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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.


What Troubled Economy? Scottsdale Classic Auctions Rake in Over $180 Million

First-off Corvette 427 Convertible nabs $600,000; Mercedes gullwing nears $5 mil.

by on Jan.23, 2012

The winning bid and fees for this 1955 aluminum-bodied Mercedes Gullwing neared $5 million.

The economy may still be in trouble but one would have had a tough time believing it in tony Scottsdale, Arizona over the weekend, where bidders flashed their cash in a bidding frenzy that generated tens of millions of dollars in sales during the city’s annual classic auction extravaganza.

Final figures from the well-known Barrett-Jackson and five other auctions indicate they generated about $182 million in sales, with a rare aluminum-bodied Mercedes-Benz gullwing coupe commanding $4.62 million after commissions were added in.  Meanwhile, charities netted a cool $600,000 for the first-off-the-line Chevrolet Corvette 427 Convertible – as much as eight times what it would go for in a dealership later this year.

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The final sales total was up from $157 million in 2011, and was well beyond initial expectations, McKeel Hagerty, head of the classic car insurance firm, Hagerty Insurance, telling that, “Across the board, everybody had solid sales.”  Hagerty added that a number of collectors returned to Scottsdale after being out of the market for several years.

On the other hand, he said, there was “definitely not the irrational exuberance (of a decade ago).  It’s a smarter market.”


World’s Oldest Auto Goes for $4.6 Mil at Auction

Bidding doubles initial estimates.

by on Oct.10, 2011

Bidding doubled initial estimates for the De Dion "La Marquise," the world's oldest car.

It’s slow, rough and belches smokes, but that wasn’t enough to keep an unidentified bidder from spending $4.6 million to acquire an 1884 De Dion Bouton et Trepardoux Dos-a-Dos Steam Runabout at the RM Auction in Hershey, Pennsylvania.

More commonly known as “La Marquise,” for Count De Dion’s mother, the coal-fired three-wheeler is the oldest surviving automobile in the world.  The $4.2 million winning bid was more than double the original, $2 million estimate.  The auction house added another $420,000 in commission.

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The buyer will be only the fifth since La Marquise was built – one of 20 to be assembled by the Count, among the earliest proponents of the automobile.  In fact, the De Dion Runabouts were produced two years before Carl Benz rolled out his first vehicle, which the German maker Daimler AG bills as the first true automobile.  That is a matter of semantics, as the De Dion design ran on steam power rather than using an internal combustion engine, as the Benz model did.


Pebble Beach Concours Pits Millionaires Against The Billionaires

Classic car show a Woodstock for the upper class.

by on Aug.16, 2010

This 1933 Delage D8S De Villars Roadster from the Patterson Collection took Best-of-Show honors at the 2010 Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance.

Bill Tanner was at a rare loss for words.  He was running down a list of his car collection and got through the Bentleys, the Ferraris and the new Mercedes-Benz SLS.  But he couldn’t quite remember what the rest of them were.  So goes life when you’ve got some of the most exclusive automobiles in the world vying for space in your 14-car garage.

The Los Angeles investor was just one of the many affluent car collectors gathered in Pebble Beach, the tony Central California community, over the weekend, for the annual Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, an event generally conceded to be the most elegant and exclusive classic car show in the world.

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Celebrating its 60th anniversary, the Concours was crowded with more than 180 rare collector cars, hot rods, motorcycles and even some historic camper trailers, all competing for the Best-in-Show award that can turn the rare automobile into one of the world’s most sought-after and expensive vehicles.

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.


The $8 Million Muscle Car

Auctions Come Back to Life at Pebble Beach

by on Aug.17, 2009

A strong endorsement by California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger -- shown here with Bentley CEO Franz-Josef Paefgen and Jay Leno -- helped pump up the winning bid for the new Mulsanne luxury car at one of several strong auctions during Pebble Beach weekend.

A strong endorsement by California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger -- shown here with Bentley CEO Franz-Josef Paefgen and Jay Leno -- helped pump up the winning bid for the new Mulsanne at one of several strong auctions during the long Pebble Beach weekend.

Though it will be nearly half a year before the first 2011 Bentley Mulsanne rolls down the assembly line, it’s already been sold.  An unnamed buyer at the Gooding Auction placed the winning bid of $500,000, late Sunday, to help wrap up what turned out to be an unexpectedly strong performance at the many auctions accompanying the weekend’s Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance.

The classic car show attracts some of the world’s most elegant and exclusive automobiles to the Monterey Peninsula, each August – along with a Who’s Who of the collector world.  Hoping to take advantage of that, major auction houses like RM, and Gooding, among others, stage elaborate events that, in the past, routinely broke records, year after year after year.

The automotive auction market is often seen as an early indicator of the broader U.S. economy, according to industry experts, reflecting not just the ability but willingness of collectors large and small to shell out cash for their dream cars.  A number of auctions held earlier this year underscored that link, with sales frequently falling well below prior year levels.

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A preliminary tally of the half-dozen auctions at Pebble Beach, however, suggest that pocketbooks may be loosening back up, says McKeel Haggerty, CEO of Haggerty Insurance, which specializes in the collector auto industry and tracks auction data.  In all, he noted, about $117 million in vehicles were sold during the long weekend, a modest dip from 2008.