It used to be that if you were interested in classic cars, Labor Day weekend in Auburn, Indiana, was on your calendar. There was the big Auburn-Cord-Duesenberg Festival and, just south of town, the big Kruse auction and swap meet.
While the festival continued, the collapse of Kruse put something of a kibosh on Auburn's attraction to those whose focus wasn't on the three local marques.
But then RM launched its Auctions America arm and bought the Auburn Auction Park and now Auburn-based Worldwide Auctioneers has found a wonderful venue for its annual sale and if you missed it this year, you better be there in 2013.
This year's was the 60th annual A-C-D Festival and was declared the "Year of the Unrestored Car" (see photos). There were examples in the festival parade and at both classic car auctions -- the Auburn Collector Car Auction, Swap Meet & Car Corral staged at the Auburn Auction Park by Auctions America by RM and at the fifth annual Auburn Auction staged this year inside the historic National Auto & Truck Museum of the United States by Worldwide Auctioneers.
Though they may be crosstown rivals, Worldwide co-founders Rod Egan and John Kruse both have former ties to RM and have worked with Auctions America president Donnie Gould to bring Auburn back to role as a hub for the hobby. Egan also notes that "they have given that place [the auction park] the facelift it sorely needed."
The auction park is a mile or two south of Auburn, and just south of the park is a piece of land where Worldwide has put in a foundation for what it thought would become its auction venue. But those plans have been put on hold now that Worldwide has secured the NATMUS for its auction.
The museum is located in downtown Auburn in what used to be the building where the L29 Cords were built. It is just behind the famed Auburn-Cord-Duesenberg Museum and made for a great display area for the 125 or so vehicles being offered by Worldwide.
But because of the limited space, the cars were not driven across the block but were parked around the bidders, who watched detailed videos of each vehicle as it came up for bidding.
"If we would have had 300 or 400 cars, you couldn't have kept the interest up for 10 to 12 hours a day," Egan said. "But it's easy to do that in a four-hour auction when everyone knows everything is quality and the cars are sitting right there next to them, not out in a tent. It actually gives it more atmosphere. We didn't lose a thing."
Overall, 70 percent of the vehicles sold, and for $5.1 million. Of the vehicles sold, several were sold to benefit the Auburn-based Early Ford Foundation & Museum and the NATMUS itself.
Egan said several vehicles in the auction were donated specifically to raise money for the museums. The sale of the cars donated to benefit NATMUS generated $345,000 "and now NATMUS is mortgage free," Egan said. "That was a big part of our plan."
The top sales at Worldwide were $473,000 for a 1934 Auburn 12 Salon cabriolet, $319,000 for a 1934 Packard Twelve dual cowl sport phaeton, $231,000 for a 1931 Cadillac Series 370-A V12 convertible coupe, $217,250 for a 2004 Ford GT factory test mule, and $187,000 for a 1966 Shelby GT350 Mustang.
While Worldwide focused on its sale of 10 dozen vehicles, Auctions America welcomed more than 52,500 people to the Auburn Auction Park, where 76 percent of lots, which included 992 automobiles and 18 motorcycles, sold for more than $18.5 million. More than one third of all bidders were newcomers to the event, Auctions America reported.
The high sale was $456,500 for a 1935 Dusenberg Model J with coachwork by Derham. A recreated World War II-era military G-4 W131 Grosser Six 7-passenger convertible sedan went for $269,500. A 1932 Auburn 12 boattail speedster brought $275,000. A 1989 Warner Brothers Batmobile sold for $250,000. A 1953 Buick Skylark went for $192,500 and 1965 Shelby GT350 Mustang brought $180,000.
Auctions America offers Terry Bennett Collection
Auctions American by RM is adding a two-day event to its 2012 calendar, selling the Terry Bennett Collection at Rollinsford, New Hampshire, on September 21-22. For the last two decades, Dr. Terry Bennett has focused on his collection and amassed a diverse group of cars, motorcycles, boats, bicycles and architectural pieces. Though he's focused on his hobby in recent years, his interest dates back much further; he bought his first collector car, a 1928 Chevrolet, when he was 8 years old.
Included in the 1100 lots to be offered at no reserve are a one-off Honoré Wagner BMW race car, a 1925 Lancia Roadster, a 1929 Franklin 7-passenger Sedan, a 1930 Cadillac, a Halibrand American Red Ball Indy car and an Aerosport Scamp biplane.
Glenmoor Gathering includes Grande Salon auction
Classic Motorcar Auctions stages its third-annual Grande Salon auction on conjunction with the Glenmoor Gathering of Significant Automobiles concours d'elegance September 15-16 at the Glenmoor Country Club in North Canton, Ohio.
Among the vehicles offered at the auction is a 1937 Cord 812 supercharged phaeton.
"This well-maintained Cord 812 comes to us from a local collector who has owned classic cars all his life, and it will be offered with complete documentation that shows no corners were cut and no expense was spared during the vehicle's maintenance and restoration," said Bob Lichty, president of Classic Motorcar Auctions., which will offer more than 150 vehicles as well as a 1922 Duesenberg A, 1931 Stutz DV-32 B and 1934 Packard V12 engines.
The concours d'elegance is Sunday, September 16, and will include featured classes for early supercharged vehicles, steam-powered automobiles, Allards, Tuckers, vehicles designed by Zagato, 1928-48 American motorcycles, and "mini" cars.
Click here for event calendar.
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