When one talks about headliners at the upcoming Mecum Spring Classic Indy sale, certainly at the top of the list is the Ray Evernham Collection, Evernham the NASCAR Hall of Fame Crew Chief and Team Owner who has been running pretty hard at collecting for more than 20 years.
“I have enjoyed finding these cars, rebuilding these cars, restoring these cars and telling the story of these cars. Now it’s time to open up some of my space and some of that capital because there are other cars that we want to do—freeing up time, money and space.”
Of course, in any collection there are sentimental attachments that owners often have to certain vehicles, Evernham no exception. “You get attached to a lot of them, but there’s a little 1947 Kurtis that was driven by a guy from New Jersey, where I’m from, campaigned by Jim DiMarco, and it reminds me of the cars that I watched race when I was growing up. It was a successful car with New Jersey history, and it was the very first collector car that I bought. It reminded me so much of the Mickey Rooney movie ‘The Big Wheel,’ because that was the movie that really pushed me into the open wheel cars. It’ll be a little bit tough to see that one go.
“And the Gurney Eagle is really special to me because I got to be friends with Dan and I really admired him. Being able to honor Dan and Mario and A.J. and getting these cars out there so other people see them is important.
“There are going to be cars that go across that stage, and you hope that they do well, and more importantly, you hope they go to someone who is going to appreciate them as much as I did.
“The cars that I’m keeping are cars that I drove, cars that my wife Erin drove and cars that Mr. Hendrick gave me as bonuses. I’m keeping the ‘American Graffiti’ car—the ’58 Chevy—and in the Rainbow Warriors we built a bunch of cars for Jeff [Gordon] and I have one of his rookie cars that I personally did a lot of work on, so I’m keeping some and then we’ll add to it.
“The most valuable cars are going through Mecum, and we just felt like the Indy Auction this time of year was better for this collection, because it’s really not a muscle car or classic car collection. Mecum is so established at Indy and in the heart of Indianapolis is where the people are going to be who are interested in these cars.
“It’s going to be a bittersweet day for me when the cars get picked up and shipped away but we’re finally going to get to paint the floor in this new shop!”
We picked out a few of our favorites from Ray’s 33-lot collection coming up at the Mecum Indy Auction, Saturday May 23, all at no reserve.
All photos courtesy of Mecum Auctions.
Lot S166—1965 Brawner Hawk Ford ‘Dean Van Lines Special’ Indy Car. Driven By Mario Andretti to Indy Car Titles in 1965 and 1966.
Lot S167—1969 Eagle Weslake Ford ‘Santa Ana’ Indy Car.
Driven by Dan Gurney to 2nd Place in 1969 Indianapolis 500.
Lot S169—1984 March 84C Cosworth ‘Gilmore/Foyt’ Indy Car. Owned by A.J. Foyt, Driven by George Snider.
Lot S170— 1968 Ford Torino ‘Holman-Moody’ NASCAR. Driven by David Pearson to 1968 Rebel 400 Win.
Lot S171—1956 Snowberger Offenhauser ‘Federal Engineering Detroit Special’ Indy Car. Driven by Two-Time Indy Car Champion Tony Bettenhausen.
Lot S174—1958 Lesovsky Offenhauser ‘Bowes Seal Fast Special’ Champ Car.Driven by Jud Larson to Victory at Phoenix in 1958.
Lot S197—Ardun V-8 Engine. Designed by Brothers Zora and Yura Arkus-Duntov.