Please allow me a brief personal note before we get into the meat of this update from our latest cruise through the classic car world:
When I worked at AutoWeek magazine back in the previous century, my youngest daughter and I would drive from Michigan down to Auburn, Indiana, on the Saturday of the Labor Day weekend to spend the day at the Kruse Auction, where she would especially enjoy seeing nearly a dozen Ferraris as they awaited their turn across the block.
Fast forward to 2013 and I'm back at Auburn, but this time on a Friday morning and with my youngest daughter's nephew, my 11-year-old grandson, Nick (see photo). It's no longer the Kruse auction. But the Auburn Auction Park is even bigger and better and instead of one auction, now there are two -- the Auctions America event at the auction park one Interstate exit south of the city and the Worldwide Auctioneers Auburn sale held in the historic L29 Cord Building just behind the Auburn-Cord-Duesenberg Museum near downtown Auburn.
While there are more than a thousand vehicles, and seemingly thousands of people, at Auctions America, there are only some 80 vehicles at Worldwide, where it still was preview days and not only that but early Friday morning there are only a few other folks exploring the available lots.
I was impressed by Nick's good taste in classic cars. He loved the two vintage 1909 and 1910 Winchester motorcycles, thought the big blue 1933 Auburn Twelve was awesome --and the gold-plated 1918 Pierce-Arrow was awful -- decided the vehicle he most wanted to take home was the 1924 Seagrave fire engine, and, like me, was fascinated by the Caterpillar No. 4 Hi-Way Patrol, an early road grader (see photo), but, unlike me, really liked the 1970 Pontiac GTO Judge convertible.
Corky Coker is the evangelist who preaches the "take a kid to a car show" sermon and I found the experience just as rewarding as Corky promised it would be. Nick and I both had a great time, now have a memory to share, but also a regret that we didn't go back Saturday for the Worldwide auction. That nifty No. 4 Cat sold for only $2,310! Way to pick, Nick.
I mentioned that Nick had good taste. That 1933 Auburn Twelve custom phaeton sedan he liked so much turned out to be the top sale of the auction, selling for $275,000. A 1947 Rolls-Royce Silver Wraith drophead coupe was next at $264,000 and then came that '70 Judge at $214,500.
Next up for Worldwide: The Burt Collection
Next up for Worldwide will be the sale September 21 in Lake Forest, Illinois, of 125 vehicles from The Burt Collection.
According to the Lake Forester newspaper, Paul Burt was a stand-up comedian and published poet in New York who became chief executive of the Westlake Financial Group and on day returned a runaway puppy to his neighbor, well-known Chicago area auto dealer and enthusiast Rick Mancuso.
Mancuso got his puppy back, and sold Burt a 1983 Ferrari 512 BBI Boxer. Before long, Burt's collection included more than 150 vehicles and a complete restoration business.
Auburn Auction Park packed with 70,000 in attendance
Earlier, I mentioned the big crowd at Auction America's fall sale. We were part of the crowd on Friday afternoon. Turns out some 70,000 people showed up during the weekend, a 40-percent increase in attendance compared to the same event in 2012. Of those 1,100 or so vehicles crossing the twin auction blocks, 80 percent sold for some $28 million.
The auction featured the sale of a trio of Duesenbergs. A 1930 Model J convertible coupe sold for $1.54 million, a 1929 Model J sports sedan went for $962,500 ,and a 1935 Model SJ dual-cowl phaeton brought $858,000, putting the Dusies 1-2-3 on the top-dollar sales list.
Rounding out the top five were a 1973 Ferrari 365 GTB/4 Daytona for $434,500 and a 1933 Auburn Twelve boattail speedster for $371,250.
The auction featured the sale of 94 vehicles from the collection of Indiana native Ed Ewing, several vehicles from the collection of Richard and Linda Kughn of Michigan, five vehicles from the Antique Automobile Club of American Museum (proceeds from those cars helping to fund the museum's Tucker exhibit), and more than 400 items of memorabilia and antiques from the collection of Kirk F. White.
There's big interest in low-mileage Nebraska auction
You may not think of Nebraska as being a hot bed for classic car collectors, but they'll be gathering in Pierce, Nebraska (as well as on the Internet), on September 28-30 for VanDerBrink Auctions' sale of the delicious leftovers from the Lambrecht Chevrolet dealership.
Ray and Mildred Lambrecht (both are now in their 90s) were Chevy dealers for more than half a century and for whatever reason saved out some brand new cars and a few hundred low-mileage trade ins. Those cars -- some 500 of them, including around 50 never before have been sold -- are being auctioned.
Mark your calendars
September 5-8 -- Kirkland (Washington) concours d'elegance
September 8 -- Bonhams/Beaulieu auction, England
September 8-9 -- RM auction, London, England
September 21 -- Worldwide Auctioneers/Burt Collection, Lake Forest, Illinois
September 21-22 -- Danville (California) concours d'elegance
September 26-28 -- Barrett-Jackson auction, Las Vegas
September 26-28 -- Russo and Steele auction, Las Vegas
September 28-30 -- VanDerBrink/Lambrecht auction, Pierce, Nebraska
Then, two weeks after those events, Barrett-Jackson and Russo and Steele stage auctions along The Strip at Las Vegas.
Click here for event calendar.
Click here for more articles by Larry Edsall.