It is hard to put a price on history, but it turns out the last vestiges of the Champ Car World Series were worth about $1.2 million.
Most of the assets of the defunct series sold at auction June 3, as organizers liquidated an extensive catalog of pace cars, racing equipment, transporters and other memorabilia.
Champ Car filed for bankruptcy March 5 after agreeing to merge with the Indy Racing League. The cash from the auction will be used to pay an extensive list of creditors. Will Power won Champ Car's last-ever race, at Long Beach in April.
Car transporters were big-ticket items, with one selling for $92,000 to Newman Wachs Racing. The team plans to use it for Atlantic Series and vintage racing duties. Several other trailers each sold for more than $55,000.
Pace cars also drew extensive interest, led by a 1996 Dodge Viper and 2006 Ford Mustang. Each sold for $37,000. A wide range of other cars sold for between $5,000 and $29,000.
Other items of note included:
-- A one-of-a-kind red Lola race car that hung on the lobby wall inside Champ Car's former headquarters ($17,000).
-- A 2000 Reynard show car with no engine ($47,500).
-- A slew of memorabilia, including posters, helmets and racing suits, was also sold.
The chance to own a slice of history proved alluring for fans and collectors, while several racing team reps arrived looking to augment their own equipment. About 750 people showed up for the auction in Indianapolis, and there were another 800 online bidders.
The strong turnout made for competitive bidding--used transporters went for nearly six figures--and even fairly insignificant items went for well above their market value. Tents--that's right, tents--with the Champ Car logo went for more than $700, while tools also sold at a premium.
"A lot of people were out for a piece of history," said Norman Gallivan II, chief executive of Gallivan Auctioneers & Appraisers, which handled the sale.
Still, not everything was museum ready. An '87 Volvo that had 317,669 miles on the odometer sold for $300, and a '91 Cadillac Eldorado went for $850. They were joined by cases of oil, used brake rotors, tires and other assorted parts.
"It looked like the greatest collection of crap I've ever seen," said Eddie Wachs, who owns Newman Wachs Racing with actor Paul Newman.
For those still looking to grab a piece of Champ Car, the series is auctioning off more memorabilia with an online sale that ends June 12.
For more details, go to http://www.autoweek.com/article/20080606/FREE/8696893
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