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Aviation genius Howard Hughes’ 1953 Buick Roadmaster sold for $1.62 including bidder’s premium at no reserve at the Barrett-Jackson Palm Beach Collector Car Auction on Saturday, April 2, 2005. The 3rd Annual Barrett-Jackson Palm Beach auction is running from April 1 – April 3, 2005, at the South Florida Expo Center.

“$1.62 million is a phenomenal price for this one-of-a-kind piece of Americana,” said Craig Jackson, president of the Barrett-Jackson Auction Company. “There was a fierce bidding war between three parties for this gorgeous vehicle that ended with the setting of a new world record for the sale of a Buick. The winning bidder is building a world-class automotive collection and is a connoisseur of aviation. He felt the Hughes Roadmaster would be a perfect fit for his future plans.”

Hughes drove the Roadmaster while he stayed at the Beverly Hills Hotel, where he suffered his second nervous breakdown that amplified his strange behavior. The pastel blue and sea foam green Roadmaster was so important to him that it would stay with his most prized possessions to keep it safe from tampering until decades after his death when it was re-discovered.

Hughes, obsessed with germs, redesigned the system for air to flow through a dust trap and bacterial filter mounted in the trunk of the Roadmaster. In addition to the car’s typical 12-volt system, Hughes had a full 24-volt aircraft electrical system installed with a plug-in attachment under the trunk. The attachment gave him the ability to drive onto the tarmac and personally jumpstart his plane, thereby outsmarting his enemies and traveling undetected.

The Barrett-Jackson Palm Beach Collector Car Auction is scheduled for April 1 – April 3, 2005 at the South Florida Expo Center. The SPEED channel will provide TV coverage during the event.