RK Motors may be relatively new to the classic car auction business, but that only motivates it to be innovative.
October 31-November 3, RK Motors stages only its second auction. But the event promises to be not only interesting, but innovative and international.
While the primary auction will be held near RK's base in Charlotte, North Carolina, a second bidding parlor will be set up at the 7-star Emirates Palace Hotel in the United Arab Emirates, where people, including those in town for the 2013 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, the Formula One race, can place their bids on vehicles such as the McLaren M26 that James Hunt drove (see photo) to his last F1 victory.
"As we were looking at how do you start an auction, how do you make it different, how do you compete with auctions that have 30-year histories, you have to do something different, something that's new and exciting, but it also has to be a value proposition," said Bill Mathews, executive vice president of RK Motors Collector Cars Auctions.
If people you'd like to have bidding on your cars cannot attend your auction, why not take the auction to them?
"We have these amazing cars," Mathews said. "People get it when you explain what you're doing, that there's an opportunity to expand the market and to bring in bidders who otherwise wouldn't be there. That helps drive sales prices."
RK Motors was established two years ago when Joseph Carroll merged his Ohio-based Best in Show Automotive restoration shop with Rob Kauffman's RK Collection, a high-volume classic car dealership in Charlotte. Since then they've added a growing website, My Classic Garage, and earlier this year staged their first auction, at North Carolina's Pinehurst resort, where they did nearly $2 million in sales of American muscle and other cars.
Mathews said that the bidding parlor in the Middle East will be in the same hotel where the F1 racing teams are staying. The auction will be held on the eve of the race.
"It will be like you are at the auction in Charlotte, a live simulcast, and with live auctioneers and live auction staff taking live bids as we are auctioning the vehicles in Charlotte," he said. "We'll just be getting bids from two sources."
Those bids will come on a lineup that includes a 1954 "gullwing" Mercedes-Benz 300SL, one of six 200-2 Mercedes-Benz CLK GTR roadsters, the 267-mph 1995 Lotec Mercedes-Benz C1000, a 1006 Bugatti Veyron, the 1974 Gurney Eagle that Mario Andretti drove in the Indianapolis 500, Ivan Stewart's 1993 Toyota off-road racing trophy truck, Dale Earnhardt's 1977 NASCAR Chevrolet Nova, a Trans-Am race-winning 1978 Porsche 935, the award-winning 1967 Chevrolet Nova "Innovator" street machine of the year, Ray Evernham's NASCAR-powered 1964 Plymouth Belvedere, and others, including a 1957 Plymouth Savoy with 31 miles on its odometer.
"We have very modest expectations for the first one," Mathews said of the remote bidding parlor concept. "If we sell a handful of cars there it will be a home run. This is a proof of concept. It will only get better from here."
Mathews said RK plans on staging perhaps three auctions in 2014 and as many as five the following year. And he's already looking at other overseas locations for remote bidding venues.
$1.5-million Corvette paces Mecum's Chicago auction
Nearly 1,000 vehicles crossed the block at Mecum Auction's Chicago sale in north suburban Schaumburg. More than 600 sold for a total of $18.6 million, which was some $7 million more than the same sale posted the previous year.
The high-dollar sale was $1.5 million for the 1963 "Harley Earl Corvette," a car specially created for the head of GM Design (see photo).
Other top cars were a 1969 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 for $500,000, a 2005 Ford GT for $250,000, a 1965 Shelby Cobra for $140,000, a 1967 Corvette convertible for $135,000 and a 1968 Dodge Hemi Dart lightweight for $125,000.
Mecum's next event is November 21-23 at Anaheim, California.
Long-garaged Jags featured at Coys' Ascot auction
An early Jaguar E-type found in a garage near Le Mans and an XK120 found in storage in England are among the cars being offered October 26 at Coys Spirit of Motoring auction at the Ascot Racecourse in the UK.
The 1961 E-type is chassis No. 40 and had been an a French barn from 1974 until being discovered just a few weeks ago, Coys said.
The 1951 XK120 has a racing history. The car was acquired by a collector as payment for a debt in 1993 but plans for the car's restoration never were fulfilled and it remained in storage.
The auction also includes a 1953 Connaught L3 racing car from the collection of Ian Hill of the Judas Priest rock group and a 1991 Bentley Eight owned by British television legend Bruce Forsyth.
Auto innovations, dirt tracks highlighted at California museum
"Innovations that Created the Automobile" is the title of an exhibition that opens October 26 at the California Automobile Museum in Sacramento. The exhibit features three car chassis that visitors can get "hands on" to not only see but to feel the differences and similarities. The exhibit also includes engine cutaways.
A few days later, the museum opens another exhibit, "Dirt! Racing on Sacramento's Legendary Tracks." Among the vehicles displayed will be several supermodifieds, a dirt-track hardtop from the 1950s bearing sponsorship from a beauty salon, and a Vukovich family-tribute midget racer.
And then, the museum's "Life in the Fast Lane" benefit and auction is November 8.
See www.calautomuseum.org for more information.
Nuvolari featured in Watkins Glen 'conversation'
Italian racer Tazio Nuvolari will be the subject of a "Center Conversations" November 2 at the International Motor Racing Research Center in Watkins Glen, New York. Presenting "Tazio Nuvolari: His Life and Times" will be Joe Tierno, who in 1955 became the youngest person in the country with a Sports Car Club of America membership. The presentation will include Tierno's talk, photographs and film footage.
"Nuvolari was an enormous personality and the most loved and admired race driver of his era," said Michael Argetsinger, a member of the Racing Research Center's governing council.
Nuvolari (see photo) began racing motorcycles. In 1930 he won the Mille Miglia. In a 30-year career, he won every European Grand Prix event except the Czechoslovakian GP while driving for Alfa, Ferrari, Maserati and Auto Union, among others.
See www.racingarchives.org for details.
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