I've been fortunate to visit many of not only this nation's but the world's automotive museums and one of the most impressive is the National Military History Center built by Dean Kruse in Auburn, Indiana.
But because of Kruse's financial problems, a portion of the contents of that museum are being dispersed at a sale December 8 by Auctions America by RM, which believes this will be the largest offering ever at a public auction of full- and half-track military vehicles, many of which were unearthed in Europe after World War II and which, if my memory serves me correctly, needed an act of Congress that allowed Kruse to import them for his museum.
"This is truly an exceptional and unique opportunity for collectors of both vehicles and military hardware to acquire many one-of-a-kind lots and prototypes," said Donnie Gould, Auctions America president. "The museum items are not relics; they tell not only the American story in both war and peace, but also the histories of Germany, France and Britain."
Proceeds from the auction, which will include 83 lots, will help the museum pay off its mortgage and remain open to visitors as a non-profit facility.
McMullen '32 Ford leads Mecum at Anaheim
Mecum Auctions' inaugural event in Southern California generated more than $15.2 million in sales with some 850 vehicles crossing the block.
The top-dollar sale was $700,000 for the iconic 1932 McMullen Ford roadster, with another famous hot-rod, the 1936 Jack Calori coupe, going for $300,000. Other top-10 sales included $370,000 for a 1930 Duesenberg Model J limousine; $175,000 for a 1969 Boss 429 Ford Mustang with only 26,788 miles on its odometer; $170,000, the sales price for a 1953 Chevrolet Corvette and for a 1965 Chevrolet Chevelle Z16; $162,000 for a '69 Boss 429 Mustang; $145,000 for a '67 Corvette; $140,000 for a 1950 Cadillac roadster built by Rick Dore; and $135,000 for a 1969 Pontiac GTO Judge convertible.
Mecum's next event is December 6-8 at Kansas City.
Leake does $6.7 million at Tulsa
Leake's 40th anniversary Tulsa auction totaled $6.7 million with a 58-percent sell-through rate with 328 vehicles going to new owners.
The top sale was $143,000 for a 2006 Ferrari F430 Spider F1. A 1967 Chevrolet Corvette convertible went for $105,600, a 2008 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 Super Snake brought $99,000, a '57 Corvette roadster sold for $95,700 and a '71 Chevrolet Chevelle SS got $90,750.
RM London totals $23 million
RM's annual Battersea auction in London featured an 84-percent sell-through and more than $23 million in total sales.
The top sale of the event was more than $3.1 million for a 1959 Ferrari 250 GT LWB Berlineeta "Tour de France" while a 1930 Alfa Romeo 6C 1750 GS Testa Fissa formerly raced by Tazio Nuvolari sold for nearly $1.25 million.
A 1964 Aston Martin DB5 originally owned not by Bond, James Bond but by Paul McCartney brought more than $550,000.
Bonhams Harrogate generates $1.7 million
Bonhams annual auction at the Great Yorkshire Showground included 65 cars, 100 motorcycles and 300 lots of automobilia and more than $1.7 million in sales with 94 percent of lots selling.
The top sale was a barn-found 1965 Ferrari 330GT 2+2 coupe that went for nearly $109,000, which doubled its pre-sale estimate. Other sales included a 1950 Delahaye Type 135 M Coupe ($87,000), a 1933 MG Midget J2/J4 Sports ($72,000) and an eight-seat 1931 Rolls-royce 20/25hp Shooting Brake formerly used as an ambulance ($57,000).
Among motorcycles, a 1950 Vincent-HDR 998cc Rapide Series C brought $46,000.
Vicari offers Chevelle collection at New Orleans
Vicari's third annual New Orleans Classic Auto Festival will feature cars from Brent Trauth's collection of Chevrolet Chevelles, including a 1970 SS 454 LS5, a '70 SS 396, and a '70 Malibu survivor car with a factory-installed SS dashboard. The sale is scheduled December 1.
Registration open for Russo and Steele seminars
Russo and Steele's seminar about the classic car marketplace and where it's trending is an annual highlight of Arizona auction week. For its January event in 2013, the auction house is adding a second seminar -- a collection management and estate planning workshop.
The marketplace seminar is Thursday morning, January 17, and the collection management workshop is Friday morning, the 18th.
Registration is open now for both seminars.
'Country' Corvettes on display
Through January 18, 2013, the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green, Kentucky, is displaying Corvettes owned by country music stars, including George Strait's '58, Tim McGraw and Faith Hill's '60, Roy Oribson's '67, Dolly Parton's '68, George Jones' '78, Martin Robbin's '81 and others.
As part of the exhibition, aspiring country musicians will give acoustical performances during weekend hours.
Goodguys announce 2013 schedule
The Goodguys Rod & Customs Association has announced its 2013 calendar:
March 8-10 at Scottsdale AZ; March 15-17 at Fort Worth TX; March 23-24 at Pleasanton CA; April 5-7 at Del Mar CA; May 17-19 at Nashville TN; June 1-2 at Pleasanton CA; June 7-9 at Loveland CO; June 14-16 at West Springfield MA; July 5-7 at Des Moines IA; July 12-14 at Columbus OH; July 26-28 at Puyallup WA; August 16-18 at Spokane WA; August 23-25 at Pleasanton CA; September 20-22 at Indianapolis IN; October 46 at Fort Worth TX; October 25-27 at Charlotte NC; November 9-10 at Pleasanton CA; November 15-17 at Scottsdale AZ; November 22-24 at Del Mar CA.
Digital F1 -- and it's no video game
The International Motor Racing Research Center at Watkins Glen, New York, has received a grant from the South Central Regional Library Council of Ithaca, New York, to make digital copies of 20 years of U.S. Grand Prix programs, some 200 photographs and 200 pages of race results so they can more easily be accessed by the public at www.racingarchives.com and www.nyheritage.org.
Click here for event calendar.
Click here for more articles by Larry Edsall.