|All Toad needs to meet a woman is a fine car like the '58 Impala.|
|'58 Cadillac tail light were placed over the original ones.|
|The car is powered by a 348 Tri-Power|
|The Impala & its proud owner, 2005.|
|Similar to a woman, the Chevy's rear-end is one of its most alluring features.|
After 42 year of ownership, Mike sold one of the most famous cars in American film history. On November 6, 2015 the car was sold through PROFILES IN HISTORY, which is a Hollywood memorabilia auction house. The car originally crossed the auction block at about $800,000 but when it did not immediately sell the price was reduced. The car was eventually purchased by a corporation or person in the U.K. For the moment the buyer wishes to remain anonymous. Rumor has it that the Impala sold for somewhere in the vicinity of $300,000. According to Mike, the original Saginaw three-speed manual transmission used in the film came with the car as well as a California DMV validated registration card issued to Lucas Film LTD in Mill Valley, California. Mike said he saw Graffiti star Candy Clark’s shooting script for the movie was up for auction and a typed copy of her royalty shares. "I think her script went for $6,000" In addition, the auction also included an original poster for “American Graffiti”
When asked why Mike finally decided to sell his star car after so many years he explained that two of his family members have on-going health issues and paying for medical costs are expensive. So the profits made from selling the car will help go towards the medical costs. Mike believed if he waited any longer to sell his car that the rising capitol gains tax would be lost to taxes. If you sell your diamond ring or your house the federal government wants to tax you at 20-28% depending on what your selling and it may go up to 40% next year his accountant told him. "So, I thought I'd just go ahead and give my money to my family rather than the government while I still have control over it," he said.
Mike amusingly recounted his conversation, I told the auctioneers, 'What ever they sell the car for-as long it's over $285 than it is pure profit to me, 'cause that's what I paid Henry Travers for it back in 1972.' [laughs]. Despite his seeming carefree remarks, Mike mentioned that he is sad to have had to sell a car that he has owned since high school and will miss owning an iconic piece of movie history.
What you say, you want to hear Mike tell his story of the car himself? Well, your prayers are answered. I Interviewed Mike at the 2008 Petaluma Celebrates American Graffiti event and taped the conversation. Here it is for your viewing pleasure. Apologies for the quality, but who are you to complain, since your gettin' it for free.
- Famelette, Mike. Personal communication, May 15, 2008, December 10, 2009, January 5, 2011 & 11/15/2015.
- Gabahl, Pat. (May 1976). The American Graffiti cars. Street Rodder. Vol. 5. No. 5.
- Gilbert, John. Photos of Impala. Super Chevy .com
- Groster, B. G. (Summer 2010). American Graffiti: father/daughter style. Northern Reach.
- Love, Bill. (Photographer). (2009). Impala interior, engine, and tail lights [photographs]. Retrieved 2/10/2011 from http://www.themilnercoupe.com/p/steves-58.html.