RM Sotheby’s Arizona 2016 – Auction Report

RM Sotheby’s, Arizona Biltmore, Phoenix, Arizona, January 28-29, 2016

Any time a Mercedes-Benz 540K High Door Long Tail Special Roadster is sold at auction it’s special.

The one offered by RM Sotheby’s at the Arizona Biltmore this year was, if anything, even more remarkable, with two long term owners, the first and the most recent, and a crisp, clear history that has ‘no stories’.

RM Sotheby’s sold 127 of 150 cars, a sell-through of 84.7% that is lower than some recent RM Sotheby’s auctions but consistent with prior Arizona sales. The 150 cars offered was the largest in Arizona since 2011, but that hardly matters when $62,781,750 changed hands for the 127 cars sold, only 1.3% behind last year’s record Arizona sale total.

The Biltmore had many more recently built supercars than in years past, a trend being played out across the board at auction. In 2014 there were five lots offered (all sold) with model years within 25 years. In 2015 there were eight lots (all but one sold). This year there were sixteen. All of them sold, bringing a total of $8,161,000, a full 13% of the sale’s total.

It’s a trend visible across the auction spectrum. Does it mean modern cars are getting better? There is no doubt of that, but it also may be a younger cohort of buyers seeking the cars they had on their Cal Tech dorm room walls before hitting it big in Silicon Valley and the antithesis of the $9.9 million Special Roadster’s appeal.

Here are the numbers:

RM Auctions
Cars Offered / Sold
Sale %
Sold < Low Est
Sold > High Est
Average Sale
Median Sale
Total Sales
150 / 127
$176,000 [35.6%]
123 / 110
$220,000 [38.1%]
126 / 108
$141,250 [33.5%]
84 / 75
$181,500 [37.4%]
140 / 126
$110,000 [54.0%]
182 / 174

On-site observations by the editor, Andrew Newton and Arno Leskinen. Final edits and comments are the responsibility of the editor.

RM Sotheby’s Arizona 2016 – Auction Report

1978 Toyota FJ40 Land Cruiser Utility
Lot # 102 1978 Toyota FJ40 Land Cruiser Utility; S/N FJ40265788; Engine # 2F230219; Sky Blue, Cygnus White roof/Charcoal leatherette; Estimate $80,000 – $100,000; Recent restoration, 2+ condition; No Reserve; Hammered Sold at $75,000 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $82,500. – Air conditioning, radio, fog lights, center facing rear seats barn style rear doors, locking front hubs, Old Man Emu suspension, 2F engine. – Excellent paint and interior, Restored better than new. – The passion for FJs is visible in this immaculately, better-than-new, restored example, with attention to detail worthy of a V-12 Ferrari. Immensely capable off-road, it would almost be a shame to subject it to rocks, dust and mud, but that is its highest and best use. FJ prices are hugely variable with the very best, like this, bringing high five-figures (and sometimes even more.) It makes a restored Land Rover look a bargain.
1974 Citroen 2CV6 2-Dr. Sedan
Lot # 103 1974 Citroen 2CV6 2-Dr. Sedan; S/N AZA9103167; Engine # 1GW02016660; Yellow, Black fenders and roof/Grey cloth; Black folding roof top; Estimate $20,000 – $30,000; Recent restoration, 2+ condition; No Reserve; Hammered Sold at $45,000 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $49,500. – Yellow wheels, blackwall tires, folding roof – Beautiful paint, chrome and interior. Restored better than new and a showstopper in bumblebee colors. – The value of cute is amplified in the case of the Deux Cheveau by being funky. Usually seen in France hauling chickens and milk to market, no such utilitarian use is in store for this magnificently restored, immaculate, example for which a generous price was paid, but no more than justified by its condition.
1962 APAL-Porsche 1600 GT Coupe
Lot # 104 1962 APAL-Porsche 1600 GT Coupe; S/N 40172003; Engine # 66106; Red/Black leather; Estimate $80,000 – $100,000; Recent restoration, 2- condition; No Reserve; Hammered Sold at $80,000 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $88,000. – 1957 Porsche 1600 Normal engine, woodrim steering wheel, dash clock, Speedster style seats, steel wheels, Vredestein tires, rollbar, inertia reel shoulder belts, driving and fog lights. – Fiberglas body special with quality cosmetics, overspray in wheelwells. A strange looking beast in surprisingly good condition. – Lighter than a comparable Porsche, with an extra 30cm wheelbase, built on a VW pan, this is an intriguing Belgian-built special, one of about 150 built from 1961-1965. Not likely to meet itself coming around the corner any time soon which makes its price a reasonable stretch for a Porsche fan looking for individuality.
1967 Chevrolet Corvette Convertible
Lot # 107 1967 Chevrolet Corvette Convertible; S/N 194677S113992; Engine # 7113992 V0208HT; Red/Black vinyl; Black vinyl top; Estimate $60,000 – $80,000; Cosmetic restoration, 3 condition; No Reserve; Hammered Sold at $65,000 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $71,500. – 327/350hp, 4-speed, power brakes, side exhausts, cassette stereo, Rally wheels with hubcaps and trim rings, 3.70 Positraction. – Good repaint and sound interior and chrome. Underbody has received scant attention and the engine and engine compartment got only a shot a shot of chassis black and some dull silver paint. Makes a good first impression that doesn’t stand up to a close look. – Reported sold by Mecum at Anaheim in 2013 for $64,200, with a correctly stamped engine block, high output carbureted smallblock Corvettes are quick, balanced and relatively trouble free. A good engine builder today could keep it looking stock on the outside and make the factory 350hp rating pale, but why bother? It’s a great driver in reassuring condition, attractive colors and nicely equipped for a realistic price only a bit more than . –it brought two years ago.
1956 Austin-Healey 100/M 'Le Mans' Roadster
Lot # 108 1956 Austin-Healey 100/M ‘Le Mans’ Roadster; S/N BN2L/231253; Engine # 1B/231253M; Dark Red, Black/Red vinyl; Black vinyl top; Estimate $125,000 – $175,000; Recent restoration, 2+ condition; No Reserve; Hammered Sold at $185,000 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $203,500. – 4-speed with overdrive, chrome wire wheels, Lucas fog lights, badge bar, hood strap. – BMIHT Heritage Certificate identified as an original louvered hood car, with engine, body and chassis matching the BMIHT Certificate. Reproduction cold air box. Excellent paint, chrome and interior. Restored better than new. A car anyone would be proud to own and drive, – The 100/S may be the pinnacle of Austin-Healeys, but a beautifully restored and presented 100/M with BMIHT documentation is a worthy substitute for the six-figure buyer. The little truck motor pulls like an ox (or Henry’s Flathead V8) and the sparsely equipped 100 takes full advantage of its willingness. This is a serious car that brought a serious price fully deserved by its better than new restoration.
1991 Ferrari Testarossa Coupe, Body by Pininfarina
Lot # 110 1991 Ferrari Testarossa Coupe, Body by Pininfarina; S/N ZFFSM17A3M0087482; Engine # 25696; Silver/Red leather, Black bars; Estimate $200,000 – $250,000; Unrestored original, 2 condition; No Reserve; Hammered Sold at $140,000 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $154,000 Air conditioning, power windows, custom seats with black Daytona-style bars. – Very good original paint and interior. Owned and unregistered until 2012 by Luigi Della Grotta, Ferrari distributor in Canada, now with a second owner with 4,898 km from new. Major service including timing belts in March 2015. – This is the second time in three months that RM has brought a pristine, low mileage Testarossa out of Canada. The other one brought twice as much but had 1/10th the km. Either way, this is a good value in an unmolested Testarossa with enough kilometers so that adding a few more won’t seriously affect the value.
2007 Lamborghini Murcielago LP640-4 Coupe
Lot # 111 2007 Lamborghini Murcielago LP640-4 Coupe; S/N ZHWBU37M77LA02595; Gold (Oro Adonis)/Black leather; Estimate $275,000 – $325,000; Unrestored original, 2 condition; With Reserve; Hammered Sold at $270,000 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $297,000. – 6-speed, glass engine cover, yellow calipers, headrest emblems, navigation system, big stereo. – Showroom condition, formerly owned by Noel Finn, CEO of Monster Cable who had the monster stereo installed. – This is twice the price of a Ferrari 512 TR, with better chassis and performance. This result is on a par with what your local Lamborghini dealer got for it new, in sharp contrast with other late model supercars bringing double or more their MSRP. It’s not a bargain, but it’s not excessively priced, either.
2005 Ford GT Coupe
Lot # 112 2005 Ford GT Coupe; S/N 1FAFP90S95Y401041; Quick Silver Metallic, Black stripes/Black leather; Estimate $300,000 – $325,000; Unrestored original, 2 condition; With Reserve; Hammered Sold at $280,000 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $308,000. – McIntosh stereo; BBS wheels, stripes, silver calipers. – Nearly imperceptible driver’s seat bolster wear, otherwise like new. – Offered at Russo and Steele a year ago with a reported high bid of $275,000, the result here at the Biltmore is typical of low mileage (aren’t they all?) Ford GT’s today and a six-figure profit on its original $150,000 or so price.