A ‘break even’ deal but with a Pebble Beach profit

Richard Rawlings drives his '29 Packard onto the auction block | Larry Edsall photos
Richard Rawlings with his ’29 Packard on the auction block Friday at Leake’s Dallas sale| Larry Edsall photos

If you’ve watched Discovery Channel’s Fast N’ Loud television show, you might be surprised to hear Richard Rawlings, owner of the Gas Monkey Garage that is featured in the program, say that one of his goals in the car world was to go to Pebble Beach, but not as a spectator.

Most of what we see on TV is Rawlings going out and finding a vehicle, buying it from the owner for the smallest price possible and bringing it back to the shop where he cajoles Aaron Kaufmann and his crew to get the car ready to flip for a quick profit.

But I guess there’s reality and reality TV. In the case of the only surviving 1929 Packard 645 Deluxe Eight Rollston-bodied roadster, a car built to be displayed at the 1928 New York Auto Show and held by its original owner and his family from new until 2011, the reality was that Rawling purchased it at Worldwide’s fall sale a few years ago in Auburn, Indiana.

Rawlings (right) chats with St. Louis-area classic car dealer Scott Brandt of Motoexotica
Rawlings (right) chats with St. Louis-area classic car dealer Scott Brandt of Motoexotica

“I bought the car for one reason,” Rawlings said Friday in Dallas. “I wanted to go to Pebble Beach and I didn’t want to be a spectator.”

Sure enough, a few months later, Rawlings received a telephone call from the Pebble Beach concours d’elegance car-selection committee, inviting the car to be displayed on the 18th fairway this August.

“I really don’t want to sell this car,” Rawlings added Friday after driving the car onto the block at Leake Auction Company’s Dallas sale, “but I’m in the car business.”

Rawlings said he’s enjoyed the car so much that he’s driven it around 1,000 miles, but the time had come to cash out and start looking for perhaps his new ride to the world’s most prestigious car show.

Bidding started at $100,000. The next bid doubled that amount. Next came $250,000, then $3k, and $350,000 and $375,000, $385,000 and $395,000, which is when Rawlings removed his reserve.

There was a bid for $400,000 and one for $410,000 before the hammer struck “sold!”

Rawlings drove the car off the block and then told Classic Car News that it had been “my lifelong desire” to show a car at Pebble Beach, and this car had made that possible.

He added that he’d paid $400,000 for the car and even after paying his commission to the auction house would just about break even.

“But,” he added, “I was on the lawn at Pebble!”

Oh, and Rawlings said he plans to return to Pebble at some point.

“I’ll be there again,” he said, noting that after seeing the age of many of those showing cars at Pebble, he figures he has time to seek his next true classic, adding that, “I’m only 46 years old.”

Share your comments