RM Auctions Amelia Island 2011 – Auction Report

Report and photos (unless noted) by Rick Carey, Auction Editor

RM Auctions completed its thirteenth year at the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance on March 12, 2011, bringing 103 cars and selling 99 of them for a total of $24,303,850.

It was RM’s best year ever at Amelia: the highest sale total, eclipsing the 2006 sale by $2.5 million, the second best sell-through at 96.1% just one point behind 2006, and a stellar performance against pre-sale estimates with just 34% of the sales hammered sold under the low estimate and 16.2% exceeding the high.

As the numbers suggest, the caliber of the cars was uniformly high, led by the Ferrari 340 Mexico (s/n 0224 AT) which hammered sold at an estimate-busting $3.9 million, $4,290,000 with commission. It was the only million-dollar sale, while four lots brought over $800,000 and nine were over $500,000 hammer.

Several transactions were startling. On the breathtaking money side easily the headliner was the beautifully restored 2.0 litre Porsche 911 which enticed bidders to a final bid of $205,000, $225,500 with commission. At the other end of the scale was the auction-veteran Alfa Romeo 6C 1750 GS Spider which brought $900,000 hammer, $990,000 with commission (€714,100), after selling for $1,265,000 (€851,500) at Gooding’s Pebble Beach auction in 2008 and $1,169,522 (€879,200) at RM’s Monaco sale last year.

And the weather was beautiful, and Sunday’s Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance was better than ever.

Lucky 13 indeed.

[Jonathan Sierakowski contributed more than half the observations in this report, and at least that many photos.]

RM Auctions Amelia Island 2011 – Auction Report

Talbot-Lago T-26 Record Sedan
Lot # 109 1947 Talbot-Lago T-26 Record Sedan; S/N 101035; Dark Blue/Dark Blue leather; Estimate $50,000 - $75,000; Visually maintained, largely original, 3- condition; Hammered Sold at $60,000 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $66,000 -- RHD. Chrome wire wheels, blackwall Michelins, sliding sunroof, radio. Imported to the U.S. in 1953 and used at the French Consulate in Denver until 1961 with three subsequent owners. Cracked old partial repaint and worn leather. Thin chrome. Sound old body. Usable as is and a bit too good to restore. No Reserve. While much more common when new than the more sporting custom bodied examples a standard sedan like this is rarely seen today making it an unusual find, particularly in such well preserved and largely original condition. Some recent mechanical work makes it drivable, and a good buy for the new owner.
1903 Oldsmobile Model R Curved-Dash Dos-a-Dos Runabout
Lot # 115 1903 Oldsmobile Model R Curved-Dash Dos-a-Dos Runabout; S/N 17281; Black with red accents/Black leather; Estimate $50,000 - $75,000; Older restoration, 3+ condition; Hammered Sold at $50,000 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $55,000 -- Black wood spoke wheels with gold pinstriping. Dual Neverout oil lamps, bulb horn, road bell, Lester whitewalls. Plenty of touring badges on the kick plate under the seat. Lots of road wear under the fenders. Plenty of paint chips on the chassis and stress cracks in the body. Seat leather worn but still usable. An older correct restoration that has been driven since. Restored by Jack Tallman in 1952 with new body, chassis and suspension. Stated to be tour ready. From the Tallman Collection. No Reserve. Although the catalog states that the body, chassis and suspension are 1950's era replacements the price paid here reflects the older restoration more than the originality of the components. It's a car that has its own, long history and has earned a certain legitimacy, as well as a chance at a Brighton Run entry. It is fully valued at this price.
1903 Cadillac Model A Rear-Entry Tonneau
Lot # 116 1903 Cadillac Model A Rear-Entry Tonneau; S/N 455; Burgundy, black fenders/Black leather; Black buggy top; Estimate $75,000 - $100,000; Older restoration, 2- condition; Hammered Sold at $90,000 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $99,000 -- Red spoke wheels and natural rubber tires. Single Atwood headlight and matching side lamps, wicker side baskets, umbrella holder, bulb horn, carriage bell. Older restoration with well worn leather upholstery and light stress cracks in the paint but not heavily used. From the Tallman collection. No Reserve. Heavily optioned for a brass car and already vetted by the VCC with a dating certificate that confirms its eligibility for the London to Brighton Run. This Cadillac was nicely presented but not too nice to use; the VCC certification and past entries for London to Brighton pushed the bidders to be more competitive and brought this healthy if not quite expensive price.
Cadillac 40-50hp 4-Passenger Coupe
Lot # 117 1913 Cadillac 40-50hp 4-Passenger Coupe; S/N 56479; Engine # 84001; Black, White pinstripe, wicker door insets/Grey cloth; Estimate $40,000 - $60,000; Older restoration, 3+ condition; Hammered Sold at $55,000 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $60,500 -- RHD. Dual turtleback-mounted spares, whitewall tires, Warner speedometer and clock, Delco ammeter, Gray & Davis headlights, cowl lights. Correct but worn older restoration. Carpet in front of driver's seat soiled and worn. Paint worn off the gearshift lever. Wheels have chips and cracks in the paint and stress cracks on the body although finish is shiny. From the Tallman collection. No Reserve. Although not a fresh restoration the body is absolutely charming with its unusual mounting of the spare tires and rear-facing front passenger seat. Although not a fresh restoration it is an excellent car for fair money.
Peerless 30hp Open-Drive Landaulet, Body by Brewster
Lot # 120 1910 Peerless 30hp Open-Drive Landaulet, Body by Brewster; S/N 5862; Red, Black fenders/Red leather, Red cloth; Black leather top; Estimate $100,000 - $150,000; Older restoration, 2 condition; Hammered Sold at $85,000 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $93,500 -- RHD. White wood spoke wheels, whitewall tires, opera lights, luggage trunk, dual right-hand sidemounts, Peerless script sidemount mirror, Warner Auto-Meter, clock, passenger to chauffeur speaking tube, jump seats, red cloth headliner. Older restoration with lightly worn interior. Chips and scratches on the paint. Cracks in wheel spoke paint. Underside presentable but road worn. Provenance includes James Melton and Henry Austin Clark. From the Tallman collection. No Reserve. The price paid here reflects not the presentation but collectors' preference for the larger six-cylinder models which soon superseded this T-head 4-cylinder model. An elegant and distinctive automobile that will tour with pride, as it has for many years.
1908 Packard Model 30 7-Passenger Touring
Lot # 121 1908 Packard Model 30 7-Passenger Touring; S/N 6277; Royal Blue, white coachline/Red leather; Black top; Estimate $150,000 - $200,000; Older restoration, 2- condition; Hammered Sold at $150,000 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $165,000 -- Solar headlamps, Parkland side lamps, New Haven clock, Jones speedometer. White wood spoke wheels with whitewall tires. Electric start and Klaxon horn added. Leather upholstery worn but has been oiled over the years and acquired a comfortable looking patina. Chips and scratches on the wheels, fenders and underside. Body exhibits stress cracks but no major paint loss. From the Tallman collection. No Reserve. Restored in 1955 using an abandoned chassis and original body from another car which is not unreasonable for a car of this vintage. None of the Tallman cars are fresh out of the restoration shop but they have the allure of being well sorted for touring with no stories to make the bidders shy away and that character was reflected in the prices they brought.
Cadillac 452-B V-16 Special Phaeton, Body by Fisher
Lot # 122 1932 Cadillac 452-B V-16 Special Phaeton, Body by Fisher; S/N 1400044; Light Metallic Blue, Dark Metallic Blue/Dark Blue leather; Dark Blue cloth top; Estimate $150,000 - $200,000; Older restoration, 2- condition; Hammered Sold at $160,000 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $176,000 -- Painted wire wheels, wind wings, dual sidemounts with metal covers and Cadillac script mirrors. Rear clock and speedometer. Light stress cracks in the paint. Chrome very deep and blemish free. Top looks new as does the interior with light wear to driver's seat. There is more wear from being polished over 20 years than from being driven. AACA Senior Badge from 1993. From the Tallman collection. No Reserve. Assembled from original parts using a V16 engine and chassis mated to a V12 Fisher phaeton body. Grand classics that have been assembled in this manner are still just as beautiful as their more authentic counterparts but trade at a huge discount. On tour or around town the difference will not be apparent either in the pleasure of driving or in the eyes of onlookers. The price discounts the origin of the parts and fully values this attractive car's utility.
Duesenberg Model J Dual Cowl Phaeton, Body after LeBaron
Lot # 123 1930 Duesenberg Model J Dual Cowl Phaeton, Body after LeBaron; S/N None; Engine # J-237 bellhousing; Maroon with red sweeps/Saddle leather; Tan cloth top; Estimate $300,000 - $400,000; Rebodied or re-created, 2- condition; Hammered Sold at $330,000 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $363,000 -- Chrome wire wheels, dual sidemounts with mirrors, dual taillights, wide double sided whitewall tires, outside exhaust headpipes, small Pilot-Rays, Tan leather covered trunk. Polishing marks in the chrome with delamination on wheels and light polishing marks in the paint. The top is lightly soiled. Interior unworn except for driver's seat. Underside very clean but with some road wear. CCCA Winner in 2002. No Reserve. A bitsa engine constructed around J-237's bellhousing with replica frame, chassis, coachwork and presumably everything else. Attractive coachwork, assembled to high standards and well maintained. The buyer is reasonably safe here given that the cost of purchasing the engine and building the car around it would far exceed this price today but this result is just $70,000 hammer less than Auctions America got for 2330/J315 last weekend in Ft. Lauderdale and that was a real engine, chassis and firewall with only a reproduction Murphy-style dual cowl phaeton body.
Packard Model 1-48 Custom Runabout
Lot # 124 1912 Packard Model 1-48 Custom Runabout; S/N 23698; Ivory with Black moldings/Red leather; Estimate $300,000 - $400,000; Older restoration, 2- condition; Hammered Sold at $370,000 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $407,000 -- RHD. Rear-mounted trunk, dual rear-mounted spares, Neverout spot lamp on driver's running board, round bolster fuel tank, leather trunk, Westinghouse air spring shackles, full weather equipment including side curtains. Electric starter, Klaxon horn and pressure oil pump added. Ivory wheels with red hubs and rims. This car has lots of patina in the form of paint chips and road wear on the underside but is an imposing, sporting automobile with 535 cubic inch inline sic-cylinder power. From the Tallman Collection. No Reserve. A beautiful car -- massive but well proportioned and fast for its day. Generally thought to have been built for Packard director Frederick Alger but RM disclosed that the story of the creation has not been verified conclusively but rather strongly supported by people who were around in the period it was built. It seems the tale has lapsed into lore and didn't hurt the bidding one bit.
1930 Cadillac 452 V-16 Roadster, Body by Fleetwood
Lot # 125 1930 Cadillac 452 V-16 Roadster, Body by Fleetwood; S/N 700802; Red Metallic, Black fenders/Black leather; Black cloth top; Estimate $350,000 - $450,000; Concours restoration, 2- condition; Hammered Sold at $460,000 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $506,000 -- Chrome wire wheels, dual sidemounts with mirrors, radiator stone guard, wind wings, rear-mounted trunk, dual Klaxons and Pilot-Rays. Concours restoration in 1964, AACA National First Prize in 1964 with 60,000 miles since then. Front seat moderately worn and blemished by two small gashes. Top looks like new, paint unblemished with light polishing marks. Underside has been cleaned and only shows moderate road wear but engine bay is dirty and shows that it has been used. From the Tallman collection. No Reserve. Although not disclosed this car has certainly had more recent paint, chrome and upholstery work if not a complete re-restoration. That said, it is a matching numbers example of the most sporting body available on the V16 chassis. Short of an exotic coachbuilt body this is the cat's meow and the bidders were willing to pony up. A premium price for a premium car that has proved its quality on the road and the show field.