Motoexotica's inaugural Phoenix Classic & Exotic car auction at Manheim Phoenix sold a few more than 100 of the 240 cars that crossed the block and took in $1.5 million in sales.
The top sales were $70,000 for a 1965 Pontiac GTO and $60,000 for a 1954 Chevrolet Corvette.
"We put the event together in 90 days," said Motoexotica's Scott Brandt, who was pleased with the first-time event, especially when he was able to report 600 registered bidders on the ground, another 240 registered for Internet bidding and anther 175 on a simulcasting setup.
Brandt and Manheim already are planning a second-annual event, and will move from a Friday-Saturday auction to have a preview day on Friday with cars on the block Saturday and Sunday.
Motoexotica and Manheim also are talking about expanding to at least another venue.
To separate his classic car dealership from others in the St. Louis area, Brandt held his first auction in 2008 at the dealership, but the 320 cars consigned were more than the five-acre property could really handle, especially with temperatures topping 100 degrees.
The local Manheim wholesale car auction manager offered his company's big cooling fans and bleachers, and suggested that the second such event beheld at Manheim's own St. Louis auction facility.
There were two such events in 2009, plus two more in 2010 as well as yet another at Springfield, Mo.
With the demise of the Kruse and ICA auctions in Phoenix, Brandt and Manheim decided to fill the void on the Arizona auction schedule.
A CHANGE WAS WARRANTED
In November, we reported that K&S Cars, a classic car dealership in Brea, Calif., and AUL (Associates Underwriting Limited) would introduce 12-month/12,000-mile powertrain warranties with roadside assistance for classic cars sold at specified auctions. The program was launched at McCormick's late last year in Palm Springs, and Bob Koontz of K&S says thee program was successful - to a point.
"It was too high priced," Koontz said, explaining that the warranty's $795 price was more than was practically affordable for people consigning cars in the $10,000-$20,000 price range.
"We sold a bunch," Koontz was glad to report, but, he added, the buyers were primarily people with cars that would bring bids of $30,000 or more.
So Koontz and crew went home, reworked the warranty program with AUL, and were back for the Motoexotica's Phoenix auction with a more practical solution - a three-month/3,000-mile warranty, and still with roadside assistance - but priced at only $295.
They also made one other change: Since many cars at such auctions are bought by classic car dealers who take the vehicles home and re-sell them to their customers, a 90-day hold could be put on the warranty so the coverage doesn't start until the car has been re-sold.
THERE'S AN APP FOR THAT…
I was walking around, checking out the cars that would cross the block at Motoexotica's Phoenix auction when I saw fellow auto writer Rick Carey, who's been covering the classic car hobby for about as long as anyone and much better and more extensively than most. Carey, the auctions editor for Sports Car Digest, has created an extensive classic car auction database that he's sharing as an app for the iPhone, iPod and iPad.
To demonstrate, he punched in the VIN of the closest car - a 1956 Dodge Coronet.
Immediately, we had a complete description of the car, including the knowledge that the car had sold last year at Auburn for $11,110.
Not every classic car that goes to auction is included in Carey's database, which includes not only Carey's first-person experience but data he's mined, including Briggs Cunningham's hand-written auction notes from the 1960s. If the specific vehicle you're considering isn't in the database, you still can search by marquee and model to see the sales prices on similar vehicles.
The Collector Car Auction Resource, or CAR, is available at iTunes and in three versions: for $9.99 you get all auctions in 2009-10; for $24.99 you get auctions back to the start of 2006; and for $99.99 you get all auctions since 1973 (see www.ccar.co for details).
HISTORIC RACERS REV UP AZ AUCTION WEEK
Each year, those of us who live in Phoenix consider the kickoff of classic car auction week to be the Wheels of Wellness historic race car show, held on the grounds of an historic downtown Phoenix home that is the base of The Wellness Community, which provides free support services to those with cancer and to their caregivers.
Featured this year were American racing specials of the 1950s and ‘60s. Aligned as though they were on the starting grid were vehicles such as the 1958 Scarab Mark 1, 1962 Chaparral (No. 003), the 1959 Hustler (Pontiac Ambro Special), 1958 Echidna Sports Racer, 1961 Jaguar Ol' Yaller VIII, a couple of '58 "Knobbly" bodied racers - a Lister Corvette and Lister Jaguar -- and, for good measure, a 1955 D-type Jaguar.
Also displayed were vehicles ranging from a 1938 Austin 7 Special to the 1965 Babe Stapp Chevy sprint car and from a 1974 IROC Camaro driven by A.J. Foyt to the 1977 Penske PC5 that was the first car to post a qualifying lap at Indy in excess of 200 mph.
This year, and for the first time, historic racing motorcycles also were displayed.
But the cars (and bikes) aren't the only stars at Wheels of Wellness as the classic car and motorsports communities in Phoenix come together to help those who are ailing. Each year a group of race car drivers, famous names from the past and present, come to Wheels of Wellness and sit down for a panel discussion.
This year, so many showed up they had to seat two separate panels - one with Dario Franchitti, Arie Luyendyk, Didier Theys and Justin Bell, with Harley Cluxton III as moderator; the other with Danica Patrick, Bobby Rahal, Denise McCluggage, Desire Wilson and Franchitti, with Lyn St. James as moderator.
Click here for event calendar.
Click here for more articles by Larry Edsall.
Fiat Supersonic Photo by Pawel Litwinski (c) 2010 Courtesy of Gooding & Company