On the top of the list of the car collectioners, at 75 years of age, there is a former US baseball star Reggie Jackson outranks his younger ‘rivals’ by far. He is the sportsman with the most exclusive and expensive car collection: he owns more than 100 classic cars and is regularly spotted at auctions to satisfy his hunger for more and more. His most expensive purchase was a EUR 23 million Ferrari 275 GTB/4. His complete collection, says The Sun, is worth more than 58 million euros.
See also Brothers car collection
And this despite the fact that in 2013 a fire destroyed 35 of the 100 cars in his collection. The Ferrari 275 GTB/4, which alone is worth around 23 million euros, already projects him above everyone else.
Who is Reggie Jackson
Reggie was born in Pordenone, Italy, just over 10 kilometres from the USAF – US Air Force – military base in Aviano, where his father, Saul Jackson, worked. His first words were Italian, even his nanny was Italian, and until he came of age he lived with dual Italian and American citizenship. Like any military child, throughout his youth he would be a globetrotter, a world traveller to follow his father’s career commitments. After the blowing of his third candle, Reggie and his family, consisting not only of his two parents but also of two older brothers, Travis, already 11, and Trez, moved to England, and after two years returned to the motherland, the USA.
North Dakota, then Georgia, and again Florida and Colorado Springs, Colorado, where his family took over a modest condo in the suburbs and Reggie went to Palmer High School. The daily routine for Reggie, however, did not change depending on the location: waking up at five o’clock, shooting sessions at the little field not far away, then American football practice -where he did well as a quarterback- and again a tough practice with the basketball, and then ending up in the gym doing weights. Ah, in the year he spent in Florida he also took competitive swimming lessons. In his ‘spare time’ he went to school, where he always got good results, especially in maths, his favourite subject. All his growth, as a basketball player but also as a man, which is not yet complete, can be expressed in what is his life motto ‘Early birds catch the worm’: the literal translation would be ‘the early bird catches the worm’, and it is not so dissimilar to our saying ‘He who arrives late arrives late’ except in its positive, protagonistic, and not negative conception. This phrase is the leitmotif of his entire life, a true pattern applied with equal force of mind and will to every aspect of his life.
Reggie Jackson’s 1969 Chevrolet Camaro
The car is not just assembled as a show car, but as an example (prototype) of the development of the particularly powerful LSX engines and their components. At its heart was a 454 cubic inch V-block based on a reinforced six-speed manual gearbox. The body was the classic 1969 Camaro of baseball legend Reggie Jackson.
To build the engine, the famous NHRA (National Hot Rod Association) racer Warren Johnson, who earned 97 career victories during his illustrious career, was invited. They used a simple and reliable combination based on a single Holley 850 four-chamber carburettor. The cylinder block is cast-iron, designed to work with a nitrous oxide system. The cylinder head is borrowed from the LS7 (7.0L) engine, which is fitted as standard to the Corvette Z06.
There is no distributor for ignition, ignition advance angle is set by MSD driver in automatic mode at startup. Forged pistons, connecting rods and rings from Lunati helped to achieve 11:1 compression.
On the dynamometer, the LSX engine showed 641 hp (471 kW) with 611 Nm of torque. The tuned unit proved to be so tractive that the torque rose throughout the rev range.
The LSX engine in Jackson’s 1969 Camaro Reggie transmits torque via a heavy-duty ceramic clutch to a Tremec T56 six-speed manual gearbox. The driveshaft is aluminium and the axle is GM’s own Detroit Speed & Engineering. The axle is equipped with an Eaton Detroit Locker Truetrac differential lock and has a 3.91 axle ratio. The forged rims are uniquely designed by Budnik®, to which Goodyear tyres have been harmoniously matched.
To achieve better handling, engineers had to elaborate and refine the suspension to suit the actual needs. The current configuration includes tubular arms and Koni single-tube shock absorbers. The struts and other suspension components have also been adapted to suit the more powerful engine.
The brakes on the Chevrolet Camaro LSX are not left out either, with ceramic perforated discs and Brembo® four-piston calipers on the front and rear axles. And as Reggie Jackson himself says, “After upgrading the braking system and suspension, my vintage 1969 Camaro stops like a new Corvette,” which is without exaggeration true.
The exterior of this classic muscle car has undergone virtually no changes – a ‘tuck’ of the bumper closer to the body for better aerodynamics and LED taillights just don’t count. Special ‘LSX’ emblems have been made of brass, hand chromed and mounted on the Camaro’s front wings and air filter cover, with the ‘nameplate’ found a place between the rear headlights at the rear.
The interior, on the other hand, sees big changes: the dashboard is made of carbon fibre, while the gauges and Auto Meter® gauges, quite cleverly mimic the layout of the original ’69 Camaro’s interior. In addition, the original seats have been replaced with new bucket seats from the Cobalt SS, upholstered in black leather and original stitching style.
The show car was shown at the 2006 SEMA show, instantly capturing the attention of guests and gaining fans and admirers.
Written by Michael Zippo
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