Russo and Steele Scottsdale 2013 – Auction Report

Russo and Steele, Scottsdale, Arizona, January 17-20, 2013

Report and photos by Rick Carey, Auction Editor

The important news from Russo and Steele in Scottsdale this year wasn’t the cars, it was the announcement of two new venues for 2013:

  • Newport Beach, California at the Newport Dunes, June 20-22; and
  • Las Vegas, Nevada at the newly remodeled Tropicana Hotel, September 26-28.

Russo and Steele is an acquired taste. To many the liveliness, noise, excitement and densely packed “auction in the round” format is a rejuvenating elixir. Others find it disorienting and its intensity oppressive. What’s in no doubt is Russo and Steele’s ability to move cars and to generate a level of excitement and showmanship that is unparalleled.

Russo and Steele’s Scottsdale auction contracted in 2013. Although the car count was up by 10%, the number of cars rose by only 2.7% and the total sale was 12.9% lower.

The absence of seven figure cars, even potential $1 million plus sales in the consignment, in a year where all the other Scottsdale auction boasted multiple million dollar plus sales accounts for Russo and Steele’s showing. The auction companies battle in a tough arena competing for headline consignments. Nowhere was that competition more clear than in Russo and Steele’s shutout from the million dollar club, and their near shutout from the next tier between $500,000 and $1 million where there were only two sales at Russo and Steele. Bonhams had 4, Barrett-Jackson 5, RM 10 and Gooding 11.

It’s a brutal, cut-throat battle with no quarter given.

Russo and Steele Scottsdale
Cars Offered / Cars Sold
Sale %
Average Sale
Median Sale
Total Sales
2013
703 /451
64.2%
$39,344
$27,500
$17,744,110
2012
640 / 439
68.6%
$46,403
$30,800
$20,370,720
2011
620 / 421
67.9%
$53,991
$55,000
$22,730,342

As usual at Russo and Steele muscle, and particularly pony car muscle, were the most prominent sellers, but far and away the most interesting car – and the top seller – was the Mercedes-Benz 300SL Roadster resplendent in Light Blue with White upholstery and whitewall tires. 300SLs today tend to be presented in muted shades of dark grey, dark blue and black, so this car really stood out from the pack. So did its $727,100 price.

A similar standout was the 1940 Packard Darrin Victoria Custom. “Dutch” Darrin would pale with envy at its bodywork, air conditioning, entertainment system and 485hp Viper V-10 under the hood. The $242,000 price would similarly amaze him, but not the bidders who saw its workmanship or considered it had been driven over 27,000 miles since it was completed.

Large to small, custom to stock, competition to street, Russo and Steele Scottsdale offered a collection of cars that assures its place in the Scottsdale auction scene

Drew Alcazar and his team demonstrated their ability to shift gears rapidly and set up their unique “auction in the round” in a standalone situation when they successfully moved from Monterey’s Marriott hotel ballroom to the Fisherman’s Wharf parking lot last August. What they have in store for Newport Beach – a location that last saw a collector car auction two decades ago – and the Tropicana is worth the wait.

Russo and Steele Scottsdale 2013 – Auction Report

 

1973 American Motors Hornet Hatchback
Lot # TH205 1973 American Motors Hornet Hatchback; S/N A3C037N008043; Red/Black leatherette; Competition car, original as-raced, 3+ condition; Hammered Sold at $12,500 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $13,750 – Braced roll cage, single seat, Accusump aluminum radiator – Clean, orderly historic race car in freshened as-raced condition with a fresh engine, new radiator and MSD ignition. An intriguing car with period SCCA history and real potential. Feature article in Hemmings Muscle Machines in December 2011. Consignment #3016. Bid to $10,500 on the block, closed later at this price. Go racing on a budget? This is a hot ticket at a bargain price.
1999 Oldsmobile Bravada Sport Utility
Lot # TH277 1999 Oldsmobile Bravada Sport Utility; S/N 1GHDT13W6X2700001; Green, White/Charcoal leather; Unrestored original, 2- condition; Hammered Sold at $9,250 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $10,175 – Still clean and essentially unused but the graphics are starting to show age. Consignment #3202. Sold by GM at Barrett-Jackson’s Palm Beach auction in 2005 for $15,120 and essentially as it was then. The ‘X’ in the VIN, however, means it’s going to have a hard time getting registered for road use which limits its usefulness.
1978 TVR Taimar Coupe
Lot # F401 1978 TVR Taimar Coupe; S/N 4383FM; Red/Tan leatherette; Visually maintained, largely original, 3+ condition; Not sold at Hammer bid of $11,000 – Alloy wheels, Vredestein blackwall tires, Jensen CD stereo, folding sunroof – Largely original with a fair repaint over old paint. Sound original interior, dull bumper covers, peeling chrome on windshield trim. Good body fits. Consignment #3174. A used car that has survived in pretty good condition, but no better than the reported high bid for it.
1992 Ferrari 348ts
Lot # F451 1992 Ferrari 348ts; S/N ZFFRG36A9N0090729; Red/Tan leather; Black cloth top; Unrestored original, 2- condition; Hammered Sold at $39,500 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $43,450 – 6,575 believable miles showing on the odometer. Good original paint and interior. Clean, tidy, well-maintained original car. Consignment #3478. Maybe this marks the bottom of the depreciation curve for 348s. Or it might just be an auction exuberance aberration. In any event, in the flow of recent history this is a strong price for a 348ts.
1968 Ford Mustang GT Sportsroof
Lot # F514 1968 Ford Mustang GT Sportsroof; S/N 8F02J156683; Meadowlark Yellow, Matte Black hood/Black vinyl; Recent restoration, 2 condition; Hammered Sold at $26,000 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $28,600 – 302/230hp, 3-speed, radio, no P/S or P/B – An interesting car that is not usually restored to this showroom condition standard. Very good paint, chrome and interior. Underbody is sharp and clean. Consignment #3367. This price is based on the exceptional restoration and not on the ordinary Mustang that benefited from it. It really is above reproach.
1962 Chevrolet Corvette Convertible
Lot # F524 1962 Chevrolet Corvette Convertible; S/N 20867S114447; Black/Black; Black top; Cosmetic restoration, 3 condition; Hammered Sold at $45,000 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $49,500 – 327, 4-speed, spinner wheelcovers, narrow whitewalls, WonderBar radio, two tops – Good paint, chrome and interior but the chassis and underbody are superficially redone with old grime under new paint. Car locked so the engine (claimed numbers matching) was inaccessible. Consignment #3172. The bidders apparently liked this Corvette better than I did.
1969 Pontiac GTO 2-Dr. Hardtop
Lot # F526 1969 Pontiac GTO 2-Dr. Hardtop; S/N 242379A124831; Engine # 0589545; Light Yellow/Black vinyl; Older restoration, 2 condition; Hammered Sold at $29,500 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $32,450 – 400/366hp Ram Air III replacement engine, automatic, P/S, P/B, radio, Super Stock wheels, Firestone S/S tires – An original Judge documented with original window sticker, Protect-o-Plate and PHS paperwork. Restored like new with very good paint, chrome and interior. Nearly like new underhood. Consignment #3022. The replacement engine hampers this GTO’s value, as does its automatic transmission, but the restoration is exceptional and it represents honest value at this price.
1968 Ford Mustang GT 428 CJ Fastback
Lot # F528 1968 Ford Mustang GT 428 CJ Fastback; S/N 8F02R187558; White/Black; Older restoration, 2 condition; Not sold at Hammer bid of $87,500 – 428/335hp, automatic, radio, P/B, Rally wheels, 3.91 Traction-Lok, GT wheels, fog lights – Mustang Club Gold Concours winner. Like new, with better cosmetics, except for a broken radio antenna. Consignment #3001. A beautiful car, elaborately restored and desirably equipped. It is a Shelby GT500 without the badge and it could have been sold without regret at the reported high bid
1932 Studebaker 55 Six St. Regis Brougham
Lot # F532 1932 Studebaker 55 Six St. Regis Brougham; S/N 512543; Tan, Brown/Brown, Tan cord; Recent restoration, 3+ condition; Hammered Sold at $46,000 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $50,600 – Brown wire wheels, whitewall tires, rear mounted spare – Sound repaint but over some preparation oversights. Good chrome and interior. Underbody and chassis are done and presentable but not show quality. Consignment #3060. While this is an unusual classic era car among the muscle, sports and customs at Russo and Steele it nevertheless caught the bidders’ attention and brought a healthy price that should please both the buyer and the seller. This is an ample price for a closed six-cylinder Studebaker that isn’t considered a Full Classic ™ by CCCA.
1968 Shelby Mustang GT500 Fastback
Lot # F536 1968 Shelby Mustang GT500 Fastback; S/N 8T02S169370-01686; Sunlit Gold metallic, White stripes/Black vinyl; Recent restoration, 2 condition; Not sold at Hammer bid of $100,000 – 428/335hp, 4-speed, pushbutton radio, P/S, P/B, A/C, 10-spoke alloy wheels, Radial T/A tires, smog equipment, tilt column – Restored like new with excellent paint, chrome and interior. Like new underhood. Apparently never judged, though. Consignment #3009. The recipient of a quality restoration with no detail overlooked, it’s not surprising the seller decided to keep this immaculate 4-speed air conditioned GT500. In Russo and Steele’s Shelby-centered environment it is a little unexpected that it didn’t attract more attention, or more money.

1 2 Next

Show Comments (6)

Your email address will not be published.

  1. I and I guess many others want to see ALL the cars auctioned, not just the big ones, they’re for the few but how about the majority who ALSO put their Pride and Joys up for auction?

    1. Good point, Michael.
      A while ago Jamie Doyle and I were posting complete results lists on sportscardigest.com with links to the cars that had been viewed and reported.
      It’s an extra step, as well as requiring more effort to format and present on the Web in usable form and I’ve let it lapse while concentrating on finishing the full reports on the cars I view, assembling the photos and pushing the results to Jamie to format and post on SCD in a timely fashion.
      In some sales (Mecum’s multi-thousand car auctions, for example) it’s a real task, and probably not informative without more information on the individual cars. “1967 Chevrolet Corvette Roadster s/n xxx sold for $37,000” doesn’t impart much useful information.
      I do try to include some less exclusive/expensive cars that represent the wide base of the collector car pyramid, but it’s hard to ignore L88 Corvettes and Ferrari SWBs to have time to document more ’67 Mustang convertibles.
      Just so you know, the technique employed in viewing and reporting on cars at mega-sales is structured to include a diverse universe. I wander aimlessly down a row of cars until something catches my eye, say, a nice, correctly restored, Z/28. Then I photograph it and five or six cars in its neighborhood, no matter what they are (well, excluding customs and resto-mods, which are individual expressions) and write them up.
      It’s a bit slapdash, but overall is intended to give readers a balanced view of specific auctions and the larger collector car auction market.
      Jamie and I will discuss returning to the full results presentation at least for some auctions. In the meantime keep noodging.

      Rick

  2. I look forward To Rick Carey’s auction reports. They are usually spot on and informative. I too would like to see more cars covered, perhaps some of the more unusual pieces that seem to turn up at auction. You can only look at so many Mustangs of any flavor without boredom setting in.

    1. Gordon,
      The best way is to search the auction companies’ websites. They all post their results, although they are inconsistent in their presentation.
      RM (rmauctions.com) posts the full results, including high bids on unsold lots (the way it should be, in my opinion.)
      Gooding (goodingco.com), Bonhams (bonhams.com), Barrett-Jackson (barrett-jackson.com) and Russo and Steele post only the results on sold cars. They are in lot number order, except for Russo and Steele (russoandsteele.com) which publishes its results in descending order of sale price.
      As mentioned in my reply to an earlier post, at one time we published a full list of all the results on SCD. That’s workable for sales with 100-200 cars, but becomes unwieldy with sales of 1,000-2,000 (or more in the case of some Mecum auctions.)