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The Miniature d’Elegance: A “Mini” Charity Auction Event

Pull out your magnifying glasses folks! The cars of this charity auction sport a lot of style, but you’ll need to get up close and personal to really see it. Unlike a usual Cars for Piston Scholars auction, there’s far more than one vehicle taking the spotlight. A grand total of 81 miniature diecast cars will soon be auctioned off during a special event we’ve dubbed the Miniature d’Elegance!

There are so many mini cars in fact, we’ve had to create two separate auctions for the occasion: American Classics and Grand Elegance. Here’s an overview of these beautiful 1:24 scale cars and the story of how we and our partners at Bring a Trailer and Veloce Valuations created this one-of-a-kind auction. Read till the end to discover the winners of both auctions!

By Christopher Perkowski

March 26, 2024

Honoring His Father’s Collection

Veloce Valuation’s Steve Kittrell is good friends with automotive filmmaker Travis Geske. Travis approached Steve one day and spoke of a large collection of eighty-one model cars he’d received from his late father, one that he was looking to donate. As a Piston Community Partner, Steve knew these cars would be a great way for Travis to give back to a good cause. He suggested Travis donate his father’s cars to the Cars for Piston Scholars program, where the proceeds of the auction would go toward funding scholarships for aspiring car technicians. Travis was excited by the idea, and, along with Steve, Veloce Valuations, Bring a Trailer, and Piston, set out to create the Miniature d’Elegance charity auction.

“My father was a union steam welder and also a pilot that saw combat in World War II, Korea, and Vietnam.” Travis said. “He really loved all things mechanical and loved collecting the Franklin Mint vehicles, from the pre-war offerings through present day cars.”

“Those cars will always hold a special place in my heart, they’re all so detailed and well crafted. I’m sure someone will make a new wonderful home for them.”

Two Elegant Auctions

Travis’s father’s love for these cars is apparent in the pristine condition he kept them in. Each of the eighty-one pieces from the Franklin Mint and Danbury Mint have their original box, birth certificates, and accessories all intact. Travis recalled admiring his father’s collection as a young boy in the large display they were kept in. He would always jump at the opportunity to examine and hold them in his hands.

The Miniature d’Elegance showcases each and every car so that Geske’s hope for a new home for these cars is fulfilled. Both the American Classics and Grand Elegance auctions are chock full of amazing glimpses of automotive history and diecast artistry and feature more than just a handful of highlights worth mentioning.

American Classics Collection

The American Classics collection, as the name implies, features classic car models from across all eras of America’s storied automotive history such as a 1932 Cadillac V16, a 1975 Chevrolet Bel-Air, 1975 Studebaker Golden Hawk and 10 Fords in various models. The collection also includes U.S. Mail trucks, Budweiser, and Coca Cola delivery trucks from the 1920’s and 1930’s, as well as a selection of U.S. gas station pumps.

A Preview of the American Classics Collection

Andy Reid, founder of the Isolation Island Concours, gives us a preview of the “American Classics” diecast model car collection.

Grand Elegance Collection

The Grand Elegance collection gets a bit more fancy with its presentation. It includes a 1935 Mercedes Benz 500K Special Roadster, a 1948 Tucker, 1932 Hispano-Suiza J12, 1930 Bugatti Royale Coupe Napoleon, 5 rare Duesenberg model J’s, and the Lamborghini Countach 5000S. There’s even an Aston Martin DB5 007 Edition which features all the James Bond gadgets from Goldfinger, including an ejection seat.

A Preview of the Grand Elegance Collection

Andy Reid, founder of the Isolation Island Concours, gives us a preview of the “Grand Elegance” diecast model car collection.

All models come the in manufacturers original packaging.
All models include the manufacturers original literature and certificates of authenticity.

The Power of Community Partners

We, at the Piston Foundation are pleased and thankful to have partners such as Bring a Trailer and Veloce Valuations involved in creating auctions like these. We couldn’t have done it without their help nor could we have had such amazing miniature cars to auction without the Geske family’s generous donation.

Steve Kittrell also shared his thoughts on the collaboration. “I’m looking forward to our continued partnership with the Piston Foundation and grateful for Bring A Trailer’s support with me for the last five plus years,” he said. “Bringing these fantastic models to the market has been incredibly fun and rewarding to represent the Geske family.”

Results of the Miniature d’Elegance

The Miniature d’Elegance’s Grand Elegance and American Classics auctions ended this past Monday and Tuesday respectively. The competition was fierce, but in the end, two bidders came out on top. For the Grand Elegance auction, BaT user @Kodakroschester won the collection with a bid of $8,100. As for the American Classics, user @TheBull won handily with a final bid of $7,200. A big thank you goes out to both users, whose combined purchases yielded $15,300 for the Cars for Piston Scholars campaign. It’ll be instrumental in helping young car technicians find the car career of their dreams. While these beautiful collections may have gotten away, you can still check out the Miniature d’Elegance’s full list of featured cars and links to the auction results below.

Miniature d’Elegance: American Classic Collection Models

  1. 1929 Dodge Pickup (DM)
  2. 1932 Cadillac V-16 (DM)
  3. 1953 Cadillac El Dorado  (FM)
  4. 1959 Cadillac series 62 (DM)
  5. 1937 Studebaker Pickup Truck (DM)
  6. 1957 Studebaker Golden Hawk (DM)
  7. 1948 Chrysler Town & Country (DM)
  8. 1949 Mercury Club Coupe (DM)
  9. 1957 Mercury Turnpike Cruiser (DM)
  10. 1953 Buick Skylark (DM)
  11. 1965 Pontiac GTO (DM)
  12. 1925 Ford Model T Runabout Roadster (DM)
  13. 1925 Ford Model T Runabout (DM)
  14. 1925 Ford Model T Touring Car (DM)
  15. 1935 Ford Pickup (DM)
  16. 1940 Ford Deluxe Coupe (DM)
  17. 1955 Ford Fairlane Crown Victoria (DM)
  18. 1956 Ford Fairlane Sunliner (DM)
  19. 1956 Ford Thunderbird (DM)
  20. 1957 Ford Fairlane 500 Skyliner (FM)
  21. 1966 Ford Mustang Convertible (DM)
  22. 1958 Edsel Bermuda 6-Passenger Station Wagon (DM)
  23. 1931 Chevrolet Half Ton Model AE Pick Up (DM)
  24. 1953 Chevrolet Pickup (DM)
  25. 1955 Chevrolet Nomad Station Wagon (DM)
  26. 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air (FM)
  27. 1958 Chevrolet Impala Convertible (DM)
  28. 1968 Chevrolet Chevelle SS-396 (DM)
  29. 1968 Chevrolet El Camino SS-396 (DM)
  30. 1969 Chevrolet Camaro (DM)
  31. 1953 Chevrolet Corvette (FM)
  32. 1956 Chevrolet Corvette (FM)
  33. 1962 Chevrolet Corvette (DM)
  34. 1963 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray (FM)
  35. 1968 Chevrolet Corvette (FM)
  36. 1978 Chevrolet Corvette (FM)
  37. 1986 Chevrolet Corvette (FM)
  38. 1997 Chevrolet Corvette (FM)
  39. 1925 US Mail Truck Ford Model T (DM)
  40. 1927 Ford Coca-Cola Delivery Truck (DM)
  41. 1931 US Mail Truck Ford Model A Deluxe Roadster (DM)
  42. 1935 US Mail Truck Ford 50-830 Half-Ton Pickup (DM)
  43. 1950 Borden’s Milk Truck Divco-Model 13 (DM)
  44. 1953 Chevrolet 1-Ton Wrecker (DM)
  45. 1912 Christie Front Drive Steamer (FM)
  46. 1938 Budweiser GMC Delivery Truck  (DM)
  47.  Classic American Gas Pump Collection (DM)

Miniature d’Elegance: Grand Elegance Collection Models

  1. 1904 Mercedes Simplex (FM)
  2. 1931 Mercedes Benz SSKL (FM)
  3. 1935 Mercedes 500K Special Roadster (FM)
  4. 1935 Mercedes-Benz 770K Grosser (FM)
  5. 1907 Rolls Royce Silver Ghost (FM)
  6. 1925 Rolls Royce Silver Ghost (DM)
  7. 1929 Rolls Royce Phantom I (FM)
  8. 1938 Rolls Royce Phantom III (FM)
  9. 1992 Rolls Royce Corniche IV (FM)
  10. 1930 Duesenberg J Derham Tourister (FM)
  11. 1933 Duesenberg SJ Twenty Grand (FM)
  12. 1933 Duesenberg J Victoria (FM)
  13. 1935 Duesenberg SSJ (DM)
  14. 1939 Duesenberg Coupe Simeone (FM)
  15. 1930 Bugatti Royale Coupe Napoleon (FM)
  16. 1936 Bugatti Atalante type 57SC (FM)
  17. 1934 Hispano-Suiza J12 (DM)
  18. 1939 Mayback Zeppelin (FM)
  19. 1938 Jaguar SS-100 (FM)
  20. 1949 Jaguar XK-120 (DM)
  21. 1938 Alvis 4.3 Litre (FM)
  22. 1937 Cord 812 Phaeton Coupe (FM)
  23. 1934 Packard V-12 LeBaron Speedster (DM)
  24. 1915 Stutz Bearcat Roadster (FM)
  25. 1927 Stutz Black Hawk Speedster (DM)
  26. 1928 Stutz Black Hawk Boattail Speedster (FM)
  27. 1935 Auburn 851 Speedster (FM)
  28. 1933 Pierce Silver Arrow (FM)
  29. 1948 Tucker (FM)
  30. 1964 Aston Martin 007 DB5 (DM)
  31. 1964 Aston Martin DB5 (DM)
  32. 1967 Volkswagen Beetle (FM)
  33. 1989 Ferrari F40 (FM)
  34.  Lamborghini Countach 5000S (FM)

Danbury Mint (DM), Franklin Mint (FM)

Special Thanks to Andy Reid

A special thank you to Andy Reid for being our concours judge and lending his expert commentary to our auction previews.

About Andy Reid

Andy Reid is a certified sports car fanatic who travels the world to see what’s crossing the auction block and what deals are out there. Andy has been involved in the collector car lifestyle since before he could drive when, at 15, he bought his first collector vehicle, a 1968 Fiat 124 coupe, His second was a 1966 330 GT 2+2 that he purchased by stealing his college savings at 17. Andy has owned more than 200 cars, “none of them normal or reasonable.”

Andy’s current collector vehicles include a Bristol 401, many BMWs, and way too many classic BMW motorcycles.

Andy has written for Grassroots Motorsports, Racer, Vintage Motorsport, Porsche Panorama, Jaguar World, Sports Car Market, and was the auction columnist at Classic Motorsports magazine for 12 years. Currently he writes regularly for the Journal, Magneto, Tazio, and The Chase.

Andy is also a licensed independent collector vehicle insurance specialist. He has worked in Film and Television and launched a number of internet companies including the newest, an online motorcycle auction company

Prior to his career as a collector car journalist he worked in Film and Television, Advertising, and founded and launched a number of internet companies.

Andy is also a well-respected Concours judge and judges at The Hilton Head Concours, The Radnor Hunt Concours, Concorso Italiano, Greenwich Concours, the Cincinatti Concours, Chattanooga Concours, and The Lime Rock Vintage Festival. He is also the head judge of the Classic Motorsports Monterey Kick off show in Pacific Grove.

On April 1st of 2020 he saw that the concours world was going to be on hold he saw a need to give his judge and owner friends something to do and founded the Isolation Island Concours, a judged concours event for model cars. The event ran in 10 parts thru all of 2020 and raised more than $200,000 for charities and had hundreds of entrants from around the world including a number of Pebble Beach Best of Show and class winners.

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