Rare Breeds

Posted July 05, 2017

By Steve Temple

Even though most replicas are of cars from the 1960s, this issue of ReinCarNation highlights an interesting era of cars, from Post-WWII to 1960, when the sports car scene was just getting started. Every car guy has a favorite, but a while back we came across an unusual collection owned by Wes Abendroth. He has a yen for lesser-known cars, some that you might never have heard of, many with unusual configurations. But they have one thing in common: They all look really cool.

Formerly a Corvette dealer in Dallas, Texas, for 21 years, but now retired and active in the vintage racing scene, Wes has a thing for Corvettes as well. He even once owned a 1980 (the last carbureted model) with only 5 miles on it, as sort of a time-capsule Corvette.    

But the bulk of his private collection has consisted of some rare racers and performance machines. These have included a Fiberfab Centurion (personally acknowledged by Jay Leno), Witton Special, Mistral, Bocar, Elva Courier, LaDawri and a hybrid “Healarossa” (Austin-Healy with a body similar to a Ferrari Testarossa).

How did I come across his diverse batch of cars? Actually, that’s an interesting story in itself. One day I noticed a large storage building in the High Sierras of northern Nevada, perched on a hillside overlooking a scenic valley of pasture land. The structure’s site didn’t make sense for storing farm equipment, so I suspected it might contain a car collection.   

Oddly enough, Wes called my office a couple days afterwards to offer a private tour. Apparently we shared a connection with automotive historian Harold Pace, a good friend who passed away not too long ago.   

The current location of Wes’ collection is a fairly well-kept secret, and I felt privileged to be granted an insider look at it during an off-site display for a local TV program. Adding to my curiosity, Wes says he has a lot more cars stashed away, but he declines to reveal any more details, as he prefers his privacy, and eschews the car-show scene.

But we did manage to grab his rare recreation of a Sorrell-Larkin Special, featured in this issue, and hope to follow up with others as well.

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