Richard Petty is the most decorated driver in NASCAR history, and certainly the most beloved. He is known in auto racing circles as The King, and he lorded it over the sport during a spectacular 35-year career, with 200 career race wins and seven season championships.
Petty will be selling some of the most iconic symbols of his career on May 12 in Las Vegas. Julien’s Auctions announced “From the Collection of Richard Petty,” and the sale will include cars Petty drove to victory, trophies, racing suits and other memorabilia. It will be a live and online auction. Petty, 80, was on hand Friday at the Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino in Las Vegas, accompanied by the familiar No. 43 car that he drove during his 1992 Fan Appreciation Tour as racing fans celebrated his final season.
Some of the key lots for sale include Petty’s 1974 Dodge Charger, in which he raced to 31 victories and his fifth Daytona 500 title; a 1978 Chevrolet Monte Carlo that Petty drove in 1979 for clinching his seventh NASCAR crown; the 1992 Pontiac Grand Prix that Petty drove during his Fan Farewell Appreciation tour; and the trophy Petty was awarded for winning the 1981 Daytona 500.
All those items are almost certain to fetch six figures on auction day.
Petty isn’t selling everything. He has a museum dedicated to his career in Level Cross, North Carolina but he owns too many items to display there.
”We feel like we’ve got enough stuff in the museum and none of my kids really want it,” he told the Associated Press.
”They’ve got enough of their own junk. So we got together and said hey, let’s throw some stuff out there and see if there are other people interested in some of the stuff we’ve got.”
The auction lots are like a road map through Petty’s career. There is the trophy he won for capturing the 1967 Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway — who else but the King could tame “The Lady in Black”? — a victory that was part of a 10-race winning streak that year as Petty racked up 27 race wins during the season. There also is an autographed STP leather jacket worn by Petty, a vintage Lee and Richard Petty oil tank and pump used during the late 1960s.
For bidders who cannot afford the marquee items, there also will be auction lots that will include race programs, license plates, posters, plaques, trading cards and clothing.
“As Babe Ruth and Muhammad Ali were giants in their arenas, Richard Petty is one of the most significant sports figures of our time who elevated the world of motorsports to greatness,” said Darren Julien, president and CEO of Julien’s Auctions. “He is a national treasure and Julien’s Auctions is honored to offer this winners circle of iconic items that represents The King’s legendary career, life and love of racing.”
There are four ways to bid in the auction, but participants must register first. It can be done in person at the exhibition and auction, or online before the sale at the Julien’s registration page to bid by phone, proxy or in person, or online at JuliensLive.com to bid live online, or by calling (310) 836-1818.
Bidders can bid in real time, bid via telephone through an auction house representative, submit a bid in person at Planet Hollywood, or enter an absentee ballot that can be found at the back of the auction catalog.