However history may decide to judge Tammy Bakker's morality, religious convictions, stage presence, fashion sense and makeup expertise, a lot of people this weekend will probably decide that she used to drive a pretty nice car.
That car, a midnight-blue Mercedes-Benz 380 SL convertible, will go on the auction block as part of the 11th annual Newport Beach Collector Car Auction today and Sunday at the Newporter Resort Hotel in Newport Beach.
Rick Cole, president of the Hollywood-based auto auction company sponsoring the event, said he expects the Mercedes to go for about $45,000. But beginning car collectors can find a set of wheels for considerably less than that.
For instance, Cole said, for perhaps $2,000 to $3,000, the fledgling car collector might snare a '64 Thunderbird coupe, a '65 Mustang coupe or an early '70sMercedes sedan. An additional $12,000 could buy a '71 Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow coupe, and anyone with $20,000 to spend might drive home a '57 Thunderbird or a '64 Corvette roadster.
All the cars on the block, Cole said, are either in "real nice original condition" or are fully restored.
Bakker's Mercedes, he said, was provided for the auction by an anonymous seller who bought the car during the recent auction held by the Bakkers at their Palm Springs home.
"People are surprised to see that (the cars) sell for a lot less than they figured," Cole said. "And at this auction, between 30 and 40% of the cars probably will be under the $10,000 range. Of course, there are cars for well over $100,000."
On the higher end, he said, will be such cars as a '47 Cadillac convertible and "a certain amount of Ferraris, some of the older V-12 Ferraris and several Maseratis."
"We've had a good success rate with the high-end cars," such as a 1929 Packard touring car that sold last year for $230,000, Cole said.
At this year's Newport Beach auction, Cole is also offering for bid a wooden gypsy wagon from the now-closed Briggs Cunningham auto museum in Costa Mesa. He said he expects the horse-drawn wagon to fetch about $25,000.
"It's rare and unique, and it should be a nice little exhibit," he said. "I sold one like it about a year ago to a guy who thought it would be kind of fun to own one. But what he did with it I don't know."
The Newporter Resort Hotel is at 1107 Jamboree Road in Newport Beach. The grounds will be open to viewers both days from 8:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Auction hours are scheduled from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. both days. Admission prices are $7 for adults and $2 for senior citizens and children under 12.