Movie star car and celebrated racer, the 1961 Ol’ Yaller VIII, will be sold at No Reserve during the 2nd Annual Barrett-Jackson Collector Car Auction in Las Vegas October 7-10. It is one of only nine Ol’ Yallers built by road racing icon, Max Balchowsky, from 1956-1963 and appeared in the 1964 movie, Viva Las Vegas with Elvis Presley.
The 2009 Las Vegas event will take place at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino and feature approximately 500 collector vehicles on sale, posh lifestyle events and live, high-definition TV coverage from SPEED. 'Everyone loves an underdog, and Ol’ Yallers were the ultimate ‘giant killers’ of mid-century road racing,' said Craig Jackson, Chairman/CEO of Barrett-Jackson. 'Max Balchowsky’s race cars routinely took on the big boys like Ferrari, Maserati and Aston Martin, winning multiple races. Adding to the provenance of Ol’ Yaller VIII was its role alongside ‘The King’ in ‘Viva Las Vegas.’ It will make quite a cameo when it crosses the block at our second annual Las Vegas auction.'
Assembled with spare components from fairly humble production automobiles, Balchowsky’s Ol’ Yallers became famous for their triumphs over road racing titans of the 1950s and early ‘60s. While the unusual design and bright yellow paint made them noticeable, it was Balchowsky’s remarkable engineering that made the Ol’ Yaller a force on the track. Famous drivers such as Dan Gurney and Carroll Shelby piloted Ol’ Yallers during their careers and raved about their capabilities.
Ol’ Yaller VIII is powered by a 327ci, 350bhp V8 engine with a Holley four-barrel carburetor, four-speed manual transmission and independent front and rear coil suspension. While most of Balchowsky’s earlier creations were based on a tube-frame chassis, it was constructed on a Jaguar E-Type shell, making it one of the most aesthetically pleasing Ol’ Yallers ever built.
After being raced early on by its original owner in the SCCA West Coast Championship series, Ol’ Yaller VIII was modified by customizer Dean Jeffries and became a show car for Grand Stand Amusements in 1972. The car was later extensively restored under the supervision of Balchowsky. In 1990, noted collector and vintage racer, Gordon Apker, purchased the car and competed regularly with it on the vintage racing circuit. The track-ready 1961 Ol’ Yaller VIII will be sold with race log books.