BARRETT JACKSON DAY 5: ANYBODY HERE SEEN MY OLD FRIEND JOHN'S AMBULANCE?
The 2011 Barrett Jackson auction has proven to be a rebound year for the collector car market. It has also proven to be newsworthy because of a 1963 Pontiac ambulance that added more unnecessary fuel to the giant bonfire of Kennedy assassination conspiracy theories.
The car was delivered to Barrett Jackson as the last ride for Kennedy after the incredible events in Dallas on November 22 1963.
The problem was that the car could not be authenticated to a 100% accuracy level.
Most documentation indicated that the car was indeed the real deal. But enough seeds of doubt were sowed to make some negative headlines about a fake ambulance-a grassy knoll ambulance if you will.
The owner and Barrett Jackson provided a fairly convincing argument that their ride was indeed the lone ambulance (and it acted alone) in the Kennedy transportation affair. Eventually the car hit the block and sold for $132,000.
Some of the worst features of human nature came to light with this car. Too many people love conspiracy theories and the muddled information about this ambulance fed their habit. They have another reason to believe that the world is against them in an idiotic, fatalistic and paranoid personal fantasy.
The controversy may have influenced the price of the car, but there is no way to establish whether that was up or down for the price. But I can sympathize with the owner when it came to his car.
I bought a 1965 Mustang in the late 90s and had only owned it for about ten seconds when some self-professed Mustang expert pointed out that it had a GT gas cap- but wasn't a GT model.
He immediately assumed that I was trying to doll up the 'Stang into something else. The fact that I just bought it and knew little about Mustang caste systems was not on this clown's radar.
Then he generously offered to take it off my hands for a song but he should have added a dog and pony show to sweeten the deal. He was just a sleazeball simpleton with an agenda and poor negotiation tactics.
So the ambulance owner defended his position against an open attack and I can sympathize with him. The difference is that millions of people knew about his car and probably judged his character by it.
However, I could have found 132,000 excellent reasons why I would not have bought his ambulance- and none of them would involve conspiracies.
I just see little point to ownership of a small part of a sad chapter in history.
Jim Sutherland @mystarcollectorcar.com
Day 6 tomorrow: Why a TV remote control and fast reflexes are your best friends during Barrett Jackson.
ROBERT:"While I have no problem with a 65 Mustang with a G T gas cap. Back not that long ago we did what we could to jazz up our cars everybody did it. However I don't think just because it's (ambulance) historical it's worth being considered a collectible!"
TREVOR:"I'll try to answer the question. I am guessing that the ambulance and Jim's Mustang share the fact that both owners say the cars carried some one famous but there is no real proof!"