Media Release


Monterey Sports & Classic Car Auction

More than a Dozen Wild and Innovative Custom Vehicles from Foremost Designers will Transform Portola Plaza Hotel into Kustom Car Showcase – August 18, 2006

BLENHEIM, Ontario, Canada (June 13, 2006) – RM Auctions, North America’s premier collector car auction house, will offer the bubble-topped 1955 Ford Custom "Beatnik" from famed designer Gary “Chopit” Fioto at its annual Monterey Sports and Classic Car Auction, scheduled for August 18-19 at the Portola Plaza Hotel in Monterey, California. The “Beatnik,” a lavender-hued 1955 Ford that’s been skill-fully reworked into a bubbletop, will headline RM’s first-ever Kustoms Night on Friday, August 18th, showcasing a dozen important hot rods and kustoms from the foremost designers and fabricators in the nation including Gary Fioto, Rick Dore, Ken ‘Posies’ Fenical, Zane Cullen and Milt Brown. The prime time feature presentation will be part of RM’s prestigious Monterey auction event that coincides with the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance Weekend.

“The ‘Beatnik’ embodies the essence of a custom car,” says Rob Myers of RM Auctions. “It stays true to the spirit of the original ’55 Ford but mixes new parts and styles to transform that image into something that is completely unique and unmistakable. The value of these custom cars is increasingly high because they are one-of-a-kind creations. Serious bidders will compete for cars that no one else has in their collection.”

“Beatnik” was an extensive, four-year project from Gary Chopit Kustom Cars, Inc. and started by completely removing the roof from a '55 Ford. Fioto used a mix of Cadillac and Lincoln components, including canted quad headlights for the front fenders, then grafted on a Cadillac rear end. The powerplant, which can be seen through a large hood opening, is a highly polished Chevrolet small-block V8 with six carburetors. The “Beatnik” won the coveted $20,000 grand prize at the Darryl Starbird’s National Rod and Custom Car Show this year in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The win was a poetic one for Fioto, who read Starbird’s feature articles as a kid growing up and chopped his first top when he was 11. The “Beatnik” is estimated in value at $350,000 - $450,000.

RM will also offer Chopit’s equally radical 1950 Mercury hardtop, better known as “Tuf Enuff,” at the Monterey sale. Many would insist there was nothing left that could be done to a 1949-51 Mercury. Chopit politely begged to differ. His head-turning '51 Merc, known as Tuf Enuff, gave a new look to the custom car icon (Est. $175,000 - $250,000).

A unique facet of the automotive landscape, hot rods and kustoms are generally considered to be a post-World War II American styling trend. Now internationally revered, rods and kustoms have large collector and club followings in the UK, Europe and even Japan. For many years such cars were an “underground” passion for discerning automobile enthusiasts, not achieving full recognition for their significance until the 1990s and invited to attend the prestigious Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance.

RM has consigned more than a dozen important hot rods, kustoms and prototypes for the Monterey Sports & Classic Car Auction, including: · 1937 Studebaker "Extremeliner" by Ken "Posies" Fenical (Est. $250,000 - $350,000) · 1932 Ford Speedster "Full Speed Ahead" by Zane Cullen (Est. $150,000 - $200,000) · 2005 Apollo Monza Spyder by Milt Brown (Est. $145,000 - $195,000) · 1926 Ford Roadster "Golden Era" by Rick Dore (Est. $125,000 - $175,000) · 1992 Harley Softail Custom " Holly DeVille" Motorcycle (Est. $55,000 - $85,000)

RM Auctions will offer approximately 200 of the world’s finest vintage motor cars at the 2006 Monterey Sports & Classic Car Auction and other exciting consignments will be announced soon. The auction will be held at the elegant Portola Plaza Hotel at Fisherman’s Wharf in Monterey, California. Activities are held August 17, 18 & 19th, with auction previews daily on Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 9:00 a.m. until 6:00 p.m. The auction sale times are Friday, August 18th and Saturday, August 19th evenings from 5:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m.

Admission to the Monterey Sport and Classic Car Auction sale is $30 per person, with children 12 and under admitted free of charge. An auction catalog is available for an additional $80 U.S., including shipping and handling within North America, by calling 800-211-4371 or visit

Celebrating more than 26 years in the collector car industry, RM Auctions Inc. and its sister companies are responsible for acquiring, restoring and selling of the world’s rarest and most expensive vintage automobiles including Best of Show winning cars at the prestigious Meadow Brook and Pebble Beach Concours. For additional information on RM Auctions Inc., please call (800) 211-4371 or visit the corporate web site at

Alexander Weaver

+1 864 313 6844
California, United States

Alexander Weaver joined RM Sotheby’s in 2011 as a Car Specialist after graduating from Furman University in South Carolina. Born... read more

Augustin Sabatié-Garat

+44 (0) 74 1511 4179
United Kingdom

Augustin Sabatié-Garat joined RM Europe in 2012 as a Car Specialist after more than a decade in the collector car hobby. Gradua... read more

Barney Ruprecht

+1 203 912 7168
Ontario, Canada

Barney’s interest in classic cars began at an early age after being introduced to his father’s all-original 1965 Porsche 911. Barney l... read more

David Swig

+1 415 302 2247
California, United States

David Swig joined RM Sotheby’s West Coast division as a Car Specialist in May 2015. David is a life-long automobile enthusi... read more

Don Rose

+1 617 513 0388
United States

Don joined RM in 2006 after several years of professionally trading sports and classic cars, and after earning a reputation as a noted... read more

Donnie Gould

+1 954 566 2209
Florida, United States

Donnie Gould joined the RM team in 2002 as a partner and Car Specialist after more than two decades in the vintage automobile auction ... read more

Gord Duff

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

Gord Duff began his journey with RM Sotheby’s in 1998. Since then, he has gained an intimate knowledge of a variety of marques a... read more

Jake Auerbach

+1 310 559 4575
California, United States

Jake Auerbach got his start in the automotive industry at an early age, spending his summers during high school working at a classic c... read more

Kurt Forry

+1 717 623 1638
California, United States

Having worked for Bonhams’ Automobilia department for over 10 years, Kurt Forry joined RM Sotheby’s with more than a decad... read more

Matt Malamut

+1 805 231 6410
California, United States

A long-time car enthusiast and Southern California native, Matt studied Automotive Technology at San Diego Miramar College and complet... read more

Michael Squire

+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Michael Squire joined RM Sotheby’s European Division in the summer of 2016. He comes to RM with a prestigious racing background ... read more

Mike Fairbairn

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

As one of the three founding partners of RM Sotheby’s, Mike has a long-standing interest in the classic car industry. Graduating... read more

Oliver Camelin

+44 (0) 75 0110 7447
United Kingdom

With an extensive background in exotic sports car history and sales, a particular passion for American curves, and fluency in three la... read more

Paul Darvill

+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Paul Darvill joined the RM Sotheby’s European team at the beginning of 2015. Paul holds a degree in French and Politics from the... read more

Pete Fisher

+1 519 784 9300
Ontario, Canada

Pete Fisher was first introduced to antique cars in high school, working for Classic Coachworks in his hometown of Blenheim, Ontario. ... read more

Shelby Myers

+1 310 559 4575
California, United States

Shelby Myers grew up with the classic car industry infused into every aspect of his life. He had the unique opportunity to watch the R... read more

Tonnie Van der Velden

+31 653 84 19 60
United Kingdom

Tonnie Van der Velden joined RM Sotheby’s European division in September 2015 as a Car Specialist. A lifelong enthusiast, Tonnie... read more