Gooding & Company Amelia Island 2015 – Auction Report

Gooding & Company, Omni Amelia Island Plantation, Amelia Island, Florida, March 13, 2015

Gooding & Company’s sixth consecutive auction at the Omni Amelia Island Plantation showed a complete disdain for superstition: it was Friday the Thirteenth.

No slashers wielding machetes or aetherial ectoplasmic forms materialized in or near the Gooding tent village, although a somewhat supernatural rain deluge created an interlude that challenged rationality. The inundation quickly receded and a large crowd kept David Gooding and auctioneer Charlie Ross busy on the block. [There may be some skeptics who correlate adverse weather with auction success: it keeps the crowd in the tent paying attention to the cars and bidding.]

Gooding presented several of the ‘barn-find’ cars that have become regular highlights of its auctions. They bring handsome prices that often defy logic, but they are prized these days by a segment of the collecting community that often is willing to pay dearly for dirt, diametrically opposed to the often less than the cost of restoration prices that brilliantly restored cars bring.

There is a wide gulf between sound, well-preserved but aged barn-finds that proudly display the care and attention of generations of sympathetic owners and some of their scabrous, festering, peeling counterparts that evidence only loss of interest and neglect. Some bidders these days seem unable to perceive the distinction. It’s an observation that applies to all auctions, not just to Gooding’s.

Still, this is a business, and a good business caters to the desires of its customers. If they want dirt it is successful to give them dirt, even if it means that after a few more years of oxidation taking its inevitable toll a restoration is inevitable. At its completion any originality premium becomes inverted, evaporated into a cloud of restorer’s invoices.

At Gooding as well as at RM Sotheby’s Saturday sale collectors also paid sharp premiums for limited production, high performance cars, sometimes measured in multiples of the original retail price only a few years ago. It may be helpful to think of these burgeoning prices [use of the term ‘values’ seems ill-advised] as the sharp edge of new collector money cutting its way into the hobby. Late model limited production cars – as seen here exemplified by the Ferrari 599 SA Aperta, but also the flood of 2x-MSRP Ford GTs that are nearly ubiquitous – offer some comfort to the novice. They are pretty, rare, fast and make an immediately recognizable impression on colleagues and neighbors. They also have air conditioning that works, are serviced by a factory-authorized dealer network, and can be expected with a reasonable certainty to start and run with minimal attention to their electronically-controlled innards.

The fond (if so far unsubstantiated) hope is that exposure to the car collecting experience through ownership of these titans of modern technology will whet their newcomer owners’ appetites for further, and more adventurous, experiences.

The Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance has grown steadily – as a few hours on the fairways on Sunday morning made abundantly clear – to include the better part of a week’s activities and a vast gathering of manufacturer [this year including a huge display by Alfa Romeo to introduce its 4C and reinforce the marque’s history] and vendor displays. Gooding & Company’s auction at the Plantation is an essential element that mirrors in many ways the rapid growth and appeal of the car collecting hobby.

Here are the numbers:

Gooding Amelia Island
Cars Offered / Sold
Sale %
Sold < Low Est
Sold > High Est
Average Sale
Total Sales
85 / 76
88 / 78
72 / 69
77 / 70
85 / 70
71 / 58

Andrew Newton contributed immeasurable to this auction report; the observations and comments are the editor’s responsibility.

Gooding and Company Amelia Island 2015 – Auction Report

1970 Ferrari 365 GT 2+2 Coupe, Body by Pininfarina
Lot # 09 1970 Ferrari 365 GT 2+2 Coupe, Body by Pininfarina; S/N 13069; Silver/Black leather; Estimate $250,000 – $325,000; Visually maintained, largely original, 3- condition; Hammered Sold at $255,000 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $280,500. With Reserve – Chrome spoke Borrani wire wheels, Michelin XWX tires, Blaupunkt multiband radio, P/W, P/S, A/C. – Poor recent clear coat repaint with many flaws and fisheyes, uneven hood and door fit, dull window trim. Air conditioning not working. Good new upholstery. Rocker panel and radiator support rust. A nasty car dressed up for the auction. – It is hard to believe that any Queen Mother could be worth a quarter of a million dollars, let alone this one, but in the present market that’s what they bring. The flawed condition is somewhat offset by a benign history of 25 years in the consignor’s ownership and shows good attention to upkeep appropriate to its nominal value only a few years ago.
1957 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Roadster
Lot # 15 1957 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Roadster; S/N 1980427500580; Engine # 1989807500606; White/Green leather; Green cloth top; Estimate $1,300,000 – $1,600,000; Recent restoration, 2- condition; Hammered Sold at $1,125,000 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $1,237,500. With Reserve – Rudge-style centerlock wheels, P4000 tires, Becker Mexico radio, white steering wheel, Euro headlights. – 27,249 mile car restored in 1992 with very good paint, chrome and interior. Engine compartment is spotless and accurate. Engine intake plenum is silver painted. Wheel wells are painted exterior color and show scant evidence of road use. – Few owners and a history of continuing attention are among this 300SL’s desirable attributes along with its attract6ive and unusual combination of white paint over green leather and a green top. It brought a representative price for its history, condition and presentation.
1948 Kurtis Kraft Offenhauser Midget Racer
Lot # 18 1948 Kurtis Kraft Offenhauser Midget Racer; S/N 271; Engine # 159; Dark Blue/Black leatherette; Estimate $45,000 – $65,000; Competition restoration, 2+ condition; Hammered Sold at $58,000 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $63,800. No Reserve – Offenhauser powered, Bosch magneto, Hilborn injection, 4-wheel disc brakes, quick change axle center section, polished centerlock Halibrand disc alloy wheels, in-out transmission, chrome torsion bar suspension, lever shocks, nerf bars. – Restored and little if any used. Great paint and chrome. Clean, tidy engine and chassis. Raced when new by Ed Bowman. An honest Offy midget in pristine condition. – Kurtis Kraft Offys were the standard by which all midget racers were measured, renowned for their power, handling and reliability. This one has all the right stuff and is in exceptional condition. Even in the middle of Gooding’s estimate range it is a good value.
1965 Pontiac LeMans GTO 2-Dr. Hardtop
Lot # 20 1965 Pontiac LeMans GTO 2-Dr. Hardtop; S/N 237375P338818; Red/White vinyl; Estimate $140,000 – $180,000; Older restoration, 2+ condition; Hammered Sold at $110,000 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $121,000. No Reserve – 389/335hp, 4-speed, console, spinner wheel covers, red line tires, pushbutton radio, 3.55 Saf-T-Track. – Represented as 1,427 miles from new and restored like new with excellent paint, chrome and interior. – Sold by RM from the Glen Konkle collection in San Diego in June 2010 for $67,100 when it showed just 1,356 miles on its odometer and was in similar better-than-new condition. Its price here is more appropriate for its equipment and condition, although the estimate range is even more over the top than the car’s condition.
1958 Jaguar XK 150S 3.4 Roadster
Lot # 23 1958 Jaguar XK 150S 3.4 Roadster; S/N S830420DN; Carmine Red/Tan leather; Black cloth top; Estimate $175,000 – $225,000; Older restoration, 2- condition; Hammered Sold at $127,500 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $140,250. No Reserve – Chrome wire wheels, Michelin LTX blackwall tires, overdrive. – Very good paint, chrome and interior. Good underbody showing some age and use. Lightly soiled driver’s carpet and slightly stretched driver’s seat cushion. Not fresh, but very good. – Sold by Worldwide in Houston in 2009 for $112,000 with 13,630 miles showing on its odometer where 14,202 shows today. It is cataloged as freshly restored in 2013, but that is not borne out by the car’s condition which appears to be the same very good restoration it showed in 2009 other than being trimmed in Tan instead of the Red it had six years ago. In any event it brought a modest price and the new owner should be very satisfied with the car and the transaction.
1987 Lamborghini Countach LP500 QV Coupe, Body by Bertone
Lot # 24 1987 Lamborghini Countach LP500 QV Coupe, Body by Bertone; S/N ZA9CA05A5HLA12188; Pearl White/Cream leather; Estimate $425,000 – $475,000; Visually maintained, largely original, 2- condition; Not sold at Hammer bid of $360,000. With Reserve – Body color telephone dial wheels, Pirelli P7 tires, Euro bumpers (U.S. bumpers included), no wing. – Good repaint let down by some sloppy touchup of the flat black trim. Good, clean interior appropriate to the 15,238km showing on the odometer. – A Countach without its wing is highly unusual, as is the color combination on this car. It should have brought a bid closer to the pre-sale low estimate and given its unusual configuration would not have been unreasonable even at $425K.
1976 Alpine A110 Coupe
Lot # 25 1976 Alpine A110 Coupe; S/N A11017163; Metallic Blue/Black vinyl, cloth; Estimate $100,000 – $140,000; Visually maintained, largely original, 3- condition; Hammered Sold at $80,000 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $88,000. No Reserve – 1,289cc/81hp, single 2-barrel Weber carb, 4-point belts, Blaupunkt multiband radio, Cibie cornering lights and driving lights, Yokohama tires on Alpine alloy wheels, Prototipo leather rim steering wheel. – Mediocre older paint, dull bright trim. Overspray all over old undercoat in the wheel wells, pulled dent over right door. Good interior and gauges. A tired and unattractively presented Alpine. – The deteriorated and somewhat neglected condition of this Alpine is troubling, particularly at this price. Gooding scored big with an A110 at Scottsdale a year ago, but it was a 1.8 and a factory Group IV rally car. This has no competition history or equipment and only half the horsepower. The seller should be extremely happy to get this much for it.
1961 Ferrari 250 GT Cabriolet Series 2
Lot # 27 1961 Ferrari 250 GT Cabriolet Series 2; S/N 2489GT; White, Grey hardtop/Red leather; Estimate $2,000,000 – $2,500,000; Cosmetic restoration, 2- condition; Hammered Sold at $1,900,000 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $2,090,000. With Reserve – Notchback hardtop with sliding sunroof, chrome spoke Borrani wire wheels, Pirelli Cinturato tires, Blaupunkt multiband radio. – Fresh cosmetics, and very good. Wheel wells repainted over old, cracked, undercoat. Color changed from Amaranto Roma over natural leather, to no particular advantage. Ferrari Classiche certified, FCA Platinum award. – An exceptionally handsome Ferrari that is set apart from contemporaries by its believed unique sunroof hardtop. The condition isn’t the best, but it is exceptionally unusual and fully deserves the handsome price it brought.

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  1. i like the way the auction is covered. I enjoy this digest a lot. I would like to know what it cost a seller who will not sell because it did not meet the reserve. Thank you ts