Written by Nicole Ellan James
Sure, times change, but California will always be associated with beautiful beaches, gorgeous weather, and Hollywood stars. Car enthusiasts also know the state for its fantastic roads like the fabled Pacific Coast Highway. To appreciate all that California has to offer, you need the right set of wheels, which you’ll be sure to find in the SoCal Collection, a select offering of over 40 vehicles selling with No Reserve at the 2022 Barrett-Jackson Las Vegas Auction.
The core of the collection is composed of Chevrolet vehicles, ranging from the ’50s through ’60s showcasing the best the Bowtie brand had to offer, followed by a selection of Ford Broncos and Mustangs. Other highlights include a 1969 Plymouth HEMI Road Runner, a 1965 Pontiac GTO convertible, and offerings to represent Buick, Dodge, Mercury, Chrysler, and Studebaker.
Mercedes-Benz cars also play starring roles. Like many of the cars offered from this collection, Lot #685, a 1959 Mercedes-Benz 190SL roadster, has been the subject of professional restoration. The original 1897cc engine was rebuilt, and it retains the correct dual Solex carburetors and its original 4-speed transmission potentially making it an ideal machine to cruise through California’s picturesque mountain roads.
The driver can enjoy restored black leather seats, a factory radio and clock, and a white steering wheel inside. This star from the collection is finished in Maybach Cote D’Azure Blue Metallic paint, which complements its factory Mercedes-Benz hubcaps with wide whitewall tires for a classic look.
Additionally offered is a 1961 Mercedes-Benz 190SL roadster, selling with No Reserve as Lot #775.1. The 1961 model is finished in Ivory paint and comes with a Dark Cacao Mohair soft-top and a factory detachable hardtop. Similar to the other 190SL offered, this car retains its original matching-numbers 1.9-liter 4-cylinder rebuilt engine, upgraded Mikuni twin-choke carburetors and its factory 4-speed manual transmission.
Among the notable Chevrolets in the SoCal Collection is Lot #776, a 1966 Chevy II Nova custom coupe that’s ready to hit California’s drag strips. Power is supplied by a 6.2-liter LS3 V8 engine producing 500hp. An automatic overdrive transmission is mated to the engine which sends power down to a Quick Performance 9-inch rear differential. This Nova has been mini-tubbed to house its 20-inch Chrome Coys five-spoke wheels and it utilizes a four-link rear suspension and reinforced front strut clip bars along with a Mustang II front end with rack & pinion steering.
The exterior sports Copper Candy paint while within the Nova the factory-style bucket seats as well as a center console, tilt steering column, custom Dakota Digital gauge cluster, Vintage Air conditioning and a Jensen double DIN stereo head unit add to the driver’s comfort.
If ever there was a car designed for winding mountain roads it is Lot #775, a 1965 Chevrolet Corvette 327/375hp Fuelie, one of 771 produced for the model year. Under the hood of this Corvette is an L84 engine equipped with factory Rochester fuel injection. It’s backed by a 4-speed manual transmission and a posi-traction rear end. The Corvette is finished in its factory Milano Maroon paint and comes with 4-wheel disc brakes, power windows and a telescoping steering wheel.
Few cars are more “California iconic” than a 1956 Chevrolet Nomad wagon, and The SoCal Collection has three of them. The first, known as “Sweet Pea” (Lot #776.1) is finished in a two-tone Avocado and Apple pastel shades of green with a stock pale green interior. It is equipped with a Vintage Air conditioning system and rides on custom 18-inch five-spoke wheels.
Power comes from a 350ci Chevrolet V8 engine mated to an upgraded TH350 transmission. It has been equipped with a 4-barrel carburetor, MSD ignition, power steering and the front brakes have been upgraded with power-assist discs.
Another 1956 Chevrolet Nomad Wagon, Lot #676.1, comes finished in Mercedes Starlight Silver over Gunmetal Grey Metallic with new chrome and polished stainless steel body trim.
Power is provided by a ZZ4 350ci small block Chevrolet V8 crate engine with tuned port injection, tubular headers, and lots of chrome dress-up components. The engine is hooked to a GM 700R4 overdrive automatic transmission geared for high-speed freeway driving and a 9-inch Ford rear end. Stance comes via 4-link suspension while stopping power is provided by 4-wheel drilled and slotted disc brakes behind a set of deep dish custom chrome wheels sporting low profile tires.
Other Chevrolets offered from the collection include a 1955 Chevrolet Bel Air convertible (Lot #664), a 1956 Chevrolet Bel Air custom coupe (Lot #451) as well as an additional 1956 Chevrolet Nomad custom wagon (Lot #453). The 1957 model year is well represented in the collection with a Chevrolet Bel Air two-door hardtop (Lot #793.1), a Corvette 283/245hp convertible (Lot #665), and a Nomad Wagon (Lot #6641.1). The collection also includes three Impalas (Lot #s 793, 794 and 795.1) with two representing the 1958 model year and one from 1959.
Rounding out the Chevrolets is Lot #452.1, a 1962 Chevrolet Corvette convertible and four vehicles to represent the 1969 model year: a C10 custom pickup (Lot #447), a Camaro SS (Lot #450), and two Chevelle SS 396s (Lot #s 453.1 and 794.1). The 1970s and ’80s are included with a 1970 Chevrolet Corvette 454/390hp T-Top coupe (Lot #444.1) and a 1985 Chevrolet K10 Custom Pickup (Lot #375.1).
Ready to take on the beach and representing the Blue Oval brand is Lot #683, a custom 1971 Ford Bronco. The restoration was completed in December of 2021. It receives power from a rebuilt 302ci V8 engine hooked to an NV3550 5-speed manual transmission. The engine is topped with aluminum heads, an aluminum intake, and Edelbrock 4-barrel carburetor. The Bronco is additionally equipped with MSD ignition. Driving is easy with power steering and power front disc brakes. It rides on a 2.5-inch suspension lift and features a family roll bar and all new glass. The driver and passengers can enjoy the Bronco’s new white interior and jam out to tunes from the upgraded digital readout stereo and enjoy air conditioning from Vintage Air for those hot California days.
Other Fords offered from the SoCal collection consist of Lot #796, a 1956 Ford Thunderbird convertible, and two 1965 Mustangs — one a Ford convertible (Lot #450.1) and the other a Shelby re-creation convertible (Lot #449.1). Additionally, a custom 1969 Ford Bronco 4×4 (Lot #795), 1969 Ford Mustang Mach 1 fastback (Lot #452) and a 1973 Ford Bronco (Lot #446.1) round out the offering of Fords.
Finished in Vitamin C Orange is Lot #679.1, a custom 1969 Plymouth HEMI Road Runner powered by an upgraded period-correct 426ci HEMI engine backed by a TREMEC 5-speed manual transmission with a limited-slip differential at the rear. The engine is topped with a Holley double pumper 4-barrel carburetor while the exhaust is expelled through a dual system from Borla. The engine is kept cool with dual electric fans and an aluminum radiator.
Stopping power is provided by drilled and vented discs on all four corners with Wilwood calipers behind a set of Cragar five-spoke chrome alloy wheels.
The inside of this Road Runner is adorned with a stock black vinyl interior with the factory bench seat, a Hurst shifter, and a modern Sanden air conditioning system with a face-off Kenwood stereo.
Additional Mopars include Lot #663.1, a 1970 Plymouth Road Runner, Lot #376, a 1970 Dodge Super Bee, and Lot #448, a 1957 Chrysler Imperial Crown coupe with 392ci FirePower HEMI V8.
For Mercury fans there is Lot #445, a 1953 Mercury Monterey convertible and Lot #445.1, a 1956 Mercury Montclair custom coupe.
Another standout from the collection is Lot #680.1, a 1965 Pontiac GTO convertible. It is an original 389ci Tri-Power V8 with an automatic transmission. The GTO is equipped with power steering, power brakes and a power convertible top. The interior features a black vinyl and woodgrain dash and woodgrain steering wheel. Finished in Blue Mist Slate Metallic, this GTO sits on a set of factory Rally wheels with redline tires.
Other GTOs from the collection include examples of the 1967 model year as well 1970 and 1972 (Lot #s 449, 446 and 663).
Three additional vehicles, Lot #349, a 1949 Studebaker custom pickup, Lot #448.1, a 1957 Buick Special convertible, and Lot #447.1, a 1963 Buick Riviera, finish up the collection.
All in all, The SoCal collection offers some California Dreamin’ powered by many of the most iconic vehicles in the collector car hobby.
Written by Nicole Ellan James Sure, times change, but California will always be associated with beautiful beaches, gorgeous weather, and Hollywood stars. Car enthusiasts also know the state for its fantastic roads like the fabled Pacific Coast Highway. To appreciate all that California has to offer, you need the right set of wheels, which you’ll