RM Auctions, Dennis Mitosinka Collection, Online Only, September 25, 2020

Dennis Mitosinka’s collection consisted largely of 400 lots of automobilia, memorabilia and parts but culminated in 31 varied but intriguing automobiles offered without reserve. The most notable of them were little-seen prewar classics.

The auction followed the usual pattern for online auctions: infrequent bidding until the minutes before the scheduled closing time, then a flurry that frequently went on at length through a succession of bidding extensions. These were moderately priced cars and the pre-set bidding increments were small, typically only $1,000 at a time, that encouraged bidders to hope to take home a prize at a modest price, but went on at length before reaching reasonable levels for the inherent value of the lots.

Several of the lots were Stutzes including one from the fabled stash of A.K. Miller in East Orange, Vermont. The following report on its result includes a long-winded description of that day in 1996 when a multitude gathered for the Miller collection’s disposition auction, many just anxious for a glimpse of a storied trove.

Here are the numbers:

Cars Sold/ Offered Sale % Sold < Low Est Sold > High Est Average Sale Median Sale Total $
31/31 100% 61.3% 12.9% $44,071 $31,900

[72.4%]

$1,366,200

Reports are based upon online photographs, descriptions and RM’s Inspection Reports.

All photos are © 2020 and courtesy of RM Auctions.


Lot # 584 1919 Stutz Series G Close-Coupled Touring; S/N 3658; Engine # G3462; Red, Black fenders/Black leather, Canvas; Black top; Estimate $30,000 – $40,000; Unrestored original 4+ condition; No Reserve; Hammered Sold at $43,000 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $47,300. – RHD. 360/80hp T-head 16-valve four, yellow wire wheels, Rudge-Whitworth centerlocks, dual spotlights, Stromberg updraft carburetor, dual rear spares, Derco luggage trunk inside a folding fence on the right running board. – Tired, peeling old brush paint job, partially reupholstered seats under torn canvas covers, falling apart interior trim panels. Erratic bright trim but the radiator shell and headlights have been redone. The engine compartment is tidy and has received needed attention and probably an overhaul somewhere in its not-too-distant past. The chassis and much of the car is original, as it was when acquired from A.K. Miller’s estate in 1996. A seriously appealing old survivor. – This car was sold by Christie’s from the collection of A.K. Miller in 1996 for $24,150. For newer collectors who haven’t heard the A.K. Miller story here’s a recap from my Sports Car Market report on the 1996 auction of the estate. Pardon me for being long-winded, but it deserves to be remembered.

“Alex Miller was born to wealth and privilege, the son of a New York financier who stashed his wealth in one of the few banks to weather the Depression. A Rutgers graduate, Alex pursued over the next two decades a “Boy’s Adventure” life as a pilot, establishing Miller’s Flying Service in the 30’s with an autogyro. Alex and his wife Imogene moved to Vermont after his World War II service as a ferry pilot for the RCAF and settled in East Orange to establish a legend.

“Getting to East Orange involves driving twenty miles from Barre (even though it’s probably five miles as the crow flies), finally coming up a narrow two-lane that turns to dirt when it crosses the line from Topsham to Orange Township. The village has maybe a dozen homes, set in a typical narrow Vermont valley where the sun rises late over the East hills and sets early behind the West ones.

“In this bucolic setting Miller built barns and garages and sheds and leantos under which he secreted some remarkable vehicles, at his death exclusively the work of Harry Stutz and his successor, Frank Moskovics, except for lone examples of Stanley, Rolls-Royce and Locomobile.

“A.K. Miller stories filled the weekend; every Stutz guy there had some. A.K. writing new messages between the lines of postcards sent to him and sending them back. A.K. scrounging nails and roofing tin from burned barns and hammering them back into shape for his car sheds. A.K. crimping salvaged brake line fittings to old stiff tubing and selling them as “n.o.s.” parts. A.K. hauling cars in and out of the sheds in the dark, shoving them back inside or covering them with old burlap sacks if anyone drove by so they wouldn’t be seen. A.K. covertly moving the boulder that marked a corner of his property to extend its bounds to accommodate a new car shed. Thin sheetmetal in a Bearcat’s fender was explained quickly: A.K. was prone to hammer out non-matching parts until they stretched enough, to a quick glance, to look like their mates.

“The short and sweet summary is that, starting last March, Christie’s (aided by Dave Brownell and Gerald Lettieri) began unearthing Alex Miller’s treasure. Along the way they and the executors of Imogene’s estate discovered that A.K. hoarded not only Stutzes but also specie: well over a million dollars of gold bullion, silver ingot and coins plus nearly as much again in promissory notes and stocks.

“The cars looked rusty and neglected, yet almost every one enjoyed A.K.’s peculiar attention: the axles were lubricated and the engines still turned.”

This is a special Stutz, not only for its performance but also for the story of Stutz fascination that led to its preservation. Its result here is double what it brought a quarter century ago in East Orange, Vermont and it has had a good life since then. Its stories and preservation make it a wonderful value at this price, even if I am prejudiced.

 

Lot # 590 1985 March 85C Indy Car; S/N 85C22; Engine # DFX174; Yellow, “Pennzoil”/Black; Estimate $50,000 – $80,000; Competition car, original as-raced 4 condition; No Reserve; Hammered Sold at $22,500 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $24,750. – Ford-Cosworth DFX V8 block, no cylinder heads, exhaust or induction system, CART number 480, fire system. – Race history claimed during 1984 driven by Jacques Villeneuve, originally an 83C, later updated to 84C, then 85C for 1985, which seems odd since it is clearly identified with multiple March markings as an 85C. Reputed to have won at Elkhart Lake and 3rd at Mid-Ohio with Villeneuve and 5th at Indy with Johnny Parsons driving. Incomplete, dusty, surface rusted steel, oxidized aluminum. Garage art. – Attracted little interest and closed out at this result with 16 bids, a reasonable result for its condition and dubious history.

Lot # 593 1929 Stutz Sport Custom Roadster; S/N Engine no. DV33134; Engine # DV33134; White/Black leather; Estimate $50,000 – $80,000; Unrestored original 4+ condition; No Reserve; Hammered Sold at $110,000 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $121,000. – 322/156hp 1932 Stutz DV32 engine, 3-speed Warner gearbox with free-wheeling, 2-speed Auburn rear axle, shortened 107″ wheelbase 1929 Stutz chassis and wire wheels, hydraulic drum brakes, 1934 LaSalle front fenders, V-16 Cadillac radiator and instruments, Marchal headlights, Auburn cowl and raked vee windscreen. – Dull, peeling, thin, surface rusting paint, tattered upholstery, decent engine compartment with oxidized aluminum surfaces but minimal leakage and stains. A palette waiting to have some attention. The combination of components and history is nothing less than attractive. It’s a neglected old bitsa, and as wonderful as it can be. The engine runs. – Overlooked and neglected in early bidding, a powerful wave built up behind this “Sport Custom” and the bidding went on, and on, and on for an hour or more of extensions. No one would let go and they tried every bidding trick to arrive at this magnificent result. It is a mostly forgotten expression of hot rod creativity using choice bits from pre-WWII cars to create a unique expression not involving a flathead V8. No one can be faulted for paying this much for it, a car that deserves to be a centerpiece in a Petersen Museum exposition for its originality.

Lot # 595 1929 Pierce-Arrow Model 125 Roadster; S/N 2003923; Engine # A5152; Scarlet, Black fenders and accent/Red leather; Beige cloth top; Estimate $65,000 – $85,000; Older restoration 3 condition; No Reserve; Hammered Sold at $61,000 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $67,100. – 366/125hp L-head inline eight, 3-speed, body color wire wheels, whitewall tires, rear-mounted spare, Dawley fender-mounted headlights, rumble seat, luggage door, top hinged windshield, full weather equipment. – Tired old paint with chips, scratches and spots everywhere. Poor paint and preparation in hidden areas like door jambs. Weak chrome. Aged but sound upholstery and interior trim with a reported hole in the passenger’s seat that is not visible in the provided photography. Water stained old top. Aged engine compartment and chassis. A reasonably maintained old restoration, with the emphasis on old. – A tired old car but reasonably well-preserved and complete and an outstanding rare body style. It wouldn’t have been out of order for it to have brought a little more than this but this is a result that is reasonable for both the buyer and the seller.

Lot # 596 1928 Stutz Model BB 4-Passenger Dual-Cowl Speedster, Body by Robbins; S/N 87979; Engine # 91113HC; Burgundy, Dark Red sides, Black accent/Dark Red leather; Beige cloth top; Estimate $125,000 – $150,000; Older restoration 3- condition; No Reserve; Hammered Sold at $87,000 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $95,700. – 299/110hp overhead valve inline-8, Stromberg UUR-2 carburetor, high compression head, chrome spoke wire wheels with body color hubs and rims, dual sidemounts, whitewall tires, dual windshields. – Sound older paint with a few edge chips and touch ups. Body accent paint is peeling. Sound body with good fits and decent bright work. Sound older upholstery, interior trim and top. Good gauges and original “Safety Stutz” glass with embedded wire reinforcements. The engine compartment has been restored. It has some fluid leak residue, as does the chassis, but will clean up with minimal effort. – Sold after some enthusiastic bidding, but in a sale with exceptional Stutzes this is a handsome and good-performing car that didn’t reach a premium price and is a good value.

Lot # 597 1951 Studebaker Champion Regal Convertible; S/N 10GS21028; Engine # 810324; Red/Beige vinyl; Beige cloth top; Estimate $16,000 – $22,000; Older restoration 3- condition; No Reserve; Hammered Sold at $25,000 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $27,500. – 170/85hp inline-6, automatic, wheel covers, whitewalls, Starline AM radio, heater. – Sound old repaint with a scratch behind the passenger’s door and chipped from hood interference. Good upholstery and interior trim but the interior chrome is weak. Good top. The engine compartment and chassis are orderly with some road use evident. A competent and unusual driver-quality Studebaker. – Bid to $14,000 with 4 1/2 hours to go this would have been a sound buy; as it turned out it brought a markedly superior price $5,000 or so more than warranted by its specifications and condition but on balance not a lot of money in absolute terms to make it excessive to take home a reasonably good specimen of a rare car.

Lot # 599 1918 Stutz Series S Close-Coupled Touring; S/N Engine No. S2345; Engine # S2345; Red/Black leather; Black cloth top; Estimate $45,000 – $60,000; Visually maintained, largely original 4+ condition; No Reserve; Hammered Sold at $30,000 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $33,000. – RHD. 361/80hp fixed T-head 16-valve inline four, body color wire wheels, Lester tires, single rear-mounted spare, friction shocks, rear wheel brakes. – Sound but edge chipped, scratched and scraped old repaint, failing trim chrome, blown-up old upholstery. Oily but maintained old chassis and running gear. Some exterior overspray underneath. Torn old top. Maintained engine compartment. Only minimally redone over the years to keep it running and marginally presentable. It needs little to be driven, but everything to be shown. – The Series S was the first Stutz to utilize a Stutz-built engine, in this case a T-head four with cast in place cylinder head. Its performance was extraordinary for the time, continuing Stutz’s reputation for finely engineered high performance cars. It represents a very good value at this price, not only for its performance but also for the distinctive 4-place coachwork. It’s a tired old thing, but after needed attention can be a thrilling driver. It’s a really good value at this price.

Lot # 600 1963 Ghia 1500 GT Coupe, Body by Ghia; S/N 1160384668; Engine # 115005265407; Gold/Black; Estimate $40,000 – $60,000; Visually maintained, largely original 4+ condition; No Reserve; Hammered Sold at $35,000 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $38,500. – 1,481/80hp four, 2-barrel carburetor, 4-speed, silver steel wheels with hubcaps and trim rings, Vredestein tires, Nardi woodrim steering wheel, – Poor, peeling, chipped and blistered old repaint, weak chrome with pitted trim. Orderly engine compartment but a partial exhaust system. Speedometer graduated in miles with Italian legends. Sound upholstery with scuffed-through driver’s seatback piping. An intriguing car that looks a lot like a compressed Ghibli and needs a lot of work. – An intriguing little car that looks shrunken on the sides but tall on the greenhouse, it has some appeal but its condition is not good enough to be used with any pride. Not a good Ghia design, but an effective one with the little Fiat chassis. The result is a realistic compromise of rarity and performance.

Lot # 601 1963 Studebaker Avanti R2 Coupe; S/N 63R2564; Engine # RS1627; White/Orange vinyl; Estimate $20,000 – $30,000; Visually maintained, largely original 3- condition; No Reserve; Hammered Sold at $26,000 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $28,600. – 289/289hp supercharged, automatic, power steering, Twin Traction axle, radio, wide hubcaps, trim rings, blackwall tires, console, heater. – Mediocre old repaint with abundant flaws and issues. Sound but aged and worn original interior and newer driver’s seat upholstery. Weak chrome with pitted trim. Decent engine compartment and chassis. The nose has been replaced after an accident with a later square headlight door part. It’s an R2, but not quite the R2 it was when new. – “Mixed up” is a moderate description of this repaired Avanti R2, a car that is neither fish nor fowl. It is fortunate to bring this in desultory bidding.

Lot # 603 1930 Rolls-Royce Phantom I Newmarket Convertible Sedan, Body by Brewster; S/N S282KR; Engine # 20829; White, Red accent/Red vinyl; Beige leatherette top; Estimate $80,000 – $110,000; Visually maintained, largely original 4+ condition; No Reserve; Hammered Sold at $68,000 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $74,800. – 7,668/113hp inline six, 4-speed, red wire wheels and body accent, whitewall tires, dual chrome-wrapped sidemounts – The body is originally from S170FR, modified in the 30’s, reputedly by Dutch Darrin, with skirted fenders, an integral luggage trunk and lowered windshield and top. Failing old repaint with cracks, chips, dings and flaws everywhere. Grungy chassis with fluid leaks and streaks. Solid body with good door and panel fits, sound vinyl upholstery and interior trim, good gauges. Leaky engine. A usable tour car with an interesting coachwork history. – Bidding was determined for this PI Newmarket but the “wedding car white” presentation robbed it of much appeal and there was little enthusiasm for it leading up to this 31 bid result. This is a modest result even for a body-swapped PI Newmarket.

Lot # 604 1958 Continental Mark III Convertible; S/N H8YG425310; Silver Poly/Black leather; Black leatherette top; Estimate $55,000 – $80,000; Unrestored original 3+ condition; No Reserve; Hammered Sold at $72,000 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $79,200. – 430/375hp, automatic, power steering and brakes, Town & Country radio, power windows (all six), power bench seat, parade boot. – All original, 6,403 miles from new, spare never on the ground, four original wheels and tires included. Other than service parts the only noted replacement is the convertible top. There are chips at the back of the hood, a 4-inch scrape on the hood and scrapes behind the right front bumper. The upholstery is creased but sound although the driver’s seat foam cushioning is disintegrating. Some of the chrome is aging, as are the body seals. The chassis looks like it’s sixty years old. A remarkably preserved example known, with good reason, to its long term family intermediate owners as “Battlestar Galactica”. Far too good to restore and amenable to improving its presentation with attention to cosmetic details. – Bidders lurked in the shadows early on, then came out into the sunshine repeatedly extending the bidding and jumping the pre-set increments to try to get an advantage. Nothing worked and the result is a tribute to persistence through 32 bids. It’s a handsome example bought for a realistic price with a modest and appropriate premium for its originality and preservation.

Lot # 606 1933 Delage D8/15 S Cabriolet; S/N 38622; Engine # 31S; Red/Biscuit leather; Beige leatherette top; Estimate $150,000 – $200,000; Visually maintained, largely original 3- condition; No Reserve; Hammered Sold at $90,000 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $99,000. – RHD. 2,668cc inline overhead valve eight, four SU carburetors, 4-speed, wheel discs, dual rear chrome-wrapped spares, Lucas Bi-Flex headlights. – An intriguing car apparently delivered new to the UK and fitted with Lucas lights and electrics, four SU carburetors and Smiths gauges in UK units. Mediocre old paint with abundant flaws, chips and nicks, fair chrome plating. Orderly but used engine compartment and chassis. A driver with attractive factory coachwork. – Bidding languished for this small displacement Delage, reaching only $63,000 at the end of scheduled bidding, but that was not the end of the story. It went on for a long time, using all the tricks and preemptive bids at the hands of bidders. It’s an intriguing car with handsome coachwork and even at this result is a good value for the successful bidder.

Lot # 607 1937 Cord 812 Supercharged Phaeton; S/N 81232229H; Engine # FC3175; Burgundy/Dark Red leather; Estimate $145,000 – $185,000; Older restoration 3 condition; No Reserve; Hammered Sold at $155,000 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $170,500. – 289/170hp supercharged, pre-selector 4-speed, outside exhaust head pipes, wide hubcaps, wide whitewalls, compass, fog lights, radio. – RM’s Inspection Report said “An older restoration that has held up well” and that’s about as succinct as it gets. The paint is sound but has chips. The rubber body seals are aged and dry. The chrome is generally decent but with some age. The interior is sound and usable. The engine compartment is decent but aged and has been driven with some dribbles. Overall, a sound and usable Cord that is represented as “an authentic factory-supercharged example” in A-C-D records. – With 4 minutes to go in the scheduled bidding this 812 SC Phaeton was at a modest $86K and 32 bids. The bidders were hopeful of scoring a wicked value in a good example. That was not to be as the bidding went on, and on, and on to this result with 51 bids. It’s a very good car, and it brought a very good price.

Lot # 608 1919 Locomobile Model 48 Series 4 Roadster; S/N 15006; Engine # 11238; Siena, Brown fenders/Black leather; Beige cloth top; Estimate $55,000 – $70,000; Rebodied or re-created 4+ condition; No Reserve; Hammered Sold at $34,000 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $37,400. – 525/80hp T-head six, orange wire wheels, blackwall tires, Bausch & Lomb drum headlights, dual rear spares, top hinged windshield. – Body converted from a 4-seat Sportif. Ex-Harrah’s. Sound but aged old paint, upholstery and interior trim. Oily engine compartment, grungy unrestored chassis. A handsome and usable largely preserved old car with great performance. – Full disclosure: I like early Locomobiles, particularly Model 48s. The converted body is an issue, however (and the original Sportif body number exists under the passenger’s seat, ready to be re-created. This result is peanuts for the quality and preservation of this car, not to mention its prospects. Best case? Just maintain and drive it.

Lot # 610 1931 Cord Front Drive L-29 Brougham; S/N 2928803; Engine # FDA3960; Tongan Maroon, Black accent, Beige padded roof/Grey cloth; Estimate $60,000 – $90,000; Older restoration 3 condition; No Reserve; Hammered Sold at $81,000 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $89,100. – 299/125hp L-head inline eight, Black wire wheels, whitewall tires, dual sidemounts with black cloth covers, radiator stoneguard, luggage rack, rear footrest. – Sound old repaint with crazing on the fenders, light scuffing. The cloth roof covering is good, the interior materials and wood graining are newer and better. The engine compartment is orderly and clean with light oil misting and cleaned up road grime. The chassis is restored with road use and age evident. A rare body style (one of thirteen known to survive) that takes full advantage of the L-29’s low chassis and front wheel drive with a good old restoration and maintenance. – Although officially known as the Cord Front-Wheel Drive this model has become recognized by its internal Cord project number, L-29. On the morning of closing day this Front Drive was bid to only $34,000 and bidders’ avarice for a bargain was latent. It was not to be as the bidding went on, on and on, ending with 51 bids and this result. It’s still a reasonable price for an extraordinarily handsome and sleek car.

Lot # 611 1922 Studebaker Model EK Big Six 7-Passenger Touring; S/N 2002141; Engine # EK2281; Brewster Green, Black fenders/Black leather; Black cloth top; Estimate $30,000 – $45,000; Older restoration 3+ condition; No Reserve; Hammered Sold at $16,500 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $18,150. – 354/60hp L-head inline six, 3-speed, varnished wood spoke wheels, top hinged windshield, dual spotlights, dual rear-mounted spares, Studebaker Moto-Meter. – Sound old paint showing age and use but also careful preservation. Weak nickel bright work. Good upholstery and partially faded top. The engine compartment is partially restored, with some original finishes, tarnished brass tags and plentiful fluid leak residue. The chassis has been restored to good standards, then driven and shows it. – Lost in the noise of a number of intriguing cars from Dennis Mitosinka’s collection was this handsome and powerful Studebaker. At the time Studebaker built some of best, most reliable and reliably supported automobiles in America. From a market point of view its result is disappointing, but the new owner should be proud to own a quality 60hp Studebaker for Model T money. This is a bargain.

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Comments

    • Robert Ames
    • September 26, 2020
    Reply

    Rick. Thanks for the A. K. story. Memories of the characters who populated our hobby back when are always welcome. Stay safe. Bob Ames

      • rickcarey1
      • September 26, 2020
      Reply

      The Miller sale was a great experience. I can still recall the smell of the oil-soaked dirt in his sheds … it’s amazing it isn’t a SuperFund cleanup site.

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