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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.
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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.

Russo and Steele Scottsdale 2013 – Auction Report Page Two


1886 Benz Replica Patent Motorwagen
Lot # S603 1886 Benz Replica Patent Motorwagen; S/N 017; Black, Varnished wood/Black leather; Non-factory replica, 2- condition; Hammered Sold at $27,000 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $29,700 – Starting to show its age, and not running. Room decor for a high end collector’s garage. Consignment #3486. Sold for $46,750 at RM’s Amelia Island auction last year. I thought it was bought at a fair price then, so this must be a real bargain. You can’t do anything with it other than look at it, and maybe give it a little love, attention and polish that it’s been lacking. Collectors pay this much for soda machines and neon signs to decorate their garages. This Benz at least has instructional value.

1992 Alfa Romeo TATUUS Formula Car
Lot # S615 1992 Alfa Romeo TATUUS Formula Car; S/N 03; White, Blue, Red “Miller”/Blue; Competition car, original as-raced, 3- condition; Hammered Sold at $19,500 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $21,450 – Alfasud flat 4-cylinder, Hewland LD 201 transaxle, Bosch mass air flow fuel injection – Tired, dirty and neglected. Consignment #3420. Strictly speaking this car should be called a TATUUS (mfr) Alfa Romeo (engine). It’s nothing if not unusual, but sorely neglected and will require a comprehensive rebuild, crack-checking every part, before it’s turned loose. Don’t be surprised if the new owner finds the project more than expected, and the racing opportunities less, and returns this car to the auction block sometime soon.

1960 Triumph TR3A Roadster
Lot # S623 1960 Triumph TR3A Roadster; S/N TS47312L; Grey metallic/Grey leather; Black vinyl; Grey metallic hardtop top; Concours restoration, 1 condition; Hammered Sold at $26,000 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $28,600. No Reserve – Red wire wheels, blackwall Vredestein tires, luggage rack, wind wings, radio, fender mirrors, Lucas driving and fog lights, polished and dressed up underhood – Way better than new. Excellent paint, chrome and interior. Trunk trimmed like the interior. A showpiece. Consignment #3205. This is a showpiece TR3A, restored over the top and painted and polished to perfection on every surface. It’s not for everyone, but driven sparingly in benign conditions and regularly polished and dusted it will amaze onlookers wherever it goes. This is no more than a freshly and accurately restored TR3A should bring. There is no premium at all for its way more than pristine condition and immaculate presentation. A very good deal for the buyer.

1947 Cisitalia Replica 202 SMM Aerodynamica
Lot # S649 1947 Cisitalia Replica 202 SMM Aerodynamica; S/N EN10219; Red/Dark Red; Non-factory replica, 3 condition; Hammered Sold at $29,000 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $31,900 – Lefthand drive. Wire wheels, fender skirts, two dual choke carbs – Decent paint and fiberglass bodywork. Erratic door fits, crudely made aluminum door and window trim (just like the real thing?) A creditable and usable replica. Consignment #3462. Offered at Bonhams Quail Lodge auction in August where it was reported bid to $38,000. The wait didn’t result in any more money for the seller, which it usually doesn’t. The Cisitalia 202 SMM is one of the seminal designs of the postwar era, a car that will still turn heads and so slippery that even its little 1,100cc Fiat engine will push it along at freeway speeds and startling fuel economy. It will make someone extremely happy as a weekend fun car and might even find its way onto vintage racing grids. At this price it makes eminent good sense.

970 Bailey Porsche 917 Replica Race Car
Lot # S695 1970 Bailey Porsche 917 Replica Race Car; S/N BEC917K0120010; Gulf Blue, Orange/Black; Non-factory replica, 2- condition; Not sold at Hammer bid of $120,000 – Goodyear slicks, centerlock modular wheels, Porsche 911 six, two three-barrel carbs, Porsche gearbox – Attractively presented and done to very high standards but pointless. Said to be HSR legal for vintage racing. There’s room in the chassis for a few more cylinders. Consignment #3331. A curious Snuffaluffagus that is neither a real 917 nor practical on the street as a weekend showoff car. It’s hard to imagine it being worth any more than the reported high bid here.

1962 Pontiac Catalina Super Duty 2-Dr. Hardtop
Lot # S747 1962 Pontiac Catalina Super Duty 2-Dr. Hardtop; S/N 362P75131; White/Blue vinyl; Visually maintained, largely original, 3 condition; Hammered Sold at $115,000 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $126,500 – 421/410hp, dual quads, 4-speed, 4.30 Safe-T-Track, headers, aluminum bumpers, hood, fenders, wheel wells, steel wheels, hubcaps, blackwalls – Mostly original with some paintwork. Roof paint peeling, hood blistered. Radio and heater delete. A rare survivor showing 13,408 believable miles in surprisingly well preserved condition other than the expected wavy aluminum fenders. Consignment #3043. Offered here in 2010, the year of El Nina, and never crossed the block. Reported sold here in 2011 for $24,200, which must be a reporting error. In any event, this is a legendary Poncho in exceptionally good and well preserved condition. It would be nice to know how it fared in the El Nina maelstrom, but it appears to be none the worse for wear. An exceptional Pontiac that brought a reasonable price and will still amaze street racers.

2007 Ferrari F430 Spider
Lot # S748 2007 Ferrari F430 Spider; S/N ZFFEW59A370151813; Dark Grey Metallic/Burgundy leather; Unrestored original, 2 condition; Hammered Sold at $137,000 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $150,700 – Red calipers, SF shields, F1 gearbox, Daytona seats, carbon fiber interior trim. Assembly # 68963 – Lightly used, clean car. Consignment #3517. Sold at Russo and Steele’s Monterey auction in 2011 for $154,000, the seller here got a year and half use out of an attractive Ferrari for about $17,000.

1947 Cisitalia Replica 202 Nuvolari Spider
Lot # S768 1947 Cisitalia Replica 202 Nuvolari Spider; S/N 32; Engine # MM059; Red/Brown leather; Non-factory replica, 3+ condition; Hammered Sold at $38,000 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $41,800 – Chrome spoke Borrani wire wheels, dual aeroscreens, skirts – Ripply fiberglass bodywork, old 4-spoke steering wheel, cast aluminum headlight stoneguards. Aged but orderly and presentable. Consignment #3461. Like many Italian cars based on Fiat components, it’s only a short stretch to create a reasonable replica. The basic parts are readily available and fiberglass makes construction of a replica simple. The process is not unlike what Cisitalia (and Abarth and others) followed in the Forties. Bid to $40,000 at Bonhams Quail Lodge auction last August, this is a reasonable result for an orderly but used replica.

1972 Lamborghini Espada Coupe
Lot # S647 1972 Lamborghini Espada Coupe, Body by Bertone; S/N 8764; Black/Grey cloth, Tan leather; Visually maintained, largely original, 3- condition; Not sold at Hammer bid of $46,000 – HRE modular wheels, Dunlop tires, Sparco front seats – Blistered repaint, tired original rear seat upholstery with pulled seams, aftermarket carb air filters, no windshield wiper arms. A tired car. It’s tempting to use the dreaded ‘rat’ to describe this neglected Lambo, a car that will take tens of thousands of dollars to make into something the least bit reliable or proud to be seen driving. Drew should have given it his ‘The Reserve is OFF’ performance at about $25,000. In fact, the seller should have been relieved to accept any offer of real money.

1958 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Roadster
Lot # S737 1958 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Roadster; S/N 1980428500154; Engine # 1989808600131; Light Blue/White leather; White vinyl top; Cosmetic restoration, 3+ condition; Hammered Sold at $661,000 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $727,100 – Whitewalls, Alpine cassette stereo – Good paint, chrome and interior. Engine is very orderly and clean. The chassis doesn’t seem to have been restored. The colors and presentation are unusual, to say the least, but are very Fifties. This car’s history must be interesting, but there is no hint of it on the car card. Original Red leather upholstery replaced with the present white, a change for the better that highlights the DB 334G Light Blue paint and makes the whitewall tires appropriate. Reportedly one of only six delivered in this color, it is refreshing that recent owners didn’t change it to one of the dark, neutral colors popular today. It will draw attention at any event and will really stand out among 300SLs. Sound and well maintained, it is reasonably priced here.

[Source: Rick Carey]