Sunday, August 31, 2014

The Tucker 48

The Tucker 48 was an advanced automobile conceived by Preston Tucker and briefly produced in Chicago in 1948. 51 cars were made before the company folded on March 3, 1949, due to negative publicity, an SEC investigation and a heavily publicized stock fraud trial.

Speculation exists that the Big Three automakers and Michigan senator Homer S. Ferguson had a role in the Tucker Corporation's demise.
Some components and features of the car were innovative and ahead of their time. The most recognizable was a directional third headlight (known as the "Cyclops Eye"). It would activate at steering angles of greater than 10 degrees to light the car's path around corners.
Tucker initially tried to develop an innovative engine. It was a 589 cubic inches (9.65 L) flat-6 cylinder with hemispherical combustion chambers, fuel injection, and overhead valves operated by oil pressure rather than a camshaft. As engine development proceeded, problems appeared. The 589 engine was installed only in the test chassis and the first prototype.

Tucker refused to cede creative control to businessmen who could have made the Tucker ’48 commercially viable. Instead, he attempted to raise money through unconventional means, including selling dealership rights for a car that didn’t exist yet.

Tucker died a few years after he went broke, still working on new designs. Some regarded him as a scam artist, others as a tragic visionary.
At the January Barrett-Jackson auction the final bid came in at an impressive $2,650,000 for this Tucker.

That means the new owner paid $2,915,000 to drive it home.

Friday, August 29, 2014

The Ron Pratte Collection

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz., May 29, 2014 — Barrett-Jackson, The World’s Greatest Collector Car Auctions™, is honored to be selected by world-class businessman and car collector Ron Pratte for the sale of his world-renowned collection at the Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale 2015 auction.

Ron Pratte, a businessman who demands perfection in everything he has a hand in, built the majority of his collection at Barrett-Jackson auctions. This pristine collection includes Carroll Shelby’s personal vehicle – the only remaining 1966 Shelby Cobra Super Snake, that sold for a world record $5.5 million, and a Pontiac Bonneville Special Concept Car, one of only two.

Shelby pegged the car's 0-60-mph time at just over three seconds.
The Pontiac Bonneville Special is a purpose-built concept car unveiled at the General Motors Motorama in 1954, the first 2-seater sports car Pontiac ever produced.

Two "Special" prototypes, one painted metallic bronze and one emerald green, were built with the intention of unveiling them simultaneously at the Grand Ballroom of the Waldorf in New York and the Pan Pacific Auditorium in Los Angeles in 1954.

The current record for a Tucker is $ 1.1m.
The Ron Pratte Collection, featuring cars and over a thousand pieces of automobilia, will be on the docket at Barrett-Jackson’s 44th Annual Scottsdale Auction taking place January 10-18, 2015 with television coverage on Velocity and Discovery.

This 1947 Bentley Mark VI last sold for $ 1.7m

One of only 153 1968 Shelby GT 500s.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Sunken Treasure = That Sinking Feeling (Forbes)

Every armchair pirate dreams of finding sunken treasure, but it turns out hauling up chests full of gold bars and pieces of eight is a lousy way to get rich. Recovery usually costs millions of dollars, and even before the loot is on dry land you can look forward to being sued by insurers and other claimants.

A few years back Odyssey Marine Exploration, the biggest player in the game, spent $ 2.6 million recovering an estimated $500 million in gold coins from a Spanish shipwreck and then had to give it all back to Spain–plus a $1 million fine. And that’s just one of the misadventures on our treasure map of misery.
PORT NICHOLSON. In 2008 Greg Brooks, a Maine treasure hunter, finds a World War II British freighter and later insists it carried $3 billion in precious metals. The U.K. says there’s little more onboard than auto and weapon parts–and it owns it all anyway.

April 17, 2014 --Treasure hunter Greg Brooks is wrestling with two court cases, angry investors and an expedition that hasn't produced anything more valuable than a box of rusty hatchets. That's been nothing near the $3 billion to $5 billion in platinum and diamonds that Brooks, based in Portland, Maine, claims is onboard a World War II freighter sunk in 800 feet of water 50 miles off Province-town. And this week, the Maine Office of Securities announced it is seeking information from investors about Brooks and his companies. That could be a prelude to an investigation.
WHYDAH GALLEY. A pirate ship ran aground in 1717 and was discovered in 1982. It’s said to have carried treasure worth $400 million. Salvagers have found artifacts like cannons and the ship’s bell but no massive hoard of gold.

After 15 years of searching the ocean floor off the town of Wellfleet, Massachusetts, Clifford believes he's finally zeroing in on what's left of the hull and loot from the first pirate ship ever discovered in North America. Called the Whydah Galley, it was said to be heavy with treasure stolen from at least 53 ships when it sank in a storm on April 26, 1717.
CENTRAL AMERICA Treasure hunter Tommy Thompson discovers the Gold Rush ship in 1987. He eventually sells a reported $52 million worth of gold–then skips town without paying his investors a cent. In 2014 they pick Odyssey to resume salvage, and this spring the company pulls up its first 60 pounds.
SAN JOSE. A salvage company signs a deal with Colombia in 1984 to find a ship supposedly laden with billions of dollars’ worth of Spanish treasure and share the proceeds. After the company claims to locate the vessel, Colombia reneges, insisting on full ownership. The matter remains in litigation 30 years later.

The Spanish galleon San Jose was trying to outrun a fleet of British warships off Colombia on June 8, 1708, when a mysterious explosion sent it to the bottom.
BLACK SWAN. Odyssey announces a discovery in 2007, which it code-names “Black Swan,” and extracts an estimated half-billion dollars’ worth of coins. Spain sues for ownership, saying the ship is a naval frigate sunk in 1804, and wins. Odyssey gets nothing and is ordered to pay Spain $1 million for “bad faith and abusive litigation.”
NUESTRA SENORA DE ATOCHA. A Spanish ship sunk in 1622 is discovered in the 1970s by adventurer Mel Fisher, who claims it holds $400 million in gold. Historians suspect the number is closer to $20 million. Fisher’s heirs continue to dive the wreck.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Lawyer charged after $12M vanishes

Meerai Cho
A Toronto real estate lawyer has been charged with 75 offenses after a condo development went bust — and more than $12-million in deposits disappeared from a trust account. Meerai Cho, 63, was handling investors’ money for a proposed 14-storey hotel and 30-storey residential tower, with some commercial space, in North York.

The condo project fell through, but deposits to more than 140 people were not returned and the trust account is now empty, police say. Ms. Cho has filed for bankruptcy.

Ms. Cho is charged with 25 counts of fraud over $5,000, 25 counts of possession of property obtained by crime and 25 counts of breach of trust. Police expect to lay more charges as alleged victims come forward.

In a listing still available online, the condo building, Centrium is marketed as a development project by Centrust Development.
In advance of construction, Ms. Cho allegedly began holding money in trust for developer, Yo Sup (Joseph) Lee. He wrote to investors in January telling them the project was not going ahead, but that they’d get their money back. When months passed and the investments were not returned, police started to get complaints. It’s not known where Mr. Lee is.

Buyers fear he is no longer in the country.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Montreal Museum of Fine Arts: Fabulous Fabergé

The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts is in Montreal, Quebec. The museum was founded in 1860 and is among the most prominent in Canada.

The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts is proud to announce the presentation, exclusively in Canada, of the largest Fabergé collection outside of Russia from the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts (VMFA) in Richmond.

The exhibition Fabulous Fabergé, Jeweller to the Czars, the first exhibition devoted to Fabergé ever presented in Canada, is running from June 14 to October 5, 2014.

The exhibition comprises 240 objects from this exceptional collection, including four of the forty-three remaining famous Easter eggs commissioned by the Romanovs.

Carl Fabergé (1846–1920), Fabergé workshop, Saint Petersburg, Carl Fabergé (workmaster). Scarab Brooch, about 1900. Garnet, gold, diamonds, rubies, enamel, silver.

Carl Fabergé (1846–1920), Fabergé firm, St. Petersburg, Julius Rappoport (workmaster), Bratina, about 1900. Silver gilt, enamel, sapphires, emeralds, rubies, garnets, blue topaz, pearls.

Carl Fabergé (1846–1920), Fabergé workshop, Mikhail Perkhin (workmaster). Miniature Easter Egg Pendant, about 1900. Chalcedony, gold, white gold, diamonds.

Carl Fabergé (1846–1920), Fabergé firm, St. Petersburg, Erik Kollin (workmaster), Terrestrial Globe, before 1899, rock crystal, gold, compass.

Crown Brooch, 1890–1910, silver gilt, sapphires, rubies, diamonds.

Carl Fabergé (1846–1920), Fabergé workshop, Miniature Easter Egg Pendants, about 1900, gold, enamel, silver, pearls, diamonds, rubies, emerald.

Carl Fabergé (1846–1920), Fabergé workshop, Fantasy Fish Server or Centrepiece, 1896–1908, silver

Carl Fabergé (1846–1920), Fabergé firm, Moscow, Rabbit Pitcher, before 1899, silver, gold, garnets

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