Journey to Legendary Motorcar Company

Our roving auction guy and contributor Bob Seidler was recently over the border in Canada and submitted this report on one of his excursions.

So what do you do when your wife has a speaking engagement in Toronto and you have the day free? Of course, you Uber over to Legendary Motorcar Company in scenic Halton Hills, just west of Toronto. For viewers of The Velocity Channel, you know Legendary Motorcar as a mainstay of their lineup, dating back to the early days of Velocity when owner Peter Klute hosted DreamCar Garage. This was a delightful series in which two good-natured Canadians guys were buying, restoring and selling cars out of their garage.

1931 Rolls-Royce Phantom II Henley Roadster
1931 Rolls-Royce Phantom II Henley Roadster

Fast forward about three decades, and Klute runs a world-class restoration and showroom facility in a modern office park he shares with Fortune 500 companies (or at least the Canadian equivalent.) The current show is a fascinating review of Klute’s search, purchase, restoration and sale of highly collectible cars. His knowledge of vehicle values is vast and encyclopedic, providing a glimpse into the motivations of car collectors.

Legendary’s inventory of over 100 vehicles tends to exceptional American muscle cars like a $250,000 super-rare 1969 COPO (special order) Camaro with an aluminum 427 motor, at least a dozen real-deal Cobra’s, a slew of Corvettes and several Italian exotics.

Naturally, my eye quickly caught two of England’s finest: a gorgeous, and massive, 1931 Rolls Royce roadster and a stunning 1961 Jaguar XKE.

The Rolls is a 1931 Phantom II Springfield Henley Roadster. You can see it in the image above. As many of you know, Rolls Royce cars were also produced in Springfield, Massachusetts from 1921 to 1931. This particular chassis is one of the last of the Springfield cars and was fitted with a custom body. Originally commissioned by a Boston real estate developer, the vehicle later moved to New York, and then to Chicago where it was owned for decades by an heir to the Spiegel retail fortune. It is interesting to note the Springfield Rolls-Royces had several modifications to make them more suitable to American conditions: a 7.6-liter motor, thermostatically controlled radiator louvres, wider and larger brakes, increased lubrication capacity and higher gear ratios for greater touring speeds. These cars, destined for the American market, were meant to be owner-driven, not chauffeured vehicles. Recently restored to a Concours level, it is priced at $695,000, USD.

1961 Jaguar E-Type
1961 Jaguar E-Type

Next is arguably one of the world’s finest Series 1 E-types, a certified 1000 point car as judged by Jaguar Club of North America at a recent San Diego Concours. As an early production model, this car features the infamous flat floor and the labor-intensive welded hood/bonnet louvres. Both of these features were quickly phased out for comfort and manufacturing efficiencies, making these early examples highly collectible and worthy of comprehensive restorations.

Starting with a solid driver, this spare-no-expense mission was undertaken with the goal of a perfect example. In its first three judging’s, this XKE was scored at 995.5, then 999.5, finally reaching the 1000 point goal in its third JCNA competition. So what is the price of perfection? How about $345,000!!

Bob Seidler
Business Consultant
Bob is a classic car fan and long-time British car enthusiast. His areas of expertise range from hotel and resort management to automobile auctions and car values.