Category archives: News

Artists explore the car and its role in American culture

‘The car is so much more than a machine that moves people from point A to point B. It is a symbol of freedom, an emblem of America’s pioneering spirit, a status symbol, a mark of one’s wealth, and sometimes, a sad substitute for a home or a temporary place to lay one’s head. In addition to driving (pardon the pun) the nation’s economy and commerce, the car has played an important role in American culture – high and low—making appearances in advertisements, pop songs, film and fine art.”

— news release announcing ‘Vroom Vroom Beep Beep’

Out West, by Beñat Iglesias López, oil on panel, 10 x 10 inches
Out West, by Beñat Iglesias López, oil on panel, 10 x 10 inches

‘Vroom Vroom Beep Beep” is a group exhibition by eight artists and photographers celebrating American car culture in a show running through February 24 at the Susan Eley Fine Art gallery on Manhattan’s Upper West Side. Continue reading

Total sales higher, average price lower at Arizona auctions

1960 Chevrolet engineering Research Vehicle (CERV) 1 - sold $1.32 million
CERV I, historic Chevrolet prototype/concept car, sells for $1.32 million at Barrett-Jackson | Bob Golfen photo

With a day of sales to go at some locations, total on-the-block revenues at the collector car auctions taking place in Arizona this week already have surpassed year-ago numbers, according to Hagerty, the insurance and vehicle valuation-tracking company that monitors all sales at major American auction venues. So far this week, sales have totaled $251.1 million, which is $1.1 million more than the figure for the entire 2016 sales week. Continue reading

It’s Vegas Bike Week with Mecum, Bonham auctions

Steve McQueen owned this 1917 Henderson Four
Steve McQueen owned this 1917 Henderson Four

Arizona has its car week, and just a few days later and a couple hundred miles to the northwest, Las Vegas has its vintage motorcycle weekend with Bonhams and Mecum staging major auctions.

Mecum Auctions holds its annual Las Vegas Motorcycle Auction at the South Point hotel and casino from January 25-28 while Bonhams’ seventh annual sale in Sin City takes place January 26, this year at a new venue at the Rio hotel and casino. Continue reading

Weather or not, bidders spending at Arizona auction venues

Bugatti Grand Prix racer on the block Friday at Gooding & Company auction | Andy Reid photo
Bugatti Grand Prix racer on the block Friday at Gooding & Company auction | Andy Reid photo

Rainy weather didn’t appear to dampen bidders Friday at the Arizona collector car auctions, where the total so far — $187.1 million in sales — represents a 17 percent boost compared with results  through Friday a year ago.

Continue reading

Maserati Ghibli heads Mecum’s flagship sale in Florida

The 1969 Maserati Ghibli 4.9 Spyder after its $920,000 sale | Mecum Auctions photos
The 1969 Maserati Ghibli 4.9 Spyder after its $920,000 sale | Mecum Auctions photos

A Maserati Ghibli Spyder led Mecum’s auction of just under 2,000 collector vehicles during the mammoth sale last week in Kissimmee, Florida, considered to be the biggest annual collector car auction in the world. With nearly 2,700 vehicles offered, the auction boasted a 75 percent sell-through rate and a total of $86 million in sales, not including auction fees.

The Road Art auction that accompanied the collector car sale had a 93 percent sell-though, with 1,260 pieces of automobilia, parts and collectables sold for a total of $2.5 million, not including fees.

Additionally, ticket sales were up 20 percent compared with last year, the auction house reported, and a record number of page views during the 10-day event were garnered on its website.

Mecum had a record number of ticket sales
Mecum had a record number of ticket sales

But the overall results were down from last year’s.  Sales totaled nearly $95 million with the buyer fees added, compared with the year-ago record number of more than $100 million with fees added. The 2016 auction was boosted by million-dollar-plus results for two Hemi-powered Plymouth ‘Cuda convertibles and a Dodge Challenger Hemi convertible, which added about $6.6 million to the bottom line.

This year, there were no seven-figure cars. The top-selling 1969 Maserati Ghibli 4.9 Spyder hammered at $920,000. The bright-yellow Maserati was followed by a 1967 Chevy Corvette 427 convertible, the only-known 435-horsepower Vette originally painted black with a blue interior, that went for $775,000. All reported Mecum results are hammer prices without buyer fees.

A modern supercar, a 2005 Porsche Carrera GT, reached third-highest at $625,000, while a famed 1963 Chevrolet Impala Z11 race car with the nickname “Old Reliable IV” went for $525,000. A specially equipped 1957 Chevrolet Corvette “Big Brake Airbox” was hammered at $450,000.

The top-10 sales for Mecum’s annual Florida auction were:

1. 1969 Maserati Ghibli 4.9 Spyder at $920,000
2. 1967 Chevrolet Corvette convertible at $775,000
3. 2005 Porsche Carrera GT at $625,000
4. 1963 Chevrolet Impala Z11 “Old Reliable IV” at $525,000
5. 1957 Chevrolet Corvette Big Brake Airbox at $450,000
6. 1963 Pontiac Catalina Swiss Cheese at $430,000
7. 1980 BMW M1 at $400,000
8. 1963 Chevrolet Impala Z11 at $340,000
9. 2006 Ford GT Heritage Edition at $327,500
10. 1963 Chevrolet Corvette split-window coupe at $300,000

(All Mecum sales results are hammer prices without auction fees)

Mecum’s next sale is its inaugural Los Angeles Auction, held February 17-18 at the Fairplex in Pomona, California. For information, visit the Mecum website.

Collector car experts explain how to stay ahead of the game

Panel guests were (from left) Clint Sly, Wayne Carini and Larry Edsall with moderator Wade Zawasaki | Bob Golfen
Panel guests were (from left) Clint Sly, Wayne Carini and Larry Edsall with moderator Wade Zawasaki | Bob Golfen

Passion rules the collector car hobby, but it’s always good to ride an upward trend and sell your automotive pride and joy for a profit.

That was the overarching message delivered Friday morning during a seminar of collector car industry experts entitled “Revving up Your Investments with Collector Cars,” presented by Coker Tire at the Russo and Steele collector car auction in Scottsdale, Arizona. Continue reading

Bids and buys strong as Arizona auctions build toward weekend

1952 Ferrari 340 America Competizione Spider sells for $6.38 million at Bonhams, which more than doubled its 2016 sales total Thursday | Andy Reid photos
1952 Ferrari 340 America Competizione Spider sells for $6.38 million at Bonhams, which more than doubled its 2016 sales total Thursday | Andy Reid photos

With action at five venues, Thursday was the first full day of auctions during Arizona Car Week 2017 and, notably, overall totals were 30 percent above 2016 figures through the same point in the week, according to Hagerty, the insurance and value-tracking company that staffs each of the Arizona sales. Continue reading

Mopar performance muscles in at RM Sotheby’s Arizona auction

This restored 1963 Dodge  330 Max Wedge Lightweight is one of just nine built by the factory | Bob Golfen photos
This restored 1963 Dodge 330 Max Wedge Lightweight is one of just nine built by the factory | Bob Golfen photos

‘You don’t usually see these kinds of muscle cars here.”

That was the comment from a passerby at RM Sotheby’s auction as she walked by a group of vintage Mopar performance machines at the Arizona Biltmore Resort in Phoenix, where the sale is being held.

Big pre-war classics and high-end sports cars are what come to mind at RM Sotheby’s, although the Arizona auction generally features a fairly wide range of collector cars. Still, a solid contingent of mighty 1960s muscle cars is somewhat unexpected in such polite society. Those more likely are found headlining the boisterous Barrett-Jackson or Russo and Steele auctions, both of which specialize in American ground pounders. Continue reading

Famed Lamborghini engineer Paolo Stanzani dead at 81

Famed engineer Paolo Stanzani: From Miura to Countach | Lamborghini photo
Famed engineer Paolo Stanzani: From Miura to Countach | Lamborghini photo

Paolo Stanzani, a mechanical engineer and one of the fathers of the Lamborghini Miura, died Wednesday at the age of 81.

With Giampaolo Dallara and designer Marcello Gandini, Stanzani created not only the revolutionary Miura in 1966 but subsequent Lamborghini vehicles, including the Countach. Continue reading

Worldwide’s Arizona debut includes two million-dollar sales

The 1965 Mercedes-Benz 230SL roadster originally owned by John Lennon sells for $225,000, plus commission, at Worldwide auction | Larry Edsall photos
The 1965 Mercedes-Benz 230SL roadster originally owned by John Lennon sells for $225,000, plus commission, at Worldwide auction | Larry Edsall photos

Worldwide Auctioneers made its debut Wednesday night at Arizona Car Week with a well-attended — standing-room-only — sales room and  a nicely loaded 82-car docket that was so well received that two cars each sold for a million dollars or more.

The million-dollar cars were a 1967 Chevrolet Corvette L-88 roadster and a 1955 Lancia Aurelia GT B24S Spider America. Continue reading