confirm even after viewing the car in person while at our local car show. Anyway, the Manix Toronado is yet another interesting car from the fertile mind of Mr. Barris while he catered to the movie/TV industries.. Thanks for this!


    p.s. Interesting (clever?) way that George got to label that AMT kit – after all at that time it was HIS Monkeymobile..! I guess you have to admire his gall. No wonder those not in the know are confused! Gets me riled at times too Torchie!

  • Goofy cars…but an excellent example of George and his impeccable promotional skills. That Olds Tornado isn’t that bad, I guess…

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