PHOENIX – Soul singer James Brown's rare 1959 Chrysler
Imperial limousine, used by the "Godfather of Soul" in the
1970s, will be on the auction block this month.
Only one of 12 ever built, the limo is powered by a 331-
cubic-inch FirePower Hemi engine and is valued at $45,000
to $55,000. It ferried Brown and his entourage of up to
eight people when he owned it in the 1970s.
It's one of two famous limousines that will be offered Jan.
28 during RM Auctions' Vintage Motor Cars sale in Phoenix,
RM Auctions spokesman Rob Myers said. More than 120 other
vehicles will be up for auction at the Arizona Biltmore
Resort & Spa.
A black 1962 Lincoln Continental ordered for President John
F. Kennedy and nicknamed the "Kennedy Bubbletop" could
fetch up to $1 million. The bubbletop feature provided
security while allowing crowds to see him.
The limo was the preferred transport of first lady
Jacqueline Kennedy and it ferried a variety of dignitaries,
including Pope Paul VI, President Lyndon B. Johnson, Vice
Presidents Hubert Humphrey and Spiro Agnew, Philippine
President Ferdinand Marcos and the Apollo 8 astronauts.
"To offer one historically significant limousine is
special, but two of this caliber is quite a distinction,"
Myers said. "The Kennedy legacy and mystique is still an
enormous attraction for collectors and the limo is perhaps
the most significant piece of presidential automotive
history ever offered at auction.
"The Brown Imperial is another desirable and handsome
investment for any collector or music enthusiast," Myers
The bubbletop limo and its sister car, the Lincoln
convertible limousine in which President Kennedy was
assassinated on November 22, 1963, were built by Hess &
Eisenhardt of Cincinnati.
Three other vehicles on the auction block are also expected
to eclipse the $1 million mark, including a 1962 Aston
Martin DB4 GT Zagato Coupe (one of only 19 ever built), a
1953 Ferrari 250 MM Pinin Farina Competition Coupe and a
1934 Duesenberg Model J Convertible Coupe.
For more information, call (800) 211-4371.