Bonhams & Butterfields announced the consignment of 14 vehicles from the collection of the late Sidney Craig and his wife, Jenny Craig, for their annual sale at Quail Lodge in Carmel, California on August 14th.
Sid and Jenny Craig, in addition to being prominent members of the thoroughbred horse community in southern California, were dedicated philanthropists both nationally and in San Diego County and entrepreneurs of legendary stature, which earned them the first jointly awarded Horatio Alger Award in 2007.
The Craigs assembled a small but select collection of vehicles mostly associated with celebrities. Maintained in immaculate condition at one of the Craigs’ homes, these vehicles combine provenance, beauty, careful maintenance and elegant presentation that sympathetically parallel the Craigs’ appreciation of thoroughbred horses.
The collection’s headline car is the 1933 Duesenberg Model J Torpedo Victoria Convertible (chassis 2535, engine J-384), first owned by cinema cowboy William Boyd a.k.a. Hopalong Cassidy. With mechanically operated folding top by Rollston, this is an important example of open coachwork on the majestic Duesenberg Model J chassis.
Another mythical Hollywood cowboy, Tom Mix, previously owned the 1937 Cord 812 Supercharged Phaeton being offered, and President Franklin D. Roosevelt toured California during his second re-election campaign in the Craig’s 1935 Lincoln Model K V-12 Phaeton.
Other Hollywood celebrities are represented by the Ghia 6.4L Coupe owned by Gary Morton (Lucille Ball’s second husband) later modified for its second owner Dean Martin by the King of the Kustomizers, George Barris, and Frank Sinatra’s rare and delectably preserved 1958 Cadillac Eldorado Brougham. A 1931 Ford Model A Roadster is the most modest car in the Craig collection, but it was a featured player in one of the Andy Hardy movies starring Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland.
No less interesting is a 1930 Cadillac 452 V-16 Sedan outfitted with 1/4″ steel armor plating and five-ply bullet-resistant glass attributed to Al Capone’s Chicago mob. The collection is balanced with a Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwing Coupe formerly owned by Clark Gable, the famous Flajole Forerunner concept car, a Cadillac V-12 Dual Cowl Phaeton and a Bentley 3.5 Litre Park Ward Drophead Coupe built for Frederick Charles Stewart of John Brown & Co. Ltd., Glasgow, builder of the Cunard liners Queen Mary and Queen Elizabeth.
In her 2004 autobiography Jenny Craig wrote, “Sid … has the charisma of a Jack Kennedy, the intelligence of an Alan Greenspan, the creative mind of a Steven Spielberg, and the humor of a Jackie Mason, along with the good looks of a Clark Gable.” He had great taste in automobiles, too, as this small but choice collection shows and Bonhams is excited to offer them to a new generation of collectors of thoroughbred motorcars at Quail Lodge in Carmel Valley, California, on Friday, August 14th, during the international Monterey Car Week celebration.
Owners interested in consigning individual cars or entire collections to this auction should contact Bonhams’ North American Motoring Department. E-mails can be sent to [email protected]. Calls can be made to: Mark Osborne, VP & Head of Department, San Francisco: 415-391-4000 or Rupert Banner, VP Business Development, New York: 212-461-6515.