Rare Dayton car collection expected to draw Porsche lovers from afar

The Taj Ma Garaj Collection is up for auction by RM Sotheby's. PHOTO BY DARIN SCHNABEL
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The Taj Ma Garaj Collection is up for auction by RM Sotheby's. PHOTO BY DARIN SCHNABEL

Shortly after he graduated from Bellbrook High School, John Dixon was driving his 1969 Camaro down the highway when a Porsche 911 blew by him.

“What was that? I need one of them!” friends recall Dixon saying.

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Not only did he buy one, he bought many. At one point, Dixon had acquired around 40 Porsches.

Many of those cars and other collectibles owned by the former Dayton-area businessman will be auctioned by RM Sotheby’s on Sept. 28. Dixon, who died in 2013, kept his collection in the Taj Ma Garaj, his building at 300 S. Perry St. which was also used as an event space.

Besides his rare cars, the auction includes 350 items up for bid such as automobilia, collectibles, rare literature, engines, and more, according to RM Sotheby’s.

“The Taj Ma Garaj building is truly a Porsche enthusiast’s heaven,” Donnie Gould, RM Sotheby’s senior car specialist, said in a statement. “John Dixon was as knowledgeable about his cars as he was passionate, and what he has assembled represents sought-after high watermarks in Porsche production, alongside cars like a wrought-iron Beetle that are just plain fun. We look forward to presenting the Collection this fall and welcoming fellow Porsche collectors from far and wide.”

One of the cars, a 1957 Porsche 356 A Carrera GT Speedster, has an estimated value between $1.5 million and $2 million.

Wheels contributor and former Dayton Daily News photographer Skip Peterson said Dixon was well known in the car collector community.

“He was a passionate car collector and one of the best human beings I’d ever met. He had something called Taj Cruizers, where he used the cars to raise money for local children’s hospitals and Ronald McDonald house. He was a very philanthropic guy. It was a huge loss in the car community,” Peterson said.

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Peterson said Dixon’s collection is one of the most unique in the world.

“They’re all significant cars and I’d imagine they’d bring people from all over the place to Dayton, I wouldn’t be surprised if collectors from very far away came,” Peterson said.

“It’s a no reserve auction so there’s a potential opportunity to get a really good deal on one of these cars. A bidding war is also a good possibility.”

Some of the rare Porsches include:

A 1952 Porsche 356 Cabriolet by Gläser, chassis no. 12355. An extremely rare car to begin with, of which less than one tenth survive today and ever fewer in restored and running condition, this Gläser Cabriolet wears many beautiful and interesting features, unique to a pre-A 356, including its one-piece bent windshield, turbo beauty rings, a rare Telefunken radio, a braided leather grab handle on the interior of the doors, and more. Having undergone a meticulous restoration commissioned by John Dixon, the incredible details of the 356 Cabriolet become more evident the more time is spent with the car (Est. $375,000 - $425,000);

A 1957 Porsche 356 A Carrera GT Speedster Coachwork by Reutter, chassis no. 83622. Essentially the ultimate speedster to own, the 356 A Carrera GT is a fantastic example of the lightest, most race prepared version of the model. Featuring a lightened chassis, the GT-spec four-cam motor, 80-litre gas tank, 60mm ventilated brakes, and a very rare steel hard top, the GT has been part of the Taj Ma Garaj Collection for two decades and is accompanied by extensive documentation (Est. $1,500,000 - $2,000,000);

A 1967 Porsche 911 S Coupe, chassis no. 305860 S. One of the best, most original, and lowest-mileage examples available, the 911 S wears its original paintwork and interior, and has seen just three owners and 28,000 miles from new. Originally delivered to an oil company executive who had a very special relationship with the factory, the car features nearly every available option as a tourist delivery car prepared by Porsche, which is extensively documented in the car's history file, down to personal correspondence and an envelope containing the original metallic paint sample for the car (Est. $350,000 - $450,000);

An exceedingly rare 1981 Porsche 924 Carrera GTS Clubsport, chassis no. WP0ZZZ93ZBS710038. Just 406 GT examples were built for homologation, 59 of which were Evolution Series cars produced by Weissach and known as the GTS, of which a mere 15 were Clubsport examples. The Clubsport is even lighter, features Plexiglas sliding windows, an electric cut-off switch, roll bar, 935 seats, and more. Showing an incredible 47km since new, this is undoubtedly the lowest mileage example in existence (Est. $250,000 - $350,000);

A 1997 Porsche 911 Turbo, chassis no. WP0AC2996VS375198, ordered directly through Porsche by Dixon as a uniquely specified car, wearing $45,000 in bespoke options including a paint-to-sample Pearl Metallic finish with matching wheels, a dark root wood interior package with an abundance of extra leather features, velour carpeting, and more. The Turbo currently shows just over 2,500 miles from new and is likely the most highly optioned, lowest mileage example of the last of the air-cooled 911, hailing from its original owner (Est. $225,000 - $275,000);

More information is online at rmsothebys.com.