Steven Juliano’s Classic Car Estate Sale
Steven Juliano was a classic car collector in the purest sense. He searched for some of the best-of-breed vehicles, and then improved them so they were as close as possible to their Day 1 condition. His collection, which was assembled over a 30-year period, was renowned in the car world because of its authenticity and quality. Thanks to Juliano’s passion for classic cars and his meticulous attention to detail, we now have benchmarks of several classic cars that are important to automobile history.
In 2019, after Juliano’s untimely passing the previous year, Mecum Auctions was commissioned to sell his collection of cars and impressive assortment of automobilia. His collection became the focal point of the week-long Mecum Indy auction. For a walkaround of the extensive display of Shelby Cobras, special Mopars, and dealer promotional items, check out the below video. It’s a trip back to the era of disco, bell bottom jeans, and pop art.
Steven Juliano had one of the best classic car collections on the planet. That’s because he found some of the hobby’s most desirable classic cars, and then restored them to the ultimate level of originality. The four Shelby Cobras offered at the Mecum Indy auction were perfect examples of the caliber of cars he maintained in his Collection. It is believed that these cars are “likely the most authentic and correct Cobras in the world.” Here’s what made each of these roadsters so special.
1967 427 S/C Roadster
This Cobra was one of only 29 produced, had an estimated 500+ horsepower, and had only 10,760 miles on the odometer since new. Steven Juliano, its fifth owner, purchased the car in 2007, and spent the next ten years making sure every part of the car was either original or New Old Stock (NOS). This Sapphire Blue 1967 Cobra was purchased by its first owner for $7,395, and at Mecum in 2019, it sold for $2.86 million.
1966 427 Roadster
This Roadster, with its desirable 427 block and dual quad carburetors, spent much of its life in Japan until it was sold to its 11th owner, Steven Juliano, in 2010. At the time of its purchase, it was already considered to be one of the most original and correct 427 Cobras in existence. Nevertheless, Juliano performed extensive research, investing time and money to return the Cobra to what it was at the time of its first ownership. It is top of the line in all aspects, down to the smallest detail. This 1966 Cobra, which was repainted to its rare and original Silver Mink color, initially sold for $6,398. At Mecum Indy in 2019, it brought in $2.42 million.
1965 Stage III 289 Dragonsnake
Shelby American only built four Dragonsnake 289-powered Cobras, and this one is even more unique, in that it is the only one factory-built for a customer. This Cobra went through a veritable who’s who of classic car collectors, until Juliano bought it in 2007. Once again, he painstakingly restored it to concours level. When it was shown at SAAC-34 in August 2009, it attained the highest points score in Shelby American Automobile Club (SAAC) history (to that point), receiving a Division 1 Premiere Award. Ford also featured this Dragonsnake at the 50th Anniversary Cobra celebration at the 2012 Monterey Motorsports Reunion. Invoiced at $9000 when new, this custom-yellow Cobra reached a high bid of $1.4 million at Mecum Indy in 2019.
1964 289 Roadster
This special-order Cobra was equipped at the factory with nearly every option available, including the Stage III 289-cu.in. V-8. It was also loaded with optional extras, including polished American Racing magnesium wheels and a hood scoop, making it one of the most expensive 289 Cobras made. Juliano acquired the car in 2014, realizing that it was the only 1964 Shelby Cobra Roadster to be built with a Stage III 289-cubic inch V-8 engine. As usual, he was meticulous in his renovation, ensuring that every part replaced was either a correct original or NOS. The would be Juliano’s final restoration, with the work completed just weeks prior to his death. He described having all four members of his ultimate Cobra collection finally under one roof as an “indescribable joy.” Initially listed for $8684, it sold in 2019 at Mecum for $1.76 million.
|John Kraman, Consignment Director for Mecum Auctions, discussed each of the four Shelby Cobras in Steven Juliano’s collection.
Plymouth Rapid Transient System Factory Show Cars
Between 1968 and 1972, Chrysler Corporation commissioned the customization of several Plymouth muscle cars and sent them cross country as part of their “Rapid Transit” marketing blitz. After the shows ended, the cars fell off the radar, and may have permanently disappeared if Steven Juliano hadn’t tracked them down to add to his collection. Two of the cars, a 1970 Duster and a 1970 Road Runner, were returned to their former show-going glory. A third, a 1971 “Chicken Head” Road Runner, which was still very original and had only 1,300 miles, was left unrestored. These cars are a throwback to the age of “Mod Squad” and psychedelic art of the late ‘70s. Thanks to Juliano, these cars are now recognized as an important part of automobile history.
|John Kraman gives us a tour through the Road Art and Rapid Transit Cars that were auctioned as part of the Steven Juliano collection.
Other Specialty Cars In Steven Juliano’s Collection
Although the Shelby Cobras and the Rapid Transit Cars were the super stars in Steven’s collection, he had also acquired several other classics that were celebrities in their own right. These included one of the most original 1963 Cheetah race cars in existence, a 1971 Cuda convertible 440 Six-pack, a 1969 Barracuda S Mod Top, and a 1969 Dodge Dart Swinger concept car. The big news from these sales was that the 1969 Barracuda S Mod Top sold for $440,000 (almost 6 times its estimated price) and the 1971 Cuda, which sold for $1,155,000, may have set an all-time high for the sale of a 440 ci Mopar.
Juliano’s passion for Mopars was most evident in his collection of dealer marketing material, which in most cases is harder to find than the cars themselves. This road art, as it is commonly referred to, was typically made from paper or lightweight materials, which was intended to last for only a model year, and then discarded. At the Mecum auction, over 500 of these rare Mopar promotional items were offered for sale. Many of the pieces, some over 50 years old, sold for $1,000 or more. The top sale, $44,840, went to a one-of-a-kind 1970 Dodge Challenge outdoor billboard, measuring 240” wide and 111” tall.
Also included in his collection was a trio of big-block Mopar engines with moving parts. They were mounted for display, and sold for more than $100,000. A 426 Hemi brought in the biggest bucks, at $209,000.
Note: All auction prices in this article include sales commission.