Home' Greymouth Star : July 7th 2015 Contents Greymouth Star
housands of classic
American cars from
Mustangs to Cor vettes
and Cadillacs have rolled
into a lakeside town in
Sweden for three days of bumper-to-
bumper cruising, rockabilly nostalgia
and some serious beer drinking.
Touted as the world’s biggest
American vintage car show — some
20,000 cars are expected over three
days — it highlights Sweden’s unusual
love affair with post-war American
cars, rock and roll and cultural
rebellion — known here as “Raggare”.
As if fresh off a Detroit factory line,
gleaming 1950s Cadillacs with tail
fins and 1960s Chevrolet Impalas
with rear lights shaped as rockets
paraded through the historic, Viking-
era town of Vasteras on a hot summer
They lined up row by row in an old
airfield where many proud, sunburned
owners sat in deckchairs, beer in one
hand and iPhone in the other, to ogle
each other’s rigs. Most were Swedes,
but some came as far afield as the
“The Swedes here are just crazy for
these cars. When you put so much
work in a car, it ’s in your soul,” said
Al Young, a former World Champion
drag racer from Seattle who had
driven over 11,000km through
Europe with his 1973 Plymouth
Road Runner before arriving in
Sweden’s annual Power Big Meet
show, founded in 1978 with 80 cars,
symbolises a national obsession with
c lassic American cars and culture —
a far cry from the image of Swedes as
prudent, safety-first drivers of solid
and sensible Volvos or Saabs.
In one of the world’s most socially
liberal countries, United States
Confederate flags — widely viewed as
a symbol of slavery — flew opposite
Swedish banners, and 1950s rock and
roll blared from loudspeakers hoisted
on a crane.
Each owner had his own little love
“This was the most beautiful of
years,” Cronje Hellberg, a Swedish
truck equipment company owner said
as he readied his red 1958 Chevrolet
Impala for a cruise along with his
He waxed lyrical over the car ’s
cur ves. He has 15 Chevrolets, all
from 1958, in a “rather large garage”.
“My wife and this car were born
in 1958. It was the perfect year,”
The obsession has deep roots in
Sweden where half a century ago
many young Swedes, or “raggare”,
built a rebellious, drunken and
sometimes violent greaser subculture
around them, much to the trepidation
of local authorities.
“ We were all working class, young
and beer drinkers,” Jan Gustavsson,
who has come to the meet for the
last 28 years, said. He stood by his
red 1959 Cadillac convertible, its
huge cur ved tail fins rising up with
an aristocratic air. “I guess I’m still an
old ragga at heart,” the 50-year-old
The event ’s organiser, Kjell
Gustavsson, said Raggare had its
origins in the 1950s when American
company cars were left by expat
owners in Sweden, often sold off
cheaply to youngsters.
“These American cars had what
Swedes love — style and gadgets,”
Gustavsson added. “Remember,
we are a small country with big car
names like Saab and Volvo. We like
to think of ourselves as engineers. ”
The rebellious air has faded now.
With some cars valued at more than
$100,000, many owners are greyer
and wealthier — faded tattoos one of
the few leftovers of a wilder youth.
But a newer generation keeps up the
“I am a drinker by night and
a driver by day,” 21-year-old
Nor wegian airport worker Ronnie
Lindboe said. He pointed to a rusty
1963 Chevrolet Impala — for many
the ultimate Raggare car — with as
many dents as vulgar stickers.
A mannequin’s legs and cases of
beer balanced on the roof rack. “ This
is our party car. We’re here to cruise,
drink and meet girls,” Lindboe said.
His dozen friends had somehow
driven from Oslo, stopped, they said,
only once by police.
Half naked and sunburned, they
swayed unsteadily in the summer
breeze, swigging beers. A child drank
Red Bull, perched on the car rack.
Several kilometres of stalls packed
with car memorabilia and spare
parts wound through the airfield.
Attendees said it was easier here to
buy spare parts for a Cadillac than in
the United States.
Vintage car radios vied for attention
with native American headdress
charms, dashboard restoration
specialists, and rock ’n’ roll CDs and
even stalls of vintage sex toys.
“These cars run in the blood of
our country,” Kjell Gustavsson said.
“Sweden is not a religious country,
but this is the closest we get.”
Tuesday, July 7, 2015 - 7
Roll over, Volvo
Classic Americana rumbles into Sweden
Nora Mattsson from Finland poses with her Thunderbird 1967 at the
yearly Power Big Meet in Vasteras, Sweden.
Al Young, a former world champion drag racer from Seattle, poses with his 1973 Plymouth Road Runner after arriving in Sweden for the Power Big Meet show.
NZ art collector sues London dealer for $16m
An Auckland interior designer and fine art
collector is suing a London dealer for
$16 million after he allegedly sold her
paintings to a number of New York dealers
and failed to hand over the proceeds.
Stephanie O verton has taken the legal
action against one of Mayfair’s most high-
profile art dealers, Timothy Sammons.
Sammons, 59, set up his own fine art
agency after being head of auctioneer
Sotheby’s Chinese art department.
Sammons, a trained solicitor, who also
worked in the legal department at the
auctioneer, operated as a well-connected
agent, matching up private buyers with
Wealthy clients used him as an agent
to sell masterpieces by artists such as
Van Gogh, Canaletto, Picasso, Chagall,
Modigliani and Magritte.
He brokered the sale of John Singer
Sargent ’s painting Cashmere to the Bill
Gates Foundation for a record-breaking
£6.7m ($15.6m) in 1996, and became
a trusted confidant both to aristocratic
families and to many of the world’s most
discreetly well-heeled collectors.
He seemingly guided them through the
myriad obstacles of purchasing high-end
artworks and helping them build their
Sammons’ website — now taken down
— boasted that his company, Timothy
Sammons Ltd, would give “impartial,
independent and professional advice on
buying, selling and owning art”.
Clients trusted him and the dealers
and auction houses loved the business he
brought — he often consigned works for
auction under his own name to maintain
However, in a case being heard at the High
Court, Sammons is being sued by the WH
Smith family trust — the leading beneficiary
is Maria Carmela, Viscountess Hambleden,
whose son, the present Viscount, is the long-
time partner of Abba star Frida Lyngstad.
The trust is trying to recover a £1.6m
Canaletto Sammons sold on her behalf last
year and failed to remit the money.
In a second case being heard in London
and New York, Ms Overton — a New
Zealand collector — is trying to recover
$16.5m (£7.1m) from Sammons after he
allegedly sold her paintings to a number of
New York dealers and failed to hand over
Some of the artworks owned by Ms
Overton were modern classics by some of
the world’s most recognisable artists.
The paintings include Pablo Picasso’s Buste
de Femme, Marc Chagall’s Reverie, Renee
Magritte’s La Geante, Amedeo Modigliani’s
Caryaide, Raoul D ufy’s Syracuse, Lucio
Fontana’s Concetto Spaziale, Aattese,
Henry Moore’s Reclining Nude, and Tom
Wesselmann’s Collage Study for the Mouth,
No 10, according to Courthouse News
The news ser vice reports that the lawsuit
claims eight New York-based art companies
allegedly bought the works that they should
have known were improperly offered for sale
by non-party Timothy Sammons Inc, an
Upper East Side fine-art agency.
“At no time was TSI was ever authorised
to complete a sale for any or all of the
works,” Ms Overton says in her complaint.
Courthouse News Ser vice reports that
Ms Overton has tried to get the works
back from the defendants but “has been
stonewalled in her efforts to determine the
current locations of the works and if any of
the defendants have attempted to transfer
title to the works to other third parties”.
“Defendants were not buyers in good faith
and were not buyers in the ordinary course
of business and, as such, defendants did not
acquire any right, title or interest in any of
the works,” her complaint states.
Lady Corinne Green is suing over a
series of Henry Moore pictures, although
in her case she is suing Andrew Rose, the
dealer who sold the pictures on behalf of
In New York, Sotheby’s is a joint
defendant with Sammons in a case brought
by Houston Cummings.
It alleges that Sammons consigned Van
Gogh’s Cows In The Meadow on its behalf
to the auction house, which sold it last June
for £458,000. Sotheby’s then paid Sammons,
who has not paid Cummings.
Sammons, who lives in a £5.7m mansion
in Primrose Hill, North London, has had
assets worth £7m frozen and his passport
confiscated by the High Court. The court
has given him an allowance of £750 a week
to live on.
His company, Timothy Sammons Limited,
was made bankrupt in February this year by
Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs.
It is not known what sum was owed, but
as recently as October last year, the firm
showed net assets of more than £1.8m.
The company had offices in Mayfair
and New York. One fellow dealer said:
“Sammons was pretty flash and he spent
a fortune decorating and renovating his
Mayfair offices. He lived high on the hog
but I don’t think anyone had any suspicions
he was unreliable. It is very embarrassing for
According to Houston Cummings’s
lawyer, the telephone lines into the dealer’s
Manhattan office have been disconnected
and the business his client was dealing
with, Timothy Sammons Inc, is not an
incorporated entity so had been trading
Sammons has been a well-known London
art world figure for many years. Lark Mason,
a New York-based auctioneer, who worked
with him at Sotheby’s, said: “I liked him very
much. We worked together in the 1980s in
the Chinese art department.
“After I left I did some specialist appraiser
work for Sammons. My experience with him
was always favourable, but I was not privy to
the transactions or his business dealings.”
He added: “ The whole thing is pretty
shocking because this is not the person I
knew. The business that I had with him
worked out fine but I guess there are a lot
of victims out there who are hoping to get
their money back who are now feeling very
foolish.” — New Zealand Herald
Cows in the Meadow (1883) by Vincent Van Gogh.
Cashmere by John Singer Sargent.
Stephanie Overton has taken legal action against one of Mayfair’s most high-profile art
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