Auctions America by RM, Dr. Terry Bennett Collection, Rollinsford, NY, September 21-22, 2012
Report and photos by Rick Carey, Auction Editor
It’s tempting to say that this is the most diverse, extensive, strange sale of a largely vehicle collection in history.
That is, if it weren’t for the fact that there was another Dr. Terry Bennett collection auction of even better content 21 years ago. Back then Dr. Bennett disposed of things like a Mercedes-Benz SSK (of Argentine origin) for $423,500, a Bugatti Type 35C for $363,000 and a Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost London-Edinburgh Tourer for $484,000.
This time around only the Lancia Lambda and BMW Special approached that kind of desirability. Instead there was a profusion of slightly exceptional cars including a field full of Mazda 323s, a couple of Mercedes-Benz 190E 2.3s, two Lotuses, several Alfa Romeos and a maxi-assortment of Minis and Mini-based vehicles.
Most were parts cars, or near-parts cars, parked around Dr. Bennett’s home and big barn and left to deteriorate in anticipation of future projects. Adding to the collection – which totaled 1,098 lots, many of them consisting of multiple items – were architectural components (enough doors to outfit a good-sized office building, albeit in varying sizes and styles), hundreds of bicycles, a flotilla of boats and canoes. There was even a ‘loosely assembled’ home built airplane.
It was amazing.
The story here recounts only a few, somewhat representative lots.
The sale, all lots offered for good reason without reserve, raised a total of $895,495 for the vehicles (cars, motorcycles, boats, scooters and the airplane) from 165 lots. The entire sale total was $1,072,913 from 1,098 lots, an average transaction of just $977.
Auctions America Bennett Collection 2012 – Auction Report
Lot # 2259 Corgi Collapsible scooter; S/N W29595; Green/Black; Unrestored original, 5+ condition; Hammered Sold at $500 plus commission of 15.00%; Final Price $575 — The engine turns over (as long as the spark plug is out) and it’s largely complete but in need of comprehensive attention. Bought by a benighted auction junkie. There’s a longer story, but it will soon be in my garage on a pair of sawhorses to see if it can be coaxed back into life. I was the underbidder on the complete one at $1,150 and just couldn’t let this, the third Corgi in the sale, get away. Anyone have a set of tires?
Lot # 2272 1960 Alfa Romeo Giulietta Sprint Speciale, Body by Bertone; S/N AR1012000460; Engine # AR0012101645; White Primer/None; Incomplete restoration, 4- condition; Hammered Sold at $35,000 plus commission of 15.00%; Final Price $40,250 — Partially cosmetically restored, painted in white primer but little else done. Boxes and parts piled helter-skelter in the car. No telling what’s here and what’s missing. Engine lying on its side on the floor, incomplete and not rebuilt with an engine number that would be more appropriate in a Giulia. The right engine might have been among the multi-block lots of Alfa parts in the sale, so it still might end up reunited with this Giulietta. There is an immense amount of work to do. Just inventorying what’s here and creating a list of what’s missing is a daunting task. However with Sprint Speciales bringing fabulous prices these days the new owner has at least a fighting chance of turning the project into money.
Lot # 2273 Maserati Mistral Decapitated, Body by Frua; S/N AM109298IGM; Primer/None; Incomplete restoration, 5+ condition; Hammered Sold at $3,400 plus commission of 15.00%; Final Price $3,910 — A decapitated Mistral, missing its engine and pretty much everything else. Filthy engine and chassis, rusty wire wheels. Just a pile of parts. Someone paid a serious price for this pile but maybe there’s something in or on here that they need for a project.
Lot # 2281 1960 Alfa Romeo 2600 Racecar; S/N AR1020402479; Red/Black; Original, modified for competition or performance, 4+ condition; Hammered Sold at $10,500 plus commission of 15.00%; Final Price $12,075 — Year is approximate. The concept of making a 2600 into a race car can have occurred only to one heavily invested in minutely inspecting racing rules and class structures to identify a potential advantage. The paint covers the body metal and the interior isn’t ripped or torn. In fact, among the cars in Dr. Bennett’s collection this one is remarkably complete and might even be presentable with a reasonable amount of work and effort. But, a racing Alfa 2600? This is a pretty generous price for an Alfa 2600 with enough needs to fill a notebook.
Lot # 2282 1963 Alfa Romeo Giulia Spider, Body by Pininfarina; S/N AR372584; Black/Black vinyl; Visually maintained, largely original, 4+ condition; Hammered Sold at $18,000 plus commission of 15.00%; Final Price $20,700 — Aftermarket seats, low bolt-in rollbar, silver painted centerlock wire wheels. Cataloged as ‘reported to be restored and in good running condition’, a description which left off the operative phrase, ‘when parked.’ Sound paint and interior, decent chrome. Neglected and dirty but appears to be all there and a good place to start on a restoration. For a car that might be worth $40,000 when cleaned up and running this is a reasonable price.
Lot # 2283 Alfa Romeo Giulia Spider Race Car, Body by Pininfarina; S/N AR167608; Candy Red/Black vinyl; Original, modified for competition or performance, 4+ condition; Hammered Sold at $9,750 plus commission of 15.00%; Final Price $11,213 — Modified engine with dual Webers, foam air filters, tube headers, side exit exhaust, full width roll bar, one seat, Plexiglas wind screen, racing mirror, no bumpers but a nice set of Italian alloy wheels. Quickly repainted and more stripped than prepared, with incomplete Aeroquip under the hood. A place to start, and far from finished. The new owner was absolutely thrilled with this acquisition. “I saw this car years ago and never dreamed I could own it. Now I do and I’m so excited.” Not a bad value at all for the money.
Lot # 2284 1964 Halibrand Shrike American Red Ball Indy Racecars; S/N ; Bare Aluminum/None; Competition car, original as-raced, 4- condition; Hammered Sold at $25,000 plus commission of 15.00%; Final Price $28,750 — Two tubs, no engines. A mish-mash of parts, ‘loosely assembled’ or lying on shelves, in boxes and hanging from the walls. No identifying marks at all. The buyer must have been satisfied by this, or some other, attribution that made it worth this much.
Lot # 2299 1950 BMW Racecar; S/N HY17A43; Grey/Black; Competition car, original as-raced, 3 condition; Hammered Sold at $154,000 plus commission of 15.00%; Final Price $177,100 — BMW 327 engine, 328 head, one-off frame and body. Once thought to be one of the Mille Miglia BMW 328s but now thought by photographic identification to have been a special raced at least once after WWII by Honoré Wagner. Complete but in need of comprehensive work as well as more extensive documentation of its history and origins. We’ll let this result stand on its own, a significant bet that the history of this BMW Special can be developed and the car finds itself acceptable to various sanctioning bodies. (photo: Auctions America)
Lot # 2301 1925 Lancia Lambda Roadster; S/N 13278; Dark Blue, Black fenders/Black leather; Visually maintained, largely original, 3 condition; Hammered Sold at $180,000 plus commission of 15.00%; Final Price $207,000 — RHD. Red wire wheels, two-seat dickey, brass headlight housings. Attractively bodied but without any coachbuilder’s identification. Decent paint and interior, otherwise aged and dirty, complete and actually runs and drives. The Bennett sale’s top transaction and a healthy price for a Lambda. (photo: Auctions America)
Lot # 2305 1974 Lamborghini Urraco P300 Coupe; S/N 20422; Yellow/Black; Unrestored original, 4- condition; Hammered Sold at $6,000 plus commission of 15.00%; Final Price $6,900 — Crudely resprayed but otherwise original, neglected and in parlous condition. The structure is stamped 1060*708, but the pop-riveted Lambo plate (and the homologation plate) says the chassis number is 20422 It’s difficult to find anyone who wants a Urraco, let alone one in this neglected condition, so Auctions America’s success in finding a buyer, especially at this price, is an accomplishment of no small measure.
Lot # 2307 1978 Ferrari 308 GTS; S/N 23283; Red/None; Incomplete restoration, 4- condition; Hammered Sold at $7,000 plus commission of 15.00%; Final Price $8,050 — Badly painted, no interior and generally a candidate for the parts bin. For a car that’s worth no more than $40,000 in beautiful condition, restoration isn’t an option for this 308 GTS.
Lot # 2349 1988 Mazda 323 GTX Hatchback; S/N JM1BF2349J0161627; Black/Black velour; Unrestored original, 4+ condition; Hammered Sold at $3,750 plus commission of 15.00%; Final Price $4,313 — RHD. 1.6 liter 132hp turbocharged, all wheel drive. An epic homologation special built to quality for the FIA World Rally Championship with a lot of ‘Zoom, zoom’. In complete but aged and neglected used car condition. Probably not amenable to getting registered in the U.S., but there is a lot of good stuff here for someone who wants to build a giant-killer road-race, rally or hillclimb car. This is one of 17, yes seventeen, Mazda 323s in Dr. Bennett’s collection. It is, along with a lefthand drive 1993 323 GTR, also the highest selling of them. It’s unclear what will be done with this Mazda, but it has potential in the right hands.
Lot # 2409 1964 Lotus Elan S1 Chassis; S/N None; None/None; Unrestored original, 5- condition; Hammered Sold at $3,100 plus commission of 15.00%; Final Price $3,565 — A burned to the ground chassis and drivetrain, as found but now even more returned to nature after years of exposure to the elements. Why? Can there be enough salvageable parts on this crispy-toasted hulk to make it worth saving, let alone paying this much?
Auctions America Bennett Collection 2012 – Additional Photos
[Source: Rick Carey]
I’m glad to know that if I was outbid on the Corgi, at least it went to a good home.
It joins a long list of semi-completed projects. If I retired from auction reports today I’d be well into my ninth decade before I come even close to completing them.
Well, if the Corgi ever feels too neglected, look me up.