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Car collecting world turns its eyes to San Diego for annual La Jolla Concours

John Wilkens, The San Diego Union-Tribune on

Published in Automotive News

The red Shelby Cobra is a favorite, in part because it's been in his hands twice. After seeing it at a swap meet, he bought it in 1984 for $36,000, a sum that made his wife, Amy, wince.

"Give me four years," he promised her, "and I'll sell it for $50,000." He was wrong. He sold it for $150,000, and almost instantly regretted it.

Eleven years later, the buyer called and said he was struggling financially. He offered Spielman the Cobra back for the same price he'd paid — but in cash.

Done. Now Spielman said he'll never part with the Cobra because of fond memories it brings involving particular passengers — his children and grandchildren.

He doesn't feel the same way about, say, Duesenberg, a luxury brand from the 1930s. He's owned two, including a 1930 model that he put up for auction a month ago at Amelia Island in Florida.

It went for $3.2 million.


His first love

Spielman still remembers the first car that turned his head. It was a 1960 Corvette roadster, silver with red leather seats. His father gave it to him in 1963 when he was 20.

"I was smitten," Spielman said, "and that was that."

He figured he would go to work with his father at the Chevy dealership one day. He joined the Army first, got sent to Vietnam, and by the time his deployment was over in 1970, his dad had retired.


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