Arizona

19-20 January 2017

Offered from the Mohrschladt Family Collection

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Lot 162

1929 Ford "Immerso Highboy" Roadster

  • Chassis no. 18-115349

Sold for $46,200


Please note that this lot is titled as a 1932.

256 cu. in. Ford 59AB flathead V-8 engine with Navarro aluminum heads and three Stromberg 97 carburetors on an aluminum intake with progressive linkage, three-speed column-shifted manual transmission, solid axle front suspension, live rear axle, and four-wheel hydraulic drum brakes. Wheelbase: 106 in.

  • 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.

Addendum

Please 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.

Alexander Weaver

aweaver@rmsothebys.com

+1 864 313 6844
California, United States

Alexander Weaver joined RM Sotheby’s in 2011 as a Car Specialist after graduating from Furman University in South Carolina. Born... read more

Augustin Sabatié-Garat

asabatie-garat@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 74 1511 4179
United Kingdom

Augustin Sabatié-Garat joined RM Europe in 2012 as a Car Specialist after more than a decade in the collector car hobby. Gradua... read more

Barney Ruprecht

bruprecht@rmsothebys.com

+1 203 912 7168
Ontario, Canada

Barney’s interest in classic cars began at an early age after being introduced to his father’s all-original 1965 Porsche 911. Barney l... read more

Cameron Smyth

csmyth@rmsothebys.com

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

Cameron Smyth joined RM Sotheby’s as a Car Specialist in 2015, working out of our corporate office and providing assistance on c... read more

David Swig

dswig@rmsothebys.com

+1 415 302 2247
California, United States

David Swig joined RM Sotheby’s West Coast division as a Car Specialist in May 2015. David is a life-long automobile enthusi... read more

Don Rose

drose@rmsothebys.com

+1 617 513 0388
United States

Don joined RM in 2006 after several years of professionally trading sports and classic cars, and after earning a reputation as a noted... read more

Donnie Gould

dgould@rmsothebys.com

+1 954 566 2209
Florida, United States

Donnie Gould joined the RM team in 2002 as a partner and Car Specialist after more than two decades in the vintage automobile auction ... read more

Gord Duff

gduff@rmsothebys.com

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

Gord Duff began his journey with RM Sotheby’s in 1998. Since then, he has gained an intimate knowledge of a variety of marques a... read more

Ian Kelleher

ikelleher@rmsothebys.com

+1 310 559 4575
California, United States

Ian Kelleher began his automotive career immediately following his graduation from Oberlin College with a Bachelor of Arts in Politica... read more

Jake Auerbach

jauerbach@rmsothebys.com

+1 310 559 4575
California, United States

Jake Auerbach got his start in the automotive industry at an early age, spending his summers during high school working at a classic c... read more

Kurt Forry

kforry@rmsothebys.com

+1 717 623 1638
California, United States

Having worked for Bonhams’ Automobilia department for over 10 years, Kurt Forry joined RM Sotheby’s with more than a decad... read more

Matt Malamut

mmalamut@rmsothebys.com

+1 805 231 6410
California, United States

A long-time car enthusiast and Southern California native, Matt studied Automotive Technology at San Diego Miramar College and complet... read more

Michael Squire

msquire@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Michael Squire joined RM Sotheby’s European Division in the summer of 2016. He comes to RM with a prestigious racing background ... read more

Mike Fairbairn

mfairbairn@rmsothebys.com

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

As one of the three founding partners of RM Sotheby’s, Mike has a long-standing interest in the classic car industry. Graduating... read more

Oliver Camelin

ocamelin@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 75 0110 7447
United Kingdom

With an extensive background in exotic sports car history and sales, a particular passion for American curves, and fluency in three la... read more

Paul Darvill

pdarvill@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Paul Darvill joined the RM Sotheby’s European team at the beginning of 2015. Paul holds a degree in French and Politics from the... read more

Pete Fisher

pfisher@rmsothebys.com

+1 519 784 9300
Ontario, Canada

Pete Fisher was first introduced to antique cars in high school, working for Classic Coachworks in his hometown of Blenheim, Ontario. ... read more

Peter Wallman

pwallman@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Peter Wallman joined RM Europe in 2007 following nearly two decades in the international advertising industry, where he was based out ... read more

Shelby Myers

smyers@rmsothebys.com

+1 310 559 4575
California, United States

Shelby Myers grew up with the classic car industry infused into every aspect of his life. He had the unique opportunity to watch the R... read more

Tonnie Van der Velden

tvandervelden@rmsothebys.com

+31 653 84 19 60
United Kingdom

Tonnie Van der Velden joined RM Sotheby’s European division in September 2015 as a Car Specialist. A lifelong enthusiast, Tonnie... read more