Charity 4×4 tops Bonhams’ Zoute sale

Led by a million-dollar charity purchase, Bonhams’ fifth annual auction in conjunction with the Zoute Grand Prix in Belgium produced €5,514,777 (more than $6.45 million) in sales with an 83 percent sell-through rate.

“The sell-through rate of more than 80 percent illustrates the continued interest both on the continent and further afield for the top examples of beautiful historic motor cars offered by Bonhams,” Philip Kantor, head of Bonhams’ European Motoring division, was quoted in a post-sale news release.

“Such enthusiastic bidding in the room and across the world is always encouraging,” added James Knight, auctioneer and Bonhams’ Group Motoring chairman, “and the prices achieved throughout the sale reflect the palpable excitement in the marquee at Zoute. As an auctioneer, this is one of my favorite sales to conduct as we participate with such an enthusiastic audience. The credit for that must go to the organizers of the Zoute Grand Prix.”

The Zoute Grand Prix serves as sort of a season finale for many European classic car owners. Launched as a season-ending classic car rally, it has grown to include several driving tours through the Flemish countryside, a concours and the auction.

1968 Ferrari 365 GTC sells for nearly $1 million

The highlight of the 2017 Bonhams docket was the offering of the final 2017 Mercedes-Maybach G650 Landaulet, direct from the factory. Only 99 were produced, and this one was sold to benefit the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation. Bonhams reported “ferocious” bidding among telephone, online and bidders in the auction room before the luxurious 4×4 sold for more than $1.4 million.

A 1968 Ferrari 365 GTC coupe went to a bidder in the room for more than $940,000.

Five of the top-10 prices were paid for cars from German automakers. In addition to the G6509, three Porsches and a BMW were among the top sales, with a 2002 BMW Z8 roadster and 1967 Porsche 911 S “Sunroof” coupe both drawing high bids beyond their pre-sale estimated values. Also exceeding its pre-sale estimate was a 1965 Jaguar E-type roadster.

Top 10 sales, Bonhams at Zoute Grand Prix 2017

  1. 2017 Mercedes-Maybach G650 Landaulet, $1,404,840
  2. 1968 Ferrari 365 GTC coupe, $942,413
  3. 1957 Porsche 365A 1600 Speedster, $457,743
  4. 1993 Jaguar XJ220, $457,743
  5. 2000 BMW Z8 roadster, $370,233
  6. 1965 Jaguar E-type Series 1 roadster, $293,494
  7. 1967 Citroen DS21 Decapotable, $255,797
  8. 1967 Porsche 911S ‘Sunroof’ coupe, $249,066
  9. 1999 Aston Martin V8 Volante convertible, $242,334
  10. 1976 Porsche 911 Type 930 Turbo, $228,871

(Prices include buyer’s fees.)

Bonhams upcoming motor car auctions are October 28 at Padua, Italy; November 3 in London; and November 11 at Bothwell Ranch, Los Angeles.


Former Peron Packard parade car going to auction

In 1983, Raymond Plaster went to a collector car auction in Tulsa, Oklahoma, hoping to bring home a V12 Packard that was supposed to be on the docket. When that car didn’t show up for the sale, Plaster bought another Packard, a 1939 Super Eight Derham Phaeton in sorry shape.

Plaster and his wife, Carol, would spend much of the next 19 years restoring the car in their garage in Bull Shoals, Arkansas. During that process, Plaster’s research revealed that the car originally was purchased by the Argentine government and was the parade car that frequently carried Juan and Evita Peron.

Plaster died in 2014. His widow has consigned their car for sale at an auction scheduled for November 7 by SoldASAP, Tasabah & Associates, a company based in Paragould, Arkansas. According to its website, SoldASAP specializes in real estate and farm auctions, primarily in Arkansas and Missouri.

Couple spent 19 years restoring what turned out to be Person parade car | SoldASAP photo
Couple spent 19 years restoring what turned out to be Person parade car | SoldASAP photo

The auction, which includes several other cars, plus automobilia and petroliana from other consignors, will be held in Jonesboro, Arkansas, at the Nettleton Baptist Church Community Center.

The Plasters reportedly spent 7,000 hours on the car’s restoration. In a video interview, Carol Plaster notes that she not only helped with the process but probably spent more time beneath the car than did her late husband, a grocer and car collector who enjoyed restoring vehicles.

“The story of this car is almost as remarkable as that of the Perons,” John Malone, auction company president, said in a news release.

“After Peron was turned out of office in 1955, the Packard was sealed in a garage at a dog farm away from Buenos Aires, and ended up in an auction in Tulsa, Oklahoma, where Raymond and Carol Plaster bought it in 1983. They stored it in the garage of their home in Bull Shoals, Arkansas, and began the restoration, which took 19 years and more than 7,000 hours.

“The authenticity of the Packard is well established by the body modifications, the presidential seal marks at the rear doors and the motor number,” he added, citing a 2004 article in The Packard Cormorant.

Pre-war classics dominate RM Sotheby’s Hershey Fall sale

With a rare 1933 Pierce-Arrow Silver Arrow selling for $2.31 million and a Model J Duesenberg also topping the million-dollar plateau, RM Sotheby’s annual Hershey Fall sale again proved to be a good place to sell pre-war classic vehicles.

Overall, the auction posted $15.9 million in sales with 129 of 136 vehicles going to new owners, a 94.85 percent sell-through. All 24 lots of automobilia also sold, contributing more than $213,000 to the auction total.

“The RM Sotheby’s Hershey auction remains one of the premier destinations for die-hard classic and brass-era enthusiasts,” Gord Duff, RM Sotheby’s global head of auctions, said in a post-sale news release.

Cars from the Thomas F. Derro and Ralph Whitworth estate collections headlined the sale, with Duff saying the auction house was honored to have been entrusted with such vehicles.

Hot rod the beat the horse

Among the cars from the Whitworth collection was the hot rod that beat the race horse, the 1932 Pete Henderson Ford roadster, which brought $192,500 (prices include buyer’s fees).

Another ’32 Ford hot rod, a three-window coupe, sold for $90,750, nearly double its pre-sale estimate.

RM Sotheby’s also noted that “novelty” vehicles tend to do well at Hershey; the auction is held in conjunction with the huge AACA Eastern Regional Fall Meeting swap meet, car corral and concours.

For example, a 1937 White Model 706 Yellowstone Park tour bus, now updated to serve as a party bus, drew bids from nearly 20 people before selling for $165,000, four times its high pre-sale estimate. A 1961 Nash Metropolitan 1500 convertible originally delivered in Canada brought $74,250, double its pre-sale expectation.

Updated Yellowstone park tour bus

A 1941 Packard Custom Super Eight 180 convertible Victoria featured in the 1970s NBC television series Banacek brought $407,000

Overall, Duff said, “The mix between cars with outstanding provenance against the backdrop of our annual Hershey sale continues to provide the recipe for sweet success.”

 Top 10 sales, RM Sotheby’s at Hershey Fall Meet 2017

  1. 1933 Pierce-Arrow Silver Arrow, $2,310,000
  2. 1935 Duesenberg Model J cabriolet, $1,485,000
  3. 1936 Cadillac V-16 convertible sedan, $715,000
  4. 1932 Duesenberg Model J town car, $594,000
  5. 1935 Packard Twelve sport phaeton, $495,000
  6. 1937 Cord 812 supercharged cabriolet, $412,500
  7. 1941 Packard Custom Super Eight 180 convertible, $407,000
  8. 1933 Packard Twelve convertible Victoria, $390,500
  9. 1957 Dual-Ghia convertible, $341,000
  10. 1930 Isotta Fraschini Tipo 8A ‘Flying Star’ re-creation, $302,500

(Prices include buyer’s fees.)

Bidders galore

RM Sotheby’s next auction is the “Icons” sale scheduled for December 6 at Sotheby’s headquarters in New York City.



Atlanta concours’ winning formula: Southern hospitality and classic cars

It’s only two years old, but the Atlanta Concours d’Elegance held on the grounds of automotive entrepreneur and racer Don Panoz’s Chateau Elan resort, acts like a seasoned veteran of the car show circuit.

The concours presented an informal car show this past Saturday, kind of an all-day cars and coffee, as well as a road tour that climbed the hills and dales of suburban Atlanta and toured the famous Road Atlanta race track just a few miles up the road.

The crop of more than 180 vehicles was as deep and as broad as you would expect at a senior concours, with special attractions like Fabulous Fins Of The Fifties, vintage motorcycles, a display of nearly all of the surviving Lozier automobiles — and members of the Lozier family. There were special presentations by the Evergreen Collection of Lebanon, Missouri, circles of cars from collectors Jim Gebhardt and Ray Morgan, and a Russian astronaut-recovery airboat. Brass, classic, sports, prewar, muscle, oddballs.

In short, something for everybody.

With the vehicles arranged in a giant U-shape behind the resort’s golf club, the spectators had plenty of room to wander through the various classes of cars and enjoy the special presentations arrayed in the center of the fairway.

On Sunday, masters of ceremonies Keith Martin of TV’s What’s My Car Worth and motorsports broadcaster Bob Varsha, this year’s special honoree, made sure that all the class winners were recognized, and then they were parked together on a long slope so that spectators could have a final look at each one.

Concours founder Harry Krix then presented the Karen L. Krix commemorative trophy to the automobile that best exemplified the spirit of the Atlanta Concours. It went to Rob Adams, the owner of the 1956 Arnott Sports Climax 1100, the first car designed and built by a woman. Mrs. Krix died of cancer in July.

Then it was time to present Best of Show American to the 1930 Packard 745 SP Phaeton owner by the Cofer Collection of Tucker, Georgia, and Best Of Show European to the 1937 Mercedes-Benz 540K shown by Evergreen Historic Automobiles, the 600-car collection from Missouri.

Cool, breezy Atlanta fall weather, 180 wonderful cars, a dozen vintage motorcycles, and Southern hospitality adds up to we are coming back next year.

Barrett-Jackson to auction Shelby Super Snake Mustang to benefit Vegas first responders

A 2007 Ford Shelby GT500 Super Snake 40th anniversary Mustang from the personal collection of Barrett-Jackson president Steve Davis will be auctioned to support a special fund that supports first responders to the recent shooting in Las Vegas, Barrett-Jackson announced Thursday.

“All of us at Barrett-Jackson are heartbroken over the tragic event in Las Vegas Sunday night,” Craig Jackson, chairman and chief executive of the auction company, said in a news release.

“Like many people around the country, this event hit close to home. We are returning to Las Vegas for our 10th annual auction to stand by our partners. We had many friends in attendance at the concert, and were deeply saddened to learn the son of one of our valued customers tragically lost his life.

“There are no words to express our sorrow as we all try and cope with what happened and, like many around the country, our focus immediately turned to what we could do to help. This car will sell during our live broadcast on Discovery Channel on Saturday, and is one of the many steps we are taking to stand with Las Vegas at this difficult time.”

The auction is scheduled for October 19-21 at the Mandalay Bay resort.

Car originally owned by Ford executive Mark Fields
Car originally owned by Ford executive Mark Field

The car being offered by Davis originally was owned by Ford’s then-chief executive Mark Fields and was the seventh Shelby GT500 built that year. The car’s conversion to Super Snake specification was overseen by Carroll Shelby, who signed a special book documenting the car, which was the 11th Super Snake conversion for that model year.

The car has more than 600 horsepower as well as the 40th anniversary option with commemorative badges, upgraded brakes, revised suspension and other enhancements, Barrett Jackson noted.

“All of us at Barrett-Jackson are overwhelmed with grief and sorrow for the victims and their families,” Davis said. “As stories continue to unfold, we’re in awe of the first responders and the miraculous effort they put forth to illustrate once again what makes our country and our people special. We truly feel that we’re part of the Las Vegas community, and I couldn’t think of a better way to show support than giving something from my personal collection, which is also so close to my heart.

“This is really an incredible car with a great story behind it, and I’m honored to sell it at Barrett-Jackson to help the great men and women who risked their lives to help save others.”

“This generous donation from Barrett-Jackson is greatly appreciated,” added Michael Dominguez, senior vice president and chief sales officer for MGM Resorts International. “We’ve enjoyed a long and successful relationship with the Barrett-Jackson organization and their customers. We are sincerely grateful for their care and support of the Las Vegas community during this difficult time.”

Barrett-Jackson also plans to support first responders by offering two tickets to the auction to those with proper identification, and with an on-site donation program for those wishing to add to the fund.

“Our country has always been resilient, and we know the collector car community will join together at this Barrett-Jackson event to help at this difficult time,” Jackson said. “During the auction, we will also work with our numerous partners to find additional ways to help those affected by this tragedy. We can never do enough to thank and honor those who serve our country and the first responders who risk their lives to save others during these awful events.”

RM Sotheby’s joins Ferrari to celebrate 70th anniversary year in New York

Some of the most significant Ferraris that have ever worn the Prancing Horse emblem will be on display in Manhattan, New York, this weekend as RM Sotheby’s auction house partners with Ferrari to celebrate the fabled Italian marque’s 70th anniversary.

On Saturday and Sunday, 10 iconic models showcasing the seven decades of Ferrari will be shown on the 10th floor gallery of RM Sotheby’s global headquarters in Manhattan. Other Ferrari sports and racing cars will be shown at key locations, including Ferrari’s New York showroom and the Hublot Flagship Store. The displays are open to the public.

“We’re honored to partner with Ferrari once again during their milestone anniversary year,” said Ian Kelleher, Chief Marketing Officer, RM Sotheby’s. “Our global team of specialists has their finger on the pulse when it comes to the location of some of the world’s most significant Ferraris, and we’re thrilled to bring them to New York City for display – allowing all Ferrari fans to participate in the celebrations.”

Michael Schumacher leads the pack during the 2001 Monaco Grand Prix

Michael Schumacher’s Monaco Grand Prix-winning Ferrari F2001, considered to be the most-important modern Formula 1 car, will be on view at Rockefeller Plaza.

The Schumacher race car, which has been on a weeklong display during Sotheby’s Hong Kong Autumn Sales, will be offered for sale during Sotheby’s Contemporary Art Evening Auction on November 6 in New York City, the first collector car ever to be auctioned at a Sotheby’s fine-art sale.

“We’re able to bring one of the most important Ferrari competition cars — the Ferrari F2001, chassis 211 — to another international audience, exposing attendees to the pinnacle of modern car collecting, a car which is sure to increase in both historical significance and value with generations to come,” Kelleher added.

“Beyond its place in motorsport history, which ties it to the greatest driver and the most prestigious race track, the F2001 is a stunning work of design, and is in fact a model that several discerning collectors have chosen to display as three-dimensional art in their homes.”

The New York celebration caps off a year of special events that honor Ferrari’s 70th anniversary. RM Sotheby’s and Ferrari joined for the marque’s special anniversary celebration September 9 at the automaker’s home base in Maranello, Italy, where the auction house held a single-marque Ferrari sale on the Fiorano Test Track.

For information about the Ferrari celebration and Schumacher racecar auction, visit RM Sotheby’s website.

You’ll do the driving to get to Greyhound bus museum

Greyhound’s famous advertising jingle instructed folks to “take the bus and leave the driving to us.”

But if you want to learn more about the history of the more-than-century-old passenger-transporting company, you’ll likely need to do a lot of driving. Sure, you still can take a Greyhound bus to the company’s founding city of Hibbing, Minnesota, but you’ll be dropped off downtown at the Country Kitchen restaurant, several blocks from where you want to be — the Greyhound Bus Museum.

The museum is located in an old bus station on the north side of town, up near the viewpoint to see the gigantic crater of the Hull-Rust Mahoning Mine. The museum’s location is fitting, since mining was why the bus company was founded in the first place.

Andy Anderson and Charles Wenberg had a Hupmobile dealership in Hibbing and showcased one of their seven-seat motorcars by charging 15 cents a ride to shuttle miners back and forth from nearby communities to their work on the Mesabi Iron Range.

But Wenberg wearied of the driving and sold his share of the fledgling Hibbing Transportation Company to Carl Eric Wickman, who soon enfolded a local taxi company, ordered a couple of truck chassis, had them equipped with bus bodies and, as they say, the rest is history.

Well, except for the name, and Greyhound’s role in the civil-rights movement decades later. The company wasn’t called Greyhound until the late 1920s and you can pick your theory for why from among (a) all the buses were painted gray, (b) a gray bus reflecting in a cafe window reminded someone of a racing greyhound, or (c ) bus-producer Fageol presented the president of what then was known as the Safety Motor Coach Lines with an actual greyhound dog.

By the early 1930s, Greyhound had become a nationwide carrier and the designated transportation provider for the massive and popular Chicago World’s Fair.

In the spring of 1961, a mob, including members of the Ku Klux Klan, stopped and firebombed a Greyhound that was part of the Freedom Rides civil rights protest and beat the riders when they fled the fire. The Greyhound bus station in Montgomery, Alabama, later was included on the National Register of Historic Places.

I learned much of what I know about Greyhound three years ago when the company’s centennial tour visited Phoenix. But late this summer, the Atlas Obscura website, which specializes in revealing fascinating geographic sites, did a report about the Greyhound Bus Museum in Hibbing.

I was spending most of the summer in Michigan, planned to drive home to Phoenix by way of Spokane, Washington, to visit my son and a granddaughter, so why not visit Hibbing on my way? Sure, it would mean driving two-lane roads across Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, Wisconsin and Minnesota before joining the Interstate system at Fargo, North Dakota, but isn’t the best part of road tripping the serendipity of discovery along the blue highways?

But while I do love serendipity, I also checked the museum’s website to make sure it would be open the day I’d be detouring through Hibbing. Sure enough, the museum is open from mid-May through September, and it can be opened during the winter months if you have a group of 10 or more and call in advance to schedule your visit.

I arrived during the last week of September. I thought it strange that the parking lot was empty, and while there were a bunch of vintage buses, they were all locked up behind a chain-link fence in the back of the museum.

Oh, well, it was early in the day, so maybe other visitors hadn’t yet arrived. I parked and walked toward the building. It was then that I saw a sign posted on the glass doors — closed for the season.

But the museum wasn’t supposed to close until the following week!

I called the group-reservation number also included on that sign and the museum’s executive director called me back a few minutes later. Problem was, he wasn’t in Hibbing; he was in North Carolina. He was apologetic. Yes, he said, the museum was supposed to be open. However, he added, the volunteer who was on duty had fallen ill and had to close up the facility several days early.

I was bummed, but poked my camera through the chain link to capture some of the images of those vintage buses and, God willing, I’ll try to get back to Hibbing someday.

In the meantime, if you find yourself up on Minnesota’s iron range, perhaps on the popular ‘round Lake Superior drive, stop by the museum, take some photos and let me know what I missed.

Woodies, Corvettes and the Blackhawks reign at Mecum’s Chicago auction

Collector cars from a host of private collections will be among the offerings starting today when Mecum Auctions rolls into the Renaissance Schaumburg Convention Center in Chicago for a three-day sale.

An expected 1,000 vehicles are expected to cross the block, headlined by American muscle cars, customs and classics.

A 1963 Chevrolet Corvette split-window coupe from the Mercurio collection

The Chicago-based Klairmont Kollection features a strong array of post-war woodies, including two Chrysler Town & Country convertibles from 1947 and 1948 (Lot No. S24 and S26, respectively), two 1950 Chrysler Town & Country Newports (Lots S25 and S27) and a 1948 Packard Eight station wagon (Lot S23).

Another notable collection is that of Bill and Elaine Mercurio, who will bring all of their 20 Chevrolet Corvettes, most of them to be sold at no reserve. Among them are several pace car editions and some with ultra-low mileage.

Buick Skylark has gone just 300 miles since restoration

A few other significant cars include a 1953 Chevrolet Corvette roadster (Lot F145) that is No. 91 of 300 hand built that first model year, still in great condition after a 1997 restoration; a triple-black, one-owner 1967 Oldsmobile 442 convertible (Lot S102) with matching-numbers engine; and a 1953 Buick Skylark convertible (Lot S106) that is one of 1,690 produced and has been driven fewer than 300 miles since a frame-off restoration.

During the sale Friday, special offers on admission and bidder registration will be available to attendees sporting Illinois State University or Chicago Blackhawks apparel.

For more information, visit Mecum’s website.

My Classic Car: Frank’s 1964 Dodge Dart

My parents bought a new 1964 Dodge Dart 170 four-door the year before I was born. Later that year, my great aunt bought a nearly identical one.

My parents’ car served our family well but, by 1979, the body had seen better days due to its exposure to road salt. After a minor accident, my father decided its days were done.

My great aunt had passed away two years earlier and we acquired her car. I parted out my family’s Dart and we made a number of repairs to my great aunt’s car, which became my first car. It served me well until its life was cut short one stormy night two months before I graduated high school.

Fifteen years later, when I was 32, I acquired this Dart. It was a low-mileage car that had been owned by an older woman prior to her death. Over the years, I replaced the tired 170 with a healthy 225, rebuilt the transmission, installed stiffer torsion bars, and added a sway bar and disc brakes, and swapped to a more highway friendly 2.76 rear axle ratio.

Five years ago, I tackled the rust and refurbished the interior.

Now, 20 years into ownership, I am enjoying my time behind the wheel more than ever.

— Frank Adkins, Greenwood DE

Do you have a classic car with a story to share? It’s easy. Just go to this link, fill in the information and submit your story.

The chronology of the ‘Ri’ Mustang

On a gray October morning during the weekend of the 1962 U.S. Grand Prix at Watkins Glen, New York, Dan Gurney nearly matched the lap times the 1.5-liter F1 cars in a tiny Ford roadster with a 1.5-liter V4 mounted behind the seats—an unforgettable racetrack introduction for the name “Mustang.”

It certainly was an auspicious beginning for a name that was never expected to see production; never mind to represent a 4-seat sports car that would quickly intoxicate car enthusiasts across the planet.

The Watkins Glen 'Mustang'
The Watkins Glen ‘Mustang’

On April 17, 1964, Ford’s “Special Falcon” broke cover and changed the American automotive landscape.  Almost exactly a year later, an SCCA B-Production program called “Cobra Mustang,” with Ken Miles, development driver and SCCA champion, wrote the prelude to a legend at Green Valley Raceway in Texas. Under the Carroll Shelby team, it became the G.T. 350—and soon the Shelby GT350.

The first victory: Ken Miles driving at Green Valley | OVC archives

The first three Shelby Ford Mustang serial numbers were 5S001, 5S002, 5S003. The cars planned for racing had 5R001 and 5R002 written on their firewalls in red marker. The 1965 SCCA B-Production champion was later tagged as SFM5R001 and other “R” car became the development “mule” and was tagged SFM5R002. The first car was renumbered SFM5S003 when it became the prototype for the street version GT350.

And now, with the fire of competitive passion that drove the Shelby American shop’s meritocracy to an international championship, three of the original “Venice Crew” have conspired to recreate the car Ken Miles used to win the GT350’s first race.

But wait, there’s more! As development continued through 1965, a design proposal for independent rear suspension was put into engineering drawings. When races are being won with an inexpensive live axle, why go to the expense of creating all the components that go into a sophisticated, adjustable independent suspension system?

And they did not. The drawings went into the archive and competition history was written without the update — until 2017.

At last! IRS on the GT350R | Larry Crane photo

Peter Brock, Jim Marietta and Ted Sutton came together 50 years later to build a GT350 just the way they would have 50 years ago had they been allowed the time and money to develop it the way they wanted.

The Original Venice Crew Mustang GT350Ri project began with the same basic High-Performance 1965 Mustang equipped with a 281-horsepower 289cid V8 and a Borg Warner 4-speed gearbox. However, a diligent search discovered the original independent rear suspension drawings in the Ford archives.

Beginning with only original 1965 K-Code 2+2 Mustangs, the crew worked in the Shelby Gardena facility for all fabrication and assembly. Testing and development (read: geometry, spring rates, ride height and damping) of the Independent Rear Suspension GT350Ri was done on multiple U.S. tracks with Shelby stalwarts Rick Titus (Jerry Titus’s son), Jay Dalton, Ryan Croke, Randy Richardson, John Morton and the OVC Mustangs founders — Brock, Marietta and Sutton.

The finished cars are as good as expected. They qualify as SCCA B-Production entrants or as vintage racers with some of the vintage organizations. There will be 36 of them, turn-key and ready-to-race GT350Ri coupes constructed.

You can have one for $250,000 — unless they have all been sold before this is posted.