Friday, December 19, 2008

The Most Expensive Car....The Heine Velox

Gustav Heine was an instrument maker who began building cars at the turn of the century. A confirmed Californian, he was driven east by the San Francisco earthquake to Milwaukee.In 1921 he bought the Economy Steel Manufacturing Company and began building the Heine-Velox - a custom, hand built luxury car that sat on a huge low gravity frame with a 148 inch wheel base. It had hydraulic brakes on all wheels,a cold weather starting system and pivoting windows. It's massive frame was powered by a Weidely V12 engine (Weidely Motors, Indianapolis) and It's dashboard was set at a recently innovated 45 degree angle. They weren't cheap. A sedan cost $17,000 and the Victoria cost $25,000, a stunning sum of money in 1921. Other luxury cars, including Rolls Royce, were selling for under $10,000. Three sedans and a Victoria were completed over a period a of two years. A fifth, high end custom Limo, was started but never completed. In 1923, Heine folded the company and returned to California. A Heine-Velox sedan, restored after having been reduced to being a chicken coop, supposedly can be viewed at the Imperial Auto Museum in Las Vegas. The only other known remaining Heine Velox is in the hands of a private collector. While Gustav Heine was packing his bags and preparing to take the train to the golden state, the Lafayette Motor Car Company was arriving. Lafayette set up shop in Milwaukee in 1922. We know it today by the name of it's president and eventual namesake, Charles W Nash. And speaking of Milwaukee and 1921........
Andy Pafko, the future Milwaukee Brave great, 1952 Topps baseball card #1, and later a member of the Chicago Cubs (no comment), was born in Boyceville, Wisconsin in 1921. Andy is a great guy, a proud Slovak and he loves polka music....and who would'nt want a 1921 American LaFrance Fire Engine with a Milwaukee FD designation for Christmas? Just look at it.

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