Rust Never Sleeps is both the title of one of Neil Young’s best-loved albums and a phrase that’s seldom far from the minds of many a classic car owner. But corrosion certainly hasn’t affected a collection of automobiles belonging to the celebrated Canadian rock star that is set to cross the block at Julien’s auction house in Los Angeles on Saturday December 9.
Among them is a replica of the 1940s Buick Roadmaster hearse that Young and his band The Squires used for carrying equipment to gigs during the early 1960s. On offer with a pre-sale estimate of $8,000-$10,000, the car is decorated with backstage passes and bumper stickers and will be offered alongside the first 50th-anniversary special edition Buick Skylark convertible ($200,000-$300,000) built, and a 1941 Chrysler Series 28 Windsor Highlander coupé ($15,000-$20,000).
Also up for grabs are guitars and amplifiers used by Young in his studio, including a pair of Studer A800 MK III master recorders that are tipped to realise up to $12,000, a 1935 Martin F-7 acoustic guitar ($6,000-$8,000) and a left-handed Gibson ES-345 from 1965 that will be sold with a handwritten chord chart and its original strap ($4,000-$6,000).
Stage-worn clothing will be offered, too, including an Abercrombie & Fitch flannel shirt ($1,000-$2,000) and a J Crew jacket ($1,000-$2,000) in which Young appeared during a performance at Hard Rock Live in Florida.
At the heart of the sale, however, are more than 200 lots relating to the star’s passion for model railways, which resulted in him becoming a shareholder in the Lionel toy manufacturing company during the early 1990s. Young will sell dozens of rare and unique Lionel items, including prototype locomotives and rolling stock and various one-off trains, many of which he ran on a vast layout he built at his home, Broken Arrow Ranch in California’s Portola Valley.
Among the most valuable items are prototypes of a Hudson locomotive (from $10,000) and a Western Pacific “Blue Feather” boxcar ($5,000-$10,000), while a Vanderbilt Hudson locomotive that Young ran at one of the Horde (Horizons of Rock Developing Everywhere) travelling music festivals held in the 1990s could realise up to $15,000.
Who said train sets weren’t rock ’n’ roll?