On Thursday, November 21st the Dick Flint roadster will be offered at RM Auctions and Sotheby’s “Art of the Automobile” sale in New York City. It’s one of the most significant roadsters in our sport’s history, combining performance and craftsmanship in what’s become an icon of post-war hot rodding. It’s clocked over 140 mph at El Mirage, graced the cover of numerous magazines from the ’50s and today, and taken home the gold at Pebble Beach. Now it will cross the block at one of the most prestigious auction houses in the world.
We featured the Dick Flint ’29 Model A back in TRJ #16, not long after it was restored by hot rodder Don Orosco at his DBO Motor Racing (now Monterey Speed & Sport). Dick, a member of Southern California’s Glendale Sidewinders, built the car after returning from WWII. The driveline is like a blueprint for traditional hot rods: a 276-inch full-house 59AB flathead hooked to a ’39 toploader and Halibrand V8 quickchange. It was enough to turn an impressive 143.54 mph at El Mirage in 1950, earning Dick an SCTA timing tag that’s still affixed to the dash.
But horsepower wasn’t his only concern, and he enlisted Valley Custom to help him create a roadster that was as beautiful as it was fast. Together with Neil Emory and Clay Jensen, and the help of part-time Valley employee Dean Batchelor, they re-styled the Model A, crafting an aluminum track nose and three-piece hood reminiscent of pre-war Indy racers. A full belly pan followed, seams were welded and filled, and the feature lines were modified to resemble those of a ’32 Ford. Dick finished it off with a beautiful chrome-plated horizontal grille and trademark nerf bars.
Dick owned the car for a little over 10 years, during which time it appeared in Hot Rod, Hop Up, and Popular Mechanics Hot Rod Handbook. L.A. Roadsters member Duane Kofoed bought the roadster in 1961 and owned it until the late-‘90s when Don Orosco took ownership. No expense was spared as Don and his team completely and accurately restored the roadster to its early-‘50s configuration. And their efforts were rewarded when Don won Best of Class and the Dean Batchelor Memorial Trophy at the 2001 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance. It’s not often that such a significant piece of our sport’s history becomes available, and it will be exciting to watch it cross the stage at Sotheby’s renowned New York auction house later this month.