• Jan 12th 2012 at 6:00PM
  • 5

On January 19th starting at precisely 10:30am, Bonhams auctioneers at the Barrett-Jackson mega-event in Scottsdale will begin bringing to the stage lots 1 through 151 as part of the auction house's "The Scottsdale Sale". The lots represent a wide range of significant and unique items from the estate of automotive journalism guru and personality David E. Davis, Jr, who suddenly and sadly passed away on March 27th of last year following surgery.

The items are a vast array of Mr. Davis' collection of rarities assembled during his nearly 60-year career history with automobiles, the people who designed and built them, and especially with those legends who risked their lives racing them. Lots range from lot number 1 through to lot 151, and these can all be seen online and bid on pre-auction.

Among the array of a lifetime's collectibles are included several pieces of desk art, original wall art, rare signed photographs of Dan Gurney, Juan Manuel Fangio, Carroll Shelby, and others, plus a great number of authoritative books, many now out of print. Not to mention a perfectly preserved crimson red 1951 Cadillac Series 62 Coupe – a favored Harley Earl design – with fewer than 9,000 original miles, listed as lot number 326.

Editor's Note: Matt Davis is the son of the late David E. Davis. We asked Matt to write the item because he is familiar with the contents of the auction. But we also want to say that Matt in no way will profit or receive any proceeds from the auction of his father's property at this auction.
Behind every item there's a big and personal story and the pleasure of bidding on and owning any of these choice memorabilia would be made finer only by the original owner and raconteur being present to regale us with the details. Davis is acknowledged as being the one responsible for the original success of Car and Driver Magazine in the 1960s and of having saved it again in the 1970s and 80s. Prior to that, Davis had worked originally at Road & Track. Following the CandD years, Davis then founded Automobile Magazine which he turned into a success despite heavy industry skepticism about the need for another car enthusiast title.

The two key items on auction by our assessment - though it's tough to choose, of course - are the all original '51 Caddie with smooth running 331 cubic inch OHV V-8 and lot n.128 - a well preserved red felt race-day pennant from the 1906 Vanderbilt Cup race, won in that edition by the Lancia boys at an average speed of 60 mph. This was the first race in history with photographic evidence of a chequered flag being used to hail the winning car.

There are items available for all budgets and all levels of car enthusiast. Go to the Bonhams site http://www.bonhams.com/eur/auction/19680/ and start your bidding for a piece of history from the lifetime of a larger than life car connoisseur and story teller.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 3 Years Ago
      Hands down the most enjoyable auto-scribe ever. I followed this great man everywhere and waited for each of his articles like a little kid at Christmas time. Still miss you D.E.D. Jr. RIP.
      Steven Haas
      • 3 Years Ago
      I was a poor student in Ann Arbor when I worked for Automobile as a "motor gopher" in the late 1980s. I remember DED, Jr's office being covered wall to wall in this stuff and how fascinated I always was to visit him there to hand him the keys to his car. At the time I had little idea who most of the people in those photos were but the more I learned later in life the more I appreciated the opportunity to have seen them in that context. I can only imagine some of the stuff that he decided NOT to keep over the years.
      • 3 Years Ago
      It's only isolated times like this I'm sorry I'm a penniless artist. DED, Jr, made me love cars. He made me love the swashbuckling exploits he and his car buddies seemed to have every month, from reading his columns. My first magazine subscription was Car & Driver when I was 8 years old, in 1965, when he was the editor. This past year I received my first paid commission for a car magazine, Automobile, the magazine he started in 1984. I was just putting the finishing touches on my three renderings for their June issue, when news of his death his the web. In some corner of my mind, I was hoping he would see my work, and like it. And I would have come full circle in some way. And the dream died that night. I really wish I could buy just one tiny item from his desk.
      • 3 Years Ago
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