When Otis Chandler passed away back in February, he left a lot more than a legacy of publishing prowess. Sure, during the 1960s he had transformed his family's newspaper into the world-renowned Los Angeles Times that we know today. But when he wasn't in his office, Otis liked to drive. And hunt. But more about the hunting later. It was his love of cars that brought him into our field of vision. Chandler was passionate about cars in the way one might say Jay Leno is. He had a whole warehouse of cars. And not just one make or model, no. When Otis got interested in a particular type of car, he'd buy a whole bunch of them, but his tastes changed regularly and so did his collection. Packards, Duesenbergs, brass-era cars, and even muscle cars have all come and gone. A few of each has stayed. Bikes and Corvettes seemed to be his most recent fancy and are well represented.
Mr. Chandler kept most of his cars and bikes on display at his Vintage Museum of Transportation and Wildlife in Oxnard, CA, halfway between L.A. and Santa Barbara. Many of his most prized pieces had already been sold, including his 1894 Baldwin steam locomotive and his beloved Porsche 917 racecars. But the remainder of his collection, some 50 cars and 40 bikes are going up for auction October 21st. Gooding & Company has been chosen to handle the event next weekend. We saw some of the cars that had been hauled up to Pebble Beach in August, and many of the others, including his 1931 Duesenberg LeBaron Special Phaeton, were captured by our friend Duane Steiner of SoCalSpeedZone on a recent visit to the museum. That Duesie, by the way, is expected to fetch $1.3 to $1.7 million.
And that hunting we mentioned earlier? Otis had a fascination, respect and true affection for wildlife, which led him to pursue record-size game animals. Visitors to the museum were frequently surprised to encounter some of the most magnificent dioramas of game animals from across the planet intermingled with the cars and bikes. No word on who might be handling that auction.
[Sources: Popular Mechanics, Chandler Museum]