RM Auctions Amelia Island 2013 – Auction Report

RM Auctions, Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island, Florida, March 9, 2013

Report and photos by Rick Carey, Auction Editor

RM turned in the highest total in its 15 year history at Amelia Island in 2013, continuing a string of $20+ million sales, and doing it with 24% fewer cars than last year. The 92% sale rate helped, but even more help was the lineup of seven-figure cars that came under Max Girardo’s hammer of which five were sold.

The sale was led by the marvelously beautiful Duesenberg SJ Walker-LaGrande disappearing top convertible coupe, – a car that makes Murphy’s version of the same body style look staid and conventional – for $4,510,000.

While the Duesie topped the sale total the surprise of the event was the 1911 Lozier Model 51 which buried its pre-sale estimate with a $1.1 million price. Capable of 80 miles per hour (in 1911!) when there were few roads capable of achieving that speed, the operator’s manual instructed the driver, “When you reach 70 miles per hour, you may shift into fourth gear.” That’s about what happened on the block when the Lozier reached its estimate: the bidders shifted into high gear.

RM’s Amelia Island sale reflected RM’s recent emphasis on fewer, but more valuable, cars and with few exceptions they delivered just that. Thirty-three lots were consigned without reserve, 37.5% of the total auction, assuring bidders that there was a better than 1:3 chance a car they wanted would in fact go home with a new owner at the end of the day.

RM Auctions Amelia Island
Cars Offered / Sold
Sale %
Sold < Low Est
Sold > High Est
Average Sale
Total Sales
88 / 81
116 / 102
103 / 99
114 / 98

In quality and diversity RM’s Amelia Island auction mirrors the continuing improvement of the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance and the Concours-related ever-expanding list of attractions and activities that it complements. This is getting to be like Monterey, without Monterey’s traffic and widely dispersed activities so it’s possible to sample pretty much everything on the busy calendar.

RM Auctions Amelia Island 2013 – Auction Report

1925 Bentley 3-Liter Tourer, Body by Gurney Nutting
Lot # 120 1925 Bentley 3-Liter Tourer, Body by Gurney Nutting; S/N 930; BRGreen, Aluminum hood/Tan leather; Natural cloth top; Estimate $225,000 – $325,000; Older restoration, 3+ condition; Hammered Sold at $210,000 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $231,000. – Green wire wheels, blackwall Goodrich Silvertown 6.00-20 tires, nickel brightwork, dual side-mounted spares, Auster rear windshield, SU carbs and an electric fan added. – Represented as matching numbers with its original coachwork. Paint worn and chipped especially around the doors. Interior worn and lightly soiled. Underside displays ample evidence of being driven. Known history and perfect for participation in Bentley Driver’s Club events. – Something of a regular at auction, sold by Gooding & Company at Scottsdale in 2010 for $253,000, then at Amelia in 2011 for $236,500. While the price is declining the Bentley isn’t, presented here at RM Amelia in essentially the same, well-maintained, good Bentley Driver condition in which it has been for the past three years. This is a car that can be driven and enjoyed without undue concern for bug splatter, stone strikes or squashing small birds or mammals, let alone humbling lesser sports cars. Its matching numbers chassis and engine is complemented by the original Gurney Nutting tourer coachwork. It is a sound value at this price, as it was at $236,500 or $235,00.
1911 Lozier Model 51 7-Passenger Touring
Lot # 129 1911 Lozier Model 51 7-Passenger Touring; S/N 3574; Engine # 3539; Dark Olive Green, Gold coachline, Black fenders/Black leather; Beige cloth top; Estimate $400,000 – $600,000; Older restoration, 3+ condition; Hammered Sold at $1,000,000 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $1,100,000. No Reserve – Body color wood spoke wheels, blackwall tires, Solar headlights, Waltham clock, dual right side spares, cloth covered trunk, air starter – Displayed at the Henry Ford in the 50’s, then bought by Harrah’s. Acquired by Ken Pearson in 1968 and restored to the highest standards of fit, finish and function, then toured over 62,000 miles, goes over 80 mph. 1970 AACA National First Prize winner. A real stud, still in very presentable condition. An indication of the quality of the workmanship and materials is the story recounted by RM’s specialists that when they re-commissioned it before the sale, the air starter tank still held enough pressure to fire up the 554 cubic inch six. – On a scale of 1-10 for stud cars this is a 10. Big, powerful, fast and with a massive presence that reduces other automobiles to relative insignificance, even recognized studs like Oldsmobile Limiteds and Locomobile 48s. Object evidence that in the early 20th century the best automobiles in the world were built in America, its recent history of touring tens of thousands of miles and its exceptional condition make its way over high estimate price only a recognition of its quality and performance. It’s expensive, and it deserves to be. This is really a spectacular piece of usable automobile history.
1974 Ferrari 246 GTS Dino
Lot # 134 1974 Ferrari 246 GTS Dino; S/N 07724; White/Tan leather, Black stripes; Estimate $300,000 – $350,000; Cosmetic restoration, 3+ condition; Hammered Sold at $275,000 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $302,500. – A/C, Cromodora wheels, Michelin XWX tires, Daytona-style seats with headrests, P/W, leather-rim steering wheel, no radio – Good paint and chrome. Underbody is painted over old undercoat. Good but visibly aged original interior. An attractive Dino driver in an unusual color. – Unusually well maintained and largely original, this is an attractive Dino in a rarely seen color as it was delivered when new. In the current market, where Dinos are highly valued and achieve exuberant prices, this is a sound value.
1935 Duesenberg Model SJ Convertible Coupe, Body by Walker-LaGrande
Lot # 137 1935 Duesenberg Model SJ Convertible Coupe, Body by Walker-LaGrande; S/N 2405; Engine # J-530; Maroon/Tan leather; Estimate $3,500,000 – $5,000,000; Concours restoration, 1 condition; Hammered Sold at $4,100,000 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $4,510,000. – Body color wheel discs, whitewalls, dual remote spotlights, dual enclosed sidemounts with mirrors, mesh hood sides, outside exhaust head pipes – One of three built in this body style with skirted front fenders, teardrop fenders and a dramatically sloped rear deck with crank-operated disappearing top. Factory supercharged from new; frame replaced in 1940 after an accident. Concours restored with excellent paint, brilliant chrome and inviting upholstery. First in Class and Gwenn Graham Award at Pebble Beach in 1998. Shows no evidence of use and little age despite participating in several tours – Opened at $2 million. Reserve met at $3.5 million. There are two Duesenbergs extant with this chassis number, the other being the Rudolf Bauer Rollson cabriolet with engine J-397. The history of this car is well known and it is impossible to mistake for anything else, with breathtaking bodywork that is as pretty as any 540K Special Roadster (and it’s faster, too.) Generously but appropriately estimated by RM, the bidders recognized the quality of J. Herbert Newport’s design with a mid-estimate range price entirely appropriate to its presence.
1965 Shelby Mustang GT350 Fastback
Lot # 139 1965 Shelby Mustang GT350 Fastback; S/N SFM5S226; White, Metallic Blue stripes/Black leatherette; Estimate $225,000 – $275,000; Recent restoration, 1 condition; Hammered Sold at $220,000 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $242,000. – AM radio, dash top tach blister, woodrim steering wheel, 5-spoke Shelby alloy wheels – Impeccably restored and presented. Freshly serviced and detailed. – Sold by RM here in 2000 for $68,200, then again later that year in New York for $66,000, both with a later R-type nose which now has been returned to correct original condition with the original parts retained with the car. As good a first year GT350 as could be asked for, bought at a reasonable price.
1966 Shelby Cobra 427 Roadster
Lot # 142 1966 Shelby Cobra 427 Roadster; S/N CSX 3259; Red/Black leather; Estimate $800,000 – $950,000; Recent restoration, 1 condition; Hammered Sold at $760,000 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $836,000. – 427 ‘side-oiler’, centerlock Halibrand alloy wheels, Goodyear Blue Streak tires, chrome side exhausts, chrome paperclip rollbar, four Webers on a Holman and Moody intake, quick jack pickups. – Restored in 2008 and still over-restored, show quality, showing exactly the same 30,181 miles on the odometer as it did in 2010. – Offered by Bonhams at Quail Lodge in 2002 (before restoration) and 2010 where it failed to find a new owner both times, then sold by RM in Arizona in 2011 for $643,500. This is an appropriate price today, but a car that will not suffer use without losing the edge of its over the top restoration and years of static display. It’s more of an object than an automobile, having lost its rip-roaring soul in the pursuit of restoration perfection.
1939 Alfa Romeo 6C 2500 Sport Berlinetta
Lot # 144 1939 Alfa Romeo 6C 2500 Sport Berlinetta; S/N 915030; Engine # 823113; Blue-Green/Tobacco leather; Estimate $1,500,000 – $1,750,000; Concours restoration, 1- condition; Not sold at Hammer bid of $900,000. – Body color wire wheels, blackwall tires, skirts, trafficators – Engine replaced with a 2300 bored to 2.5 liters, 2500 cylinder head, carburetor, manifolds and ancillaries. Restored in 1998, 2nd in Class and Most Elegant Closed Car at Pebble Beach in 1998, still good enough to be Best Pre-War Alfa at The Quail in 2012. Excellent paint, chrome and interior showing only faint evidence of being used. – A particularly beautiful example of late Thirties’ design by Touring, equally particularly well restored and presented. The engine block swap doesn’t help its value, but shouldn’t detract as much as the difference between the high bid and the low estimate. Most collectors well never get close to buying a Two-Nine Berlinetta, but this Two-Five is close at least in appearance if not in performance. The high bid is about as far short of a reasonable price for this Alfa as the low estimate is over it.
1952 Ferrari 225 Sport Berlinetta
Lot # 148 1952 Ferrari 225 Sport Berlinetta ‘Tuboscocca’, Body by Vignale; S/N 0168ED; Red/Tan leather; Estimate $1,000,000 – $1,400,000; Competition restoration, 3+ condition; Hammered Sold at $1,125,000 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $1,237,500. – Silver painted wire wheels, 5,50-16 Dunlop Racing tires, original tool roll – 8th overall, 2nd in class at Sebring in 1953, later winner of the Sagua-Havana Rally in Cuba and the Cuban Sports Car Grand Prix. Restored for Donald Wasserman with an early 250GT engine. First in Class at Pebble Beach in 1979, later vintage raced. Recently gone through and upgraded for tours with a 5-speed full synchro gearbox (original included), Tilton clutch, rebuilt Houdaille shocks and more. Comes with large history file including its ’79 PB ribbon and pass. Good paint, chrome and older upholstery. Restored to sound and attractive events condition. – Sold by RM at Monterey in 2009 for $781,000, then by Gooding at Pebble Beach in 2011 for $880,000, this is a highly desirable, functional, handsome Vignale bodied car with good racing history from new that much enhances its eligibility for historic events and tours. The modern 5-speed will make it easier to drive, but does nothing to enhance its value. However, it looks cool, seriously cool, and on that alone the bidders’ willingness to part with a generous pile of dead presidents for it is understandable. A similar Vignale-bodied Ferrari race car of this ear with the right engine, etc. would be much, much more.

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Show Comments (3)

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  1. Rick Carey is a joy to read. His information gives us an idea of what to expect to pay at an auction for a specific car in a specific condition and his reviews are right on. It is a pleasure reading his analysis and his humor is directed at the right place, owners who don’t take care of fine autos, many of which are works of art.

  2. I agree, the pics are great but Rick’s expert commentary and experienced eye make for an enjoyable read – almost like being there, without the $1500 for admission to the “high roller enclave”. Thanks Rick !

  3. James&Mark
    Thanks for the kind words.
    I try to paint a word picture in the notes and comments, which I hope comes through and enriches the account of the sale and the cars. Fortunately, I enjoy the exercise, and am gratified you think it’s working.