Peter Pan Bus Lines Announces eBay Motors Auction This Afternoon Expected to Break Record for Most Expensive Vehicle Ever Sold on Site
19th July, 2011
SPRINGFIELD, Mass.--In a matter of hours, the world may have a new eBay Motors record. What started as an ordinary junkyard find by Peter L. Picknell of a leviathan sized bus 33 feet-long and almost 12-feet tall may shatter eBay Motors record for a single vehicle auction in less than 9 hours. This “bus” is a 1939 GMC Futurliner, one of twelve ever built by General Motors for use during their ‘Parade of Progress’, a technological road show that between 1936 and 1956 played before twelve and a half million Americans throughout 251 cities. The giant Futurliner bus is expected to sell for more than $4 million and whoever buys it will certainly own a rare piece of American design history.
Older generations of Americans may remember the Parade of Progress as how the country was first introduced to major advances such as television, jet engines, radar and microwave ovens. They also remember the Futurliner’s once-legendary creator, Harley J. Earl, a.k.a the father of the Corvette, a.k.a the father of America’s first-ever concept car, a.k.a and the creator of the very profession that’s the current backbone of every single automaker: Design.
Before Earl arrived on the automotive scene in the 1920s, cars looked like cracker-boxes on wheels and Detroit was governed by the function-over-function philosophy of Henry Ford, famed for saying “the customer can have it any color as long as it’s black.” Earl disagreed and the bright colors, chrome accents and plush interiors he designed as General Motors’ first-ever V.P. of Design sparked America’s love affair with the automobile and fueled G.M.’s meteoric rise in the 30s, 40s, and 50s. Most of the automobile features we take for granted – electric windows, on-board computers, heated seats, keyless entry, sun visors, hideaway power convertible tops, built-in car radios – came out of his GM studio.
One person who doesn’t take them for granted, however, is Harley Earl’s grandson, Richard. While working as a broker on Wall Street in his twenties, he realized the enormity of his grandfather’s legacy, spent the following ten years in Detroit researching America’s automotive design, and in addition to being a foremost historian he’s now another kind of broker – automotive – and the eBay Motors’ Futurliner was his brainchild.
And eBay Motors was a risk. Despite working with Barrett-Jackson in 2006 on the sale of Futurliner #11 (which commanded an impressive $4 million) he decided to try a different route for Futurliner #7, currently owned by Peter Pan Bus Lines. “I think that’s what Harley would have wanted,” says Richard Earl. “eBay became a Fortune 500 company by doing exactly what Harley did to create G.M.'s enormous Futurliner. They read the zeitgeist and created first mover’s advantage by anticipated upcoming trends.”
Less than 9 hours remain until the results of this landmark auction are known, after which one lucky bidder gets to drive away in an American icon designed by one of the greatest innovators of the 20th century.