Category archives: Auctions

Chicago museum’s V-16 Cadillac headlines RM Sotheby’s Hershey sale

One of only six 1936 Cadillac V-16 convertible sedans, a group of elegant Packards and one of America’s most famous hot rods have joined the docket for RM Sotheby’s 11th annual collector car auction staged in conjunction with the AACA’s Eastern Regional Fall Meet at Hershey, Pennsylvania. The auction, which will include 140 vehicles, is scheduled for October 5-6.

“This year’s sale has all of the outstanding, interesting and desired classic cars one would anticipate seeing at our Hershey auction,” Gord Duff, global head of auctions for RM Sotheby’s, is quoted in the company’s news release. “A mainstay of our calendar and as much an auction destination for many enthusiasts as Pebble Beach or Monterey, we look forward to an always eventful and entertaining week at Hershey.

“Wet or dry, rain or shine, it’s where the die-hard enthusiasts come to play.”

Highlighting the offerings for the auction is the 1936 Cadillac with V-16 engine No. 51102222. The car was donated to the Museum of Science & Industry in Chicago in 1949. At the time the museum had one of the nation’s best automotive collections. The museum displayed the Cadillac until 2008, when it was acquired by the consignor, who put it through a concours-quality restoration that earned a class award at Pebble Beach.

RM Sotheby’s expects the car to sell for between $700,000 and $850,000 at the Hershey auction.

Cadillac was in famed Chicago science museum until 2008 | Eric Fuller photo
Cadillac was in famed Chicago science museum until 2008 | Eric Fuller photo

The docket also includes what the auction house considers to be three outstanding Packards, led by a 1933 Twelve Convertible Victoria, which is one of only four surviving Tenth Series vehicles and worth an estimated $475,000 to $600,000.

Also being offered is a 1934 Twelve 2/4-Passenger Coupe, one of only eight known to still exist. The car retains its original body, engine and chassis, the auction company noted, and comes with provenance that includes chauffeuring Jayne Mansfield in the 1961 Indianapolis 500 parade. The car has a pre-sale estimated value of $325,000 to $375,000.

The third Packard is a 1935 Twelve Sport Phaeton that is one of only four such cars produced for 1935. The car’s pre-sale estimate is $475,000 to $575,000.

Also on the docket are a famed hot rod from the collection of the late Ralph Whitworth and a car being sold to benefit the AACA Library & Research Center.

The 1932 Ford “Pete Henderson” Roadster is the car that not only achieved 120.9 mph on the Harper Dry Lake in 1944, but that same year gained fame when it won a race against a quarter horse that had a history of being faster than the fastest cars.

The car being sold to benefit the library and research center is a 1981 Fiat 850 Spider that has been donated by Joseph and Margie Cassini, Wayne Carini and Ralph Marano. To further entice bidders, RM Sotheby’s announced that the winning bidder will find “an undisclosed amount of cash in the car’s trunk.”

Ah, but will the car’s next owner keep that cash or donate it as well to the library?

Pre-war Bentleys join docket for Bonhams auction at Simeone museum

Bonhams has added a pair of special Bentleys to the docket for its preservation-oriented Collectors Motorcars and Automobilia auction, scheduled for October 2 at the Simeone Foundation Automotive Museum. The Bentley’s are a 1924 3-Liter Speed Tourer and a 1929 4.5-liter Le Mans Replica Tourer.

They join the 1913 “London-to-Edinburgh” Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost consigned to the auction earlier.

The 1924 Speed Tourer was produced the same year Bentley began its reign at the 24 Hours of Le Mans race. According to Bonhams, chassis No. 897 went to Morgan and Co. for coachwork and then was delivered to the Prince of Liechtenstein, who owned the car for four years.

'24 Bentley with the top up
’24 Bentley with the top up

At some point in the 1930s, the Morgan body was modified from its original two-seat configuration to add two more seats for tourer configuration.

Research also indicates that soon after World War II, with new vehicles not yet available, the Bentley was rebuilt on a frame of chassis No. 780, another 3-liter Speed model originally owned by Glen Kidston, one of the original Bentley Boys and a Le Mans race-winning driver. Afterward, the car was used in many Bentley Drivers Club events.

The consignor, a collector of Bentleys and Rolls-Royces, has owned the car since the early 1980s and has preserved it in what Bonhams terms “remarkable unmolested condition,” with its body still covered in the original rexine fabric and still with its original engine, steering box, transmission and rear axle.

1929 Le Mans Replica from Van Schaick collection
1929 Le Mans Replica from Van Schaick collection

Offered from the estate of David L. Van Schaick is the 1929 Le Mans Replica fabric tourer with bodywork in the style of Vanden Plas. Van Schaick campaigned the car for more than 30 years, Bonhams noted.

The car originally carried more formal closed coachwork and originally was owned by whisky-maker A.W. Whyte of Scotland. The car was rebodied in 1972 and may have gotten a new period-correct 4 1/2-liter engine at the same time.

New Jersey Bentley enthusiast Frank Allocca acquired the car in 1983 and had it flown to the U.S. to use while he was awaiting the restoration of another car. That car completed, Allocca sold the Le Mans Replica to Van Schaick and participated with “bold bravado” in many Bentley Club rallies.

RM Sotheby’s Ferrari auction generates more than $75 million

It was Ferrari’s 70th birthday party, but RM Sotheby’s took home a nice present this past weekend as well with its Leggenda e Passione all-Ferrari auction at the historic Fiorano test track generating €63,068,110 ($75.15 million) in sales. That figure was produced by the sale of a mere 38 of the 42 cars offered, a 90 percent sell-through rate.

The average sales price per vehicle for the auction was an amazing $1.977 million.

“It has been a fantastic experience to return to Maranello and to conduct a sale in the company’s 70th anniversary year,” RM Sotheby’s car specialist Augustin Sabatie-Garat was quoted in the auction company’s post-sale news release.

“The atmosphere throughout the whole weekend has been incredible and it was clear that buyers were keen to secure the very cars that we had on offer.

“The sale exceeded all our expectations and the enormous sum raised for charity through the sale of the 2017 LaFerrari Aperta was a wonderful way to end the evening.”

That last lot of the auction was a recently announced addition to the docket — a one-off and yet-to-be-built Aperta to be sold to benefit the Save the Children charity. As many as a dozen collectors bid on the car, which finally sold for €8,300,000 ($10,043,000), not only the high sale of the auction, but a world record for a car produced this century, RM Sotheby’s noted.

And all of that money goes to the charity; RM Sotheby’s did not add its usual buyer’s fee to the sales price.

The car will be the 210th Aperta and will wear unique livery in Rosso Fuoco with a double Bianco Italia racing stripe. The interior will feature black Alcantara with red leather inserts in the seats, red stitching and black carbon fiber trim.

The sale was the second major charity effort by RM Sotheby’s and Ferrari in recent months. In December, at a Ferrari event in Daytona Beach, Florida, the 500th and last LaFerrari brought $7 million at a special auction to raise money for the reconstruction of central Italy after a series of earthquakes.

California Spider crosses the block
California Spider crosses the block

But while saving the best for last, there were plenty of other highlights through the sale. For example, there had been a lot of pre-auction interest in a barn-found 1969 F365 FTB/4 Daytona, the only road-going, alloy-bodied car of its ilk, discovered after 40 years of storage in Japan.

After what RM Sotheby’s termed “spirited bidding,” the car sold for €1,807,000 ($2,186,470) , making it the highest-riced Daytona coupe ever sold at public auction (and that price, as well as the others reported, includes the buyer’s premium.)

Another car causing pre-sale pricing speculation was the manually shifted 1983 400i coming from the collection of rocker Keith Richards. The Rolling Stones legend had owned the car since new and had kept it in what RM Sotheby’s called “exceptional, original condition,” showing only 3,267 kilometers driven. The car sold for €345,000 ($417,450), which, RM Sotheby’s noted, was a world-record for that model.

'Green Jewel' 488 Spider is on the block
‘Green Jewel’ 488 Spider is on the block

Yet another special offering was the 2016 “Green Jewel” 488 Spider, offered by the Ferrari factory as an as-new car in special livery. Again, after a bidding battle, the car sold for another model-record price — €1,090,200 ($1,319,142).

The sale also included a 1959 250 GT LWB California Spider, a standard among collector cars. The car, chassis No. 1503 GT and the 35th of 50 produced, was originally sold to a young Venezuelan socialite and doctor, who was robbed and murdered and left behind the wheel of his sports car.

The car was repaired and reconditioned and imported to the U.S., where it underwent a complete restoration in the late 1980s, won class honors at Pebble Beach and Meadow Brook. The car sold at the auction for €7,855,000 ($9,504,550).

Top 10 sales, RM Sotheby’s Leggenda e Passione 2017:

1. 2017 LaFerrari Aperta, €8,300,000 ($10,043,000)
2. 1959 Ferrari 250 GT LWB California Spider by Scaglietti, €7,855,000 ($9,504,550)
3. 1958 Ferrari 250 GT Cabriolet Series I, €4,719,000 ($5,709,990)
4. 1955 Ferrari 750 Monza, €3,375,000 ($4,083,750)
5. 1985 Ferrari 288 GTO, €3,263,000 ($4,958,340)
6. 1966 Ferrari 275 GTB Alloy, €2,927,000 ($3,511,742)
7. 1953 Ferrari 250 Europa Coupé, €2,871,000 ($3,474,920)
8. 1973 Ferrari 365 GTB/4 Daytona Spider, €2,479,000 ($2,999,590)
9. 2004 Ferrari Enzo, €2,311,000 ($2,796,310)
10. 2017 Ferrari LaFerrari Prototype, €2,129,560 ($2,576,767)

(Prices 2-10 include buyer’s fees.)


Historic Ferrari test track site for RM Sotheby’s auction

Promising it will be the “most significant single-marque sale in auction history,” RM Sotheby’s stages its third (or fourth) major auction within a month this Saturday with its Leggenda e Passione all-Ferrari sale at the historic Fiorano test track in Maranello, Italy, where the sports and racing car manufacturer is in the midst of its 70th anniversary celebration.

RM Sotheby’s goes to the sale having sold four of the 10 most-expensive Ferraris offered for public sale, the auction house notes. Among those cars were the 1956 290 MM that sold for $28.05 million in 2015 and the 1967 275 GTB/4*S N.A.R.T. Spider which brought $27.5 million in 2013.

This 1960 250 GT has highest pre-sale estimated value | RM Sotheby's photo by Ravi Angard
This 1960 250 GT has highest pre-sale estimated value | RM Sotheby’s photo by Ravi Angard

In its history, RM Sotheby’s has sold around 300 Ferraris for more than a million dollars each.

“At RM Sotheby’s we are continually striving to offer our clients an experience that is second to none,” founder and chief executive Rob Myers said in a news release. “Our partnership with Ferrari is a direct reflection of this crowning achievement. For collectors and enthusiasts alike, the sale represents a world-class and singular event, perhaps one of the most significant auctions ever held, in fact.”

“The auction will bring together an exclusive, curated selection of the greatest sports, GT and racing Ferraris ever built, celebrating pivotal moments in the marque’s history and unearthing some of the most valuable and sought-after examples on the planet,” the auction company’s news release added.

“All entries for the sale will carry certification from the lauded Ferrari Classiche Department.”

The docket for the auction includes more than 40 cars, ranging from a 1950 195 Inter Coupe by Touring to a 2017 LaFerrari Aperta.

Carrying the highest pre-sale estimated values are a 1960 250 GT SWB Berlinetta Competizione valued at €8,500.000 to €10,000.000 ($10.1 million to $11.9 million) and a 1959 250 GT LWB California Spider valued at €7,500.000 to €9,5000.000 ($8.9 million to $11.3 million).

The sale occurs within a five-week run during which RM Sotheby’s has staged sales at Monterey and London and had much of its staff at the Auctions America Auburn Fall sale in northern Indiana, where future Auburn auctions will be staged under the RM Sotheby’s banner.

1950 195 Inter Coupé by Touring | Darin Schnabel
1950 195 Inter Coupé by Touring | Darin Schnabel

Ferrari and RM Sotheby’s also have announced two late additions to the docket.

One is a unique version of the LaFerrari Aperta (below), which will be offered at the auction to raise money for the Save the Children international charity. The car has metallic Rosso Fuoco livery with a metallic Bianco Italian double racing stripe. The interior will be black Alcantara and black carbon fiber with red leather inserts in the seats and red stitching.

The other is the pre-production prototype for the 2013 LaFerrari. The prototype was shown to prospective LaFerrari buyers as they visited the factory to spec their own cars and is being offered for sale for the first time.

RM Sotheby’s also has announced that the buyer of the only road-going alloy 365 GTB/4 Daytona at the sale will not have to pay the costs of obtaining Ferrari Classiche certification; those fees will be paid by the car’s consignor.

Mercedes-Benz France offering 20 cars at Artcurial’s special auction

Artcurial Motorcars will stage a Mercedes-only auction October 15, and not only will the sale be held at the Mercedes-Benz Center in Rueil Malmaison, Paris, but 20 of the 40 cars on the docket are coming from the private collection of Mercedes-Benz France.

“What an opportunity for an enthusiast to acquire a classic model from the manufacturer itself!” Matthieu Lamoure, Artcurial Motorcars’ managing director, said a news release.

1961 300 SL roadster
1961 300 SL roadster

“Organizing a unique sale with a marque as prestigious as Mercedes-Benz will give collectors the change to immerse themselves in the history of the automobile, an iconic marque synonymous with luxury, strength, elegance and performance.”

Cars on the docket range from a replica of the first three-wheeled 1886 Benz Patent-Motorwagen to a 300 SL Gullwing — and a roadster — and the 500 SL used in the television series Dallas, among others, Artcurial said.


More details and the complete docket will be available at the auction house website.

Is Auburn the last sale for Auctions America?

RM Sotheby’s experiment with an entry-level collector car auction company appears to be coming to a close with the annual Auctions America Auburn Fall sale taking place this weekend at the Auburn Auction Park in northeast Indiana.

Worldwide Auctioneers also has a sale this weekend in Auburn.

Just as with what had been an Auctions America sale in the historic Barker Hangar in Santa Monica, California, this sale is being retitled for 2018, when the twice-a-year Auburn Auction will be presented not by Auctions America but by RM Sotheby’s.

When RM founder Rob Myers and company did the deal to take over what had been the venue for Kruse Auctions a few years ago, RM also launched the Auctions America brand to stage a series of sales geared more to the mainstream of the collector car hobby than to the six- and seven-figure vehicles that tend to fill the RM sales catalogs.

But that was before Myers sold a significant piece of RM to global art auction house Sotheby’s. The RM Sotheby’s joint effort has been a huge success, bringing new customers from the art-collecting world to classic cars as investments that can be appreciated as you use them, not merely as you look at them.

There has been speculation lately that Myers, who has been in the restoration and auction businesses for nearly 40 years, was about to retire, that Sotheby’s would take over full control and that entry-level sales such as those done by Auctions America would not be part of the plan going forward.

Myers said Thursday that the twice-a-year Auburn Auction would continue.

“I’ve been coming her for more than 30 years,” he said, adding that he’s not about to retire.

However, he said, “I hired a new president (for RM Sotheby’s, Ken Ahn, a Harvard graduate and former investment banker/advisor who had been senior vice president for strategy and corporate development at Sotheby’s).

Having someone else as RM Sotheby’s president, Myers said, “means that I can work only 18 hours a day instead of 24.”

He did say that like Santa Monica, the Auburn Auctions would be organized by RM Sotheby’s, and added that a final decision has not been made whether to continue to do any future sales under the Auctions America banner.

Regardless, “we want to upgrade the quality of the cars” on offer in Auburn, he added.

I spent part of Thursday wandering among the cars on the Auburn Auction Park docket. Above are some I’d want were I a collector buying rather than a journalist reporting.

Photos by Larry Edsall

2003 Delahaye Custom Boattail Speedster
2003 Delahaye Custom Boattail Speedster
Created in the style of the French Art Deco era, this custom was built by Browns Metal Mods, and it took four years to create. The curvaceous car — its fiberglass body was designed by Chip Foose — has a modern chassis and a Ford 5.0-liter V8 linked to a C4 automatic transmission. It also has a red leather interior and a removable fabric soft top.
IMG_3312 (1)Formerly part of the acclaimed Lyons Family Collection, this Duesie retains its original LaGrande bodywork, as well as its supercharged engine and chassis. The car’s original owner was Ben Smith, a stock-exchange floor trader known for making a fortune short selling as the U.S. economy entered the Depression. He and his son invested in a horse-racing track in Mexico and the car was part of the deal; it is known within Duesenberg circles as the “Mexico City SJ.”
IMG_3306McFarlans were early but quite advanced vehicles produced in downstate Indiana in the town of Connersville. This original McFarlan chassis and inline 6-cylinder engine wears boattail-style bodywork.
IMG_3287With its Mittelrot (medium red) paint, black leather interior, black convertible top and fuel-injected inline 6-cylinder engine linked to a four-speed manual gearbox, this 220 SE looks like a terrific way to do a vintage car rally such as the Copperstate 1000.
IMG_3282Whomever buys this car will be only the third owner of this sports car with bodywork by Touring. The 4-cylinder engine is topped by a pair of Solex carburetors and is linked to a 5-speed manual gearbox. The consignor had a note on the windshield that five new Borrani stainless wire wheels and hubs were imported from Italy and mounted on the car in 2015; they were an option when the car was new. The consignor added that the original wood box with factory-furnished tools is still in the trunk.
IMG_3310This restored and rust-free truck still has its original inline-6 engine and 4-speed manual transmission. It’s been restored as a wrecker, and for many years was owned by a Chrysler Dodge dealer.
IMG_3293My Dad had a ’51 Pontiac sedan that he bought for his commute to work so my Mom could have the “family” station wagon. This sedan delivery also is a ’51, and has a straight-8 with column-shifted 3-speed gearbox, but it’s way cooler than a station wagon.
IMG_3279This is the stunt car that did a spiral jump over a river in “The Man with the Golden Gun” 007 movie. It looks like a regular AMC Hornet but is built on a race-style frame, and the driver sits in the middle behind a repositioned steering wheel. If I bought it, I’d give it to Andy Reid, our East Coast editor and resident James Bond fanatic.


Cover story: London auction catalog mimics style of Underground route map

RM Sotheby’s has done it again, created a collector car auction catalog that is newsworthy, perhaps even collectible, in its own right.

In recent years, the auction house has done some impressive catalogs. Among them, there was the small but brick-thick one for the 2013 sale of the Bruce Weiner Microcar Museum. Two years later, there was the catalog for the Andrews Collection sale, chock full of delightful illustrations by Stefan Marjoram.

Arriving recently was the catalog for RM Sotheby’s annual London auction. While the contents are typical for such a sale, the front and back covers are eye-catching illustrations depicting a classic car (front cover) and a sports car (back cover) presented in the style of those famed London Underground maps.

Tucked between those covers are the 71 automotive lots scheduled to cross the block on September 6 at the Battersea Evolution, located on the south bank of the River Thames, a few blocks west of the tube’s Vauxhall station on the Victoria line.

The front cover of the auction catalog | RM Sotheby's graphic
The front cover of the auction catalog | RM Sotheby’s graphic

The auction is being held in conjunction with Britain’s annual Royal Concours of Elegance, which takes place September 1-3 at Hampton Court Palace.

Among potentially concours-caliber vehicles available at the auction are a 1939 Aston Martin Speed Model C-type, 1935 Hispano-Suiza K6 with cabriolet coachwork by Brandone, 1950 Talbot-Lago T26 Record cabriolet, and perhaps the 1955 Mulliner-bodied Bentley T-Type Continental fastback.

Of the 71 cars on the docket, 14 are Porsches — including a 1973 Carrera RS 27 lightweight with rallying history — and nine are Ferraris.

Among the most unusual are a 1999 De Tomaso Nuovo Pantera prototype concept (styling study) designed by Marcello Gandini, what is believed to be the only — and never raced — 1985 Mazda RX-7 Evo Group B works rally car, a 2014 Land Rover Defender SVX that was part of the cast for the James Bond movie Spectre, and in something of a “future classic” for such a sale, a 2012 Lexus LFA driven only 2,600 kilometers since new.

Immediately after the sale, the RM Sotheby’s team heads to Maranello, Italy, where it stages its Ferrari — Leggenda e passione auction just three days later.

Mecum to hold Dallas auction despite Texas flooding disaster

Despite the devastation caused by Hurricane Harvey in the Houston area and parts of southeastern Texas, Mecum Auctions will hold its collector car sale in Dallas on September 6-9 as planned, the company announced Tuesday.

The auction will take place as expected at the Kay Bailey Hutchinson Convention Center in Dallas, Mecum said in a news release, even though part of the center is being used to house evacuees from the flooding; the auction is held in another area and will not be effected by the emergency measures.

“While all of us here at Mecum Auctions, as well as the nation at large, feel concern and compassion for the residents recently affected by the disastrous flooding experienced in the in and around East and Central Texas, we wanted to assure our customers and auction participants that the Dallas 2017 auction will still take place as scheduled,” Mecum said in the release.

Dallas, which is located about 240 miles north-northwest of Houston, has not suffered the flooding conditions that have paralyzed Houston and the Gulf Coast.

Mecum expects to offer 1,000 “muscle cars, classics, Corvettes, hot rods, resto mods and more” to the convention center for the four-day sale. Last year, the Dallas auction scored nearly $38 million in sales, not including auction fees.

For information, visit the Mecum website.

V10-powered Ford Shelby Cobra concept up for bidding in November

This is what Ford thinks the Cobra would have been had Shelby been starting this century | Larry Edsall photo

With J Mays as its design director, Ford Motor Company was into what Mays called “retrofuturism” in the early years of this century. There was a new Mustang that harkened to the late 1960s. There was the Ford GT, an update of the historic GT40s that won at Le Mans. There were all sorts of retro-inspired concept cars.

Among those concepts was the 2004 Ford Shelby Cobra, that joined the Mustang and GT in what Mays termed the “trilogy of Ford’s most legendary performance vehicles.”

That 2004 Ford Shelby Cobra will cross the auction block in early November at GAA Classic Cars auction at the Palace in Greensboro, North Carolina. The winning bidder will write his or her check to the Henry Ford Estate, a 501-C3 charity that will apply the money to the restoration of Fair Lane, the Dearborn, Michigan, estate of Henry and Clara Ford.

Concept car interior

Note: Because the concept did not go into production, for liability purposes, Ford will “render the car completely not driveable” before its delivery to its next owner, although the engine will remain functional.

That engine is something Carroll Shelby didn’t have available when he built the original Cobra, and which likely wouldn’t have fit within the engine compartment of the AC body he used to create the Ferrari-beating sports car. The engine is a specially created 6.4-liter V10 with an aluminum block and heads, featuring velocity stacks, a 10.8:1 compression ratio and pumping out 605 horsepower and 501 pound-feet of torque.

Just as in Shelby’s Cobras, the engine is up front, the driven wheels in the back.

The concept weighs a little more than 3,000 pounds and has no roof, window glass or radio.

Cobra was displayed at recent Quail motorsports event in California

“That’s the formula,” Shelby said when the car was unveiled at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. “It’s a massive motor in a tiny, lightweight car.”

GAA’s brochure about the concept notes that because the Ford GT program was codenamed Petunia within Ford, the team working on the Cobra concept operated under the name “Daisy.”

“The Daisy name was a little tongue-in-cheek,” said Chris Theodore, who headed Ford’s advanced-product team. “It was a little bit of a tease. Everybody knew we were up to something, but they didn’t know what. I call it a fan dance — the most tantalizing secrets are the ones that you know are there, but can’t quite see.”

For complete details, visit the special GAA Shelby Cobra Concept website.

Race-proven cars headline Coys’ auction near Goodwood

An alloy-bodied 1950 Jaguar XK120 competition roadster, a 1960 Mercedes-Benz 300SL roadster and a 1989 Sauber Mercedes C9 Group C racer highlight the docket for Coys’ auction during the Goodwood Revival. The “Thoroughbred & Vintage” auction is scheduled for September 7 at Fontwell House in Sussex Downs.

The ’50 Jaguar roadster is known as “Piggy” and is one of only 184 left-hand-drive alloy roadsters. It was delivered new to Charles Hornburg of Los Angeles, the first U.S. importer of Jaguars. The car raced in the U.S. for several years before returning to the U.K. around 1973, where it was raced by John Harper and also gained its nickname.

The car goes to auction with a pre-sale estimated value of £200,000 to £250,000 ($260,000 to $325,000).

The ’60 300 SL is silver with red leather interior, has been driven only 71,000 kilometers, in part because it spend nearly 30 years in a garage before undergoing a mechanical restoration by the Mercedes Classic Center.

The ’89 Sauber Mercedes comes from the Sauber Mercedes Museum, has an M117 C9 engine, “modern” electronic system and all the FIA paperwork needed for vintage racing eligibility, Coys said.