1979 SPARKS TURBO PHAETON

THE SPARKS TURBO PHAETON WAS LAUNCHED AT THE 1979 LOS ANGELES PLAYBOY CLUB AND IS A ONE-OFF

WORDS ALEX AFFATT

THE ‘NEOCLASSIC’ niche of old world styling and modern technology attracted its fair share of ambitious manufacturers over the years, to varying degrees of success.

By the mid-70s, the niche was burgeoning around the Hollywood area, with clientele consisting of rock stars, movie stars, and the upper echelon of the rich and famous. Sparks was the pioneering endeavour of Ron Sparks, a coachbuilder formerly of Clenet Coachworks in Santa Barbara California.

He left Clenet in 1979 and set up his own brand, with his first car, the Sparks Turbo Phaeton, built in short order.

It was launched at the Los Angeles Playboy Club in 1979 (which may tell you something about the original target market), and from the get-go was intended to be the most over the top, biggest and best ‘Neoclassic’ car ever.

The bespoke hand built device possessed a gargantuan five metre wheelbase (totalling six metres stem to stern), a 425ci Cadillac V8, and an unconventional (for the day) open-air front cabin with a removable hardtop covering the rear seating area – the car also boasted Palace of Versaille levels of gold plating.

The Turbo Phaeton was quickly deemed far too expensive to produce, with a more conservative single-cabin roadster going into production instead, though just 22 were reportedly built before Sparks shut up shop in 1985.

This Sparks Turbo Phaeton for sale here in Queensland by Oldtimer Garage, is that very sole survivor. From Hollywood to Hawthorn, the car somehow made its way to Australia in the 90s and was converted to right-hand drive and initially used as a limousine around Melbourne.

The car changed hands a few times, gradually moving its way up the East Coast of Oz. When the current owner bought it in 2011, it underwent a seven year ground-up restoration with consultation from Ron Sparks himself – who confirmed it to be the only example in existence.

The car currently presents as close to new as you’ll get, with sparse mileage covered since its restoration was completed.

It may not be to everyone’s taste, but it’s a tremendously unique car that wouldn’t look out of place in the Sultan of Brunei’s bunker. Yours for $299,500 – you’d almost need Sultan of Brunei money to take this one home as a weekend toy.