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Fla. car museum selling its treasures at auction

Associated Press Published: November 28, 2012

The non-automotive memorabilia comprises an impressive collection of Americana and could collectively fetch upwards of $1 million, according to an estimate from RM Auctions, which is coordinating the sale. But the clear focus at the museum is on cars.

The sharp wings of a 1958 Cadillac Eldorado give way to the smooth curves of a 1955 Chevrolet Corvette roadster. Impossibly shiny chrome glimmers everywhere. All of the vehicles have been painstakingly restored and are in driving condition, and as the museum prepared for hundreds of bidders, the scent of wax wafted through the air and workers rushed from car to car.

The models — Corvair, Thunderbird, Firebird, Corvette, Camaro, Bel Air, Bonneville, to name a few — are among the most revered by collectors around the world.

Knievel's motorcycle, a 2005 Harley, is expected to bring bids up to $60,000. A 1966 Batmobile recreation comes with autographs from the cast on the dashboard, an accompanying original Batcycle and an estimated value of more than $125,000. The biggest-ticket item of all is likely the 1918 Herschell-Spillman carousel that is expected to bring $250,000 to $500,000.

All told, RM is estimating the auction could bring a total of $9,558,500 to $12,684,500.

Staluppi is holding onto just three cars of his own — an Audi, a Rolls-Royce, and the 1962 Corvette that was his very first car. But he makes no secret of the fact that he plans on amassing another collection of cars once this one is gone.

"You can take that to the bank," he says