Friday, May 2, 2014

Wow! Some “High End” Autos…

Some of you may be getting tired of our visit to the Auto Museum of Miami aka. The Dezer Collection… This is Part III.  The good news is that I’m taking the next 2 posts that I’d planned for this collection and I’m shrinking them down to only one more publication after this posting. 

And so off we go!  In this issue of my blog, I’ll be taking a look at some luxury autos as well as some true American classics…

The Dezer Collection just stretches on and on!  In addition to all of the autos, the walls are covered with paintings, etchings, prints, ads and various memorabilia.  In addition to these and many, many other items, the collection contains over 1,000 automobiles.

Michael Dezer was born in Tel Aviv, Israel.  He is the son of a bus driver.  Dezer served in the Israeli Air Force.  In 1962, he immigrated to the U.S. where he went to night school and worked in advertising before starting a typesetting business.  He then started investing in real estate, founding Dezer Properties in New York City.  In the 1980s, he purchased a good deal of ocean front property in Miami and, in partnership with Donald Trump, developed numerous properties including the $900 million Trump Towers, the $600 million Trump Grande Ocean Resort and Residences and the $166 million Trump International Hotel and Tower in Fort Lauderdale.  As of 2013, Dezer owned and managed 1.3 million square feet of commercial space in Chelsea/New York City.

This is a 1930 Buick Series 60 convertible.  I don’t know about you, but I think that this is a beautiful automobile!  I was able to find one of these cars that was sold at auction back in 2007.  It sold for $72,600! 
For much of its existence, Buick has been marketed as a premium automobile brand, selling entry-level luxury vehicles positioned above the mainstream GM autos such as Chevrolet and below the upscale Cadillac brand.  Did you know that Buick holds the distinction of being the oldest active American automobile brand, and the original Buick Motor Company was a key element in the establishment of General Motors in 1908.

How about this great looking 1935 Cadillac Series 370D Series 40 convertible!  It is equipped with a 368 cubic inch V-12 engine and dual carburetors.  Although it’s displayed as an official government vehicle…perhaps a presidential limousine, I can’t find any record of a President using this model as an official car.  I did note that in 1938, a couple of specially built Cadillacs was delivered for Presidential use.  This car is very luxurious and very long.  To view a series of photos of this car, just go to

Cadillac is the 2nd oldest American automobile brand after Buick.  I was surprised to learn that Cadillac was founded from the remains of the Henry Ford Company in 1902 by Henry Leland.  After a dispute, Ford left his second automobile company and Leland…taking $900 and his name with him.  Leland, a master mechanic and entrepreneur, renamed the company after Antoine Laumet de La Mothe, sieur de Cadillac, who had founded Detroit, Michigan. General Motors purchased the Cadillac Motor Company in 1909.

The Dezer Collection contains quite a few beautiful Rolls Royce automobiles.  This attention getter is a 1929 Rolls Royce convertible coupe.  It only has 37,489 miles on it!  

To view a plethora of photos of this automobile…inside and out…go to  I found a 1928 2-door convertible for sale in Canada for a mere $205,000.

Other than the rather odd use of manikins throughout the Dezer Collection, we could find few faults with this museum.  However, one of those complaints is that many of the autos on display don’t come with any corresponding signing telling you about the cars.  In many cases, the only information comes from the little label …on the right side of the Rolls Royce windshield as shown above.  Then, in some cases I could learn more by going to the Collection’s website and looking up the model. 

Based on the color, a lack of a front license plate and the front end of this car…and looking at the Dezer Collection inventory on the internet, I believe that this is a 1938 Rolls Royce Touring model.  If I’m right, this auto has only 58,129 miles on the odometer. 

Yet another classic Rolls Royce… Based on the photos on the Dezer Collection website and using the license plate shown above, I think that this is a 1953 Rolls Royce Silver Dawn.
Rolls-Royce Limited is of course an English car-manufacturing company founded by Charles Stewart Rolls and Sir Frederick Henry Royce on 15 March 1906.  In 1884, Henry Royce started an electrical and mechanical business. He built his first car, a two-cylinder Royce 10, in his Manchester factory in 1904, and was introduced to Charles Rolls, who owned an early auto dealership, in the same year.  The Rolls-Royce 10 horsepower auto was unveiled at the Paris Salon (auto show) in December 1904.

Rolls Royce isn’t the only premium British automobile on display.  This is a 1956 Bentley Hooper S1 Sedan.  (Note: Hooper was the coach builder)
Bentley Motors Limited was founded by W. O. Bentley on 18 January 1919 in Cricklewood near London and the company was acquired by Rolls-Royce in 1931.  Believe it or not, Bentley is now owned by Volkswagen AG although most Bentley’s are assembled at the company's plant in Crewe England.  It was interesting for me to learn that as of November 2012, China was the largest individual market for Bentley automobiles. 

If you’re interested in picking up a Bentley as your second car, I found a nice pre-owned 1956 Bentley Hooper S1 for sale.  It’s just like this one!  Located in West Hollywood California, you could pick it up for $68,500!  To check it out, you can just go to

We both loved this beautiful car!  It’s a 1980, (yes, 1980!), Duesenberg II Model J Boat Tail Speedster.  This auto is used by the museum as its ambassador…cruising southeast Florida…and gaining attention for the Collection.  With a chassis by Ford, the auto was built by Elite Heritage Motors Corporation in Elroy Wisconsin. The company built less than 100 autos before ceasing production in 2000. 

There are so many automobiles on display in the Dezer Collection, we started taking a few photos with 2 cars in each picture…

The yellow auto is a 1940 Hupmobile Skylark.  The Skylark took too long to get into production and most of the orders for it were cancelled before production began.  Only 319 were built before production ceased.  This Hupmobile is valued at $47,000.  The other car, as you can see from the sign above, is a 1940 Graham Hollywood.  It has a supercharged engine that developed 124 horsepower.

Both cars were built by Graham-Paige of Evansville Indiana.  The company was founded by 2 brothers in 1927.  They made a deal with the ailing Hupp Motor Company to build the Hupmobile Skylark.  It was a flop and the company ceased production in the same year that these cars were built.  The company’s assets were acquired by Kaiser-Frazer in 1947. 

For some reason, our journey took us backwards in time through the many iconic Chevrolet Corvettes on display.  This is a 1962 model.  It’s 327 cubic inch engine provided 67% more power than the first Corvettes did in 1953.
The Chevrolet Corvette has been produced for 7 generations now.  The first model, a convertible, was introduced at the GM Motorama in 1953 as a concept show car. The car was named after the type of small, maneuverable warship called a corvette.  Originally built in Flint, Michigan and St. Louis, Missouri, the Corvette is currently manufactured in Bowling Green, Kentucky.

This 1959 Corvette is valued at $133,000.  This was the first year that Corvette offered a black interior.  I do like the blue or turquoise and white finish!

This is a 1954 Corvette… 1954 was only the second year that Corvettes were built.  It featured flashy ‘rocket ship’ taillights.  These early ‘Vettes’ were built from fiberglass and they were built by hand…. I really like the looks of this red ‘rocket’ but its only valued at $110,000.

The green automobile on the left is a 1936 Chrysler Air Stream.  The Airstream was only built for 2 years, 1935 and 1936.  Its original cost was $875.00 and it was equipped with a Philco “Transitone” radio.  As per the signage, this is 1 of only 7 1936 Airstreams remaining in existence.
The Orange and white auto on the right is a 1940 LaSalle Sedan.  I always thought that LaSalle was an independent auto manufacturer but I now know that LaSalle was a brand of automobiles manufactured and marketed by General Motors' Cadillac division from 1927 through 1940.  The LaSalle was created as a lower priced companion brand name to the Cadillac.  One option was a sunroof…which was ‘cleverly’ marketed as a ‘sunshine turret top’.  We noted a 1981 auto sticker on this car from Bogota Colombia…

This is a customized 1954 Kaiser Manhattan.  It’s for sale too…only $35,995!  I doubt that there are more than 2 customized Kaiser Manhattan’s in the USA.  It has 71,000 miles on it and it has a Chevrolet 305 engine. 

Kaiser-Frazer was founded in July of 1945… In 1947, the company also acquired the automotive assets of Graham-Paige. Early production of Kaiser-Frazer models was centered at Willow Run, Michigan, near Detroit.  Willow Run had been built by the US Government to build B-24 Liberator bombers and it was the largest building in the world at that time.  The company stopped making passenger cars in 1955 although Kaiser Jeeps continued to be produced for quite a few years.

We featured this automobile for a good reason!  Laurie’s father brought one home when she was a little girl… With a large family, her mom wasn’t too happy with this purchase.

This is a 1958 supercharged Studebaker Golden Hawk.  It is arguably one of the most different and striking production autos ever built in the USA.  With its 270 horsepower engine it was very fast…and many consider it to be one of the precursors of the 60s muscle cars.  The Golden Hawk was only built from 1956 – 1958.  In 1958, only 878 of these autos were produced.
The history of the Studebaker Company was long and interesting.  This wagon and automobile manufacturer was based in South Bend, Indiana.  It was founded in 1852.  The company was originally a producer of wagons for farmers, miners, and the military.  Studebaker entered the automotive business in 1902 with electric vehicles and in 1904 with gasoline vehicles.  Over the next 50 years, the company established a solid reputation for quality and reliability.  But then after several years of trouble the last Studebaker rolled off the Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, assembly line in March of 1966.   To learn more about this company that lasted for over 100 years, go to

Anyone who is at all interested in American classic cars can identify this beautiful convertible.  It’s a 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air.  This one has been totally restored and its available for sale.  …and what is the price you’d pay for this popular automobile?  $130,000!

Now this very attractive automobile is really special!  This is a rare 1927 Dusenberg Model X.  It’s the last of the Duesenbergs to be designed by Fred and August Duesenberg.  However, they sold the company to E. L. Cord in 1926 and Cord dropped the model X from its plans.  Nevertheless, enough parts had been made that 13 of these “X” models could be built.  Of the 13, only 5 still exist and this is the only phaeton of the group remaining.  It is for sale…for only $2,000,000.   For many years, it was thought that only 4 Model X Duesenbergs existed...that was until Jay Leno discovered one in a neighborhood garage in 2005.

'Duesenberg' sounds like a foreign car company but in reality it was founded in Des Moines Iowa and later moved to Auburn Indiana.  Speaking of Auburn Indiana...the Auburn-Cord-Dusenberg museum in that town is a must see! You can learn more at

This is another very rare automobile.  It’s a 1947 Chevrolet Stylemaster with the dealer installed ‘Country Club Woody’ option.  A total of less than 100 cars with this option were sold in 1946 and 1947.  This car has had minimal restoration, has 41,000 original miles on the odometer and its up for sale.  The price tag is $55,995.  I think that it is a real beauty!  You can check it out at

This photo is offered as my reason/excuse for only publishing one additional posting about the Miami Auto Museum – The Dezer Collection.  The number of cars on display is overwhelming!  This is just one of many packed showrooms.  For anyone who loves cars, this is a frustrating paradise…

That’s about it for now.  Just click on any of the photos to enlarge them…

Thanks for stopping by for a visit!

Take Care, Big Daddy Dave 

1 comment:

  1. You could definitely go "car crazy" here. The Duesenberg is my favorite and my husband would go crazy for the Vets. You are right- the number of cars in this collection is overwhelming.