Published September 23, 2011
Master magician Criss Angel plans to make seven cars and motorcycles disappear at the Barrett-Jackson collector-car auction in Las Vegas. Well, not disappear in his usual manner (Poof! in a cloud of smoke) but sold to the highest bidders and gone from his car collection.
Angel, one of the mainstays of the Vegas entertainment scene as well as an enduring television personality, is selling a group of cars – one owned by his brother, JD – and motorcycles that have each had a starring role in his Criss Angel Mindfreak TV show as well as serving as display pieces at the major casinos on the strip, plus other shows and special appearances.
“Each of these vehicles is a star in its own right,” said JD, who was speaking for the collection since his younger brother, Criss, was on vacation of Mexico during a rare week off from performing. “The key is that each vehicle has appeared on Mindfreak multiple media specials and TV shows, car shows and displays at the casinos.”
Criss Angel (whose given name is Christopher Sarantakos) is an international star based in Las Vegas where he currently performs shows at the Luxor Hotel and Casino, including a special collaboration with Cirque du Soleil called Criss Angel Believe. Angel has become best-known for elaborate illusions that hark back to Harry Houdini as well as his own magical creations. Among his acts: walking on water, strolling up the side of the Luxor Hotel, levitation, making such exotic automobiles as a Lamborghini disappear, cutting himself in half, escaping from an exploding crate and being run over by a steamroller.
Angel also created the Mindfreak, television series on A&E, which has run for multiple seasons. He has been a guest on many TV programs and talk shows, ranging from Oprah to Larry King Live. Part of his persona is that of a skeptic who debunks claims of extra-sensory perception and other psychic abilities.
Between Criss, JD and their brother Costa, they own about 100 cars and motorcycles, JD said, and the cars that will be offered at Barrett-Jackson represent part of their entertainment heritage. Several of them were used by Criss Angel for illusions presented on his television show.
“Criss’ collection has grown to about 50 vehicles,” JD said, “and the vehicles offered at Barrett-Jackson represent part of his amazing history since they have played such an integral part of his magic, image and his most successful magic TV series ever.”
For instance, the three-wheeled 2010 Campagna T-Rex 14R (Lot 652.3) took part in Angel’s famous Grand Canyon Jump stunt during a Mindfreak episode, JD said.
“My brother went off the ramp, there was an explosion and in mid-air he came off the T-Rex and ended up in a huge box suspended from a helicopter hovering over the Grand Canyon,” he said, adding that the winning bidder will get the TV footage and publicity material from the Jump along with the high-performance vehicle.
The T-Rex has been used by Angel for only six hours total, including filming for the Grand Canyon Jump, publicity events and public appearances, so as well as being a celebrity ride, it’s also in as-new condition. The limited-production T-Rex is known for its startling performance capabilities, with power from a Kawasaki ZX-14 motorcycle engine producing 200 horsepower and pulling the lightweight cyclecar to 60 mph in just 3.9 seconds, according to the manufacturer. Handling is also over the top, with 1.3g lateral force claimed by Campagna.
Then there’s the one-of-a-kind custom 2006 Hummer H2 SUT (Lot 652.4), which JD said has about $350,000 worth of custom accessories and entertainment features added on. As well as appearing on Mindfreak, the Hummer has been featured at the SEMA aftermarket show in Las Vegas and on static display in front of Luxor and other casinos.
“It has multiple TV screens, an incredible sound system, and it’s branded with Mindfreak all over it,” JD said.
There’s also a unique feature that celebrates Angel’s renowned expertise at card tricks, he added: “The front of the vehicle spits out playing cards.”
The Hummer’s exterior features include many Houdini-inspired designs, such as a custom lock-and-chain brush guard and side steps fabricated by the Real Wheels project team. Painted in a flame motif, the vehicle has hidden air blasters behind the grille to surprise onlookers, as well as the card dispenser. There are literally dozens of chrome, billet and stainless-steel enhancements.
With the push of a button, the rear hatch opens and the entire amp-speaker-video rack rises out of the pickup bed, which is covered in diamond-plate stainless steel that is washed in LED lights. Audio features include a JVC Exad receiver with in-dash DVD/CD player and 3.5-inch screen, two Hiphonics “Brutus” amps and two Hiphonics Zeus amps, fourteen six-inch Hiphonics Atlas speakers, four one-inch tweeters and two five-inch Hiphonics Atlas coaxial speakers, plus eight 10-inch Brutus subwoofers.
The Hummer wears 22-inch Ace Alloy Volt wheels with BFG G-Force T/A tires, and power is provided by the factory 6-liter V8 boosted with a ProCharger Supercharger, Belanger headers and Corsa exhaust with a billet exhaust cut-out from DMH Performance.
Angel’s black-on-black 2006 Dodge Viper custom coupe (Lot 652.1) was the official car of Mindfreak’s second season, and since the magician used it only on his TV show and for special appearances, the car has only 798 original miles on its odometer. As well as its original booming 10-cylinder engine and six-speed manual transmission, the Viper has been treated to a custom interior completely branded by Angel, including a premium audio system by Kenwood with an MTX Thunder 600-watt subwoofer and four-channel amp. The car rides on 19-inch front and 20-inch rear wheels with Michelin Pilot sport tires, and it has a ground-effects unit from Reel Wheels.
The official car for season three of Mindfreak was this custom 1969 Chevrolet Camaro coupe (Lot 652.2) which has been driven less than 100 miles since its complete restoration. As well as appearing on Angel’s show, the Camaro made many other appearances, including a stint on Larry King Live and MTV’s Cribs. The car has received a unique ghost-flame paint scheme with Angel’s signature skeleton images airbrushed in. The restored interior features another killer audio system from Kenwood, including V2 subwoofer and midrange amps. The bucket seats are adorned with the official Criss Angel autograph.
The Camaro is powered by a Chevy 454 big block with solid roller bearings, dual carburetors and low-rise intake, and producing more than 550 horsepower fed through a four-speed manual transmission. There’s also a TCI rack-and-pinion custom front end, center-line chrome-lip wheels with Hoosier Pro-Street tires and a custom wheelie-bar.
JD’s car is a beautifully restored 1957 Pontiac Star Chief convertible in its original factory black. “The car is magnificent and very rare with Tri-Power and a continental kit,” he said, noting some of the original features on the highly optioned car. The 347-cubic-inch Tri-Power V8 churns out 290 horsepower, with a Hydromatic transmission, power steering, power brakes and a power top. The other original features on this numbers-matching car include fender skirts, spinner hubcaps and a deluxe Electromatic push-button radio.
Motorcycles have also made repeated appearances in Mindfreak and Criss Angel’s stage shows. “A bunch of Criss’s motorcycles are on display at the Luxor Theater where he performs,” JD said. Two of those special motorcycles will be offered at Barrett-Jackson from Angel’s collection.
A 2007 bike that was custom-built for Angel is called the MF 13 Lane Splitter (Lot 652.5), described as a “riding machine” that features Criss Angel and Mindfreak branding throughout. The motorcycle starred on Angel’s show as well as many other TV appearances and magazine features, though it has been ridden a total of just 30 miles. It features a 96-cubic-inch S&S engine with Intelligent Spark technology, six-speed transmission, custom paint, a 12-over Sugar Bear front end with a 45-degree rake, 1.75-inch custom frame and a 150mm rear tire.
Another 2007 custom motorcycle built especially for Angel is the chopper dubbed MF 13 NUB, which also made repeated appearance in Mindfreak plus other TV shows and various magazine stories. The one-of-a-kind Criss Angel signature-series machine has been customized and specifically designed in every detail, featuring a 96-cubic-inch S&S engine with Intelligent Spark Technology, six-speed transmission, a Pro 1 wide-glide front end with a 36-degree rake, a 1.75-inch stretch frame, complete custom paint and a 200mm back tire. And this bike has only 20 miles on its clock.
All of the Criss Angel consignments are being sold with reserve under a new Barrett-Jackson policy, which had been all no-reserve in previous years.
JD said that each winning bidder will receive special TV footage, publicity material and other extras along with their vehicle. There will also be “a special bonus to be announced for the winning bidders,” he added.
Criss Angel will be present on the block as the vehicles are sold, JD said, taking a break from his usual busy performance schedule and bringing a dose of his own special magic to the auction.
Bob Golfen, Automotive Editor for SPEED.com, is a veteran auto writer based in Phoenix, Arizona, with a passion for collector cars, car culture and the automotive lifestyle. SPEED.com fans can email Bob Golfen at email@example.com