Vintage fighting vehicles to be sold | July 9, 2014 | Almanac | Almanac Online |


News - July 9, 2014

Vintage fighting vehicles to be sold

• Jacques Littlefield's collection goes on the auction block.

by Dave Boyce

For those with deep pockets and a deep hunger to own an authentic military fighting vehicle from World War II or the Cold War, there will be rich pickings on Friday and Saturday, July 11 and 12, at 499 Old Spanish Trail at the far end of Los Trancos Road in unincorporated Los Trancos Woods.

In an auction that is closed to the public, 114 vehicles are going up for sale from the collection of the late Jacques Littlefield, who collected, restored and preserved armored vehicles and weapons. Among items on the auction block: a Soviet SCUD mobile missile launcher, with an estimated sale price of $300,000 to $350,000.

The public will get its chance to see the fighting vehicles after they have been loaded onto trucks (for transport to a staging area, likely in the East Bay). The trucks will use public roads and the cargoes will not be covered, said Bill Boller, president and chief executive of the Military Vehicle Technology Foundation.

The foundation's schedule anticipates an average of about six transports a day in "a continuous stream for six weeks," Mr. Boller said. The foundation has been in touch with local homeowners' associations, he said.

Mr. Littlefield, who died in 2009, was the founder of the nonprofit that is selling the fighting vehicles. The gates open at 9 a.m. and the auction begins at 11. Daylong previews are scheduled for Wednesday and Thursday, July 9 and 10.

Weapons sale

The auctions are being run by Indiana-based vehicle auction specialists Auctions America. Two auctions are scheduled: of the vehicles on Friday and Saturday, and of spare parts on Friday only.

A 220-page, four-color catalog was produced for the auctions. Among the items (with estimated sales prices) for the main event are:

• A U.S. M4A3E2 assault tank, also known as a Sherman "Jumbo" ($1.4 million to $1.6 million). One of seven or eight still in existence, this tank was intended for use after the 1944 invasion of Normandy. The tracks are rubber and the driving controls and hatches operate normally. The interior restoration is incomplete, but the needed parts come with the purchase.

• A U.S. M37 105-millimeter howitzer ($200,000 to $250,000). Built in 1945 and completely restored, this mobile gun has rubber tracks, exterior lights, working hatches, working periscopes with "good glass," and a complete instrument panel. It was last driven in January 2014.

• A U.S. M16 anti-aircraft half-track ($75,000 to $100,000). Built in 1943 or 1944, the engine runs well and "responds nicely to restart." There are no front brakes and it cannot operate from its own fuel tanks, but is equipped with four replica 50-caliber machine guns.

• A Soviet 8K11 SCUD A mobile missile launcher ($300,000 to $350,000). This surface-to-surface short-range ballistic missile launcher needs a good cleaning inside and some cosmetic touch-up outside. The wheels and tracks are serviceable and the engine operable, but the engine governor needs work.

• A West German Leopard 1A1A4 main battle tank ($400,00 to $450,000). Built in 1969, this tank's exterior is painted in NATO camouflage in excellent condition, as are its tracks and wheels. The interior "appears to be complete." This tank comes with a spare engine.

Not all the vehicles listed include six-figure prices. For example:

• A six-wheeled British Saracen Command Post Vehicle with original paint, very good tires and fuel system, functional brakes and "normally functioning" driving controls may be had for $15,000 to $25,000.

• A FV701 Reconnaissance Scout Car, also British, is in similarly good condition with all lights and mirrors present. The asking price is $25,000 to $35,000. The Scout Car was originally outfitted with a machine gun.

The parts auction will include over 200 parts assemblies, including transmissions, wheels and many engines.

Some of the vehicles are considered destructive devices, the sale of which is overseen by the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms.


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