CARMEL, CALIF. – In an acting career spanning four decades, Tom Hanks has never starred as a used-car salesman. But he recently had a convincing turn as one, selling four vehicles from his collection at a Bonhams classic car auction.
The autos that Hanks put on the block — which he had kept at his ranch in Ketchum, Idaho — fetched more than a half-million dollars, at least twice as much as expected.
The centerpiece was a unique Airstream 34-foot travel trailer from the 1992 model year, bought new in the days before Airstreams would become wildly popular in all shapes and sizes. The sales price was $235,000, including buyer premiums, especially notable because the Airstream was not as lavishly equipped as a new one that size would be.
"I got it in the days when movies moved slower," Hanks said before the auction.
"Sleepless in Seattle" was filming at the time.
"I had spent too much time in regular trailers with ugly décor and horribly uncomfortable furniture, so I decided to buy a brand-new Airstream — just an empty shell with an interior made to my own request," Hanks said. He had kitchen and bathroom equipment put in, then added the furniture needed for places to sit, eat, rehearse and carry on with fellow actors.
Among the sets the Airstream visited were those of "Forrest Gump," "Philadelphia" and "Apollo 13."
The marketing material from Bonhams gave the lowdown: "It comes complete with all its accessories and furniture including dishes, glasses, several espresso makers, some kitchen equipment and the pictured comfortable teakwood chairs and table."
A generator, propane tanks and more were included. To increase its sentimental value, Hanks autographed one of the air conditioners — a presumably rare collectible item itself.
"You haven't lived well until you survive a movie-stopping thunderstorm in an Airstream while on location in the Carolinas [the location of "Forrest Gump"] or someplace similar," Hanks said. "But, more than anything, an Airstream is gorgeous and cozy, which is why everyone who visited mine went away wanting one."
How much one the same size, the same year or even same equipment level might have sold for in ordinary channels is unknown. Asked this question, an auction official shrugged and said, "Maybe half?"
For the benefit of the Airstream's buyer, Hanks also sold a brawny 2011 Ford F-450 Super Duty crew cab pickup in a Lariat trim package. Kelley Blue Book says a decade-old model like that probably should sell for under $40,000. The buyer of Hanks' towing package paid more than $84,000 despite its rather ordinary outfitting.
Hanks, who said he was an enthusiastic early adopter of electric vehicles, sold his original 2015 Tesla Model S, in a high-performance configuration known as P85, for a little more than $67,000. Kelley pegs its market value at $41,700.
Perhaps the most nostalgic sale from the actor's collection was his Toyota FJ40 Land Cruiser, which is more than 40 years old but was completely rebuilt. The FJ40 was once a rather forgotten classic that only a handful of Toyota collectors held dear. Now considered Toyota's rarest classic, it has become an auction darling.
Hanks' 1980 hardtop sold for $122,000. Hagerty auto insurance said its value guide would list a "#1 Concours" level comparable at $72,000 — a huge difference. Just an average one, if among the handful of stock versions still in existence, would sell for better than $20,000. New, back in the day, it might have cost a quarter of that.
"I'll miss it," Hanks said. "But maybe I have some other ideas ahead."