With only six non-domestic cars in the auction catalog, and not a Ferrari among them, it figured that American vehicles would dominate the results of RM Sotheby’s 21st annual Motor City sale, which is held each year in conjunction with the Concours d’Elegance of America in Plymouth, Michigan. And, indeed, only two imports cracked the top 10 in the final results, and then only barely.
“This year’s sale has once again proven that Motor City is one of the leading events celebrating the American automobile, and a fantastic venue for pre-war classics,” Gord Duff, RM Sotheby’s car specialist, was quoted in a post-auction news release.
But it wasn’t just that pre-war American classics were the stars of the sale.
“The top three results are reflective of the solid prices we’ve seen throughout 2015 for beautifully restored, concours-quality American Classics,” Duff added, “and all three are a perfect fit for the Concours weekend.”
The auction offered 78 vehicles, including two classic boats. Nearly 80 percent of the lots sold for a total of $7,402,450 to bidders from as far away as Australia, New Zealand and Argentina. Nearly 25 percent of those bidding were new clients for RM Sotheby’s.
The top sales were all American pre-war classics.
A 1935 Duesenberg Model SJ dual-cowl phaeton originally owned by Duesenberg Motors president Lucius B. Manning, sold for $852,500 (prices include buyer’s fees) while a 1933 Packard Twelve individual custom sport phaeton went for $583,000 and a 1934 Auburn Twelve salon speedster went to a new owner for $506,000.
A modern American supercar, a 2005 Ford GT with fewer than 310 miles on its odometer, sold for $319,000. Then came four more American classics — a 1930 Packard Deluxe Eight dual-cowl sport phaeton, a 1929 Stutz Model M four-passenger speedster, a 1934 Pierce-Arrow Twelve convertible coupe roaster and a 1938 Packard Eight Sedanca deVille.
A 1968 Shelby GT500 KR convertible made it an American sweep of the top eight spots in the final sales standings. Those eight cars also were the only ones selling for more than $200,000.
A 2001 BMW z8 and a 1988 Lamborghini LM002 rounded out the top 10. A 1952 Mercedes-Benz 300 cabriolet D was bid to $240,000 but did not sell, but then neither did a 1922 Mercer Series 5 Raceabout that was bid to $300,000 nor a 1938 Hacker-Craft 28-foot twin-cockpit runabout that also was bid to $300,000 without reaching the owner’s reserve price. Also falling short of reserve was a 1932 Auburn Twelve custom phaeton sedan that was bid to $220,000.
RM Sotheby’s noted that it expanded its Motor City docket for 2015 by adding selected European sports cars and late model vehicles to the mix. While it didn’t crack the top 10, the auction house noted that a triple-black 1989 Porsche 911 Turbo Coupe sold for $176,000, above its pre-sale estimated price.
RM Sotheby’s continues its 2015 calendar with its annual sale at Monterey, California, which this year will be expanded to three days, August 13-15. That sale will be followed soon by the company’s annual London sale September 7.
Top 10 sales, RM Sotheby’s Motor City auction
- 1935 Duesenberg Model SJ Dual-Cowl Phaeton, $852,500
- 1933 Packard Twelve Individual Custom Sport Phaeton, $583,000
- 1934 Auburn Twelve Salon Speedster, $506,000
- 2005 Ford GT, $319,000
- 1930 Packard Deluxe Eight Dual-Cowl Sport Phaeton, $308,000
- 1929 Stutz Model M Four-Passenger Speedster, $302,500
- 1934 Pierce-Arrow Twelve Convertible Coupe Roadster, $297,000
- 1938 Packard Super Eight Sedanca deVille, $220,000
- 1968 Shelby GT500 KR Convertible, $203,500
- 2001 BMW Z8, $192,500
1988 Lamborghini LM002, $192,500
(Prices include buyer’s premium.)