Hot rod 'Automobilia Auction' roars into town

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By Tami Hoey By Tami Hoey
By Tami Hoey By Tami Hoey

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- If you love hot rods and classic car memorabilia, you won't want to miss an upcoming auction.

It's the "Automobilia Auction" at J. Levine Auction & Appraisal, set to take place Jan. 8.

The auction will feature hundreds of items from Tommy Sparks' Estate. Sparks, a hot rod legend, was known as the best "flat head builder of his time." He built high performance engines and achieved fame after creating one of the first hot Willy's drag cars, a 1937 coupe that reached 133 miles per hour in 10 seconds in 1954. During his life, he amassed a collection of over 40 classic cars which are still used in Hollywood films today.

"Tommy Sparks was an icon to the hot rod world," says Keith Stribling with the J. Levine Hot Rod Auction. "This kind of represents what he was all about."

Now, car enthusiasts and collectors will have a chance to bid on hundreds of items from Sparks' personal automobilia collection during the Thurs., Jan. 8 "Automobilia: Items From Tommy Sparks' Estate" auction at J. Levine Auction & Appraisal, 10345 N. Scottsdale Rd., in Scottsdale, Arizona. The public can preview items on Wed., Jan. 7 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and again starting at 9 a.m. on Thursday, before the auction begins at 11 a.m.

Sparks' collection includes automotive collectibles, gas and oil porcelain advertising signs, toys, speed shop equipment, Hot Rod accessories and more. You can preview items here.

Several items are expected to create a bidding frenzy, including:

-Brakes and Mufflers Neon Advertising Clock
1946 "Brakes and Mufflers" neon advertising clock from Tommy Sparks' garage in North Hollywood. The mint green, brilliant white and electric red neon literally jumps out at you in dramatic style. Reminiscent of the glamour of early neon advertising, this is the perfect addition to any car collector's garage. Clock works as well as the neon. Estimated value between $2,500 and $5,500.

-Mercedes-Benz #16 Race Car Sculpture
Dramatic cast sculpture of Hermann Lang in a Mercedes-Benz W154 #16 race car. Lang won the Swiss Grand Prix on August 20, 1939 in this race car. Done in the style of J. Nesse and Steve Posson, this piece has great presence, from the detail of the driver, to the tires kicking up the dust, it depicts the early days of Mercedes-Benz dominance in Grand Prix racing. Estimated value between $900 and $1,800.

-David Sherrell Classic Bicycle
1984 David Sherrell creation, modeled after the 1960s Bowden Spacelander bicycle. Constructed with a fiberglass body over an all steel frame, this streamlined 26" classic is one of only 35 bicycles made, thus making it a rare piece to add to any collection! Estimated value between $4,500 and $9,000.
David Wilkinson, J. Levine's director of specialty auctions, said excitement is already building about the January auction. "People worldwide have been fascinated with Hot Rods for decades. From classic movies like American Graffiti to current pop culture, these high performance cars and the automobilia associated with them continue to yield high prices on the auction block. We're honored to represent Tommy Sparks' estate, and we can't wait to see who wins a piece of automobilia history," Wilkinson said.

Auctions are subject to a 15 percent Buyers Premium (20 percent for Internet and phone bidders). For information, visit or call (480) 496-2212.

J. Levine Auction & Appraisal
10345 N. Scottsdale Rd.
Scottsdale, AZ 85253
(480) 496-2212