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Arizona Auctions Bring Big Bucks from Collectors

Top seller is a 1937 Mercedes-Benz 540K Special Roadster that sold for $9.9 million.

by on Feb.01, 2016

Burt Reynolds was in Arizona this weekend to promote the sale of a Trans Am used promote "Smokey and the Bandit" for $550,000.

Last year was a record-setter for new vehicle sales and 2016 is expected to be even better; however, new cars and trucks aren’t the only hot sellers hitting benchmarks these days as evidenced by the millions of dollars worth of vintage metal moved in Arizona this weekend.

This weekend was abuzz with collector car sales as the four major auction houses – Barrett-Jackson, Gooding and Co., RM Sotheby’s and Russo and Steele – all held events in Phoenix and Scottsdale.

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The jewel of the weekend was a 1937 Mercedes-Benz 540K Special Roadster that sold for $9.9 million, which was shy of its projected sale price of $10 million to $13 million, at the Sothebys event, which generated more than $62 million in sales. The Mercedes originally sold for about $12,000. (more…)

Arizona Auction Action – First Big Event of the Year Sets Multiple Records

Ferraris lead the weekend, but even Detroit iron scores big.

by on Jan.20, 2014

A 1997 McLaren F1 goes up for bidding at the Gooding and Company auction in Scottsdale.

It may have been frigid cold in much of the country but the only word for Scottsdale, Arizona this past weekend was hot.

The Scottsdale auctions, that is, as an array of the world’s biggest automotive auction houses gathered in the tony Phoenix suburb for the first big event of the 2014 collector car season.  And the results were impressive, Gooding & Company alone claiming to set 11 new records, the auction house gaveling in a bid of $6.2 million for a 1958 Ferrari 250 GT Series 1 Cabriolet, one of numerous all-time highs.

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That said, the weekend wrapped up without setting a new overall auction record, the pinnacle reached last summer when a Mercedes-Benz W196 sold for nearly $30 million.  But few appeared to be complaining about one of the most successful auction events on record, as just the top three auction houses alone reported a collective take of nearly $120 million.

The figure is expected to increase substantially when other auction houses weigh in, notably including the original Barrett-Jackson which helped turn Scottsdale into a must-attend weekend gathering for collectors.  According to a preliminary count by Hagerty Insurance, which specializes in collector cars, the grand total is likely to near $250 million.


Record $27.5 Mil for NART Ferrari Drives Weekend Auction Frenzy

But what’s driving the surge?

by on Aug.19, 2013

At $27.5 mil - including fees - the 1967 NART Spyder was the most expensive Ferrari ever auctioned off. Photo Courtesy Drew Phillips,

If you think Wall Street traders have been running up stock prices faster than justified you just might be in for a shock when you check out the results of the half dozen major car auctions that were heading for an all-time record after the classic car weekend in tony Pebble Beach, California drew to a close Sunday night.

Preliminary estimates suggest RM, Gooding’s and the other auctions were likely to boost last year’s strong numbers by almost a quarter – with the gavel coming down time and again on bids that handily topped the million dollar mark. That notably included a near-record $25 million paid for a 1967 Ferrari 275 GTB/4 NART Spyder.

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Adding in the auction house fee, the final price came to $27.5 million for the Ferrari, one of only 10 ever built for the North American Racing Team. The car had a more than passing role in the 1968 film, The Thomas Crown Affair, and star Steve McQueen owned – and eventually wrecked – his own NART.


Pebble Beach Auction Tally Tops All-Time Record

$11 mil for a Ford.

by on Aug.20, 2012

This GT40 Le Mans winner nabbed an $11 mil. all-time record bid for a Ford.

What economic downturn?

Auctioneers gaveled in a record $260.3 million in sales over the long Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance weekend, shattering last year’s $197.5 million tally, according to preliminary numbers compiled by Hagerty Insurance, which specializes in classic and exotic automobiles.

The strong performance came despite a decline in the actual number of vehicles being auctioned off during the four-day gathering. And the figures actually could go higher as some cars that didn’t hit their minimums during the auction could still be sold before the five biggest auction firms break down their tents.

The top seller was a 1936 Mercedes-Benz 540K Special Roadster that garnered a winning bid of $11,770,000 at the Gooding auction house.  That was more than many had anticipated – but fell short of the $15 million figure some had expected.

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Perhaps the biggest surprise, however, was the $11,000,000 that RM Auctions nabbed for a 1968 Ford GT40 Gulf/Mirage Coupe. It has a strong pedigree among the very limited run of supercars that the late Henry Ford II ordered built after the Detroit maker failed in its bid to purchased Ferrari, back in the 1960s.  This particular GT40 won the grueling 24 Hours of Le Mans endurance race four years in a row, from 1966 to 1969.


Exner Chrysler “Thomas Special” fetches $780,000

Auction at Meadowbrook surprises auctioneer with price.

by on Jul.27, 2010

The successful bid was substantially over what the RM Catalog expected the car to bring.

Chrysler must be on a role.

First Sergio Marchionne indicates Chrysler succeeded in making a profit during the second quarter and then a 1952 Chrysler “Thomas Special” goes for $780,000 during some spirited bidding at the RM Auctions annual auction at Meadowbrook Hall in Rochester Hills, Michigan.

The successful bid was substantially over what the RM Catalog expected the car would fetch. The successful bid came in via phone, RM officials said.

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However, the Chrysler had a unique “provenance,” noted RM spokeswoman Amy Christie. It is one of the most stylistically important designs of in American automotive history.


James Bond’s Aston Martin DB5 for Sale

Goldfinger and Thunderball movie prop to go on auction block.

by on Jun.01, 2010

The DB5, registration number FMP 7B, is one of only two of the original 007 DB5s.

The 1964 Aston Martin DB5 James Bond car will be auctioned this fall at the Battersea Evolution in London on 27 October.

What is arguably the world’s most famous movie prop is expected to bring in excess of $5 million, according to RM Auctions, which is handling the sale in association with Sotheby’s.

The DB5 is the only remaining one of the two original 007 DB5s. It was filmed with Sean Connery behind the wheel in the Goldfinger and Thundberball spy fantasy movies.

The car was modified with so-called Q-Branch gadgets, including machine guns, a bulletproof shield, revolving license plates, a tracking device, a removable roof panel, an oil slick sprayer, a nail spreader and a smoke screen – controlled from toggle switches hidden in the center armrest.

“Like ‘Q’, we never joke about our work, which is why RM is consistently entrusted with the sale of the world’s most significant collector cars like the real 007 Aston Martin DB5 movie car,” said Max Girardo, Managing Director, RM Europe.


First Classic Car Auctions of ’10 Deliver Mixed Results

No fire sales, but no records, either.

by on Jan.25, 2010

The annual Barrett-Jackson Auction has spurned a classic car industry, each January, in Scotsdale.

Even the windstorm that flattened two tents, damaging 100s of classic cars waiting to go on the auction block couldn’t dampen the enthusiasm at what has become the biggest week of the year for collectors who gathered in the tony Phoenix suburb of Scotsdale, over the past week.

The weekend has been a must-attend for more than a decade, starting out with the granddaddy of Scotsdale events, the annual Barrett-Jackson Auction and now including five other events that aim to serve every possible niche of the classic car market, from muscle cars to rare and exotic imports.

Preliminary figures from the four largest events show sales of about $135 million in classic metal.  That’s almost identical to last year’s numbers for the Barrett-Jackson, Russo & Steele, Gooding and RM Auctions.  And the figures actually would’ve been higher, says David Kinney, Publisher of Hagerty’s Cars That Matter, were it not for the windstorm that brought down the two Russo & Steele tents.

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On the other hand, Kinney cautions, the auctions gaveled off more cars, this year than during the devastating January 2009, when the economy was in freefall, so buyers paid less, on average.  At the 800-pound gorilla of the auction scene, the annual Barrett-Jackson, the typical car was auctioned off for $54,814, a bit less than a 4% decline.  But at Gooding, which specializes in exotic autos, the average price slipped from $386,226, last year, to just $297,368.

“Doldrums may be a good way to describe it,” suggests McKeel Hagerty, a long-time auction observer and owner of Hagerty Insurance.  “The quality wasn’t the wall-to-wall perfect cars we would have seen in prior years.  Some of the best cars just aren’t coming to market right now.  People are waiting for the market to improve before selling.”