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    20th-Century Aluminum Airomobile Design Model

    Appraised Value:

    $3,000 - $5,000

    Appraised on: August 9, 2003

    Appraised in: Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

    Appraised by: Andy Ourant

    Category: Science & Technology

    Episode Info: Oklahoma City, Hour 3 (#809)

    Originally Aired: March 1, 2004

    slideshow IMAGE: 1 of 2 Next 

    More Like This:

    Form: Model
    Material: Aluminum
    Period / Style: 20th Century, Art Deco
    Value Range: $3,000 - $5,000

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    Appraisal Video: (3:48)


    Appraised By:

    Andy Ourant
    Dolls, Toys & Games

    Appraisal Transcript:
    GUEST: I was first in line at an antique show in Loveland, Colorado, and I spied this at a table near the door. And as soon as the show opened, I went right over to it and I grabbed it. It was a very unusual looking item. I picked it up and held on to it for probably 45 minutes to an hour trying to make a decision as to whether or not to buy it.

    APPRAISER: And you negotiated with the dealer and there was a set price, correct?

    GUEST: I tried to negotiate, but the dealer wouldn't budge on the price.

    APPRAISER: Go ahead and tell me what you paid.

    GUEST: It was a lot. It was $1,400.

    APPRAISER: Okay. It is what we would term a styling model, or a rendering for a real automotive. And you can tell me more about the company.

    GUEST: Well, as far as I know, the research I've done, it is a 1937 Airomobile. The original maker was a Paul Lewis, who made it in Colorado and then had it manufactured, I believe, in Rochester, New York. And this is a model that he had cast from a foundry. There was the name of the foundry inside-- McPherson's Foundry, Denver.

    APPRAISER: So they were contracted by him to make this model, and then he made a real prototype of the car, correct?

    GUEST: There was one made, as far as I know, and it is in the Reno Auto Museum.

    APPRAISER: And we have photographs from the period in 1937, and these photographs were with the car, correct?

    GUEST: Yes, they were. With this particular model.

    APPRAISER: And I believe he drove it across country?

    GUEST: Yes, he did. Which I find fascinating. And he was probably, you know, trying to get investors and to set up dealerships.

    APPRAISER: Well, I want to point out some details about the model. But first, we should talk about the fantastic Art Deco-type streamlining. I love that. It's a three-wheeled car, which is really unusual, and it's made out of aluminum. Cast aluminum, I think. He was placing the engine up front. He has this wonderful fishtail.

    GUEST: That's what drew me to the car. Oh, yes.

    APPRAISER: These great swooping lines, the doors... And then with a car like this, it would be hard to have a trunk, so he's placed it on the side here, because he couldn't get to the access in back. It would be very difficult. Another thing I like about it is the styling for the headlights. They're fantastic. But it didn't work out for production. So if you look at the model here, you see these wonderful stylized Art Deco. And if you come back here, you see a more conventional-type headlight put right on top of the fender. You have a little different grill. This is longer. So you can see a lot of little differences from the model to the actual car they made. You know, you have some wear on the fenders. You can really overlook that. You don't need to touch it, wax it, nothing. It's just perfect the way it is. And so the story goes, he made a prototype-- this car here-- and he wasn't successful, correct?

    GUEST: That's correct. And from what I know, he folded because... World War II. He was like Tucker and all those types of manufacturers who had dreams of building the perfect automobile...

    APPRAISER: Right. Building an automobile for the people.

    GUEST: Exactly.

    APPRAISER: And so value-wise, I think you did very well. It's an incredible story of automobilia, and it's an incredible model and it's a one-off. I mean, how do you price something like this? It's very difficult. I'm going to say easily a broad range, $3,000 to $5,000, and I think it's a fantastic thing. And the right person-- they'd love it. They might think more of it, but I think you are the perfect owner, because I can see how much you love this car.

    GUEST: I absolutely do. God, I wish they would have built this car. I would have signed up in a minute.

    APPRAISER: And I'm sure you would have bought one, too.

    GUEST: Absolutely.

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