Sunday, January 1, 2012

Hyman Classic Cars is like a Concours d'Elegance held in a dank warehouse

As the winter season is upon us, I'm starting to run out of car things to write about in Kansas City. So we headed a few miles east of town to a little place called St. Louis to tour some of the great car collections on the other side of the state.

I've heard about Hyman Ltd. Classic Cars for years, and even seen many of their cars at auctions and car shows here in KC. But I really wasn't expecting the number of quality of cars that Hyman had to offer. I'm not sure I've ever seen so many extremely high-end vehicles all in one place before in my life. It truly was like strolling through a Concourse d'Elegance. In fact, the very 1937 Delahaye 135 MS Figoni & Falaschi Cabriolet that won best of show at the 2000 Pebble Beach Concours was sitting right there in the lobby.

I might be more familiar with Corvettes and Eldorados, but I know when I'm in the presence of greatness. Everywhere you looked, there was something more and more spectacular. A Duesenberg here; a Marmon Sixteen there; Packards that were still called Classics with a capital "C".

Unceremoniously parked in next to the back wall was Dean Martin's Dual Ghia. There was an ENTIRE ROW of swoopy, French Delahayes--I'm not even sure if I've ever seen one before. A ridiculously gorgeous Talbot-Lago T23 Figoni & Falaschi Teardrop Coupe greeted visitors at the front door. Auburn Supercharged Speedster? Check. Gold-leafed Pierce Arrow? Check. Classic Cords, V16 Cadillacs, custom-bodied Rolls Royces? Check, check, and check.

I also recognized a couple of cars that were at last year's Art of the Car Concourse at the Kansas City Art Institute, including a bright yellow Kissel Speedster and a 1948 Daimler Green Goddess that'll knock the wind out of you. It was nice to see them when it wasn't 148-degrees and 100-percent humidity at the end of June.

The selection of cars in there was simply mind-boggling. I could hardly believe that they let my wife, my son, and me actually go in there and look at them.

The facility itself almost doesn't do this collection justice. They say they've got 35,000 square-feet, and they're obviously using every one of them. Cars are parked so close together, it's almost hard to get pictures of them, and illumination consists of a few canned ceiling lights and some high, little windows. As you teeter along the oily, grease-stained concrete floor, it is easy to miss the quarter-million dollar Hudson Italia hidden in a dark corner. This place would barely meet the standards of the service department at the local Kia dealership, not much less the showroom.

But that's really not the point. If a billionaire wants to own some sultan's custom-bodied Cord, and Hyman happens to have it in their inventory, the billionaire's people are going to go put the deal together. They don't need a beautiful location--the cars do all the talking.

Hyman Ltd. Classic Cars is one of those "car dealerships" that you owe it to yourself a visit at least once. There are significant cars there that you may never have a chance to see again. It's worth the short trek across Missouri to check out what they have to offer in person. For more information, visit http://www.hymanltd.com/.

In the meantime, check out the slideshow below.


3 comments:

  1. I think they must have half of the Delahayes and Delages in the country in there!
    Thanx for the photos as always, and may I have that blue 59 ElCamino out in the lot please? :)

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  2. amazing collection. i discovered their website a year or so ago and visit them that way every so often.

    several of your pics craig are excellent and assume a few will find their way into your 'best of' 2012 collection next december?

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  3. I just stumbled on to your little slice of the blog world and am glad I did. I see I have some catching up to do in the reading dept.

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