Login to your account
Not a member? Register now.

Subscribe To The Blog:

Follow Us

The Latest News And Reviews
Throughout The Car Industry

Two "B"s Bring Two TV "Reals" (and a Fake) To Auction: a Starsky Torino and the BtC Buick and BLS Pegasus

Comments: Leave | View
On: Fri, May 9, 2014 at 10:44AM | By: Andrew W Davis

Two "B"s Bring Two TV "Reals" (and a Fake) To Auction: a Starsky Torino and the BtC Buick and BLS Pegasus

So, let’s say you read my article on the BTTF DeLorean (Seriously. Say it.) and found that either the going rate for a film-fake—or the car itself—was not for you. But you still want to have something Tinsel-Townie to parade in front of your friends. What can you do?

Well, have I got a deal (or three) for you! Sure, the silver screen they (sort of) appeared on was smaller—and usually less silver—but that doesn’t (necessarily) mean that TV-used cars should be worth any less (even though they are).

Here we have two cars from Branson Auctions’ Spring 2014 sale, April 11-12 in Branson, MO, and one from Barrett-Jackson’s Palm Beach 2014 sale in—this is too easy—Palm Beach, FL, the same weekend. From these two auction houses come three distinct types of made-for-TV cars: a replica of a car everyone knows, an actual movie prop that might be a little famous, and a similarly real-deal vehicle from a show evenIdidn’t know ever existed.

Sure, they're not the most famous of cars—and the one here that is most famous is a fake—but when you're looking for star-quality cars on a Second Director's Assistant's budget, well, fame has its price. And you can't afford it. So...

[Italicized model info set within quotations is taken directly from the auction company’s own information, printed, online or otherwise. Cars are listed in the order of their respective lot numbers. Also, photos #4-7 were taken from other sites.]

Branson Lot 231 “1976 Buick Century Wagon 350” [$3,250 no-sale]

“Same Californian owner since 1976 with original California pink slip, window sticker, invoice and build sheet. A passenger model with rear jump seat, 350 cubic inch V8 and automatic transmission. This station wagon was used in the 2013 movie "Behind the Candelabra" starring Michael Douglas and Matt Damon.”

I haven’t seen the movie, but I’m pretty sure that this station wagon doesn’t play a starring role. Not only is it from a year within which nobody here made good cars—let alone station wagons—but a '70s Buick Century isn’t something that one could consider as up to Liberace-levels of furs, diamonds and… fabulousness. It doesn’t even have one candelabra! Were it not for the piano keys painted on/stuck to the sides, there would be absolutely nothing that made this car special. And while it may be true-to-life—as far as that goes—it’s still a refrigerator-white-over-blah-beige grocery-getter that’s as plain as Liberace was flamboyant.

For this reason—and many others—I personally wouldn’t want even this “real” car, let alone a clone of it (though all it would take is two strips of body side piano key stickers). And I seem to be in the majority, as it was listed on eBay Motors twice: First on Feb. 1 when 12 bids—highest of which was just $4,450 (reserve not met); then relisted April 2, when an offer of $18,900 was declined.

[Should you want pictures of everything even related to this Buick you can visit the site of the consigner MotoeXotica, where—although they’ve not updated their page (it still sends bidders to the last eBay sale)—they’ve posted more pics and particulars on this Buick than you’d want to see when researching a classic Ferrari, let alone a five-door film footnote.]

Considering the fact that this bio-pic on "Liberace and his male lover" was available here in the states “only” on DVD or HBO—it was “released in European theaters” they say—it’s no surprise that it wouldn’t be the hottest of properties.

Heck, even if you were (one of?) the biggest collector(s) of Liberace gear, this is technically more a Douglas/Damon item, so I doubt it would get your rhinestones any more hot and bothered than the $19k on offer for a car that is basically worth so little that no major car guide even bothers to put a price on it, piano keys or no.

[BTW, that $18,900 eBay “offer” seems fishy to me. Given the $4,450 first bid and the $3,250 no-sale here, I’m betting that car would’ve sold in a heartbeat anywhere in the five digits if the buyer was real.]

Branson Lot 601 “1975 Ford Torino 351” [Sold: $8,100]

“Starsky and Hutch clone equipped with a 351 Cleveland, power steering and power brakes.”

Like the 1976 Buick Century Wagon, the 1973 to 1976 Ford Torino—including the two-door—is basically worthless. To combat this—in the Torino’s case—Congress passed a law that states that any mid-1970s base-model Torino two-door must be painted red with a white slash—the genesis for the S&H car’s “Striped Tomato” nickname—on penalty of death. I mean, it must be as it’s nearly impossible to find one that isn’t wearing S&H colors (not that you’d want to).

And while the basic body style came out in 1973, the actual car(s) used in the show—aka “Zebra Three”—were either a 1975 or ’76. Period. So if you’re looking to buy one, know that the closer to the Bicentennial your car’s build date is, the more “authentic” the clone car will be. [Also, to comply with the aforementioned congressional order, Ford itself made 1,000 Starsky look-alikes in 1976, so for that year, at least, you can know that when someone claims that they have a “factory” Starsky Torino, they might actually be telling the truth.]

As for “clones”, while the requisite white accent paint and aftermarket chrome slotted wheels make an S&H Torino less complicated to reproduce than, say, a 1957 or ’58 Plymouth “Christine” knock-off, it does require at least one more accessory to make it true to the original: the cord-powered red roof light (which, though it’s the cheapest part of the “look”, this car seems to lack).

So what we seem to have is an improperly-accessorized semi-clone of the car they used in an old TV show that—counter to the amount of love the show itself got—has become a semi-popular pick for collectors on a budget. And they’re not hard to find.

On eBay Motors, in fact, you can find examples running the gamut of correctness, including a restored 1974 clone, a reportedly Ford-built ‘76, and a REAL Starsky & Hutch-used Torino (with $25k “starting” price).

As usual, you get what you pay for. For long-term collectability, make sure that your car is a TV-used vehicle,not one created for the 2004 movie. And there are hundreds of sources on the web that can tell you what’s right—or, usually, wrong—with anything and everything Starsky & Hutch-related, including its iconic Torino (i.e. IMCDB.org).

Barrett-Jackson Lot 506 “1988 Pegasus Custom Coupe” [Sold: $60k]

“Very rare 1988 Pegasus. This car appeared in two episodes of the TV show BL Stryker starring Burt Reynolds filmed in Palm Beach. This is a 1 of 1 car according to Charlie Van Netter who is the owner of Pegasus. They only built two yellow cars and the other was re-sprayed red. Only 25 total Pegasus cars were ever built. Pegasus cars are transformed 1988 - 1989 Trans Ams that are legally titled as a Pegasus. An extremely unique car with movie star history.”

According to Wikipedia, B. L. Stryker was “an American detective drama that aired on ABC from February 13, 1989 to May 5, 1990 as part of the ABC Mystery Movie along with Gideon Oliver(?), Columbo and Kojak. The series was executive produced by Tom Selleck.”

That would put this 12-episode show smack-dead in the middle of my high school years, back when my car knowledge was at its most fervent and focused thanks to having no real responsibilities (kids, a mortgage, etc.). Yet I’ve never heard of the show, let alone the car that shared screen time: the “1988 Pegasus” (NOT to be confused with the 1971 GM design car with Ferrari 365 GTB/4 guts).

[This is particularly puzzling because I knew all about Columbo’s Peugeot 403 Convertible, Kojack’s Buick Century Regal 455s and Selleck’s—as Magnum, P.I.—(borrowed) Ferrari 308s.]

Like “KITT” from the original 1980s Knight Rider, the “Pegasus” is a tarted-up ‘80s Pontiac Trans Am. And speaking of Ferrari 308s, this thing’s builder tried to pack onto this TA bad copies of styling elements from Magnum’s red ride, De Tomaso’s Group 4 Pantera and, well, who-knows-what onto his creation.

[The auction information is surprisingly sketchy when it comes to Pegasus production, with this being a “1-of-1” because it was one of two done in yellow but then one of those was repainted red. It also says that 25 were produced, so I have to assume there are 24 additional copies, painted anything but yellow.]

It is what it is, people. You drive up in a black ‘80s Trans Am—even if you haven’t modded it at all—and people instantly think “KITT”. Pull up in this and they’ll think you have terrible taste, even after you explain what it is, what it was made for and why Burt Reynolds’ signature is on it.

And while the yellow color was a big deal on, say, the cobbled-up—yet gazillion-dollar—Nash Bridges ‘Cuda convertible “Number 1”, on this car it only makes the most unfortunate of its builder’s styling choices that much easier to see. And as for value, this car’s lack of it ain’t just because NB had four more seasons on the tube (nor the Burt Reynolds vs. Don Johnson involvement, as that’s pretty much a draw).

"But Burt and B.L. buyers shouldn’t despair. According to the consigner—the McLaughlin Trans Am Museum" in Parkersburg, WV—and its very helpful phone-call-returner, after moving from “star car” museum to museum (including—in the end—theirs), the LBS Pegasus got its first “public” buyer in ages (and a Palm Beach-area resident to boot!), so it’s bound to turn up something other than a static display and, most likely, for even more money.

I think $60k is way too much for this car and its need for endless explanations, but I've been wrong before. Once. But she wasreally hot, so maybe that doesn't count as a mistake now that I think about it...

Photo Gallery (click a thumbnail to enlarge)


Be the first to leave a comment.

Leave A Commment

Allowed HTML tags: <a href=""> <abbr title=""> <b> <em> <i>
Please no link dropping, no keywords or domains as names; do not spam, and do not advertise! rel="nofollow" is in use