It was the early ‘90s in Santa Paula, California. On the auction block sat a rare car, a three-wheeled mythical beast the color of Juicy Fruit. In the audience sat Leslie Kendall, hoping to score a showpiece for the newly opened Petersen Automotive Museum. He convinced the museum’s curator that if they drove out to the sale, they may be able to score it with the little money they had for acquisitions at the time. When they arrived, they were dismayed to find others had the same idea.
“I remember the bidding got to about $6,000 and people started dropping out,” recalls Kendall, who is now chief historian at the Petersen. By the time it got to $7,000, there were only two bidding parties left, them and one other man. They started going back and forth in increments of $100 until they hit $7,500,