Massive private collection for sale in Houston

| 17 Mar 2015

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.

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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. 

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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.

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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. 

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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. 

Mecum Auctions

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.

Mecum Auctions

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