From an ex-Cunningham Lister-Jaguar “Knobbly” sports racer to an unrestored, 39,000-mile Ford Pinto Squire station wagon, and from a 1956 Bimbo racer formerly owned by E.L. Cord to an ex-Bud Moore NASCAR stock car, Colin Comer’s consignments for Mecum’s Monterey auction are eclectic, to say the least.
Oh, and there’s also an Indy car in the mix.
Comer, the well-known car-restoration specialist and automotive author, has consigned 13 cars from his own collection to the sale, which Mecum calls “the daytime auction,” scheduled for August 16-19 at the Hyatt Regency Monterey hotel and spa.
“As a teenager, noted automotive journalist Colin Comer was restoring vintage competition Ferraris, prewar Alfa Romeos and British sports cars,” Mecum Auctions notes in its online catalog description.
“Soon, he ventured out on his own and started his own restoration shop from his two-car garage: Colin E. Comer Automotive Services. Within a few years, Comer had expanded to an actual shop and changed his doing-business-as name to Classic Auto, as in Comer’s own words: ‘I was a teenager working on priceless cars. I would have people come in, see this ‘kid’ working on cars and ask to speak to the boss’.
“ ‘So I took my name off the door so I could say, “the old man isn’t in today, but I’ll be happy to help you.” Not that it helped because after a while people figured out there was no old man!’ ”
There still isn’t an old man. Comer is in his latish 40s, author of nearly a dozen books, several of them focused on vehicles by Carroll Shelby. He also finds time to do vintage races and rallies, and his 1958 Lister-Jaguar and 1993 NASCAR Ford Thunderbird are familiar sites at such events.
“All of the race cars get raced, all of the street cars get driven,” Comer told Mecum. “Every car in the collection is totally sorted out, tuned, ready to hop in and use. They are all on a maintenance schedule and nothing gets left until ‘next time.’ ”
Mecum reports that the Knobbly is one of two formerly used by Briggs Cunningham’s famed racing team and the second of the nine such cars built by Lister. The car was driven by the likes of Stirling Moss, John Fitch, Walt Hansgen, Chuck Daigh and Cunningham himself during the 1958-60 seasons, and helped win the 1958 SCCA national championship and won the 125- and 500-mile events at Road America in 1959.
The NASCAR Thunderbird carried No. 15 and was built as a road-course car that Geoff Bodine drove to victory at Sears Point in 1993. Lake Speed and Dick Trickle subsequently drove the car, which after racing for Bud Moore’s team was sold to Robert Yates Racing.
“Every car in the collection is totally sorted out, tuned, ready to hop in and use.”
— Colin Comer
Also from the Comer collection is the 1964 Eisert “Harrison Special” Indy car, which Mecum says is the “oldest remaining mid-engined American Indy Car.”
The car, powered by a small-block Chevrolet Corvette engine, was commissioned by Frank Harrison from Jerry Eisert, who based the car on the Lotus F1 chassis. Al Unser Sr. attempted to qualify the car at Indy. But Billy Foster and Johnny Rutherford put it into the field for subsequent U.S. Auto Club events. Ronnie Bucknum tried unsuccessfully to qualify the car at Indy after it became part of the Arciero Brothers team.
The other cars heading from Comer’s collection to Mecum’s sale are:
- A 1974 Ford Pinto Squire station wagon that Comer bought from the original owner.
- A 1956 Bimbo (Baby Ferrari) racer originally owned by E.L. Cord and purchased for his grandchildren to drive.
- An unrestored, 10,000-mile 1965 Sunbeam Tiger Mk1 roadster.
- An unrestored, 7,000-mile 1971 DeTomaso Pantera.
- A 1961 Austin-Healey Bugeye Sprite.
- A 1963 Studebaker Avanti R2 with factory four-speed transmission.
- A 1968 Jeep Wagoneer Custom Special.
- An unrestored supercharged 1953 Buick Skylark convertible.
A 1985 Alfa Romeo Spider “Graduate.”
- An unrestored 1965 Alfa Romeo Giulia Sprint Speciale.