John Staluppi’s ‘Cars of Dreams’ Collection Leads Inaugural Leake Auction into Salt River Fields January 15–19
Leake Auction Company makes its Scottsdale debut January 15–19 at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick during the annual Arizona Automobile Week, when the Valley of the Sun celebrates America’s love of cars, trucks, motorcycles and just about anything that moves.
The multi-day event will feature 1,000 collector cars, at Reserve and No Reserve, highlighted by the “Cars of Dreams” Collection of internationally known car dealer and collector John Staluppi; all 114 will be offered at No Reserve. In addition, consignors, bidders and guests will enjoy lifestyle events including food and beverages and bidder bars and displays by sponsor companies such as Jack Daniels, Mother’s Car Products and Reliable Carriers.
The Leake offering, featuring pre-war, muscle cars and contemporary supercars, will be run by world-recognized Spanky Assiter of Assiter Auctioneers January 16, 17, 18 and 19, from 8 a.m. to close. The public may preview the cars on January 15 from 8.a.m. to 5 p.m.
Scottsdale-based Leake Auction Company was acquired in January 2018 by Ritchie Bros. of Vancouver, Canada, an asset management and disposition company founded in 1958. Among its companies is Ritchie Bros. Auctioneers, the world’s largest industrial auctioneer, and IronPlanet, an internet sales site with 3.9 million users.
“We have planned our first Scottsdale auction based on the principles James C. Leake founded our company on: quality, respect, knowledge, and loyalty to the business,” says Gary Bennett, General Manager for Ritchie Bros. Collector Car Sector, and a Phoenix resident with 50-plus years in the car auction industry.
“In this spirit we want to take care of the consignors who bring us the cars, the bidders who find them new homes and our guests who attend,” he adds. “We want to show how much we appreciate all of them and what they do for the collector-car hobby.”
The Spectacular Collection of John Staluppi
John Staluppi, a Brooklyn native, began his car passion in the “big-is-better” ’50s and ’60s. At age 16 he bought his first car: a 1962 black-on-black Corvette, optioned with the 340-horsepower 327-cubic-inch V-8 and a 4-speed transmission.
After he reluctantly sold the Vette, he was able to find, re-purchase and restore it years later. “It is the focal point of his collection today, his favorite car and one of three he won’t sell,” Bennett explains. “This is actually the third time he’s completely sold his collection. After this, he’ll start again with new goals in mind.”
In addition to collecting cars, John meticulously builds mega- yachts for personal use which he names after James Bond movies, such as his most recent award-winning “Spectre.”
Staluppi enthusiastically collects across marque and model and particularly loves convertibles and ’50s cars. A magnificent 1953 Buick Skylark Convertible, for example, has been restored in Matador Red with a two-tone red and white interior. The 322-cid Nailhead V-8 connects to a Twin Turbine Dynaflow automatic transmission. The well-optioned classic includes power steering, power brakes, power windows and power top, a 12-volt electrical system, continental kit, chrome spoke wheels and whitewall tires.
From 1955 is a Cadillac Eldorado, the third year these marque flagships were made; it has the 331-cid V-8, automatic transmission, power steering, brakes, seats and windows. Liveried blue with matching blue inside, it’s one of 3,950 Eldo top-downs produced that year.
And, for 1957, is a Chrysler 300C Convertible, with the dual-quad 392-cid V-8 and a push-button 3-speed Torqueflite automatic. Finished in white with tan leather interior, this is #001 of the 484 letter cars produced this year. Not surprisingly, it is a multiple award-winner including at an AACA Grand National Senior event.
From the following year are three ’58 ragtops, a Dual Ghia, a Pontiac Bonneville and a 1958 Eldorado Biarritz. Three more represent the final year of the Eisenhower decade, a Buick Electra, DeSoto Firesweep and another “letter-car,” a Chrysler 300E.
Finished in two-tone Deauville Blue and Kashmir Blue, so characteristic of the decade, the 370-cid Bonne’ is a tri-power V-8 connected to a 4-speed Super Hydramatic transmission. The two-tone blue interior is fitted with front and rear bucket seats. The multiple award-winning Pontiac is one of 3,096 produced that year and is also an AACA Grand National Senior. Power steering, air ride suspension, a continental kit and wide whitewall tires are included. “It even has a pull-out transistor radio you can take to the beach,” Bennett says.
The Corvette, “America’s sport’s car,” is well represented, from early models such as a low-production 1954 Convertible to a 2019 Yenko Convertible.
A multiple NCRS Top Flight winner featured in Vette Magazine, the 1956 Convertible is equipped with the 265-cid, 225-horse V-8 and a 3-speed manual. One of 3,467, the fourth-year Vette has the power soft top with the auxiliary hardtop, power windows, heater, AM signal seeking radio and courtesy lights. Included are extensive restoration receipts, a Corvette operations manual and owner’s manual.
A “King of the Hill” 1968 Corvette L88 T-top Coupe has the legendary (and horsepower underrated) 427-cid, 430-horse V-8 with the M22 Rock Crusher 4-speed and a period-correct drivetrain. Polar White on red leather interior, this is one of the 80 produced in the second year for the powerplant. Included are heavy duty power brakes, special suspension, transistor ignition system and Rally wheels with redline tires. “It even has the original fuel tank and the tank sticker attached,” Bennett says.
From the following year is a muscular 1969 Z28, with the 302-cid engine and the Muncie M22 4-speed manual transmission. The Dusk Blue-on-Dusk Blue car has the Rally Pack console gauges, power disc brakes and includes Protect-o-Plate, original invoice, owner’s manual, Certificate of Authenticity from Jerry MacNeish and original invoice.
Finally, a contemporary supercar, a 2012 Lexus LFA, with just 2,535 miles, has the potent 4.8-liter V-10 and a 6-speed paddle-shift automatic transmission. One of 500 produced, the sport coupe, white on black and red premium leather interior, is a carbon fiber monocoque with front and rear aluminum subframes and carbon fiber body panels and red brake calipers. A Tumi LFA-branded luggage set is included.
A ‘Best of Show’ Team
Bennett is assisted by a team of experienced industry professionals who provide a variety of services, including car authentication and bidder validation.
His wife, Muffy, is the Director – New Sector: Collector Cars; brothers Brian and Jason Rose, Consignment Department Co-Managers; Renee Farley, Bidder Department and Guest Services Manager; and two Consignment Specialists, Jennifer Tetley and Jeff Diehl, both from the Tulsa office. And, Bennett says, “The Spanky Assister team, with his wife Amy, are the best in the business.”
The Staluppi’s have been generous charitable contributors. Recently he purchased the first 2020 Toyota Supra for $2.1 million, and the proceeds benefitted the American Heart Association and Bob Woodruff’s Foundation supporting veterans and service members.
At least two cars will be sold for charity in Scottsdale, one for the Austin Hatcher Foundation for Pediatric Cancer and the second, a Jack Daniels-branded Indian Motorcycle, benefitting The Armed Forces YMCA Operation Ride Home.
“John’s collection of vehicles and his museum are just remarkable,” Bennett says. “We are honored to offer his vehicles without Reserve during our inaugural Scottsdale auction.”
Admission for adults is $20, students with current ID and Seniors 55+, $10. First responders, military with ID and children 12 and under are admitted free. On Saturday, adult admission is $25.
For more information about Leake Auction Company or to register as a bidder or consign a car for the Scottsdale auction, visit LeakeCar.com or call +1.602.442.3380.