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By Larry Edsall
Back to ClassicCars.com Community

Provenance pays off when cars cross the auction blocks
By Larry Edsall

Provenance pays off when cars cross the auction blocks If you ever had any doubt about the importance of provenance when it comes to the value of a classic car, consider the following:

A 1967 Chevrolet Corvette L88 convertible crosses the block at Mecum Auctions' recent sale in Dallas (see photo). A few days later, a 1957 Maserati 250S is up for bidding at RM Auctions' sale in London (see photo).

Provenance pays off when cars cross the auction blocks Granted, there were only 20 such L88 drop tops built, and this Maserati was one of only four, and the only one originally constructed around a 2.5-liter engine. But did you really expect the 'Vette to sell for $3.2 million or the Maserati for more than $3.34?

This is where provenance comes in. In the case of the Corvette and the Maserati, that provenance comes from the race track. The L88 was sold with its original tank sticker and the time slip signifying its reign as the 1967 NHRA A/Sports national champion. As for the Maserati, it was raced by Carroll Shelby and Jim Hall.

It doesn't hurt that both cars were coming out of well-respected collections. The top three sales at Dallas were from Buddy Herin's collection; his 1969 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 went for $530,000 and his 1957 Corvette Airbox brought $290,000. Two of the top four at London were from the Laidlaw Competition Car Collection, which included a 1965 Porsche 904/6 Carrera GTS that brought more than $1.93 million.

Dana Mecum's Dallas sale included 1400 vehicles, with nearly a thousand (70 percent sell-through) generating sales of $38 million.

The RM event sold 120 cars -- a 90.3 percent sell-through rate -- and generated more than $34 million. Two of the other highlights from RM included the sale of the Lotus Esprit "submarine car" from the James Bond movie "The Spy Who Loved Me" for more than $967,000 and with the sale of 74 cars from one owner's "Ultimate Mercedes-Benz Collection" bringing more than $15.2 million, led by a 1938 540K Cabriolet B at nearly $1.3 million.

REVolution is new exhibit at Crawford Auto Aviation Collection

A stainless steel DeLorean, 1909 Simplex Holbrook double roadster and 1950s cruisers are among the 50 vehicles comprising the new REVolution exhibit that opened September 20 at the Crawford Auto Aviation Collection at Cleveland's Western Reserve Historical Society.

The exhibit is designed to trace the history of auto design and technological change from the 1890s until the 21st Century and features alternative fuels, stainless steel cars, the need for speed and road trips.

"This exhibit presents some of the most iconic and distinctive vehicles in history," said Western Reserve historical Society president Gainor Davis. "It's another step in exhibiting these magnificent cars in a space that fosters engagement and conversation amongst visitors about the love of classic cars."

The museum is located at 10825 East Boulevard in Cleveland and is open Tuesday through Sunday.

Newsworthy newcomers

Provenance pays off when cars cross the auction blocks * Though the event is in its sixth year, the venue is new for the Louisville Concours d'Elegance, which will be held October 4-6 at the French Lick resort which isn't in Kentucky, but is a few miles to the northwest and on the other side of the Ohio River in southern Indiana.
* RK Motors of Charlotte is known for its restoration and car-building expertise, but it's getting into the auction action in a big way October 31-November 3 with the RKM Collector Car Auction at the Charlotte Convention Center, where the headlining vehicles include the 1977 McLaren M26 driven by James Hunt, "The Innovator" 1967 Chevrolet Nova, the "Atomic Orange" 1967 Chevrolet Corvette, and Ray Evernham's NASCAR V8-powered 1964 Plymouth Belvedere.
* Motostalgia, founded by Antonio Brunet and with offices in Texas, Mexico and Monaco, says it will offer 75 vehicles at its Auction d'Elegance, November 16 in conjunction with the U.S. Formula 1 Grand Prix race weekend. The lineup of cars includes a 1930 Rolland Palain, an aluminum-bodied French Grand Prix racer that was in a barn in Argentina, a 1953 Cadillac Eldorado, a 1991 Callaway Speedster Aerobody, the "Queen of Diamonds" 1933 Duesenberg Model J sports berline and a 1964 Amphicar formerly owned by President Lyndon B. Johnson.
* "Art of the Automobile" is the title of a new sale to be staged November 21 by RM and Sotheby's in New York City. Only 35 bespoke vehicles will be offered to "celebrate the motor car and its place in the history of design, focusing on iconic styling and the artistry of combining automotive function with exquisite form." So far, the lineup includes the 1955 Lincoln Indianapolis study by Boano and the 1956 Aston Martin DB2/4 "Supersonic" by Ghia.
* Ray Evernham will be host to the first AmeriCarna Live car show, November 30 in Davidson, North Carolina. The show will benefit the Ignite Community Center for young adults with autism or Asperger's Syndrome. "Americarna Live is the celebration of car culture and what better place to host it than in the town of Davidson, N.C., which personifies the classic American community," said Evernham, an avid car collector and long-time Lake Norman-area resident who recently restored and will display the 1964 Plymouth Belvedere No. 777 raced by Marty Robbins.
* The inaugural Arizona Concours d'Elegance has been announced (see photo) and plans a 75-100 vehicle display to kick off Arizona Auction Week, January 12, 2014 at the Arizona Biltmore Resort and Hotel.

Mark your calendars

September
21 -- Worldwide Auctioneers/Burt Collection, Lake Forest, Illinois
21-22 -- Danville (California) concours d'elegance
Coronado Speed Festival, San Diego, California
26-28 -- Barrett-Jackson auction, Las Vegas
-- Russo and Steele auction, Las Vegas
28-30 -- VanDerBrink/Lambrecht auction, Pierce, Nebraska

October
3-4 -- Auctions America at Carlisle, Pennsylvania
4-6 -- Louisville Concours d'Elegance at French Lick, Indiana
10-11 -- RM Auctions at Hershey, Pennsylvania
10-12 -- Mecum Auctions at Schaumburg, Illinois
20 -- Bonhams motorcycle auction at Stafford, England
24 -- Race, Rock 'n Rally gala at the Petersen Museum, Los Angeles
25 -- Hilton Head Motoring Festival and Concours d'Elegance, South Carolina
31 - November 3 -- RK Motors auction, Charlotte, North Carolina

November
1-3 -- RK Motors auction, Charlotte, North Carolina
16 -- Motostalgia auction, Austin, Texas
18-21 -- Art of the Automobile auction, New York City

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.

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