Gooding and Company Pebble Beach 2012 – Auction Report

Gooding and Company Pebble Beach, Equestrian Center, Pebble Beach, California, August 18-19, 2012

Report and photos by Rick Carey, Auction Editor

$113,736,600 sold in just two days, with just 123 cars offered and 110 sold, an 89.4% sale rate and average transaction value of just over $1 million; $1,033,969 to be precise.

In the history of collector car auctions there have been a few that posted comparable results, but only in individual categories.

For instance, Barrett-Jackson posted a $100 million sale in 2007 but that $108.8 million total required selling 1,239 cars over a six-day period with an average transaction of $87,790.

Several auctions have average transactions of more than $1.034 million: RM’s three Maranello Ferrari auctions and last year’s Villa d’Este sale. But their totals were half or less (sometimes way less) than Pebble Beach 2012’s $113.7 million. Christie’s Royal Albert Hall auction in 1987 where the Bugatti Type 41 Royale s/n 41141 Kellner Coupe sold for $9,764,585 had an average of $1.8 million, but a total of only $10.8 million from six sold lots.

It was fitting that on a weekend marked by several inexplicably generous prices the last transaction of the four-day auction marathon would also be a benchmark for exuberance. You can read about it at the end of this report.

The 2012 Gooding Pebble Beach auction was an historic event.

Ed Lenahan contributed greatly to the completeness and accuracy of this auction report but if there are issues, comments or complaints they should be addressed to the editor.

Gooding & Company
Cars Offered / Cars Sold
Sale %
Sold < Low Est
Sold > High Est
Average Sale
Total Sales
Chg from prior year
123 / 110
127 / 107
135 / 106
159 / 128
140 / 112

Gooding and Company Pebble Beach 2012 – Auction Report

1961 Alfa Romeo Giulietta Spider
Lot # 1 1961 Alfa Romeo Giulietta Spider, Body by Pininfarina; S/N 10103171827; Engine # AR0010229591; Red/Black vinyl; Black cloth top; Estimate $70,000 – $90,000; Visually maintained, largely original, 3 condition; Hammered Sold at $38,000 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $41,800 – Blaupunkt multiband radio, Koni shocks. Good but a little dull older paint and new interior. Engine is tidy but not restored, as is the chassis and underbody. Sound body and 80,522 documented miles. An unusually sound and consistently maintained Alfa Giulietta. No Reserve. This is surprisingly sweet little 101-series Alfa Giulietta that’s never been mistreated or given the Veloce treatment. It is not just well bought at this price but a premier value at the beginning of Gooding’s auction. It pays to pay attention early.
1954 Jaguar XK 120 Roadster
Lot # 2 1954 Jaguar XK 120 Roadster; S/N S676243; Engine # F39638; Birch Grey/Red leather; Black cloth top; Estimate $140,000 – $180,000; Unrestored original, 4+ condition; Hammered Sold at $92,500 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $101,750 – Body color wire wheels, whitewall tires, Amco windwings. Dull old, possibly original paint, faded, stiff and cracked original leather. Recently given an engine-out mechanical service. Very original with single family ownership until earlier this year, but hard to justify preservation in this condition. No Reserve. It’s hard to figure out what to do with this XK 120. Its originality and preservation are charming, but hard to appreciate except as a preservation artifact, and that’s a waste of the car’s style and performance. Despite the generous estimate it brought a reasonable compromise price.
1955 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwing
Lot # 3 1955 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwing; S/N 1980405500663; Engine # 1989805500649; Silver-Grey/Red leather; Estimate $600,000 – $750,000; Cosmetic restoration, 3- condition; Hammered Sold at $580,000 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $638,000 – Becker Mexico radio, body color wheels, blackwall tires, Talbot mirror, red leather fitted luggage. Older cosmetic restoration to like new with good paint, chrome and better interior. Clean underbody. Grungy, oily engine. A presentable but unexceptional driver. Despite being disappointing in the completeness of its presentation, this Gullwing brought a premium price. The new owner can drive it (until something overlooked in its presentation gives up the ghost) but will soon see the need for a comprehensive restoration that when completed will make the price paid seem a small down payment.
1925 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost 40-50hp Pall Mall Tourer
Lot # 4 1925 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost 40/50hp Pall Mall Tourer, Body by R-RCCW; S/N S88LK; Engine # 22883; Light Yellow, Black fenders/Brown leather; Beige cloth top; Estimate $225,000 – $300,000; Older restoration, 3+ condition; Hammered Sold at $185,000 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $203,500 – RHD. Yellow centerlock wire wheels, whitewall tires, dual sidemounts with mirrors, Bausch & Lomb drum headlights, black leather trunk, side curtains. 1980 AACA Grand National winner, CCCA National First Prize #0881. Some dull nickel trim and the body has been repainted over the old paint. Not done to today’s standards but a satisfying and sound tour car. William A.C. Pettitt III Collection. No Reserve. This car, with its clear history and quality old restoration, is every bit as good as the price it brought.
1929 Duesenberg Model J Dual Cowl Phaeton Blue J
Lot # 12 1929 Duesenberg Model J Dual Cowl Phaeton -“Blue J”, Body by LeBaron; S/N 2292; Engine # J-270; Two tone Blue/Beige canvas over leather; Beige cloth top; Estimate $2,000,000 – $2,750,000; Unrestored original, 4+ condition; Hammered Sold at $1,800,000 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $1,980,000 – Chrome wheel discs, double sided whitewalls, dual enclosed sidemounts with mirrors, dual windshields, long windwings, Trippe lights, small sealed beam bullet headlights. Body moved from accident damaged 2217, J-197 to this chassis during repairs by Duesenberg in 1930. Skirted fenders, drop center wheels, outside head pipes, vee windshield, teardrop wind wings, Ford banjo spoke steering wheel and headlights updated in 1937 by Derham. Acquired from the widow of Rudolf Bauer by Bill Pettitt in 1955. Ancient repaint cracking and buffed through. Utilitarian upholstery, delaminating glass. ‘Needs everything’ may not be strong enough to describe its condition but the superb bodywork and a history that is more than intriguing makes it an easy decision to spent thousands on bringing it back to concours condition. William A.C. Pettitt III Collection. No Reserve. Look for this Duesenberg on the lawn at Pebble Beach’s Preservation class next year, and on the podium where it might just bring the Big Prize. It is, in a word, beautiful. Its Derham updates are additive to its appeal. Dead paint, delaminating glass, odd hose clamps and canvas-covered upholstery detract not all from its appeal. It is a traffic-stopping car. It would almost be a shame to restore it and erase the years of care of dedicated custodians from its presentation. No matter what the decision this is a superb Duesenberg bought for an appropriate price and a credit to Bill Pettitt’s stewardship of it.
1954 Porsche 356 Pre-A Speedster
Lot # 16 1954 Porsche 356 “Pre-A” Speedster; S/N 80032; Engine # 33688; Ivory, Blue Stripes/Black vinyl, Ivory piping; Black cloth top and tonneau cover, body color wheels. No bumpers or h; Estimate $275,000 – $350,000; Competition restoration, 2 condition; Hammered Sold at $260,000 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $286,000 – Body color wheels, blackwall tires, no hubcaps or bumpers, top and side curtains, correctly coded wheels, jack, owner’s manual, tool kit. First owner Skip Hudson modified it for SCCA racing, famously beating James Dean at Torrey Pines and Palm Springs. Numbers-matching engine and transmission. Restored in the late 90’s, later owned by Jerry Seinfeld. Solid body with even gaps. Good paint, chrome and interior. A nice little cafe racer with a significant history. Sold at Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale in 1997 for $83,000 to Yankee Candle, then a no-sale at RM Monterey in 1999 for $62,000. Despite the perceived frenzy around Speedster values that’s just over 8.5% per year compounded since 1997 and an historic and significant car at a responsible price.
1935 Rolls-Royce Phantom ll Drophead Coupe
Lot # 17 1935 Rolls-Royce Phantom ll Drophead Coupe, Body by Allweather; S/N 107TA; Engine # DL85; Black/Burgundy leather; Beige cloth top; Estimate $700,000 – $900,000; Older restoration, 2+ condition; Hammered Sold at $450,000 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $495,000 – RHD. Chrome wire wheels, wide whitewalls, dual spares mounted on the rear deck, luggage rack, trafficators, combination rear view mirror/spotlight, single driving light. Singularly unusual coachwork accented by the long hood which stretches back over the cowl almost to the base of the sloping one-piece windshield, its length accentuated by a mass of hood side louvers which continue even into the close coupled cowl and a bright beltline accent that runs the full length of the car. This is the original coachwork specified by the first owner, Mr. A. Simpson of Hemstead, London, and his purpose is clear from the Lucas headlights which have yellow reflectors for high speed touring on the Continent. The interior woodwork on the dash, instrument panel and door cappings is beautiful in both its figure and its finish. Excellent paint, chrome, glass, upholstery, trim and top. Known to and fully documented by the RROC. A concours restoration that has mellowed, but far better than most. Rear door edges scraped, small paint crack below right door. No Reserve. An especially attractive and sporting Rolls-Royce that exudes quality and exclusivity. Offered by Worldwide at Auburn in 2008 it brought a high bid of $670,000. At RM Monterey last year the reported bid was $625,000. The seller may be (no, will be) disappointed with this No Reserve result but the new owner should be overjoyed with the quality of this car.
2003 Ferrari Enzo
Lot # 18 2003 Ferrari Enzo; S/N ZFFCW56A830135872; Titanium Metallic/Red leather; Estimate $1,200,000 – $1,500,000; Unrestored original, 2 condition; Hammered Sold at $1,300,000 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $1,430,000 – Assembly #52895. Carbon fiber brakes, black calipers, SF shields, carbon fiber interior trim. Like new, one owner, 2,350 miles, US-spec, one of four Enzos in Grigio Titanio. The mileage is, for a one-owner Enzo, pretty substantial and the catalog describes its ‘most esteemed private collector’ owner, garage-kept, but neglects to describe any service performed. At this price the bidders clearly had satisfied themselves that whatever the Enzo might have needed, it had received.
1956 Chevrolet Corvette Convertible
Lot # 19 1956 Chevrolet Corvette Convertible; S/N E56S003291; Engine # 0525707F56GV; Polo White, Silver coves/Red vinyl; Estimate $80,000 – $100,000; Older restoration, 2+ condition; Hammered Sold at $67,500 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $74,250 – 265/210hp, 3-speed, radio and heater delete, spinner wheel covers, wide whitewalls. A fresh, meticulous, numbers-matching restoration to beyond perfect condition. The only fault might be the pitted windshield, but it’s the original piece and impossible to criticize. A beautiful Corvette in great colors. No Reserve. Sold at Christie’s 2006 Monterey Auction for $117,500 (where it was described as having a rare power top not included in its specifications here), the drop in price can in no way be related to the car’s condition which remains pristine. The market for ordinary Corvettes like this has declined far below the wild days of the early 2000s. This is a poster-child, but an excellent value at this price even in a shaky market.
1928 Bentley 4 1/2 Liter Le Mans Sports Bobtail
Lot # 20 1928 Bentley 4 1/2 Liter Le Mans Sports “Bobtail”, Body by Vanden Plas; S/N KM3088; Engine # MF3175; BRGreen/Green leather; Black cloth top; Estimate $5,500,000 – $7,500,000; Older restoration, 3- condition; Hammered Sold at $5,500,000 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $6,050,000 – RHD. Folding windshield, aeroscreens, rear mounted spare, Lucas driving lights, Bosch horns, cord wrapped steering wheel, black cloth tonneau cover, cycle fenders. Bentley Team car at Le Mans 1928 driven by Frank Clement and Dudley Benjafield where it DNF’d with a broken frame and radiator hose. Frame subsequently strengthened by Bentley, placed second on handicap at the Brooklands Double Twelve in 1929, 3rd at Le Mans in 1929 with Benjafield and Baron d’Erlanger. Later fitted with D Type gearbox. Well used, but also well loved, restored in 1964, then again in early 00’s with period parts. Continuous history, cracked, aged and used but lovely. Fabulously preserved and maintained despite a few replacement parts (sump, Le Mans spare SU carburetors), this is a singularly important Bentley with a continuous history from new that has never been broken up, disassembled or made up from a few significant parts. It is choicely positioned to put its new owner in the seats of Clement and Benjafield at Le Mans in 1928 … and there are few cars that so clearly retain anything close to that kind of aura. It sold for $2,007,081 at Christie’s Le Mans auction in 2004 (Euros 1,658,300 at the time against Euros 4,912,700 here), about 14.75% compounded over the intervening 8 years. It might not continue that rate of return, but it’s unlikely to suffer a Facebook re-set. This is a gold standard of collector car values.
1931 Cadillac 370-A V-12 Phaeton, Body by Fleetwood
Lot # 21 1931 Cadillac 370-A V-12 Phaeton, Body by Fleetwood; S/N 1004792; Light Blue, Dark Blue fenders and accent/Crimson leather; Blue cloth top and boot; Estimate $180,000 – $220,000; Older restoration, 2- condition; Hammered Sold at $175,000 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $192,500 – Chrome wrapped dual sidemounts, chrome spoke red wire wheels, wide whitewalls, dual windshields, dual remote spotlights, single Pilot-Ray, Trippe lights, radiator stoneguard. An old CCCA National First Prize restoration done in 1964 and, aside from some age and use, still capable of winning prizes. Excellent paint, chrome and glass. Interior shows some use but is sound. An extraordinary restoration and equally extraordinary care. The color choices are a little, ah, flamboyant but the car is sharp and the restoration is exceptionally well preserved. Sold for $198,000 at Worldwide’s Houston auction in May 2008 for $198,000, less than 400 miles have been added to its odometer and none of them detract from its sharp presentation. This is a sharp classic at a reasonable price.
1967 Chevrolet Corvette 427/435 Coupe
Lot # 22 1967 Chevrolet Corvette 427/435 Coupe; S/N 194377S118016; Engine # T0425JE7118016; Goodwood Green, White stinger/White vinyl; Estimate $120,000 – $140,000; Older restoration, 3 condition; Hammered Sold at $150,000 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $165,000 – 427/435hp, 4-speed, side exhausts, AM-FM, rally wheels, red line tires. NCRS Duntov Award winning older restoration to like new condition that’s showing its age. Light scuff on driver’s front fender. Documented with Protecto-o-Plate, warranty book and tank sticker. A late production, highly-optioned Sting Ray begging to be driven. No Reserve. Sold at Gooding’s 2009 Scottsdale auction for $132,000, this Corvette’s good looks and great options were enough to distract bidders from its condition that, while good, is ageing.