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Resource Guide
Auction Central
By Larry Edsall
Back to Community

By Larry Edsall

We tend to think of January in Arizona and August on the Monterey Peninsula as the big shows among classic car sales, but the month of May was pretty a-MAY-zing in its own right:

RM event does $33 million in sales in just two hours!
RM Auctions staged its first sale in conjunction with the Concorso d'Eleganza Villa d'Este on the shores of Italy's Lake Como and in just two hours did an astounding $33.4 million. The auction included only 32 vehicles, but seemingly each was an outstanding offering, including six one-of-a-kind Bertone concept cars.

Larry Edsall at Two cars sold for more than $4 million each. Three others were bid to more than $3 million, and yet two others fell just short of the $3-million mark.

The high sale was $4.797,720 for a 1955 Ferrari 375 MM berlinetta, with a 1938 Talbot-Lago T150-C SS teardrop coupe at $4,475,072.

A 1957 Ferrari 500 TRC spider sold for $3.995 million and a 1959 Ferrari 250 GT long-wheelbase California spider went for $3.596 million. A '53 Ferrari 250 MM berlinetta was bid to $3.068 million, a figure that fell short of the reserve price. A bid of $2.996 million also fell short of the reserve on the 1965 Ford GT40 factory prototype roadster.

Other top sales included $2.997 million for a 1937 Bugatti Type 57SC Atalante coupe and $2.157 million for the 1967 Lamborghini Marzal concept from the Bertone collection. The six Bertone concepts sold for a total of more than $5 million.

Two dozen of the 32 cars sold, a 75-percent sell-through rate.

Jury, spectators agree Alfas are amazing
The RM auction was held in conjunction with the prestigious Concorso d'Eleganza Villa d'Este, a major international concours where the jury awarded the Trofeo BMW Group (best in show) honors to a 1968 Alfa Romeo 33 Stradale while the Coppa d'Oro (people's choice award) went to a 1942 Alfa Romeo 6C 2500 SS. The event also includes a "Concept Cars and Prototypes" category, which was one by the Aston Martin Zagato, a concept making its world debut on the shores of Lake Como.

A 1910 American Pierce Four took the Trofeo BMW Group among motorcycles.

Duesies delight at Auburn
RM's new Auctions America division staged its first Auburn Spring auction at its home grounds in northeast Indiana, where 68 percent of 424 lots sold for more than $6.75 million.

Larry Edsall at A pair of Duesenbergs led the sales. A 1932 Model J five-passenger sedan brought $404,250 and a '32 Model J dual-cowl phaeton went for $375,000.

Other top sales included baseball Hall of Famer Reggie Jackson's 1965 Shelby GT 350 for $247,500, a 2005 Ford GT for $176,000 and a 1938 Packard Twelve all-weather cabriolet for $152,900.

A highlight of the sale was the presence together for the first time of a fully restored GM Futurliner and an unrestored example that was offered for sale. The restored showpiece was on loan from the National Automobile and Truck Museum of the U.S. (NATMUS). The unrestored and non-running example was bid to $340,000, which fell short of the consignor's reserve price. A fully restored Futurliner sold a few years ago for $4 million at Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale.

Mecum posts big numbers at Indy
Featuring an astounding number of vehicles -- 1918 crossing the block -- the 24th annual Mecum Original Spring Classic auction did $47 million (hammer price, not including commissions) during its six-day run at the Indiana State Fairgrounds. The sell-through rate was 66 percent.

Larry Edsall at In addition, 1463 lots of memorabilia brought in an additional $906,605 with a 97-percent sell through.

"We are proud of the excitement shown by collectors, enthusiasts and spectators participating in our Spring Classic event as we delivered on our mission to make the world's largest collector car auction even larger than last year," said Dana Mecum, adding that "we took memorabilia collecting to a whole new level at this event."

Mecum's first major memorabilia sale was held in a separate building within the huge fairgrounds complex and included two major collections from Mike Guarise and Zeb Morris. A 60-inch round Chevrolet Super Service milk glass neon sign brought $20,000.

Among vehicles, the top sales were a 1971 Plymouth Hemi ‘Cuda for $550,000, the 1963 Shelby Cobra 289 (Carroll Shelby's "Demonstrator" car) for $490,000, a 1967 Chevrolet Nickey/Bill Thomas 427 Stage III Camaro for $400,000, a 1969 Yenko Chevrolet Super Camaro 427 for $345,000, and a 1969 Camaro ZL1 COPO coupe for $305,000.

(P.S. We'll have more on the Mecum event at Indy in coming week. Stay tuned.)

Young reporters meet old cars
As part of its Operation Ignite, a program designed to introduce a new generation to classic cars, Hagerty Insurance is staging a Youth Reporter contest that will send the winner and his or her parent or guardian to four major classic car events this summer, including Pebble Beach and a visit to Jay Leon's garage.

Ten finalists have been identified. You can view their reports and vote for your favorite at the contest website:

Fairfield seeks oldest E-types
Organizers of the eighth annual Fairfield County concours d'elegance are looking for the oldest Jaguar E-type in the United States. The committee wants the cars on the lawn September 18 at Westport, Connecticut, and is searching for (1) the car with the lowest chassis serial number and (2) the car that has the longest single-owner history. Twenty-eleven, of course, marks the 50th anniversary of Jaguar's iconic sports car.

If your E-type might be one of those cars the folks from Fairfield seek, contact the committee through the concours' website:

Sonoma Historics ready to roll
The second annual Sonoma Historic Motorsport Festival is set for June 2-4 at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, California. More than 400 vehicles, including a 1915 Ford, are entered in 13 categories. Featured classes this year include McLaren (with 26 cars representing the marque), cars that raced in the Indy 500, and Formula 1 cars from the 1960s and ‘70s.

The Sonoma Historics are organized by Steve Earle, who also created the Monterey Historic races held each August.

P.S. Even if you can't make it to the track for the races, 30 of the cars will do a lap around the town square in downtown Sonoma at 5 p.m. on Saturday, and then will park so you can get a closer look.

Bortz added that, for him, collecting, whether cars or anything else, comes down to four words: "I have; you don’t."

Click here for event calendar.


Click here for more articles by Larry Edsall.

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