July 31, 2021

Linkage Mag

Geared for the Automotive Life

Phil Hill’s Many Surprises

Photo courtesy of Gooding & Company

I see that Gooding & Co. is winding up the third — and final — Geared Online Phil Hill Automobilia Collection Sale.

I was drawn to Lot 2 and Lot 108 — for very different reasons.

Lot 2 was a framed “Grand Prix” movie poster. It sold for $1,125. This was one of my favorite movies as a kid, and I still love it. 

I was interested in Lot 108, a Kennedy Portable Toolbox with Tools Used by Phil Hill for Piano Tuning, because it told me something new and interesting about the man. 

I didn’t know that this famous racer, car restorer and car collector tuned his piano, and the catalog photo of the tools made the man come alive in my head. Tuning a piano takes a complex mix of talent, patience and technical skills.  

All estate sales strip away at least some of the dead person’s privacy, but the three Gooding & Company Phil Hill sales gently showed us a man who collected many things — from magazines to car parts. More importantly, the sales also showed us a man who was passionately interested in many things.

I suspect he did many things very well.

It’s worth your time to explore the online catalogs from the three sales. I suspect you’ll come away knowing more about a man who could drive a race car very, very fast — and then walked away and found more fame in the vintage car world.

Lot 108 sold for $125, which is a bargain in many ways. I wonder if the buyer liked the idea — as I do — of Phil Hill applying all of his attention and skill to a piano. I like to think of each perfect note ringing out in a quiet room.

The catalogs are at www.goodingco.com