Auctions America by RM, Auburn Fall, Auburn, Indiana, August 30-September 2, 2012
Report and photos by Rick Carey, Auction Editor
It’s been only three years since RM bought the Auburn Auction Park from the remnants of Kruse International, but what a transformation Donnie Gould, Ken Wallace and the RM crew have worked on the place.
Not only physically, where the facilities have been steadily upgraded and updated to be the best auctions-only venue in North America (which means in the world) but also in the event’s presentation.
Adding Carlisle Productions to manage the Car Corral and vendor field has been a synergistic miracle, but more importantly Auctions America’s high standards (and prompt payment for sold cars) has brought the fields full of cars that had begun to avoid Auburn during the final days of Kruse International. Dealers have returned, but more important has been the return of one- or two-car collectors to whom a successful auction sale means money in the bank for another project.
It’s not the Auburn of a decade or more ago, but in the present full auction calendar it will never be that, nor is that Auctions America’s goal.
Nothing more eloquently spoke of Auburn’s resurgence, or of the new standards in place, than the offering of three fake Mercedes-Benz G-4s that had been paraded across the block in the last Kruse Auburn Fall with fanfare and bombast. Back then they weren’t labeled as replicas. Surrounded by a cordon of security guards, some armed with serious sidearms, to keep casual onlookers away from their preciousness, there followed a drama that saw the set of three run to a bid of $1.7 million, without any bidding in the vast Auction Park building.
It was classic Kruse Auburn Fall auction theater, a performance without substance.
In 2012 Auctions America sold two of the three faux G-4s. It was real auction theater, and that’s the Auctions America difference.
I wouldn’t have said this four years ago, but it’s now worth coming back to Indiana for Fall Auburn.
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Auctions America by RM Auburn Fall 2012 – Auction Report
Lot # 4055 1979 Chevrolet Old Dog Tobias Sprint Car; S/N None; Black/Blue vinyl; Competition car, original as-raced, 3- condition; Hammered Sold at $2,300 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $2,530 — Torsion bar suspension Chevy powered sprint car, in-out box, set up for SCCA Solo competition. Used, but usable. No joke? The bits on this sprint car are worth more than the price it brought.
Lot # 4087 1965 Triumph TR4A Convertible; S/N CTC50221L; Red/Black leatherette; Black leatherette top; Visually maintained, largely original, 3 condition; Hammered Sold at $18,500 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $20,350 — Chrome wire wheels, blackwall tires, cassette stereo, wind wrings. Sound repaint, usable recovered seats, loose fitting Robbins top, loose passenger’s door panel, good chrome. A usable but neglected driver. Sold at Auburn Fall in 2003 for $15,264, then at RM Amelia in March of this year for $30,800, the new owner got all the car this much money could hope to acquire.
Lot # 4107 1970 Pontiac GTO Judge Ram Air IV 2-Dr. Hardtop; S/N 242370P1288949; Starlight Black/Black vinyl; Recent restoration, 2 condition; Hammered Sold at $95,000 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $104,500 — 400/370hp, 4-speed, P/S, P/B, Saf-T-Track, pushbutton radio, Hurst T-handle shifter, console, Rally II wheels, G70-14 Wide Oval tires. Restored like new with excellent paint, chrome and interior. No documentation of this Judge’s original configuration was apparent but the bidders were, if the price paid is any judge [sic], convinced of its correctness. Its condition was above reproach and that no doubt helped it achieve a healthy price.
Lot # 4120 1940 Graham Hollywood Supercharged 4-Dr. Sedan; S/N 69050; Blue/Dark Blue cloth; Older restoration, 3- condition; Hammered Sold at $39,000 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $42,900 — Grey steel wheels, hubcaps, trim rings, wide whitewalls, fog lights. A good older restoration now sadly neglected. Sound paint and chrome. Dirty, smelly interior, right rear door handle missing. Sound body with only a little spot filler in front of the rear wheels. No Reserve. An unusual automobile with a body pretty much unchanged from their original Cord 810/812 dies except for the shark-nose grille. This would be good money for a neglected Cord Westchester or Beverly. It’s great money for a neglected Graham.
Lot # 4165 1933 Chrysler CQ Imperial Convertible Sedan; S/N 7530861; Light Blue, Dark Blue fenders and accent/Saddle leather; Beige cloth top; Older restoration, 3+ condition; Post-block sale at $85,091 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $93,600 — Chrome spoke Dark Blue wheels, wide whitewalls, dual enclosed sidemounts with mirrors, dual windshields with windwings, Trippe lights, metal luggage trunk. Good paint, chrome, interior and top with age and use. Road grimy chassis. Still a good tour car but no longer showy without a great deal of effort. No Reserve. Other classics bring more money, but it’s hard to argue with the Imperial’s combination of style and performance. This car will get its new owner into the same CCCA events and perform as well on the highway as a Duesenberg or Rolls-Royce. It’s a smart buy with the potential to be even better with some major detailing.
Lot # 4171 1935 Duesenberg Model J 4-Dr. Sedan, Body by Derham; S/N 2144; Engine # J-310; Burgundy/Burgundy leather; Older restoration, 1- condition; Hammered Sold at $415,000 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $456,500 — Steel wheels, wide whitewalls, dual enclosed sidemounts with mirrors, chrome headlight housings, dual chrome horns, pulldown near window shade. Cracked paint on hood, otherwise exceptional and only a thorough detail away from show quality. I liked this car better here than I had at Bonhams Fairfield auction a year ago where it no-saled at $430,000, but no more than I had liked it at RM Arizona in 2004 when it sold for $288,200. This is Duesenberg quality and exclusivity at a responsible price.
Lot # 4173 1931 Ford Model A Deluxe Coupe and Fishing Gear Trailer; S/N A4293098; Black/Brown cloth; Cosmetic restoration, 2- condition; Not sold at Hammer bid of $70,000 plus commission of ; Final Price $70,000 — Red steel spoke rear wheels with 7.00-17 tires, standard Red wire wheels up front. Model A restored like new with beefed up semi elliptical leaf spring rear suspension and fifth wheel hitch. Trailer is mostly original and very well preserved with period lettering and a load of fishing gear represented by its original owner. One of the auction’s signature lots, this combination deserves a good home outside Bass Pro or Cabella’s. It’s a microcosm of fishing and selling history, a snapshot of Thirties itinerant marketing in a more personal era. No web pages or virtual experiences here, just climb in and handle the latest rods and reels. The bid is disappointing, but the seller’s expectation on the order of double that is no less unreasonable.
Lot # 4193 1959 DeSoto Firesweep Convertible; Pink, Black/Pink, White vinyl; White vinyl top; Older restoration, 3- condition; Hammered Sold at $24,000 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $26,400 — Pushbutton automatic, P/S, P/B, wheel covers, whitewalls. An older restoration to nearly like new now showing age and some shortcuts like pitted door handles and poor door, window, top fit. VIN plate missing. This is a handsome and attractively presented older restoration but it has empty rivet holes where the VIN plate went. The seller should be very pleased to get this much for it. The DMV may not be as pleased when it comes time to apply for a title.
Lot # 4198 1963 Porsche 356B S90 Coupe, Body by Karmann; S/N 213070; Engine # 610398; Red/Parchment leather; Cosmetic restoration, 3+ condition; Hammered Sold at $39,000 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $42,900 — Clock, accessory cassette stereo, Momo leather rim steering wheel, chrome wheels, Michelin blackwall tires. Seats, panels and dash redone in Parchment leather but older, water stained, carpet not replaced. Underbody not done anytime recently. Engine number erratically stamped. Weber carbs with K&N air filters. Good paint over a sound body but weak trim chrome. Upholstery is usable but not exceptional. This Porsche is a desirable model, at least from its exterior badging but the erratically stamped engine is in the 1600 Normal sequence, and Porsche just didn’t stamp their engines erratically. The price it brought reflects its uncertainties and it might be a decent driver, but this is all the money it conceivably could have brought.
Lot # 4211 1958 Mercedes-Benz 190SL Roadster; S/N 1210428500308; Red/Black leatherette Black cloth top; Visually maintained, largely original, 3 condition; Hammered Sold at $52,500 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $57,750 — Hubcaps, trim rings, narrow whitewalls, Becker AM-FM. Solex carbs. Repainted assembled, loose seat covering, engine compartment superficially dressed upon top but old and dirty elsewhere. A superficial quick cosmetic credo. Solid body. Nothing better speaks to the 190SL’s popularity than the price this superficially redone and presented example brought. Yes, in today’s 190SL market it makes sense, but for how long will this kind of ‘sense’ persist?
Lot # 5075 1967 Austin-Healey 3000 Mk III Phase 2 Convertible; S/N HBJ8U42374G; Red, Black/Black leatherette; Black leatherette top; Visually maintained, largely original, 3 condition; Hammered Sold at $38,500 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $42,350 — Chrome wire wheels, blackwall tires, luggage rack, AM-FM radio, fender mirrors, overdrive. Decent older paint, interior and chrome. Underhood is disorderly but clean. A usable cosmetic redo. Odd VIN not verified on inspection. At this price a specialist Big Healey restorer is in the money, if the VIN can be explained. Even if it can’t, done to decent and consistent cosmetic and mechanical standards with the disorderly engine cleaned up it’s still a sound value with resale profit in its future.
Auctions America by RM Auburn Fall 2012 – Auction Report Page Two
Lot # 5135 1967 Austin-Healey 3000 Mk III Phase 2 Convertible; S/N HBJ8L34507; Champagne Gold/Red leatherette; Black leatherette top; Older restoration, 2- condition; Not sold at Hammer bid of $72,000 plus commission of ; Final Price $72,000 — Chrome wire wheels, blackwall tires, overdrive, no radio. Restored like new and still very clean and in nearly showroom condition. Chassis is barely used. Sold at Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale in 2006 for $143,000, it’s easy to see why the consignor decided to go back for another bite at the apple. A 50% haircut is like going bald.
Lot # 5167 1956 Jaguar XK 140 Roadster; S/N S811865DN; BR Green/Tan leather; Tan cloth top; Older restoration, 3+ condition; Hammered Sold at $72,500 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $79,750 — Chrome wire wheels, whitewall 6.00-16 tires, fender mirrors, Lucas driving lights. A sound older restoration with decent paint, thin trim chrome and good interior. Driven, and it shows, but still presentable and eminently usable. With XK 140s routinely in six figures this sound and very presentable if used example is a righteous acquisition at this full retail price.
Lot # 5172 1955 Chevrolet Corvette Roadster; S/N VE55S001181; Polo White/Black vinyl; Beige vinyl top; Older restoration, 3- condition; Hammered Sold at $64,000 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $70,400 — 265/195hp, 3-speed, WonderBar radio, wheel covers, whitewalls. Poor old repaint, sound but aged upholstery, old folded up top of dubious effectiveness. Bad hood fit. A Corvette cosmetically restored long ago to the much lower standards of the time and then used for years. Aged, used and pretty tired, it’s the 3-speed stick that sets this ’55 Corvette apart from so many of its Powerglide siblings. The price it brought accurately reflects its pros and cons and is fair to both the seller and the buyer.
Lot # 5194 1961 Pontiac Catalina Convertible; S/N 361P11998; Engine # 094692 A1; Mayan Gold/Brown, Gold vinyl; Brown cloth top; Visually maintained, largely original, 3 condition; Hammered Sold at $26,500 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $29,150 — 389/287hp 2-barrel engine code, automatic, P/S, P/B, 8-lug wheels, whitewall tires, pushbutton radio. Cracked steering wheel rim. Tri-power intake. Sound older repaint, interior and top. Sound body. Cosmetically maintained but not restored. Orderly underhood but the engine has grown an extra pair of carbs since it left the factory. A marginal driver. Reported sold at Barrett-Jackson Palm Beach last year for $31,900. Intrinsically an attractive and powerful weekend cruiser, this Catalina may not be correct in the classic sense but it’s more than good enough to be driven and enjoyed. On cruise night it will be a proud possession and few of the onlookers will care about the change from a single 2-barrel to triple deuces. It’s a sound buy at this price and even the seller has had a pair of summers to get more than $2,000 value out of owning and driving it.
Lot # 5212 1968 Chevrolet Camaro Z/28 RS 2-Dr. Hardtop; S/N 124378N426369; Matador Red, Parchment vinyl roof/Red vinyl; Visually maintained, largely original, 3 condition; Hammered Sold at $42,000 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $46,200 — 302/290hp, 4-speed, Hurst shifter, console gauges, pushbutton radio, P/B, Rally wheels with trim rings, E70-15 Wide Tread GT tires, 4.56 Positraction, tilt steering column, P/S, Space Saver spare. Good recent repaint and chrome, tired original interior with dead seat cushion foam. A superficially cosmetically redone and largely unsatisfying Camaro but in a very desirable configuration even though the seller honestly stated ‘Some options are listed on the original broadcast sheet, which is preserved.’ In other words, some options aren’t listed. Given over to the care of an experience Z/28 restorer, though, this Z/28 RS could be a real winner. That potential is reflected in the price it brought, a deft compromise between what it is, what it was and what it might be.
Lot # 7093 Mercedes-Benz Replica G-4 W131 Grosser Six Seven-Passenger Convertible Sedan; S/N 440889E; Blue, Black fenders/Black; Facsimile restoration, 3+ condition; Hammered Sold at $245,000 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $269,500 — One of three very attractive replicas built to high standards of a phalanx of famed W131 Mercedes-Benz G-4s. Constructed by Mike Fennel with modern American 6-cylinder inline diesel power and drivetrains including power steering. This is the personnel carrier. Sold under a court order, these three G-wagen replicas were offered here in the last year of Kruse International with great fanfare. Protected by a phalanx of armed guards and guys in fluorescent yellow vests from being touched by mere mortals, they were offered as real M-Bs and lumbered up and over the block as a group with a completely made-up final bid of $1.7 million for the set. It was great theater, but totally pointless. The real value — and there is for parades and events — is shown by this result, in itself a healthy price for a replica lumber wagon.
Lot # 7094 Mercedes-Benz Replica G-4 W131 Grosser Six Luggage Carrier; S/N 440891E; Black/Black; Facsimile restoration, 3+ condition; Not sold at Hammer bid of $100,000 plus commission of ; Final Price $100,000 — One of three very attractive replicas built to high standards of a phalanx of famed W131 Mercedes-Benz G-4s. Constructed by Mike Fennel with modern American 6-cylinder inline diesel power and drivetrains including power steering. This is basically a giant Suburban with dual rear axles. After a huge send-up four years ago in the final Kruse Auburn Fall auction when the set of three G-wagen replicas were run up to a $1.7 million dollar bid without a single visible hand being raised, presented honestly this Luggage Carrier couldn’t even find a buyer. It would cost way more than this to replicate it, but why?
Lot # 7095 Mercedes-Benz Replica G-4 W131 Grosser Six Radio Communication Carrier; S/N 440890E; Olive, Black fenders/Black; Facsimile restoration, 3+ condition; Hammered Sold at $82,500 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $90,750 — One of three very attractive replicas built to high standards of a phalanx of famed W131 Mercedes-Benz G-4s. Constructed by Mike Fennel with modern American 6-cylinder inline diesel power and drivetrains including power steering. This is configured as a communications unit and needs to have its composite roof completed. One of three wholly made-up replicas last offered at the final Kruse Auburn Fall auction four years ago to great fanfare. It would be great as a prop for a WWII movie, and impossible to duplicate for the amount it brought here. In 2009 the set was pushed to a reported high bid of $1.7 million without a single real bid or bidder being apparent in the building. Sold here under a court order and something of a value, at least for a ham radio operator looking to make an impression.
Lot # 7100 1958 Mercedes-Benz 220S Cabriolet; S/N 220S75112296; Black/Tan leather; Black cloth top; Visually maintained, largely original, 3+ condition; Hammered Sold at $79,500 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $87,450 — Automatic, Blaupunkt multiband radio, wheel covers, narrow whitewalls. A good but used older restoration with sound paint, chrome and Zebra wood interior trim. Lightly soiled and creased upholstery. Beautiful interior wood, instruments and dash. Never messed up, this 220S Ponton has real potential, especially at this price. More than a driver, but for far less than a fully restored example would have cost. Drive and enjoy it.
[Source: Rick Carey]
Not sure what you are referring to as the “odd VIN” for Lot 5075, but the VIN as quoted is valid. Late in BJ8 production the cars got a new VIN format that conformed to a change in BMC’s policy. Whereas previous cars with left-hand drive got an “L” in the VIN (e.g., HBJ8L……) cars in production at the format change now got a “U” instead of the “L”, which signified a car designated for the USA (cars intended for Canada continued with the “L”). The “G” on the end of the VIN meant that the car was assembled at the MG factory at Abingdon (all BJ8s were assembled there, but now the VIN had a code for it).