RM Auctions at Sotheby’s ‘The Art of the Automobile’, New York, November 21, 2013
Report and photos by Rick Carey, Auction Editor
This auction report is going to be effusive. Be forewarned.
New York City has been a quicksand swamp for collector car auctions.
Consider the obstacles:
Traffic in New York City is dominated by various forms of Yellow Taxis driven by ambitious immigrants. It is not a car-friendly environment and the native New Yorker, if he or she owns a car at all, retrieves it from its $500/month subterranean parking slot on holiday weekends for a semi-annual refresher course in driving. New York City commuters take the train.
New Yorkers have an attention span measured in seconds. Only the biggest, baddest, flashiest occurrences manage even a sliver of their awareness, which is constantly divided among several competing simultaneous activities.
Life moves faster in New York City than anywhere else in the world. Just walk a few blocks and observe how the New Yorkers walk faster.
Logistically, New York City has become a nightmare for the kind of bulky transporters that carry high value automobiles. Permitted into The City only on special permits with limited hours in the middle of the night, Manhattan is harder to penetrate than CIA Langley.
A little history is in order.
The evolution of the collector car auction market began in New York City with the Parke-Bernet auction house (long ago absorbed into Sotheby’s) which had several collector car sales in The City in the 1960’s. They petered out in subsequent years in favor of auctions in more car-friendly and accessible venues, and as The City itself descended into decades of decline.
In the late 90’s Dennis Nicotra tried to bring back the glory that was New York’s with the New York Auto Salon & Auction, eventually passing that venue on to RM in 2000 through its final NYC sale in 2002. Christie’s vied for attention in 2002 and 2003 with a sale at Rockefeller Center. One later attempt, by Bradford Rand and David Workman in conjunction with Kruse, on Pier 94 in 2005 was, to put it mildly, an unmitigated disaster.
And there it ended, until Rob Myers audaciously determined to try again in 2013.
To say it was, merely, a success is too mild. It was brilliant, and succeeded in overcoming with style and flair (or at least coping with) its many obstacles.
The cars were displayed in Sotheby’s 10th Floor exhibition gallery, set up on raised white platforms in somewhat thematic cells separated by walls adorned with appropriate images ranging from an Alpine pass behind the 300SLs, E-type and 250 GT Cab II, to a giant reproduction of the Figoni & Falaschi concept drawing behind the Talbot-Lago Cabriolet.
The Delahaye Teardrop and Minerva got gorgeous Art Deco wallpaper backdrops while the 250 LM sat in singular isolation opposite a wall full of photographs from its history.
(See RM New York Photo Gallery).
A total of 41 lots were offered: 33 automobiles, 1 child’s car, 1 ‘Park Drag’ coach by Brewster and six lots of automobilia. Sotheby’s displayed watches and jewelry for private treaty sale in one of the exhibit cells.
RM’s Erica Reaume designed the exhibition which continues the imaginative presentations begun early in 2013 at Arizona where RM made a silk purse out of the sow’s ear of an unwanted change of location at the Arizona Biltmore’s conference center.
It was nearly breathtaking, and suitably impressed even the jaded specialists at Sotheby’s.
And it had to be broken down to bare walls with all the cars removed to off-site storage by sunup on Friday, a process that began immediately after the exhibition closed at 2PM Thursday. Credit Reliable Carriers for an indispensable piece of that momentous logistical accomplishment.
RM captured New York’s attention which steadily grew as word of the quality of the cars and the exhibit spread. Banker-types wearing expensive overcoats and carrying discrete briefcases were commonplace, often getting their pictures taken in front of some of the more photogenic cars. RM’s Press office (Meghan McGrail) got feature coverage in Ralph Gardner, Jr.’s column in Monday’s
Wall Street Journal’s ‘Greater New York’ section.
Max Girardo conducted the sale with introductions by Alain Squindo from the podium in Sotheby’s main 7th floor auction space. Entry was restricted to bidders and their guests but it was still crowded to standing room only. The cars, already cashing their return trip tickets in Sotheby’s freight elevator, were represented by framed Michael Furman photos on the same turntable where Old Masters and fine jewelry usually reside.
Despite generous estimates (or maybe because of them; this is, after all, New York where a decent dinner for one can easily end up in three figures) RM sold 32 of the 35 lots with wheels. 16 lots sold on hammer bids of $1 million or more, contributing to the $62,579,000 sale total and record-setting mean transaction of $1,955,594 (exceeding even the famed Christie’s Royal Albert Hall auction of 1987 with its signature $9,764,585 sale of the Bugatti Royale) and median of $1,265,000.
It must have been dauntingly expensive to produce, but the result in both presentation and transaction values more than rewarded Rob Myers’ investment and the Herculean efforts of RM’s staff.
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The collector car world can only wait with anticipation the next New York City appearance for RM Auctions and Sotheby’s; RM’s staff may await that event with trepidation, but also satisfaction for a job done far better than merely well.
RM Auctions New York City 2013 – Auction Report
Lot # 105 Ferrari 180 Testa Rossa Child’s Car, Body by Modena Ferrarina Italia; Red/Blue; Estimate $50,000 – $70,000; Visually maintained, largely original, 3+ condition; Hammered Sold at $115,000 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $126,500. – Chrome wire wheels, 180 watt 12 volt electric power – Lefthand drive, pontoon fender child’s car. Ex-Kirk F. White. Cosmetically refurbished to good, but not unusable standards. – The only four-wheeled lot in RM’s New York sale with an estimate range in five figures, the bidders seized upon it and quickly set the record straight with a six-figure price, but still less than the buyer’s commission on any other Ferrari in the sale.
Lot # 108 1957 F.B. Mondial 250 Bialbero Grand Prix Motorcycle; S/N; Silver, Blue/Black; Estimate $125,000 – $175,000; Visually maintained, largely original, 3- condition; Hammered Sold at $130,000 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $143,000. No Reserve – 250cc dohc twin, dustbin fairing – Clean, orderly, original bike. A few nicks and used but not abused. Fratelli Boselli Mondial works bike ridden by Cecil Sandford, Sammy Miller or Tarquinio Provini (or maybe all) to the 1957 250cc World Championship. – A simply delicious little bike that looks fast sitting still. No cafe racer, this, it’s the real deal and a sound value at this price.
Lot # 109 1960 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Roadster; S/N 19804210002562; Engine # 19898010002622; Middle Blue Metallic, Middle Blue Metallic hardtop/Beige leather; Blue leatherette top; Estimate $1,000,000 – $1,400,000; Concours restoration, 1 condition; Hammered Sold at $1,500,000 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $1,650,000. – Bright polished Rudge wheels, fitted luggage, Becker AM-FM, two tops, full tool roll, jack, manuals, window sticker, Nardi steering wheel, Rudge-style centerlock hubcaps (not installed) – Two owners, 35,395 miles. Recently and meticulously restored to concours condition. Flawless. Multiple show winner and documented with, among other things, a complete restoration binder. – As good as it gets, with not only known 2-owner history but also documented miles, desirable accessories and relics and a restoration that can only be described as superlative. It’s expensive, but that’s the price of beyond-perfection.
Lot # 110 1961 Ferrari 250 GT Cabriolet Series II, Body by Pininfarina; S/N 2473; Engine # 2473; Red, Red hardtop/Black leather; Black cloth top; Estimate $1,600,000 – $2,000,000; Recent restoration, 2 condition; Hammered Sold at $1,850,000 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $2,035,000. – Chrome wire wheels, blackwall tires, no radio, covered headlights, Marchal head and fog lights, 564E internal number, Ferrari Classiche stamped block, two tops – Erratic chrome trim, thin interior door hardware chrome. Excellent paint and upholstery. Underbody is undercoated like new and clean. Engine is spotless. Ferrari Classiche certified, one of six known covered headlight Cab IIs, not that the bubble covers add anything to its profile. – This Cab II isn’t flawless, but it is sufficiently better in paint and interior to balance out some of the apparent shortcuts and oversights in the chrome. Even at that, though, it is a truly impressive price for what it is.
Lot # 111 1956 Aston Martin DB2/4 Mk II Coupe ‘Supersonic’, Body by Ghia; S/N AM300/1/1132; Ivory, Metallic Green/Dark Green leather; Estimate $1,800,000 – $2,400,000; Concours restoration, 1- condition; Hammered Sold at $2,100,000 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $2,310,000. – Chrome wire wheels, blackwall tires – 1956 Turin Auto Show display car. A show quality restoration by Brian Joseph except for some chrome trim that could have been better chromed and polished. Class second at Pebble Beach in 2011. – What Ghia did to adapt Savonuzzi’s ‘Supersonic’ design to the DB2/4 is amazing, as is the restoration – trim chrome excepted. The price it brought stands by itself with no relevance to anything else, not Ghia, not Aston Martin.
Lot # 112 1933 Rolls-Royce Phantom II Continental Sports Coupe, Body by Freestone & Webb; S/N 42PY; Maroon, Gold coachlines/Beige leather; Estimate $2,000,000 – $2,800,000; Concours restoration, 1 condition; Hammered Sold at $2,200,000 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $2,420,000. – RHD. Single rear enclosed spare, body color wheel discs, blackwall tires, Lucas headlights and driving light, trafficators – Exceptional coachwork with helmet-style fenders, no running boards and a low razor-edge blind quarter roof. Specified and first owned by Sir John Leigh. Concours restored in the early 90’s and meticulously detailed, it is still concours-quality. Beautiful interior wood. Upholstery is slightly stretched but otherwise flawless. – Sleek, svelte and imposing, this is one extraordinary Rolls-Royce, no less because of the exceptional restoration now over twenty years old but still concours-ready. The consignor didn’t really want to sell, but at this price it made eminent good sense.
Lot # 113 1957 Dual-Ghia D/G Convertible; S/N 145; Copper/Red leather; Black cloth top; Estimate $450,000 – $650,000; Concours restoration, 1 condition; Hammered Sold at $415,000 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $456,500. – 325/260hp Dodge, automatic, P/S, P/B, chrome wire wheels, whitewall tires, P/W, Town & Country radio – Even gaps, flat panels, flush fits. Beautiful paint and chrome. Lush Lipstick Red interior. A concours car. – Bought appropriately for this Dual-Ghia’s combination of features and exceptional restoration.
Lot # 114 1933 Auburn 12-161A Custom Speedster; S/N 2119E; Cord Red, Yellow/Yellow leather; Estimate $1,000,000 – $1,600,000; Concours restoration, 1 condition; Hammered Sold at $1,100,000 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $1,210,000. – Chrome wire wheels, double side whitewalls, Pilot-Rays, dual sidemounts with mirrors, radiator stoneguard – Flamboyant, eye-catching colors. Gorgeous paint, chrome and interior. Clean and sharp except for some storage dust in hard to reach prices. ACD Category One certified, original frame, engine and body. – This result will encourage all Auburn Speedster owners, an extraordinary example that brought a landmark price. It sets the bar high.
Lot # 115 1932 Ford V-8 Cabriolet, Body by Pinin Farina; S/N 18-81392; Dark Green/Green leather; Heather cloth top; Estimate $350,000 – $500,000; Concours restoration, 1 condition; Hammered Sold at $290,000 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $319,000. – Body color wire wheels, blackwall tires, rear-mounted spare, trafficators – The only known example, believed to have been commission as a design study by Ford [sic]. Later owned by Sergio Franchi. Restored in 2003 for the Custom-bodied Ford class at Pebble Beach where it was Best in Class. AACA National First Place. Excellent paint, chrome, upholstery and top. Better than flawless. – An amazing, sympathetic restoration to like new condition with show car cosmetics. The body design is not, however, very attractive and the Ford design study history belies Henry’s reputation for being dismissive of the importance of design. The seller should be happy to get this much for it.
RM Auctions New York City 2013 – Auction Report Page Two
Lot # 116 1959 Porsche 356 A Carrera 1600 GS Coupe, Body by Reutter; S/N 108399; Engine # 93126; Silver Metallic/Blue leather; Estimate $550,000 – $650,000; Recent restoration, 2- condition; Hammered Sold at $550,000 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $605,000. – 1,587cc/105hp, sunroof, Blaupunkt multi-band radio, clock, wind wings, luggage rack, bumper overriders, braced rollbar, 80-liter tank – Excellent paint, panel fits, chrome and interior. Chassis is dusty and a little used, upholstery is lightly creased. Porsche Certificate of Authenticity shows matching chassis and, miraculously, engine numbers. – No longer fresh but still in exceptional condition, this Porsche is one of the most satisfying cars in RM’s NYC sale. Displayed in an area with the Ferrari 250GT Cab II, two 300SLs and the XKE, it attracted little interest. ‘Just another Porsche coupe’ the jaded New Yorkers probably thought. That’s the new owner’s good fortune as it brought only a modest premium over what it might have elsewhere.
Lot # 117 1936 Delahaye 135 Competition Court Teardrop Coupe, Body by Figoni & Falaschi; S/N 47242; Black/Red leather and ostrich; Estimate $3,000,000 – $4,000,000; Older restoration, 1- condition; Hammered Sold at $2,200,000 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $2,420,000. – RHD. Removable roof panel, chrome wire wheels, opening windshield, Marchal head and fog lights, skirts, blackwall Michelin tires, chrome wire wheels, Michelin blackwalls, Marchal head and fog lights, trafficators, dual filler tank, oil cooler – Excellent older cosmetic restoration with sharp paint, chrome, engine and interior. The balance is well preserved and largely original, an unusual combination of cosmetic (and mechanical) restoration with sympathetic preservation. Engine is the proper competition configuration, but was not with the car when found, just ‘in the area’. – It’s hard to figure the estimate on this Delahaye. Yes, it’s a short chassis, yes, it has the competition engine, yes, it’s a Figoni & Falaschi teardrop. It even has headlights integrated into the fender catwalks for better aerodynamics and driver’s visibility. But the estimate is extremely optimistic. The same can’t be said for the price it brought, although it is generous even at 3/4 of the low estimate, a third more than RM got for a similar but long chassis teardrop at Arizona earlier this year, s/n 60112 at $1,540,000. The result was obviously sufficiently attractive to the sellers, even $800,000 under the low estimate.
Lot # 118 1997 Ferrari F310 B Formula 1; S/N 179; Red/; Estimate $750,000 – $950,000; Competition car, original as-raced, 2- condition; Not sold at Hammer bid of $630,000 $630,000. – – Michael Schumacher’s second season at Ferrari, driven by Schumacher only in practice for Spa, later driven by Eddie Irvine at Monza (8th) and Austria (dnf). Corse Clienti history a few years ago and in excellent, but not track ready, condition. Ferrari Classiche certified. – Purchased at RM’s Maranello auction in 2008 for $771,761 (Euros 495,000), it is no surprise the owner of this F310 B declined taking a $160,000 loss five years later, particularly when the Euros bid is 467,700.
Lot # 119 1970 Plymouth Road Runner Superbird Hemi 2-Dr. Hardtop; S/N RM23R0A170172; Alpine White, Black vinyl roof/Black vinyl; Estimate $400,000 – $500,000; Recent restoration, 2+ condition; Hammered Sold at $330,000 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $363,000. – 426/425hp Hemi, 4-speed, Rallye wheels with trim rings, F60-15 Polyglas GT tires, buckets and console, Hurst pistol grip shifter, pushbutton radio, Tic-Toc-Tach – 16,359 miles from new, restored in 2002 to better than showroom condition and still better than perfect without being overdone. Excellent paint, bright chrome and stainless, fresh upholstery. Represented as the original drivetrain. Documented with original window sticker, broadcast sheets, IBM and warranty cards. – This is a prodigious price in today’s market but it bought not only a beautifully and sympathetically restored Superbird but also one with just 16,359 known miles and a rare (one of 58) with the 4-speed stick. It is, however, not so prodigious as the price it brought at RM’s (now Auctions America’s) Ft. Lauderdale auction in 2007, $529,200, when it had just 17 fewer miles on its odometer, but better than the $318,000 it brought at Mecum Indy two years later in May 2009, $318,000. Mopars aren’t what they once were, at least in collectors’ pantheon. This is ample money for this one despite its transaction history and all the good things in its favor.
Lot # 120 1955 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Gullwing; S/N 1980405500695; Light Green Metallic/Red leather; Estimate $1,300,000 – $1,500,000; Cosmetic restoration, 2+ condition; Hammered Sold at $1,150,000 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $1,265,000. – Becker Mexico radio, tilt steering wheel, belly pans, reproduction fitted luggage, original owner’s manual, parts catalog, service book and California plate – Represented as never fully restored, the evidence of eye finds the distinction impossible to perceive. This Gullwing is like new, has excellent cosmetics and is fresh and sharp throughout. – Some might consider this Gullwing less than brilliantly presented, without the flash and bright finishes that transform so many Gullwings into parodies of their real, fast, utilitarian selves. A no sale at Gooding’s Pebble Beach auction in 2010 at a reported high bid of $470,000 only highlights the exponential increase in Gullwings’ values in just three years. It puts these value in perspective, and a not particularly appealing perspective, but this result is entirely appropriate in today’s market. Whether today’s Gullwing market is appropriate is another question entirely.
Lot # 121 1955 Ferrari 250GT Europa Coupe, Body by Pinin Farina; S/N 0407GT; Silver-Grey/Orange leather, Grey cloth; Estimate $2,250,000 – $2,750,000; Concours restoration, 1 condition; Hammered Sold at $2,200,000 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $2,420,000. – 3953/220hp, 4-speed, orange dashboard, chrome spoke Borranis, dual rear wipers, folding rally clipboard, Marchal head and fog lights, transmission tunnel mounted thermometer – Restored in 2006 and still better than new. Displayed at Pebble Beach in 2006, Platinum and Excellence Cup winner at Cavallino Classic the same year, Class winner at Amelia Island in 2008. Great interior colors and materials although the Ferrari Heritage Certificate’s description of ‘Pelle Connolly’ is sufficiently vague (i.e., Connolly leather) to encompass almost anything … except this combination of leather and cloth. – Maybe the ultimate expression of the 3-liter Lampredi ‘long block’, with its integral cylinder heads, this 250GT Europa got raced at least once, at Shelton airbase in the Pacific Northwest in 1960, enough to tick the box for historic events. Its price is magnanimous, even considering the quality of the restoration, for a car that was dismissed just a few years ago and will get a Mille Miglia invitation only after documented MM participants’ applications are exhausted. It’s no 250 GT SWB or TdF, but neither is it eight figures, if that’s any consolation.
Lot # 122 1938 Talbot-Lago T150C SS Cabriolet, Body by Figoni & Falaschi; S/N 90111; Ivory/Cream leather; Beige cloth top; Estimate $8,000,000 – $10,000,000; Recent restoration, 1 condition; Hammered Sold at $6,500,000 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $7,150,000. – RHD. Polished wheel discs, Marchal head and fog lights Louis Vuitton luggage – Original coachwork. First owned by Michael Dassonville, who miraculously retained the car, and his business, through the German occupation of France until he decamped to Brazil at the end of WWII. Show quality everywhere, 2011 Pebble Beach class winner. In a thoughtful touch the Louis Vuitton suitcases are moderately aged. A superlative automobile of the highest quality and beauty. – While the Ferrari 250LM was the highlight of RM’s and Sotheby’s New York auction this brilliant Talbot-Lago was the ‘Art of the Automobile’ star, with flowing teardrop fenders, rear wheel skirts and wheel discs. Positioned in its own alcove in the 10th floor display area in front of a blown up reproduction of its original concept drawing it had even jaded New Yorkers agog at its artistry. RM pushed the marble with its estimate but the bidders handicapped the hype and presentation with reality at this price which still surpasses any other Talbot-Lago by nearly a factor of two. A New York price, where even a reasonable dinner for one costs $100.
Lot # 123 1941 Cadillac 41-62 Custom Limousine ‘The Duchess’; S/N 8363211; Black/Tan cloth; Estimate $500,000 – $800,000; Recent restoration, 2- condition; Not sold at Hammer bid of $415,000 – Large hubcaps, trim rings, wide whitewalls, skirts, lavishly appointed rear compartment with drinks cabinet and appointments – Specially built by General Motors under Alfred P. Sloan’s supervision for the Duke and Duchess of Windsor. The engine may be a 1941 Series 62, but there is nothing standard Cadillac about the body or appointments. Competently but not particularly impressively restored. Paint is good but erratically finished. The interior, though, is better than perfect. it’s lush. Chrome is bright. Grille was rechromed without fully filling pits. More imposing than beautiful. – This Cadillac may have attracted more attention than any other car in the RM Auctions display at Sotheby’s where its connection with the Windsors made it a star … at least until it came time to buy it. Listed in the catalog as Without Reserve but changed by Saleroom Notice to reserve status. Even this generous price was declined by the consignor. A car more significant for its celebrity history than for its design or presentation, the reported high bid should have seen it sold.
RM Auctions New York City 2013 – Auction Report Page Three
Lot # 124 1933 Duesenberg Model SJ 4-Dr. Sedan Beverly, Body by Murphy; S/N 2538; Engine # J-512; Deep lavender, Dark lavender leather/Grey cloth, Blue carpets; Estimate $2,000,000 – $2,500,000; Concours restoration, 1 condition; Hammered Sold at $1,600,000 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $1,760,000. – Chrome wire wheels, blackwall tires, dual enclosed sidemounts with chrome rings and mirrors, single Pilot-Ray, mesh hood sides, outside exhaust headpipes; Hygrometer, altimeter and Jaeger clock in rear with center armrest seats for two – Duesenberg supercharger installed for its second owner, Powel Crosley, Jr., and original coachwork swapped from another Duesenberg chassis to this chassis-only delivery. The supercharger is an original Duesenberg part acquired by Lee Herrington before restoration (perhaps the one sold at Christie’s at Lyndhurst in 1998 for $266,500?) Magnificent older concours restoration with open fenders instead of the skirted fenders as delivered to Powel Crosley, Jr. A-C-D Festival Best of Show and Pebble Beach Best in Class in 2008. Shows a little age but no use except driving on and off show fields. – Represented as ‘factory-supercharged’, that’s a bit of stretch for this factory branch upgraded car. The ‘original’ body is the first installed on this chassis, but it had been on an earlier Duesenberg before it got here and on its SJ chassis the body had skirted fenders. Quibbles out of the way, it is a spectacular automobile, beautifully restored, and sets a standard for closed Duesenbergs. It is a pretty mixed-up car, but not untypical of Duesenbergs of the period and it has less mix’n’match than many of its type. The contrast with Powel Crosley’s diminutive pre- and post-war microcars seems like suggesting starving multitudes who can’t get bread, ‘Let them eat cake’.
Lot # 125 1929 Ford ‘Dick Flint’ Roadster; S/N; Red/Tan; Estimate $700,000 – $900,000; Concours restoration, 1 condition; Hammered Sold at $525,000 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $577,500. – 286 cubic inch Mercury flathead, 3 Stromberg 97’s on Edelbrock intake, Eddie Meyer heads, Winfield cam, Halibrand quick change, chrome suspension with transverse leaf springs, hydraulic brakes, chrome nerf bars, track style nose, full belly pans, Auburn instrument panel, Zephyr gears – Built by Valley Custom Shop in the early 50’s for Dick Flint, turned 143.54mph at El Mirage in 1950. Concours restoration for Don Orosco, better than perfect in every way and 2001 Pebble Beach Concours Best in Class. – An unusual car in New York, but its quality, history and panache shone through the Big Apple’s glitz and brought a healthy if not sensational price. It required some explanation to most of the casual onlookers but its appeal wasn’t lost on a healthy contingent. The estimate is optimistically generous, like the IPO price of a tech startup with no revenue on NASDAQ. Selling at a discount to the estimate is no knock on the Dick Flint Roadster. This is serious money for a magnificent roadster.
Lot # 126 2011 Bugatti Veyron 16.4 Grand Sport Bleu Nuit; S/N VF9SK2C24BM795010; Engine # ;/; Estimate $2,000,000 – $2,800,000; Not evaluated; Hammered Sold at $2,100,000 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $2,310,000. – – 350 miles from new. – A New York City trophy car, one and only of its configuration. With 350 miles from new it’s a reasonable bet it’s never seen even half of its electronically limited 220mph top speed.
Lot # 127 1958 BMW 507 Series II Roadster; S/N 70180; Silver, Black hardtop/Green leather; Black cloth top; Estimate $1,000,000 – $1,400,000; Older restoration, 3+ condition; Hammered Sold at $1,500,000 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $1,650,000. – Nardi woodrim steering wheel, Becker radio, two tops – Good clearcoat repaint, thin trim chrome, good upholstery showing some use. Dirty dashboard knobs. Orderly underhood. A sound and usable older restoration to good driver condition. – Pathetically wimpy performance rescued from indifference only by Albrecht von Goertz’ fabulous body design, the BMW 507 is a triumph of appearance over substance. That, however, does nothing to diminish its visual appeal although this is a mediocre example bought for a price approaching double its realistic value.
Lot # 128 1958 Oldsmobile Ninety-Eight Convertible; S/N 589M12628; Black/Red, White leather; Black vinyl top; Estimate $275,000 – $375,000; Recent restoration, 2+ condition; Hammered Sold at $235,000 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $258,500. – 371/312hp J-2 engine, automatic, air conditioning, power antenna, spinner wheel covers, whitewalls, air suspension, P/S, P/B, Trans-Portable radio – Concours restored and 54,776 miles from new. Excellent paint, brilliant chrome, supple upholstery, sharp, clean showroom quality underbody. AACA National First Prize and many others including the R.E. Olds Memorial Trophy in 2003. As good as it gets, even ten years old, and way better than new. – On any other day buyers might expect to pay $100,000 for a J-2 Olds 98 convertible, but this one has just about every option an Oldsmobile could hope to have. Does that double the value? The New York bidders made up their minds at this exalted value and the consignor was satisfied. In a sale styled ‘The Art of the Automobile’ the concept seems a bit stretched, but this was one of the more affordable (if that term can be applied in relative terms) cars of the day. Against some others here it is affordable, if not a good value.
Lot # 129 1931 Minerva AL Convertible Sedan, Body by Rollston; S/N 80105; Green, Dark Green accent/Beige cloth; Green cloth top; Estimate $900,000 – $1,400,000; Older restoration, 1- condition; Hammered Sold at $600,000 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $660,000. – Lefthand drive, body color wheel discs, dual sidemounts with chrome bands and mirrors, rollup division, Supralux headlights – Built for Henry Walker Bagley (son-in-law of R.J. Reynolds), later owned by D. Cameron Peck. Restored by Steve Babinsky in 1998 for Charles Morse. First in class at Pebble Beach in 1999 and a later winner at Meadow Brook, Amelia Island and Louis Vuitton in New York. A quality older concours restoration still with excellent paint, bright chrome, crisp interior and top. Even the polished aluminum is consistently bright and satiny. – Sold by RM at Villa d’Este in 2011 for $746,014 (Euros 526,400) and passed at Bonhams Scottsdale Auction in January of this year at a reported bid of $850,000, this result reflects its lack of attention and detail in an otherwise high quality, even glitzy, New York display. Lost in the crowd, it brought a reasonable price equivalent to Euros 490,000, a tidy discount to its Villa d’Este result.
Lot # 130 1954 Pegaso Z-102 Berlinetta Series II, Body by Saoutchik; S/N 0102-150-0148; Pearl White, Silver roof/Pearl White leather; Estimate $800,000 – $1,000,000; Recent restoration, 2+ condition; Hammered Sold at $725,000 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $797,500. – Chrome wire wheels, blackwall tires, Radiomatic radio, heater, Marchal head and driving lights – Restored like new with fresher cosmetics. Paint, upholstery and major chrome are impeccable. Although originally built with little nerf bars they were lost many years ago and (thankfully) left off in the restoration. Some exterior trim needs more attention. Panels fit flush and gaps are even. Represented as ‘original major components’. – While Saoutchik’s coachwork may be extravagant it is definitely eye-catching and instantly identifiable as a Pegaso. It was one of the rarest automobiles in ‘The Art of the Automobile’, and deserved to pop out of its estimate range, if any car in the sale did making it one of the better values in a generally expensive venue.
Lot # 131 1955 Lincoln Indianapolis Exclusive Study, Body by Boano; S/N 58WA10902; Orange/Black, White leather; Estimate $2,000,000 – $2,500,000; Concours restoration, 1- condition; Not sold at Hammer bid of $1,550,000 – 341/200hp V-8, automatic, P/S – Extravagant “Exclusive Study” displayed at the 1955 Turin Motor Show, later shipped to Henry Ford II in the U.S. and possibly given by Hank to his pal Errol Flynn. Restored by Jim Cox to Pebble Beach Class-winning condition in 2001, later won the Lincoln Trophy at Pebble Beach. No longer fresh but barely used. – Bought amid great theater at Gooding’s Pebble Beach auction in 2006 for $1,375,000, a price that was too much for it at the time. The reported high bid here should have been enough to buy it. It really is an object, not a car (although to its credit it has completed the Tour d’Elegance at Pebble Beach twice) and it’s had a great run through the most important concours but that also means its show invitations are extremely limited for the next owner, at least for a few years.
Lot # 132 1960 FMR TG 500 ‘Tiger’ Kabinenroller; S/N 21027; Yellow, Black fenders/Black; Clear Plexiglas top; Estimate $150,000 – $125,000; Recent restoration, 2- condition; Hammered Sold at $125,000 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $137,500. No Reserve – Bubble top, whitewall tires, hubcaps, fender mirrors, translucent windshield visor, rear-mounted spare – Very well and thoroughly restored. Excellent paint, very good interior and chrome plating. Polished aluminum trim has some flaws and scratches. Top speed is (or was) 78mph. Anyone who attempts to assay the truth of that claim on a public highway full of Excursions and Suburbans should undergo psychiatric evaluation for a death wish. – This Tiger looks like a bargain compared with the $322,000 RM got for s/n 20554 in the Bruce Weiner microcar auction in February, but appropriately priced to s/n 21035 sold in September by Bonhams at Goodwood for $130,282.
RM Auctions New York City 2013 – Auction Report Page Four
Lot # 133 1912 Stutz Model A Bearcat; Engine # A730; Red, Black fenders/Black leather; No top; Estimate $800,000 – $1,200,000; Older restoration, 3+ condition; Hammered Sold at $700,000 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $770,000. – RHD. Gray & Davis acetylene headlights, kerosene sidelights, Warner speedometer, Jones tach, Dragon bulb horn, trunk, single rear spare, electric starter added – A marvelous old thing with an older restoration in remarkable shape despite considerable miles. Sound and orderly in every significant respect, just driven and cared for. Known history since 1949 and claims abundant physical and documentary evidence for being a correct 1912 Bear Cat (properly two words this year only) since delivered new in California. – I’ve never experienced a Bearcat (or a Bear Cat for that matter) but have been a passenger in a Mercer Raceabout and it is a life-changing experience. The power and torque of these big fours is prodigious. The handling on the skinny tires is surprising and the brakes are terrifying. This is ‘The Art of the Automobile’ of a completely different character from swoopy Figoni & Falaschi teardrops, svelte one-off Ferraris and Maseratis or extravagant show car dreams, but it is still art and is more importantly an indispensable piece of automobile history, the very beginnings of the concept of a ‘sports car’. It is fully valued at this price, but not extravagant.
Lot # 134 1955 Maserati A6G/2000 Spyder, Body by Zagato; S/N 2101; Engine # 201; Metallic Blue/Grey leather; Estimate $3,500,000 – $4,500,000; Older restoration, 2- condition; Hammered Sold at $4,050,000 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $4,455,000. – Mirror polished chrome spoke Borrani wire wheels, blackwall tires – The only Zagato-bodied Maserati A6G/2000 Spyder, displayed at Geneva in 1955 and Paris in 1958. Restored in 2003, shown at Pebble Beach, class winner at The Quail and Best of Show at Concorso Italiano in 2005. Sound paint, interior and chrome. Dull aluminum bumpers. Orderly underbody but shows age even if only a little use. – A beautiful but unusually restrained car coming from Zagato, with five chrome strakes across the fender side vents, a Maserati trident of epic size in the large oval grille and a wraparound windshield without wind wings that gives it a Lancia Spider America profile. Beautifully restored in handsome colors, it caught the New York bidders’ attention and achieved a magnanimous price for its style, rarity and performance that is to all intents and purposes double any previous A6G/2000 auction result … but none of them were spyders by Zagato.
Lot # 135 1967 Toyota 2000GT Coupe; S/N MF1010093; Solar Red/Black leather; Estimate $700,000 – $1,000,000; Visually maintained, largely original, 3+ condition; Hammered Sold at $880,000 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $968,000. No Reserve – Dark Grey painted alloy wheels, Yokohama blackwall tires, pushbutton radio – Repainted assembled with some masking oversights and overspray inside doors. Scuffed stainless trim. Good original upholstery. Cracked console wood varnish. Documented with original warranty card, purchase invoice, registration, window sticker, service book and owner’s manual. A sound and well maintained cosmetically freshened 2000GT. – Originality counts for a lot, and this is a very original 2000GT even if the paintwork is less than meticulously applied. Ever since RM got $1,155,000 for Don Davis’s 2000GT earlier this year a million dollars is the new 2000GT normal and this result fits the pattern.
Lot # 136 1959 Ferrari 250 GT SWB Berlinetta Speciale, Body by Bertone; S/N 1739GT; Silver-Grey, Brushed Stainless roof and sills/Red leather; Estimate $6,500,000 – $8,500,000; Older restoration, 1 condition; Hammered Sold at $6,400,000 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $7,040,000. – Polished centerlock alloy Borrani wheels, fitted luggage, brushed stainless roof and sills – Commissioned by Dr. Enrico Wax, Johnnie Walker scotch importer and designed by a very young Giugiaro with many unusual features including the ergonomically-shaped shift handle, competition engine, prepared suspension and red cam covers, the only known Ferrari GT with that feature. 1960 Turin Motor Show display car. Pebble Beach “most elegant” winner in 1983. A concours restoration that is no longer fresh but still is exceptional. – Offered by RM in Maranello in 2009 with a high bid of $2,166,260 (Euros 1.6 million at the time) this is a prodigious result equal (with commission) to Euros 5,226,400 today. That’s 3x in dollars on the hammer bid. It is an important car not only because of its unique coachwork but also on account of its SWB Competition underpinnings and engine. And it needs its immense Ferrari hood badge because without it onlookers will easily mistake it at a distance for a Maserati 3500 or Lamborghini 350GT.
Lot # 137 1914 Flying Merkel Model 471 Motorcycle; S/N 10339; Orange/Brown leather saddle; Estimate $200,000 – $250,000; Recent restoration, 2+ condition; Hammered Sold at $165,000 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $181,500. – Acetylene headlight, luggage carrier, exhaust cutout, rear coaster brake, chain drive – Restored some years ago, never run since then and resplendent in gorgeous Merkel orange paint and nickel brightwork. – A fabled motorcycle. There are, relatively speaking, many Harleys and Indians but Flying Merkels are few and far between. It’s almost a shame that this one has never been run since it was restored. But if anything at RM’s ‘The Art of the Automobile’ auction is art it’s this magnificent old Flying Merkel and it brought a reasonable price.
Lot # 138 1966 Jaguar XKE SI 4.2 Roadster; S/N 1E11911; Engine # 7E6555-9; Black/Black leather; Black cloth top; Estimate $225,000 – $325,000; Recent restoration, 2+ condition; Hammered Sold at $425,000 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $467,500. – Becker Mexico radio, chrome wire wheels, blackwall tires – Excellent paint, chrome and interior. Fresh and clean with very little use. Three times judged 100 points by JCNA, National Champion and chosen by Jaguar as a feature element of its 2013 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance corporate display. Beyond perfect, but without going too far. – Displayed between two gorgeous 300SLs, one car away from a Ferrari 250 GT Cabriolet Series II, this fabulous Classic Showcase restored XKE sucked the attention right away from its neighbors. The attention continued when its Michael Furman picture came onto the Sotheby’s auction block under Max Girardo’s hammer. The result is breathtaking, a bit of auction theater where two determined bidders abandoned reason in their determination to ‘win’. One of them won the car but the underbidder is the more fortunate. Tom Krefetz will build him one like it for a lot less.
Lot # 139 1964 Chevrolet CERV II; S/N P-3910; White, Dark Blue/Blue vinyl, Grey cloth; Estimate $1,400,000 – $1,800,000; Competition car, original as-raced, 3+ condition; Hammered Sold at $1,000,000 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $1,100,000. – 427 cubic inch aluminum V-8, 4-barrel carburetor, 500+hp, two speed manual transaxles with Powerglide torque converters driving front and rear wheels, zoomie exhausts – One of the legendary vehicles in Chevrolet competition history, a full-on high tech sports racer quashed by GM’s 14th Floor before it could demonstrate its amazing all wheel drive, aluminum 427 V-8 potential. History is unbroken from GM through the Briggs Cunningham Museum, Collier collection, John Moores, Scripps Institute and the consignor. Sound older repaint but otherwise as tested by GM. – Without question this is historically the most important automobile in RM’s ‘The Art of the Automobile’ auction. It isn’t beautiful like the Figoni Talbot-Lago, luxurious like ‘The Duchess’ or fabulous like the Ferrari 250 LM, but the butt prints on its seats go right back to the advanced work going on at Chevrolet in the Sixties that might have moved the needle forward by years had they been green-lighted by GM management. CERV II’s importance was probably lost on the trend-following New Yorkers, a lack of comprehension the new owner can only thank for acquiring a milestone in automobile development for a paltry [sic] million dollars.
Lot # 141 1964 Ferrari 250 LM Sports Racer, Body by Scaglietti; S/N 6107; Red/Blue cloth; Estimate $12,000,000 – $15,000,000; Competition car, original as-raced, 3- condition; Hammered Sold at $13,000,000 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $14,300,000. – RHD. 3.3 Liter/320hp, Borrani wire wheels – Delivered new to Steve Earle with aluminum Scaglietti bodywork and used, as Ferrari disingenuously maintained to the FIA, as a street car by Earle and the next owner, Chris Cord. Then sold to Ecuadoreans Guillermo Ortega and Fausto Merello who race prepared it and finished 8th overall, first in class, in the 1968 Daytona 24 Hours. Later raced at Sebring and the 1969 Daytona 24 and subsequently in Ecuador. Restored for Steve Pilkington in the 70’s but unraced. Owned for many years in Japan and recently freshened. Represented as the original engine. A neat, orderly but used old race car. Some paint cracks, discolored painted wheel rims with old Tape a Weight glue, peeling centerlock nut chrome. Good upholstery. No seat or shoulder belts. Vinyl graphics. Surface rusty chassis. Not ready for prime time and not close to track ready. – This is an incredibly pure, matching numbers, largely original 250 LM with documented racing history. Its survival relatively unblemished by accidents and engine destruction is astounding. One of just 31 built it is more rare than a GTO, faster, pretty and, as Steve Earle and Chris Cord demonstrated, able to be driven (cautiously) on the street. The best recent price for a 250 LM was s/n 6173 at RM Maranello in 2008 for $7,031,604. At one-third the price of a GTO and barely half the price of the NART Spider at RM Monterey it is a real value and could have brought 1/3 more without straining credibility.
[Source: Rick Carey
Thank you for capturing the magic. The crowd in the days before the auction was a funny mix of plutocrats and humble types (like me) with their children, and every one of us ogled the cars. Come back, Mr. Carey, and I’ll buy you a superb dinner with wine that will run under $50 a head. Promise. That’s the joy of New York.
Rick , I also remember Arlan Ettinger’s Guernseys Auction House holding classic car sales in Manhattan , one in 1989 ( ? ) at the Jacob Javits Centre and another in the early 90s on ( I think ) pier 94 ….alway enjoy reading your posts
Rick, the photographs are awesome. And, as you inspect the cars, you report on the ‘niggling’ details that bother you, or aren’t right. I call your attention to your description of Lot 114 – the Auburn Speedster, where you say some dust was left in ‘hard to reach prices’. Perhaps a Freudian slip?
A slip, but not Freudian.
I use a Windows slate computer with handwriting recognition and sometimes it slips in a word Windows likes better than what I intended. I don’t always catch them in the editing. I’ll ask Jamie to correct it when he has a chance.
Funny I have one of those Ferrarina’s, was a gift to my wife new some 55 years ago. Guess my 3 year old grandson better be careful driving that thing!
As the grandfather of three boys under 4 years old I cannot imagine anything, I mean ANYTHING, better than seeing any of them wail on a Ferrarina that’d been in the family for 55 years. Your grandson can’t really hurt it, just add kid-patina.
Turn him loose. It’s just a ‘thing’ that is made better by the YouTube videos. Painted, polished, chromed and waxed it is only wall decor, a waste of the grampa experience.
Thank you Rick, also if at any point you’d like to get the skinny on the real story about these cars I’d be happy to help. I had the good fortune of meeting Enzo Monari who made them years later with my father in-law at his home in Modena Italy. As an aside the cars where actually produced by his company named Savigini Monari in Modena and they had serial number plates riveted onto the bodies with both chassis and motor numbers stamped into them which ours retains
Hello Victor, thanks for sharing this great information about your father in law. I am doing some research on these Ferrarina cars. I noticed on a brochure I found that the logo of the company is MS Modena Italy. Tese Two letter MS could stand for Morani Savigni. I would love to gather more information. If you feel like sharing some let me know, here is my contact: firstname.lastname@example.org thanks, Aurélien