Car billed as belonging to late evangelist Billy Graham removed from Barrett-Jackson lineup after questions emerge

Paulina Pineda, Arizona Republic

Corrections & Clarifications: The article was updated to reflect the removal of a Rolls-Royce from the auction lineup. 

The authenticity of a car billed as once being owned by the late-Rev. Billy Graham has come into question, leading Barrett-Jackson officials to pull it from the auction.

Barrett-Jackson vets the cars it sells before they hit the auction block and consignors must provide documentation to prove the cars provenance, said Nick Cardinale, executive vice president and general manager of Barrett-Jackson. 

In this case, the consignor of the 1966 Rolls-Royce Phantom V limousine provided auction officials with a Rolls-Royce registry that listed the owner as Billy Graham, whose occupation was listed as "evangelist," Cardinale said. 

However, people close to Graham questioned the authenticity of the car after reading about the sale. 

Erik Ogren, a spokesman with the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, a nonprofit Christian outreach organization founded by Graham in 1950, said he researched the car's ownership and spoke with people close to the famed evangelist but found no evidence to suggest that he ever owned or drove a Rolls-Royce. 

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Cardinale said without further proof, such as a picture of Graham with the car or other documentation, Barrett-Jackson could not prove that the Billy Graham listed on the Rolls-Royce registry was indeed the famed evangelist.

Although the consignor was willing to omit any mention of Graham in the description and move forward with the sale, Barrett-Jackson officials did not feel comfortable and pulled the car off the docket, he said.

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"While we've updated descriptions before, we weren't comfortable continuing with the sale of the car in this case," Cardinale said. "We feel that just omitting it is not enough and we didn't want to mislead anyone." 

He said, to his knowledge, this is the first time this has happened with a celebrity car. 

Barrett-Jackson will have plenty of other celebrity cars on the auction block this week. 

Adventure novelist to sell car

Fiction writer and underwater explorer Clive Cussler will auction off his 1960 Pontiac Bonneville convertible on Wednesday.

The car, which has been restored in a maroon color with a Pontiac tri-color interior, has a 389ci V8 engine with a four-barrel carburetor and a four-speed automatic transmission.

It features eight-lug wheels with wide whitewall tires and has power windows, steering, seats, brakes and a convertible top. It has 36,393 miles.

The car was part of Cussler’s collection and has been on display in Colorado and in a car museum in Minnesota.

Howard Hughes' custom-built New Yorker up for bid

Business mogul, aviator and film director Howard Hughes’s 1954 Chrysler New Yorker will cross the auction block on Saturday.

The car, which was custom built for Hughes, is powered by a 345ci V8 engine with a three-speed automatic transmission.

It features an air purification system in the trunk to ensure there’s always clean air in the cab. The cost of the filtration system exceeded the cost of the car at the time it was built, according to the listing.

Hughes used the glacier blue car with a two-tone blue wool interior in his later years when he lived at the Desert Inn on the Las Vegas Strip.

It has 1,685 miles and is in near-showroom new condition.

Check back for more Barrett-Jackson coverage. Reach reporter Paulina Pineda at paulina.pineda@azcentral.com or 602-444-8130. Follow her on Twitter: @paulinapineda22.

This article originally appeared on Arizona Republic: Barrett-Jackson pulls car billed as once being owned by Billy Graham