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Press Release

Cherished Classics from The Pettit Collection Will Be Offered Without Reserve

The 1929 Duesenberg “Blue J” and 11 collector cars from the William A. C. Pettit, III Collection will be sold at Gooding & Company’s Pebble Beach Auctions. Estate Proceeds will benefit the Shriners Hospital for Children®-Tampa.

SANTA MONICA, Calif. (June 25, 2012) – Gooding & Company, the acclaimed auction house celebrated for selling the world’s most significant and valuable collector cars, is honored to present the finest automobiles of the William A.C. Pettit, III Collection at its Pebble Beach Auctions on August 18 & 19. Consummate enthusiasts and collectors, Bill Pettit and his father W.A. Claude Pettit owned the Pettit Brothers Chrysler-Plymouth-Dodge-Jeep dealership and Museum of Motoring Memories in Natural Bridge, Virginia, for many years. The centerpiece of the Pebble Beach Auctions’ Pettit Collection is the “Blue J,” a renowned 1929 Duesenberg Model J Dual-Cowl Phaeton widely recognized for its incomparable styling, wonderful originality and signature blue livery. Presented without reserve, all 12 motor cars epitomize the quality and preserved state of Bill Pettit’s museum-quality collection and the lifelong passion of the genuine enthusiast who passed away earlier this year.

“Bill Pettit built one of the finest and most extensive automotive collections of his era and was generous enough to share it with enthusiasts around the world for decades,” says David Gooding, President and founder of Gooding & Company. “Our Pebble Beach Auction will be an important opportunity for collectors to take home one of the great classics in Bill’s extraordinary estate, many of which have been in the family since the 1940s. We sincerely hope that the next generation of collectors appreciate how special these cars are and continue Bill’s legacy of quality stewardship.”

Gooding & Company’s Pebble Beach Auctions presents a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for car enthusiasts to own one of finest cars in the Pettit estate, which have benefitted from decades of pampering and preservation under Bill Pettit’s direction. As requested by the former owner, who was dedicated to supporting developments in children’s healthcare, estate proceeds will be donated to the Shriners Hospital for Children®, which Bill Pettit believed offered the best care.

Bill Pettit’s Museum of Motoring Memories Opened in 1958 by Bill Pettit and his father, the Museum of Motoring Memories in Natural Bridge, Virginia, operated for nine years as one of the country’s leading family travel destinations with more than 150 collector cars, endless memorabilia and over 4,000 license plates on display.

“Blue J,” a 1929 Duesenberg Model J Dual-Cowl Phaeton Chassis No. 2292; Engine No. J-270 This well-known Model J still carries its original engine, chassis and LeBaron Dual-Cowl Phaeton coachwork. In 1937, while owned by Franklin d’Olier, Jr., J-270 was restyled by the Derham Custom Body Company by adding fashionable skirted fenders, a dramatic V’d windscreen with winged side windows, bullet-type headlamps and external exhaust pipes. The car was sold in 1940 to avant-garde German artist and Duesenberg collector Rudolph Bauer, who sold it to Bill Pettit in the 1950s. Today the car has a unique and wonderful patina and its original interior is still present underneath canvas covers. Other than an engine rebuild in the 1970s, “Blue J” has been preserved untouched by the Pettit family for over 60 years. Its estimate is $2–$2.75 million and will be offered without reserve.

“When I first met Bill, I was immediately impressed by his genuine character, passion and dedication to preserving the automobiles in his collection,” says Jakob Greisen, Specialist for Gooding & Company. “A collection of this quality and originality is very rare and significant to the collecting community.”

The remaining cars of the William A.C. Pettit, III Collection are listed below:

1928 Rolls-Royce Phantom l Derby Speedster                                               Coachwork by Brewster & Co. • One of only four examples known to exist • This example joined the Pettit Collection in the early 1950s • Matching-numbers, original coachwork • Very original, two-owner car • Chassis No. S185FR • Engine No. 21858 • Estimate: $500,000–$650,000, Without Reserve         

1925 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost Pall Mall Tourer   Coachwork by Merrimac Body Company • Best of Show winner at the 1976 RROC National Meet as well as the award winner for quietest Silver Ghost • Matching-numbers, original coachwork • Chassis No. S88LK • Engine No. 228883 • Estimate: $225,000–$300,000, Without Reserve

1931 Stutz DV-32 Convertible Sedan Coachwork by LeBaron                                                              • The last model and regarded as one of the finest Stutz ever built • Outstanding candidate for preservation class • Chassis No. 28261 • Car No. DV-42-1383 • Engine No. DV33096 • Estimate: $225,000–$300,000, Without Reserve

1932 Chrysler Imperial CL Convertible Sedan   Coachwork by LeBaron                                                              • Bill Pettit purchased this car in 1990 from Chrysler expert Joe Morgan, who had restored the car to concours standard in the 1980s • Chassis No. 7803358 • Estimate: $200,000–$275,000, Without Reserve

1940 Packard 180 Convertible Victoria                                                           Coachwork by Darrin • Bill Pettit purchased this car in 1970 from its first owner • Chassis No. V520265P • Packard Vehicle No. 18062031 • Estimate: $200,000–$275,000, Without Reserve

1962 Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud II Drop Head Coupe      Coachwork by H.J. Mulliner                                  • Factory delivered left-hand drive version with only two owners from new • Chassis No. LSZD 493 • Estimate: $200,000–$275,000, Without Reserve

1937 Cord 812 Phaeton                                                                                  • Desirable, open Phaeton model with front-wheel drive, a pre-selector transmission and hand-operated retractable headlights • Chassis No. 1339H • Engine No. FB2454 • Estimate: $150,000–$200,000, Without Reserve

1948 Chrysler Town and Country Convertible Coupe                                  • With just over 46,000 miles from new, this car is one of the last truly original and unrestored examples in existence • Sold new by Pettit Brothers Chrysler and owned by Bill Pettit since 1950 • Chassis No. 7407045 • Estimate: $150,000–$200,000, Without Reserve

1948 Chrysler Town and Country Sedan                                                         • With just over 68,000 miles from new, this car is in completely original and unrestored condition • Chassis No. 71003446 • Estimate: $100,000–$130,000, Without Reserve

1938 Packard Eight All-Weather Panel Brougham                                        Coachwork by Rollston • Purchased by Bill Petit in the 1950s, this car remains in mostly original condition and would make an excellent preservation class candidate • Engine No. 310934 • Estimate: $50,000–$75,000, Without Reserve 1949 Plymouth P-18 Special Deluxe Convertible Coupe                             • Delivered in 1949 to Bill Pettit as a high school graduation present, this car was the first new car he ever owned • Chassis No. 12174697 Estimate: $20,000–$25,000, Without Reserve