A vast collection of classic cars belonging to Texas business mogul and former owner of the Houston Rockets – Charlie Thomas – will go under the hammer at Mecum's forthcoming 9-11 April sale. The 45-car set, which ranges from the eclectic to the iconic, heads up a bumper offering of more than 1000 musclecars.
One of the stars of the Charlie Thomas Collection is a striking 1959 DeSoto Adventurer – one of just 590 examples built. The Virgil Exner-designed, finned beauty sports a powerful 350bhp 383cu in V8 and features power steering, air conditioning and push-button automatic transmission. It is expected to sell for $80-90,000.
A 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air Convertible is one for the true connoisseur of '50s Americana. The 'Fuelie' doesn't have the biggest engine on the option list, but it does have the most powerful; the Rochester fuel injection set-up offered an impressive 283bhp – the highest specific output of any American car at that time.
This example has covered 143 miles since a full body-off restoration, and is finished in its original factory-correct Matador Red. It has a pre-sale estimate of $120-130,000.
Fans of the Indy 500 will be intrigued by a 1953 Ford Crestline Sunliner – one of 2001 pace car special editions, which is estimated at $30-40,000. The Crestline was only the second model to pace the Indianapolis 500, with the majority of the examples built – which feature a higher compression 239cu in engine than that fitted to standard models – being shipped to Ford's dealerships, with the odd one out destined for the Ford Museum.
Historic rally enthusiasts will have struggled to ignore the Chevrolet Coupe's success on this year's Road to Mandalay Rally, and may be tempted by an immaculate 1935 example from the collection. Fitted with a 235cu in six-cylinder engine and three-speed transmission, the car looks fantastic with its white wire wheels and gum-dipped Firestone whitewall tyres.
A 1971 Monte Carlo offers more luxurious motoring with comfortable bench seats, air conditioning, power steering and an automatic transmission to suit a more modest budget. The 270bhp 350cu in Turbo-Fire V8 engine means it's no slouch, while with just 71,704 miles it's enjoyed a cosseted life. It looks well worth its $15-25,000 estimate.
Just two years younger – but looking much more of its period – is a Plymouth Road Runner. Finished in a more-attractive-than-it-sounds Medium Green Metallic, the 336bhp muscle car is simple, purposeful and now, very desirable. Its 383cu in V8 and TorqueFlite 727 automatic transmission should keep you entertained at the lights, while unassisted steering should offer plenty of feel on the open road. It is expected to fetch $35-45,000.
The rest of the collection
1957 Ford Thunderbird
1958 Chevrolet Cameo Pickup
1966 Ford Mustang GT Convertible
1965 Chevrolet Corvair Monza Convertible
1965 Mercury Monterey Marauder
1971 Volkswagen Double Cab Pickup
1953 Chevrolet Bel Air Hardtop
1929 Ford Model A Roadster Pickup
1964 Ford Falcon Futura Convertible
1966 Ford Mustang Convertible
1968 Ford Mustang Convertible
1973 Mercury Cougar XR7 Convertible
1974 Chevrolet Cheyenne Pickup
1989 Lincoln Town Car
1990 Chevrolet Camaro IROC-Z Convertible
1994 Pontiac Trans Am 25th Anniversary
1999 Jeep Wranger Sport
1951 Ford Stake Bed Pickup
1941 Cadillac Series 62 Convertible Sedan
1961 Chevrolet Impala
1932 Plymouth PC Coupe
1932 ford Hi-Boy street rod
1963 Chevrolet Corvette Split Window Coupe
1954 Mercury Sun Valley Hardtop
1960 Chevrolet Impala Convertible
1959 Lincoln Continental Landau
1958 Edsel Citation Convertible
1955 Cadillac Eldorado Convertible
1957 Ford Thunderbird F-Code
1937 Ford Deluxe Cabriolet
1931 Chevrolet Deluxe Sport Roadster
1959 Mercedes-Benz 190SL
1953 Ford Crestline Victoria Hardtop
1961 Chevrolet Impala Bubble Top
1937 Lincoln Model K Limousine
1956 Chevrolet Bel Air Four-door Hardtop
1959 Chevrolet Apache Pickup
1963 Ford Thunderbird Convertible
2005 Ventnor 20-foot Vagabond Runabout