DEARBORN - Ford is thinning out its car collection in an unprecedented auction. With the auction, collectors will have the rare opportunity to buy a concept, prototype or one-of-a-kind show car from the automaker.
In all, 51 unique vehicles, from 1960 to 2000 will be on the auction block. Among the offerings are the concept car that led to the new Thunderbird, several unique Ghias and the classically styled Lagonda Vignale from 1993.
Interested? Get your financing in order and on June 16 head for the Ford Product Development Center in Dearborn.
Concepts and show cars like this are usually scrapped when the automaker is through with them.
"This marks the first and only time any automaker has flung open the doors of its vintage concept property and invited people to own a piece of design history," said J. Mays, Ford's vice president of design.
"As we take time to commemorate the triumphs of Ford Motor Co.'s first century, it is only fitting that we also celebrate our heritage and share with enthusiasts and collectors some of the concepts that have helped define us as a company.
"Rather than let these fall apart in a warehouse or crushing them, we wanted to put these prototypes into the hands of other people who love them. This way, true enthusiasts will have a chance to appreciate these masterpieces for years to come."
Money from the sale will go to the Ford Motor Co. Fund, the automaker's philanthropic arm, which supports nonprofit organizations, concentrating on education, community development and environmental issues.
The London-based Christie's auction house is handling the sale.
Some of the vehicles up for auction are functional automobiles, but many are strictly show machines.
The 1960 Ghia IXG concept has no engine, and while Ford did build a functional Indigo concept, the two 1996 Indigo concepts in the sale are nonfunctional show cars.
The body on the 1999 Thunderbird concept is fiberglass, it has no side windows, its instruments are mock-ups and the windshield is Plexiglas.
The vehicles are offered with no reserve or minimum price. There is no warranty, and purchasers must sign a release form recognizing that the vehicles were built for show purposes only, and do not meet federal or state safety, air quality and other regulations.
The sale includes 27 cars from the Italian design firm Ghia, from swoopy race cars and fancy sports cars to square little econoboxes and tiny city cars.
The Ghias include the 1990 Zig and Zag - a small two-seat roadster and a little panel truck that shared the same platform.
One of the more unusual vehicles is the 1962 Ghia Selene II dream car concept, with the front cabin over the front wheels, a big bubble-top canopy and a tall single tail fin in the rear. It's strictly a show car, with no engine or driveline components.
Ford cars include the 2000 Mustang "Bullitt" concept, 1995 Lincoln Sentinel and two "2010" models - the 1993 Ford Synthesis and 1996 Ford Synergy.
There are Ford trucks, too, including the 2000 Desert Excursion, 1997 Ford Powerforce, 1994 Ford Power Stroke and 1999 Ranger Powerforce, along with their cousin, the 1999 Lincoln Blackwood concept.
It can be difficult to put a price on a one-of-a-kind vehicle, but Christie's estimates the collection is easily worth seven figures.
The Flint Journal
James M. Miller