A brilliantly restored 1958 Chevrolet Impala (Lot #1258.2) originally purchased by rock ‘n’ roll phenom Buddy Holly will be sold at No Reserve during the 39th Annual Barrett-Jackson Collector Car Auction in Scottsdale on Jan. 18-24, 2010.
Holly purchased the coral colored classic in 1957; the Chevy was fully restored in Holly’s hometown of Lubbock, Texas, in 1997. The famed Peggy Sue will be on stage for the sale and on site inside the Showcase Pavilion during the weekend to greet fans. Hailed as “The World’s Greatest Collector Car Auctions(TM),” the Scottsdale event will feature a diverse mix of the world’s most desirable collector vehicles, as well as lavish lifestyle events throughout the week. SPEED will broadcast nearly 40 hours of live, high-definition coverage of all six auction days.
“This is a great example of cars and rock ‘n’ roll crossing paths again at Barrett-Jackson,” said Craig Jackson, Chairman/CEO of Barrett-Jackson. “In this instance, we have one of the most influential young musicians of his time in Buddy Holly, who purchased this amazing symbol of Americana during Detroit’s ‘Golden Age.’”
Not long after graduating from a Lubbock high school in 1955, Charles Hardin Holley (Buddy Holly) and his band, The Crickets, became household names. Produced by legend Norman Petty, the group helped spearhead the mid-century rock ‘n’ roll movement that would forever change American music.
Around that time, Chevrolet’s sporty new full-sized vehicle, the Impala, hit the streets. According to several accounts, Buddy took a liking to the Impala after his father and brother became enamored with the new design. When his record sales provided enough cash, Buddy purchased his first car from Meadors-Stewart Company in Clovis, N.M., at the age of 20.
“Buddy asked his producer and close friend, Norman Petty, to arrange the purchase,” says Bill Clement, current owner of the Buddy Holly Impala. “Norman was very popular throughout Clovis and contacted his friends at the Meadors-Stewart Chevy store to discuss options and then reviewed the details with Buddy. One bit of genius on Petty’s part was recommending the 50th anniversary coral color scheme being offered on GM vehicles in 1958.”
When the first Coral Impala arrived at the dealership, Buddy fell in love and made the order, opting for the V8 engine, automatic transmission, fender skirts, twin antennas, mirrors and to have it lowered 3-inches all around. The experts at Meadors-Stewart also recommended a set of gold 50th anniversary wheel spinners and white wall tires to match the roof and body stripe. Additional modifications included painting the skirts to match the coral body color and an upgraded coral interior dress up kit.
After enjoying the car on the streets of Clovis and a trip south of the border with friends in search of Mexican guitars, Buddy gave the Impala to his father as a belated Christmas gift. The Impala became the Holley family car; Buddy’s sister even learned to drive in it. Less than a year later , Buddy was gone. The plane crash that took his life on Feb. 3, 1959, remains one of the blackest days in the history of American music.
The Impala was later sold, abandoned and left for dead at a West Texas body shop. More than a decade later, Clement, a Lubbock native, high volume Chevy collector and owner of the well known “Chevy Craft” shop, purchased the Impala after researching the car and confirming it had indeed belonged to Holly.
“It’s important to note the authenticity of this Chevy Impala,” said Steve Davis, president of Barrett-Jackson. “Bill Clement, a collector and dealer of top-level Chevrolet collector cars, did his due diligence to make sure that this car was the real deal. In fact, copies of the original order form, title and deposit check issued by Buddy Holly and Norman Petty are included with the car. Now that’s documentation.”
After about five years of the car sitting in the shadows at Clement’s shop, news broke that Buddy Holly’s car was back home in Lubbock. Following a slew of news coverage, Clement turned down several lucrative offers for the un-restored Impala and teamed with Rick Bigham and his crew to renew the car.
“I provided the parts and Rick and his team put in the time to bring the Impala back to life,” noted Clement. “And it didn’t end there. The restoration was a community effort. Literally hundreds of people invested time, products, money and sweat to get the car ready for Buddy’s 1998 birthday celebration in Lubbock.”
For the past 12 years, the car has travelled across the country promoting Lubbock’s favorite son, Buddy Holly. Clement is now ready to let someone else enjoy this historic car.
“It’s time for the Impala to change hands and to allow the next generation of enthusiastic fans to keep the legend of Buddy Holly alive,” he says. “And who better than Barrett-Jackson to make that happen?”
For more information visit barrett-jackson.com
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