With bidders participating from 20 nations, RM Auctions sale of the Bruce Weiner Microcar Museum turned into a global car-collecting feeding frenzy that produced more than $9.1 million in sales and made a folly of pre-event estimates.
Weiner spent nearly two decades finding the best examples of the small vehicles that put Europe and Japan back on wheels after World War II and his work was appreciated to the point that several cars drew bids that tripled the pre-auction estimates.
The top-dollar sale was $322,000 for a 1958 F.M.R. Tg 500 "Tiger," considered the rarest of the Messerschmitt-built cars and the fastest of all microcars with a top speed of 78 mph. The "world's smallest production car," a 1964 Peel P50, went for $120,750.
"In terms of its diversity, international interest and prices realized, the Bruce Weiner Microcar Museum sale was truly unprecedented," said Alain Squindo, RM vice president. "With many items offered for the first time in auction history, collectors reacted with enormous enthusiasm... resulting in spirited bidding and prices frequently exceeding their estimates. It definitely set a new benchmark for this type of private collection sale."
A dozen of the small cars sold for $100,000 or more, and there was high demand as well for the small-car automobilia Weiner collected in his travels. A Rustler Used Cars sign and a "Rocket Space Ranger" kiddie ride each sold for $44,850.
Second time around a charm again for Bonhams
Bonhams inaugural classic car auction in Arizona in 2012 sold only 40 vehicles and generated less than $6 million. But this year it came back with 92 sales for nearly $13 million.
The story was similar for Bonhams with its classic motorcycle auction in Paris. The first event -- in 2011 -- did about half-a-million dollars in business. But the auction house was back in Paris earlier this month and posted an 87-percent sell through with total sales of more than $1.1 million. The top sale was nearly $54,000 for a 1968 Egli-Vincent 998cc racer.
The motorcycle sale followed Bonhams' more than $13 million classic car sale in Paris.
Petersen museum celebrates Corvettes, fins and women
The Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles celebrates the 60th anniversary of the Chevrolet Corvette with ‘Vettes old and new March 1-2. Those attending will be the first on the West Coast to see the 2014 seventh-generation Corvette. Also on display will be the original 1953 EX-122 Motorama Corvette, the 156 SR2 experimental Corvette race car, the 1959 Corvette Italia with bodywork by Scaglietti, a 1963 Grand Sport, the 1964 "World's Fair" Corvette and a 1968 built-for-Bonneville "Sundowner."
A panel of racers will talk about Corvettes on the track Friday at 2 p.m. A Friday night gala will feature Kirk Bennion, exterior design manager for the 2014 Corvette. The Corvette day car show on Saturday runs from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. and will include the featured cars (which will remain for a special display at the museum through March) as well as dozens of other Corvettes and will feature a Corvette restoration seminar at 10:30 a.m.
"Women's Day at the Petersen" is March 11 and will focus on hands-on training in car care and maintenance.
The Petersen also has opened its "Fins: Form Without Function" exhibition, which runs through February 2, 2014. The exhibit looks at the post-WW2 fascination with the jet age and the way car designers took cues from the air to the highway.
"Fins have an interesting history in that everyone knows about them, but no one is quite sure of the specifics," said museum curator Leslie Kendall. "The tailfin design, which is widely credited to General Motor's design chief, Harley Earl, is most frequently associated with the 1950s, though early designs began showing up as early as the late 1930s and early 1940s. While the design had no real function aside from aesthetics, tailfins were well received in the United States and their popularity expanded worldwide."
For more information, visit www.petersen.org.
LeMay museum accepts Buick prototype, Ridler winner
LeMay -- America's Car Museum -- in Tacoma, Washington, has announced the donation to its collection of the Ridler Award-winning Ferrambo and the 1964 Buick Wildcat concept car.
The Ferrambo is part-1960 Rambler, part-Ferrari and won the top honors at the Detroit Autorama in 2008. The Wildcat was designed by General Motors as a possible Corvette-based car for Buick and carries a 401 Nailhead V8 engine and shows 3,893 miles on its odometer.
Is this the coolest venue yet for a cars and coffee?
Cars and coffee-themed car shows are commonplace around the country -- for example, there's one the first Saturday of each month in Scottsdale, Arizona -- but the one scheduled for 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. March 9 may be able to claim "best venue" honors because it's being held on the grounds that the following day will host the annual Amelia Island concours d'elegance.
"Fro the moment we created ‘The Amelia,' there's been a demand to expand the scope of the show," said concours founder Bill Warner, who started what is now a world-class concours in 1996.
For 2013, that expansion includes the cars and coffee format where local car clubs will display their rides alongside the 2014 Chevrolet Corvette and other late-model exotics from automakers around the globe.
For information, see www.ameliaconcours.org.
Car Guy Tour has father/son theme
Frank Mandarano has been organizing his annual Car Guy Tour of Italy for many years but hopes to have as many father/son teams on the trip September 7-18. The tour will visit the Ferrari factory and new museum as well as other venues, including the Formula One race weekend at Monza.
"I am encouraging Father/Sons to join me on this year's Tour," Mandarano said. "Of course everyone else is invited as well, but over the last couple of years several father/son, and one father/daughter, teams have come on the Tour.
"I did it last year with my son Tony, who had just graduated from USD, and we had a great time. It was an excellent bonding experience for the two of us and created some great memories that will last a lifetime."
For information, visit www.carguytour.com.
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