19-20 January 2017
Offered from the Mohrschladt Family Collection
1929 Ford "Immerso Highboy" Roadster
- Chassis no. 18-115349
Sold for $46,200
- Offered from the Mohrschladt Family Collection
- Built by three-time America’s Most Beautiful Roadster winner Ermie Immerso
- The best of period speed equipment, classic construction, and modern “smoothed” styling
- Only two owners since its sale by the Immerso Estate
- Spectacular, show-ready condition throughout
Ermie Immerso was a classic old-school hot-rodder, born with racing fuel in his veins. He came of age street-racing jalopies, pit-crewed for Jimmy Brian’s 1958 Indianapolis 500 win, and joined the 200 mph club at Bonneville in his first run in a homemade belly tank. Ford noticed his success and began supplying him for ever-hotter engines, powering a series of streamliners that eventually broke 300 mph on the Utah salt. Eventually his highly successful business, Thunderbird Products, a manufacturer of high-performance exhaust systems, allowed him to pursue his wildest dreams, building roadsters that won the America’s Most Beautiful Roadster award no fewer than three times. Today, two of them reside in the hallowed halls of the Petersen Automotive Museum. Yet Ermie’s personality never changed—he remained a down-to-earth, “do-it-myself” mechanic, working long hours in his shop while wearing a blue hat, blue bib overalls, and an orange T-shirt, an outfit that became so iconic that he was buried in it.
For the “highboy” roadster offered here, built for Ermie’s beloved wife, Immerso used a classic 1932 Ford chassis, and a ’29 roadster body with “smoothie look” styling. Yet beneath this modern bodywork resides the consummate hot-rod engine, a 256-cubic inch Ford 59AB flathead V-8, fully smoothed in the style of Art Chrisman with original, fully polished Navarro heads; three genuine Stromberg 97 carburetors on an aluminum intake manifold, with progressive linkage; and an exhaust system made by Immerso’s own Thunderbird Products.
In contrast to the over-the-top cars exhibited by Immerso at the Grand National Roadster Show, this car is an exercise in understated beauty and functionality, with a fully monochromatic blue color-matched theme seen throughout. The smoothed Model A dashboard contains a full complement of VDO precision gauges, with a traditional Sun tachometer on the steering column. Unusual for a street rod, Immerso incorporated a column shifter for the three-speed transmission and a shrunken banjo steering wheel, creating more legroom for the driver and passenger, and a cleaner appearance. A fully functional rumble seat was provided, upholstered as was the interior in the “tuck ‘n roll” style, and the door handles and rear-view mirror were custom-machined from billet. Ermie even hand-lettered his name on the dashboard.
The roadster was sold at Ermie Immerso’s estate auction in 2006 to James Rollans, from whom Henry Mohrschladt acquired it four years later. While in the Mohrschladt Family Collection, the roadster had its entire braking system rebuilt or replaced with new parts, including new aircraft-grade stainless steel brake flex hoses, improving its drivability. It remains in mint, show-worthy condition, with no cracks or blemishes in its finish, and exquisite chrome plating. Accompanying it here is a book of professional photography and various documentation of Ernie Immerso’s life and exploits.
Spectacularly detailed and finished to the highest of standards by one of the greats of modern hot-rodding, the “Immerso Highboy” is a stunning example of the best of old school construction and state-of-the-art engineering, brought together in one show-stopping vehicle.
AddendumPlease note that this car was awarded a 1st Prize at the 66th Annual Grand National Roadster Show in January 2015. Furthermore, it features a fiberglass roadster body.
Please contact our exclusive automotive transportation partner, Reliable Carriers, for a shipping quote or any other information on the transport of this vehicle.