30 rare classic cars destroyed in California wildfire

The one-off 1940s Norman Timbs Special has been destroyed in the recent California wildfires, along with the rest of owner Gary Cerveny's 30+ strong collection

As wildfires spread throughout California, everything caught in its wake has been burned to a crisp. With such a massive car culture thriving on the United States west coast, that’s led to several notable vehicles being turned to a pile of ash.

Malibu native Gary Cerveny owed a rather extensive private collection of vehicles, with the unique Norman Timbs Special streamliner the most notable item populating his garage. It, along with around 30 others classic vehicles, have all been destroyed in the California wildfires, according to friends at the Old Crow Speed Shop.

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Though Cerveny and his family are thankfully said to be fine, the same can’t be said for his collection of mostly 1940s, ‘50s and ‘60s automobiles. Foremost of those vehicles consumed by fire is the Norman Timbs Special, eponymously penned by Indy designer Norman Timbs.

Visually inspired by the all-conquering Auto Union grand prix racers of the 1930s, Timbs built the streamliner in 1948, designing the aerodynamic bodywork using aluminium panels dropped onto a tube frame chassis fitted with independent rear suspension.

A Buick straight-eight engine was fitted for power but, rather than grace the front-end, the Special was a mid-engined machine, so far forward there was enough space to tuck a spare rear wheel in behind it, enclosed by the sweeping bodywork.

Rescued from a dusty California junkyard in a rather second hand state, the Special was restored and debuted by Cerveny at Amelia Island concours back in 2010, in which it won the Best Open Car trophy.

The rest of Cerveny’s collection was fairly varied, with 1960s Indy racers interspersed with rarities like a George Barris-customised Dave Cunningham 1940 Ford sedan and a heavily modified Pontiac GTO ‘gasser’ hot rod.

Though not a public collection, Hot Rod Network got a full tour of Cerveny’s sizeable collection a few years back, with plenty of photos documenting his collection before the recent wildfires sadly reduced it to rubble.

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