1961 Ferrari 400 Superamerica SWB Coupe Aerodinamico
1961 Ferrari 400 Superamerica SWB Coupe Aerodinamico

RM Sotheby’s Arizona 2017 – Auction Report

RM Sotheby’s, Arizona Biltmore, Phoenix, Arizona, January 19-20, 2017

After a pair of strong $60+ million sale years at the Biltmore RM Sotheby’s took a step back, although still to a very credible $53.7 million sale total, the third highest in its Arizona auctions history. It was a pattern shared among all the major Arizona auctions except for Bonhams (more than double last year’s total) and Russo and Steele (up 14% from 2016.)

A look at the makeup of the consignment suggests the environment that RM and other auctions are facing.

• Twenty-seven of the 160 lots offered were from a single Seattle-area collector; seventeen of them were sold for hammer bids of under $100,000.
• Twenty came from the Morschadt Family Collection with nineteen sold; only one required a successful hammer bid over $100,000.

More significantly, of the 160 lots offered, 61 (38.1%) had prior auction histories, a clear sign that it is getting harder and harder to find fresh auction inventory in an increasingly crowded and competitive auction calendar. If anything, the concern is greater at the pinnacle of the value pyramid where two of RM Sotheby’s top four sales had prior auction history.

Within that context RM Sotheby’s had a highly successful auction with an excellent 88.8% sale rate and a healthy $378,248 average transaction led by some mouth-watering cars that represented a healthy diversity of vehicles.

Barely two weeks later RM Sotheby’s was at Place Vauban in Paris during Rétromobile week. That is followed not even a month later by Amelia Island. In other words, the diffusion of auction inventory is getting harder and harder to manage and it stands to reason that it will be seen not only in individual auction totals but also in pressure on reserves.

Here are the RM Sotheby’s Arizona auction numbers:

RM Arizona
Cars Offered / Sold
Sale %
Sold < Low Est
Sold > High Est
Average Sale
Median Sale
Total Sales
2017
160 / 142
88.8%
69.7%
5.6%
$378,248
$121,000 [32.0%]
$53,711,250
2016
150 / 127
84.7%
74.8%
4.7%
$494,344
$176,000 [35.6%]
$62,781,750
2015
123 / 110
89.4%
49.1%
10.9%
$578,232
$220,000 [38.1%]
$63,605,500
2014
126 / 108
85.7%
54.6%
14.8%
$421,884
$141,250 [33.5%]
$45,563,472
2013
84 / 75
89.3%
54.9%
9.9%
$485,544
$181,500 [37.4%]
$36,415,800
2012
140 / 126
90.0%
71.4%
7.1%
$203,654
$110,000 [54.0%]
$25,660,400
2011
182 / 174
95.6%
40.2%
18.9%
$178,144
N/A
$30,995,075

Andrew Newton ably assisted with the on-site data collection and observations; as always it is the Editor who is responsible for the final content.

RM Sotheby’s Arizona 2017 – Auction Report

1970 Toyota FJ40 Land Cruiser Utility
Lot # 107 1970 Toyota FJ40 Land Cruiser Utility; S/N FJ4086368; Red, White roof/Grey vinyl; Estimate $65,000 – $85,000; Recent restoration, 2- condition; No Reserve; Hammered Sold at $42,500 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $46,750 – White wheels, Warn front hubs, heater, center facing rear seats, rear mounted spare, 15 inch Goodyear Wrangler tires. – Standard suspension. Good recent paint although there is too much orange peel in places that were difficult to wet sand. Good new interior. Chassis is restored like new. An unusually purely restored Land Cruiser. – Bid to $45,000 at Mecum Monterey last August, the seller got real in Arizona and put it on the money, coming up only one bid short of the unsuccessful high bid five months ago, a fair result for both the buyer and the seller. Jacked up Land Cruisers may bring superior prices some places, but this is the real deal for real money.
1988 Ferrari 328 GTS Spider, Body by Pininfarina
Lot # 112 1988 Ferrari 328 GTS Spider, Body by Pininfarina; S/N ZFFXA20A2J0076919; Engine # 12290; Red, Black roof panel/Beige leather; Estimate $90,000 – $120,000; Unrestored original, 2- condition; No Reserve; Hammered Sold at $80,000 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $88,000 – CD stereo, air conditioning, power windows. – Upholstery is lightly worn and a little soiled, underbody shows some use. Engine compartment has been quickly cleaned up to get rid of storage dust, missing a lot of dust in the corners. 9,153 original miles and looks like it. – This result is way at the low end of recent results for 328 GTSis in unrestored, low miles condition and is a good value for the new owner.
1986 Ferrari Testarossa Coupe 'Flying Mirror', Body by Pininfarina
Lot # 113 1986 Ferrari Testarossa Coupe ‘Flying Mirror’, Body by Pininfarina; S/N ZFFSA17A7G0061481; Engine # 00205; Red/Black leather; Estimate $130,000 – $160,000; Unrestored original, 2- condition; No Reserve; Hammered Sold at $137,500 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $151,250 – – Good original paint with some paintwork on the nose and lightly worn interior. Neat, little used engine compartment. The (exactly) 8,000 miles showing on the odometer are represented as original; freshly belt serviced and Ferrari Classiche certified. – This TR is arguably even somewhat better than the price it brought, imbuing the new owner with the confidence of low miles, pampered condition and a fresh belt service. With 2,000 miles to go before it turns the odometer over into five figures it promises significant enjoyment at a realistic price.
1932 Ford V-8 Drophead Coupe, Body by Carlton Carriage
Lot # 114 1932 Ford V-8 Drophead Coupe, Body by Carlton Carriage; S/N C18R1642; Black/Red leather; Black cloth top; Estimate $175,000 – $250,000; Concours restoration, 1- condition; With Reserve; Not sold at Hammer bid of $100,000 – RHD. Crimson wire wheels, blackwall tires, Butler fender top parking lights, Ford Twolite headlights, rear-mounted cloth covered spare, integrated trunk, cowl mounted trafficators. – Very good paint, chrome, top, upholstery and interior wood. Restored to high standards and well maintained but showing some storage dust in difficult corners. Second in the prewar Ford V-8 class at Pebble Beach in 2003 and a class award winner again in 2011. Accepted as a CCCA Full Classic ™. – This is a coachbuilt Ford Deuce, restored to high levels and then maintained there for years. It is, by any standard, an exceptionally rare car but the Biltmore bidders gave it no more that credit for being an ordinary, concours restored, Deuce. Their mistake. It is worth a bunch more.
 1970 Ferrari 365 GTB/4 Daytona Berlinetta, Body by Pininfarina
Lot # 120 1970 Ferrari 365 GTB/4 Daytona Berlinetta, Body by Pininfarina; S/N 13183; Rosso Chiaro/Black leather; Estimate $700,000 – $850,000; Older restoration, 2 condition; With Reserve; Not sold at Hammer bid of $600,000 – Ansa exhaust, Cromodora centerlock wheels, Michelin XWX tires, Momo leather-wrapped steering wheel, power windows, air conditioning, Becker Mexico stereo, Plexiglas nose. – Spotless engine bay and underbody. Lightly worn seats. An older restoration that’s been recently refreshed and has no needs of any consequence. – There was a dearth of interest in Daytonas in Arizona this year with both cars failing to find new owners despite being in good condition and well presented.
1998 Ferrari F355 F1 Spider, Body by Pininfarina
Lot # 126 1998 Ferrari F355 F1 Spider, Body by Pininfarina; S/N ZFFXR48A2W0112320; Ice Blue/Cream leather, Dark Blue piping; Blue cloth top; Estimate $100,000 – $150,000; Unrestored original, 2 condition; No Reserve; Hammered Sold at $80,000 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $88,000 – Chrome 18 inch modular wheels, Continental tires, cassette stereo. – Sound original paint, no stone chips. Upholstery is barely used. Odometer shows 6,282 miles from new. – Creeping inexorably into ‘affordable’ range even if faced by the inevitable recurring expense of timing belt services (of which there is no mention in regard to this example and which should, then, be factored into the price it brought.) Low miles, virtually unused condition and a tinge of celebrity ownership (bought by country singer Reba McEntire for her then-husband) contributed to a healthy result.
1975 Maserati Bora 4.9 Coupe
Lot # 129 1975 Maserati Bora 4.9 Coupe; S/N AM11749US916; Engine # AM1071149916; Blue Ischia Metalizzato/Light Blue leather; Estimate $175,000 – $225,000; Recent restoration, 2- condition; No Reserve; Hammered Sold at $145,000 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $159,500 – Michelin XWX tires, tool roll, books, jack. – Very good, paint and interior. Bright trim and bumper chrome and probably the nicest polished stainless steel roof I’ve ever seen on a Bora. Underbody is a little dirty, but even with that this is a very good Bora in unusual and attractive colors showing 38,770 believable miles. – An honest car in particularly attractive colors and not expensive at all when compared with its counterparts from Maranello. An astute acquisition at a reasonable price.
1955 Austin-Healey 100/4 BN1 Roadster
Lot # 135 1955 Austin-Healey 100/4 BN1 Roadster; S/N BN1L224877; Engine # 1B224877; Ice Blue/Dark Blue vinyl; Blue leatherette top; 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 – 3-speed, silver painted wire wheels, Dunlop Road Speed tires, badge bar. – Restored like new and still very close with very good and consistent cosmetics. – Sold at Auctions America’s Ft. Lauderdale auction last April for $88,000 with 11 miles added to its odometer since then (probably on and off the transporter and onto the preview lot at Hilton Head in November where it no-saled at $77,000) this is a charming BN1 that needs nothing more than a good new home. At this price the buyer can be proud of the Healey and of the price paid.