Select Page

Photo courtesy of the Hagerty Drivers Foundation

Lights, Camera, Action! The JBS Collection’s Most Famous Cars

Here at The JBS Collection, we’ve got nothing but absolute love for all of our automobiles. We’re not the first ones to appreciate them, though, and chances are good that you’ve heard of some of the people who previously owned some of our fantastic vehicles.

Important world figures and luminaries of the screen and stage are among the prior owners of several automobiles in The JBS Collection. In addition to being famous, these celebrities obviously had great taste. Without further ado…on with the show!

Amelia Earhart

The Aviator Captivated the World

On Sept. 20, 1936, Amelia Earhart posed for this iconic photo with two of her favorite things, her bright Cord 812 and the famed Lockheed 10E Electra plane. Less than a year after her tragic disappearance over the Pacific, Earhart’s husband, George Palmer Putnam, sold the vehicle.

Earhart’s 1937 Cord 812 Phaeton Convertible went through several owners and fell into disrepair over the decades. In 2019, The JBS Collection acquired the car and engaged LaVine Restorations to return the vehicle to a condition that would honor the vitality and originality of its first owner. Today, the Earhart Cord 812 is one of the most cherished automobiles in The JBS Collection.

Charlie Chaplin

One Talented ‘Tramp’

Charlie Chaplin is near the top of any list of all-time great comedic actors, and he was also a filmmaker and composer. His onscreen persona “The Tramp” made him world-famous, and his films include The Kid, Modern Times, and The Great Dictator. His career ultimately spanned more than 75 years.

Chaplin previously owned our 1936 Packard Twelve 1407 All Weather Cabriolet via Charlie Chaplin Studios. However, that’s not the Cabriolet’s only claim to fame. It also appeared in the Academy Award-winning blockbuster The Godfather: Part III, as well as the hit 1980s TV series Remington Steele starring Pierce Brosnan and Stephanie Zimbalist.

James Cagney

A Tough Act to Follow

James Cagney was an actor, dancer, and nothing less than a cinematic icon. Known for playing tough-guy roles in films including Angels with Dirty Faces and White Heat, he also won an Academy Award for his part in Yankee Doodle Dandy. The American Film Institute ranked him eighth on its list of greatest male stars of the Golden Age of Hollywood. In Orson Welles’ estimation, Cagney was “maybe the greatest actor who ever appeared in front of a camera.”

The JBS Collection is thrilled to be associated with James Cagney, who once owned our 1934 Auburn 1250 Salon Cabriolet and drove it in the 1933 film The Mayor of Hell.

Benny Snyder

Strike Up the Band!

Bandleader Benny Snyder likely purchased our 1925 Ahrens-Fox Firetruck from the Nashua, New Hampshire fire department. Snyder was a friend of Boston Pops Orchestra conductor Arthur Fiedler, himself a fan of fire equipment. The vehicle still had the “Benny Snyder Orchestra” legend on its hood when a later paint job was stripped and refinished.

Wayne Newton and Red Skelton

Stars Swap Cars

Wayne Newton is a singer, actor, and all-around American institution known by the nicknames The Midnight Idol, Mr. Las Vegas, and Mr. Entertainment. Red Skelton is an entertainment legend most famous for his national radio and television shows between 1937 and 1971, especially as host of the The Red Skelton Show.

In addition to fame and fortune, Wayne Newton and Red Skelton also appreciated fine cars. Newton once owned our 1972 Mercedes-Benz 600 SWB and traded it to Skelton for Red’s Rolls-Royce. Jack Boyd Smith, Jr., founder of The JBS Collection, was personal friends with Red and Lothian Skelton and purchased the car from the Red Skelton Museum in Vincennes, Ind.

The Mercedes-Benz 600 line was popular with other high-profile car enthusiasts, too. The shortlist of big names to own one includes Pete Townshend, Queen Elizabeth II, Aristotle Onassis, Elvis Presley, Yul Brynner, Eric Clapton, and three of the Beatles.

From celebrity ownership to the loving care of The JBS Collection, these cars have been on quite a journey. We like to think they enjoyed the ride.