RM Sotheby’s Online Only: Palm Beach, March 20-28, 2020

On Friday preceding the Amelia concours, RM Sotheby’s hosted a small gathering of its executives with a few longtime journalists and auction-watchers.

It was March 6—an eternity ago in terms of the novel coronavirus threat. By the time most of us returned home from Amelia, it was clear it would be some time before we attended our next land auction.

The cancellation of Germany’s Techno Classica at the end of March brought a swift end to RM’s sale there for 2020. Yet for its Palm Beach auction, which takes place less than two weeks after Amelia , cars were already staged in Florida. Others were at RM’s Auburn, Indiana, Auction Park ready to fill convoys of Reliable trucks.

A small team at RM, led by IT director Richard Primeau, had been developing an in-house online bidding platform for two years, mostly selling small offerings of automobilia or a few cars. It was about to get a big promotion—hosting a full classic car auction.

Some spend endless hours perusing (and critiquing) Bring a Trailer and Facebook Marketplace collector car auctions. For them an online auction is old-hat but traditional auction companies like RM serve a client base who still feel more comfortable spending thousands (or millions) of dollars on something they can see and touch in a physical, on-site, setting. In these unordinary times, the health of the classic car market as a whole rides on its ability to convert sellers and buyers into a future that will, as St. Louis dealer Mark Hyman put it, “cause all of us to switch to car buying 2.0.”

RM’s first task was to convert on-site consignors to the online model. Most recognized the exigencies of the situation and accepted within 24 hours. A few took longer, and about 20 percent of the original consignment (mostly estates that had a multi-level decision tree) couldn’t reach a timely decision and didn’t participate.

Photography intended to support the live Palm Beach auction had to be quickly expanded. Many cars had 80-plus photographs including closeups where the photographers highlighted flaws, imperfections, and details of numbers and stampings.

Each car got a condition report from an RM specialist: a simple 1–5 condition rating for important aspects with a few added comments.

Physical documentation (build sheets, restoration photos and invoices, various certificates and communications, CarFax reports, owners’ histories and the like) had to be digitized. All the online-only lots got presale estimate ranges for guidance.

There was no glossy catalog filled with staged photos and elaborate descriptions to titillate bidders who were expected to do their due diligence on site. Rather, the information and images had to be accessible in both thumbnails and high-resolution images, a process that continued well into the days after online only went live on March 20.

The objective, as described by RM chief operating officer Alain Squindo, was to try “to replicate the in-auction room atmosphere.” It was “critical to be transparent” and to give a thorough, open explanation to potential bidders of how the online only auction was going to work. On the whole the descriptions and pictures were, in the opinion of experienced auction observers, honest and forthright.

Of course, there were aspects of the auction experience that had to change. The docket structure (the sequence of lots) was uniquely configured to recognize the pace of online bidding. Rather than being on the block for a few minutes, the closing times were spread out over four days, from March 25 to 28. Each lot was temporally paced from those before and after it.

[Keep going, please. This is fatiguingly detailed but it has consequences for what we’ll be experience over the coming months, if not years.]

RM also put in place safeguards against sniping, extending bidding times when bids were placed just before the timed conclusion. We followed several lots that went on through five, six, seven, and more extensions in avid competition, sometimes emulating the enthusiastic levels seen in live auctions.

In the spirit of trying “to replicate the in-auction room atmosphere” opening bids on With Reserve lots were entered around 50 percent of the low estimate. No Reserve lots started at $50.

Bidding, too, was configured to the “in-room” environment. Bid increments were set in ranges according to the current bid but would, just as in an RM Sotheby’s auction room, jump out of increment if someone bid $100,000 on a lot then at $75,000. And it wasn’t an uncommon occurrence for that to happen.

The auctioneer didn’t “bid for the reserve” as happens in live auctions, as it was a computer with set parameters. RM’s consignment team, however, was in communication with consignors offering the usual inducement to “lift the reserve” when there was live bidding approaching the reserve. They also followed up with sellers and bidders on unsold lots to assemble deals after electronic bidding closed, as they do during the course of their traditional auctions

RM sold 172 cars of 259 on offer, a 66.4% sell-through rate, for a total of $13,792,865. RM says 889 bidders registered, something like a third more than had been expected for the Palm Beach live sale. More than a third of them were entirely new to RM and Sotheby’s. Almost half the registered bidders, 421 of them, placed actual bids, and each active bidder bid an average of 10.8 times during the auction.

The 172 lots that found new owners were taken up by about 125 different bidders, a strong retail presence. In an era where the aging demographic of car collectors is frequently questioned and older folks frequently turn to their grandchildren for tech advice, the largest single age group decade was 50–60 years old.

All things considered—and there’s a lot to consider these days—the sale was a success, and a credit to RM’s IT team, which managed to quickly reformat their sale and produce an event that was up to current online standards.

We put some effort into following RM Sotheby’s Online Only: Palm Beach auction. It was time-consuming. The sale was spread out over nine days from going online on March 20 to the final bids on March 28.

Remote, online bidding for collector cars is a new environment for consignors and bidders. Photos have to be detailed and numerous. Descriptions have to be detailed and meticulous, a standard that is only evolving in established online auctions and in the developing RM Sotheby’s presentation.

Only 22 of the cars offered at RM’s Online Only: Palm Beach auction are reported here.

We were fortunate in having Megan Boyd able go to PBIR and write detailed descriptions of a few cars.

Andrew Newton and I found a few others which were so clearly described and photographed in RM’s presentation, or which we had seen and described in recent auctions, that could be realistically presented.

It’s an imperfect model, but one we may have to develop over the next months.

The implications for other auctions that depend upon an “event” structure to generate spectator traffic and the attendant gate revenue remains to be seen. Barrett-Jackson has moved its Palm Beach auction to mid-October (still a good time to go to Florida) while Mecum has shifted its Indianapolis sale to late July, a somewhat optimistic view of when spectators will be willing to abandon self-isolation and take the risk of rubbing shoulders in a crowd.

Stay safe and enjoy the cars, even if it is remotely.

Photos are (c) and courtesy RM Sotheby’s with photographer credits where noted.

Lot # 139 1950 Jaguar XK 120 Roadster; S/N 670499; Engine # W17638; Black/Biscuit leather piped in red.; Black cloth top; Estimate $140,000 – $180,000; Recent restoration, 2- condition; With Reserve; Hammered Sold at $130,000 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $143,000. – 3442/160hp, 4-speed, hub caps, fender skirts, Coker Classic tires, tools, jack, spare. – Mostly excellent paint, but the front fender needs buffing and a small area below the driver’s side headlight is oxidizing. Run in the paint on the rear bumper mount as well. Excellent chrome and glass. Clean wheels and tires. Light wear in driver’s side carpet. Highly detailed engine bay. Show finished chassis. Slight sagging in the top, but it is in good condition. Restored in 2007-16, followed by AACA Junior and Senior awards in 2016, and AACA First Grand National in 2018. Matching numbers. Reportedly the 314th LHD, steel-bodied 120 after the switch from aluminum. Needs to be collected from Philadelphia. – The XK 120 is a seminal sports car, one of the all-time greats, but prices have softened over the last few years and this car has two recent no-sale appearances to its name. It appeared last October on Bring a Trailer to a failed $110,000 high bid, and was a $125,000 no-sale at Auburn Fall. This is therefore a surprising, trend-defying sale that even in pre-COVID terms is a top-of-the-market result. It wasn’t a fluke, either, as the sale’s XK 140 MC Roadster (Lot 235) sold for a similarly strong $165,000.

Lot # 145 2009 Ferrari 430 Scuderia 16M Spider, Body by Scaglietti; S/N ZFFKW66A690167276; Rosso Corsa, Black stripe/Black Alcantara, cloth inserts; Black cloth top; Estimate $200,000 – $250,000; Unrestored original, 2- condition; With Reserve; Post-block sale at $190,909 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $210,000. – 4308cc/503hp, paddle shift, Anthracite alloy wheels, PZero tires, Red calipers, carbon ceramic brake discs, carbon fiber steering wheel and interior trim, Sirius XM stereo, red gauge faces, power windows, Assembly # 84899. – The headlight covers are crazing, otherwise it is a clean used car with no obvious damage represented as having 7,940 miles although the CarFax shows a damage incident. – Offered by Bonhams at Quail Lodge last August where it was reported bid to $250,000, the result here is noted “Private” in RM’s official results but was shown online the day the sale ended as this all-in post-block result. Whatever the actual result, it is a big come-down, but not unrealistic and the seller should be satisfied getting out of it before it goes down further.

Photo by Ryan Merrill

Lot # 153 1984 Ferrari Mondial 2+2 Cabriolet; S/N ZFFLC15B000051101; Red/Black leather; Black cloth top; Estimate $40,000 – $45,000; Unrestored original, 3 condition; No Reserve; Hammered Sold at $35,000 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $38,500. – Alpine cassette stereo with CD changer, air conditioning, power windows, power top, TRX tires, ANSA exhaust, cassette stereo, – Good original paint, interior and top. New TRX tires. Clean underbody. Euro spec. Reported to have a recent engine out service, whatever “recent” means in this context. – Reported sold at Auctions America’s Ft. Lauderdale auction in 2017 for $39,600 (when it also had a “recent” engine out service.) Its odometer has added just 392 miles since then and it’s still a decent driver with room for family, friends and grandkids. A sound car, but it brought a generous price today.

Photo by Thatcher Keast

Lot # 170 1957 Ford Thunderbird Convertible; S/N E7FH395311; Black, Black hardtop/Black, White; Estimate $75,000 – $80,000; Older restoration, 3+ condition; No Reserve; Hammered Sold at $71,000 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $78,100. – 312/270hp E-Code, automatic, porthole hardtop, soft top, fender skirts, wire wheels, whitewalls, power windows, power steering, power brakes, heat and defrost, Town & Country radio. – From the Belle Meade collection. Some bubbling in the paintwork but it mostly presents very well. Well restored interior. Headliner and door panels are tight. Detailed engine bay. Undercoated chassis presents very well. An attractive but older body-off restoration. Needs to be collected from Auburn, IN. – Another surprisingly high result, especially for a car that has been around the (auction) block a few times. Bid to $34,000 out of the gate, then stalled in anticipation of a closing rush, which transpired with late bids extending the closing for several minutes. It was reported sold at Mecum Anaheim in 2016 for $61,600, at Kissimmee 2017 for $63,250, at Harrisburg in August 2019 for $55,000 and at Las Vegas in October 2019 for $49,500. Those are all fairly consistent results, and why it should suddenly pop to a hammer bid 43% over its last all-in result is unaccountable.

Lot # 224 1977 Aston Martin V8 Vantage Coupe; S/N V811704RCAV; Engine # V5401704V; Silver/Brown leather; Estimate $150,000 – $200,000; Cosmetic restoration, 3 condition; No Reserve; Hammered Sold at $130,000 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $143,000. – 5340/380hp, quadruple Webers, 5-speed, MSD ignition, bolt-on fliptail, alloy wheels, fog lights, woodrim steering wheel, original radio. – Represented as one of the first 16 “bolt-on fliptail” Vantages (not an official appellation, but after the first 16 V8 Vantages Aston used molded piece for the rear spoiler). Paint looks recent and very good. Uneven door gaps. One dent on passenger’s side of roof on the passenger’s side. Window trim original and pitting. Dash doesn’t fit as tight as it should, and the wood veneer shows cracks in a few places as well as delamination. Seats and carpets look nearly new. Driver quality engine bay with some aftermarket bits, like the ignition. Original underbody with overspray around the side of the chassis. Originally an Aztec Gold and RHD UK-market car, later restored and converted to LHD during restoration in Canada. Showing 80,928 miles. Matching numbers and 5-speed, but just a decent cosmetic restoration. In West Palm Beach. – Often touted as “Britain’s first supercar” on account of its 170-mph top speed and despite its muscle car looks, the V8 Vantage debuted in 1977. Based on the existing Aston Martin V8 series, the Vantage added a hood scoop, blanked-out grille, Weber carbs and free-flowing exhaust. It’s a rare car, particularly in the States, where a handful of “cosmetic” V8 Vantages were sold with base-model engines. This is a full-spec car and one of the first examples built, but it has issues, and issues get expensive in the world of Aston Martins. The car got as much attention online as it did at Auburn Fall last year, when it sold for $137,500, but this is still low money.

Photo by Zee Anna Photography

Lot # 228 1958 Chevrolet Bel Air Impala Convertible; S/N F58J161661; Canyon Coral/Red, Silver, Black vinyl; White vinyl top; Estimate $70,000 – $90,000; Older restoration, 3+ condition; With Reserve; Hammered Sold at $58,000 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $63,800. – 283/185hp, automatic, fender skirts, dual antenna, spinner wheel covers, whitewalls, Continental kit, WonderBar radio, factory air conditioning. – Older paint starting to oxidize and in need of thorough buff and detailing, and there are paint lines inside door jambs and fenders. Dull but presentable brightwork. Body side trim doesn’t fit flush on either side. Interior brightwork starting to pit. Paint chipping off the steering wheel, and fading paint on the dash. Dirty carpet and sagging seat covers, and the door panels are a little loose. The engine bay is showing its age, and the A/C compressor is not hooked up. A decent older restoration. In West Palm Beach. – A handsome, honest older restored first-year Impala in good colors, the most desirable body style and with rare options like factory air (even though it isn’t hooked up), this is not at all a bad car for casual driving. The only thing missing is a hotter engine. The bidders didn’t seem to mind that, or the general age, and gave it a surprisingly strong price, although not as strong as it brought at Kissimmee two months ago where it sold for $79,200.

Lot # 242 1987 Ferrari Testarossa Berlinetta, Body by Pininfarina; S/N ZFFSG17A2H0068399; Nero/Tan leather; Estimate $80,000 – $100,000; Visually maintained, largely original, 3 condition; With Reserve; Hammered Sold at $70,000 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $77,000. – 4943/390hp, 5-speed, books, jack, service records. – Fair older repaint with some dents in the top of the rear fenders and on the roof as well as a curb scrape on the passenger’s side rocker. Good seats that look like they were reupholstered recently. The rest of the interior matches the age and 45,660 miles showing. The engine bay and underbody match the age and mileage as well. There are quite a few things to pick on cosmetically, and other than a reference to “service records,” the mechanical state of this car is uncertain. – Ferrari built a little over 7,000 Testarossas from 1984-91, and they vary in condition from mint delivery-mile time warps to heavily used cars like this one. Prices peaked in 2017 but have softened since, and this result confirms the trend. Although it hammered not sold at a $70,000 high bid in Kissimmee two years ago, it then sold for $99,000 at Barrett-Jackson Palm Beach a few months later. Today’s online result is more appropriate than the last time it was in Palm Beach.

Lot # 249 1961 Volkswagen Transporter Samba Microbus, 23-Window; S/N 792933; Sealing Wax Red, Light Beige Grey/Beige vinyl; Estimate $150,000 – $200,000; Recent restoration, 2 condition; With Reserve; Hammered Sold at $145,000 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $159,500. – 1192/40hp, 4-speed, hub caps, whitewalls. – In WPB. Two-year professional restoration. Very minor scratches on trim. Beautiful paint with authentic-looking overspray. Minor delamination on driver’s side vent window and some top windows. Sunroof is tight with minor scuffs. All original glass. Beautiful interior. Original grab handles and hardware. Won many local shows. – For Microbus fanatics, more windows mean more money, with these 23-pane Samba models at the top of the heap. The massive six-figure prices for over-restored or even just decently restored ones over the past several years has been surprising, and recent events haven’t dampened enthusiasm, at least for those interested in this example. It is the second-most expensive Transporter we’ve seen at auction this year.

Lot # 330 1963 Shelby Cobra 289 W&S Roadster; S/N CSX2095; Black/Red leather; Estimate $750,000 – $800,000; Older restoration, 3+ condition; With Reserve; Hammered Sold at $620,000 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $682,000. – 289 with dual quads, 4-speed, wire wheels with AC spinners, Goodyear Eagle GT tires, wind wings, woodrim steering wheel, dash clock, Stewart Warner engine gauges, Smiths speedo and Rotunda tach. – Sold new in California, and had its engine replaced with a later dual-quad 289 in the 1970s. Also fitted with larger wheels and fender flares at the time. Reportedly bid to $145,000 on eBay in 2003, and later restored by Mike McCluskey. Carroll Shelby signature on the glove box. No condition report, but rated at #3+ when it appeared in Monterey two years ago and no major work reported since. Needs to be collected from Vero Beach, FL. – In Monterey, it hammered not sold at a $775,000 high bid, soft but not unreasonable money at the time for a non-matching numbers W&S Cobra (W&S refers to worm and sector steering as opposed to later, more valuable rack and pinion cars). What this means for the Cobra market isn’t entirely clear since this isn’t a typical car, but the difference between bids is striking, especially when this much lower one was successful in acquiring the Cobra.

Lot # 334 1963 Chrysler 300 Convertible; S/N 8233107769; Festival Red/Beige vinyl; White vinyl top; Estimate $45,000 – $55,000; Older restoration, 2- condition; With Reserve; Not sold at Hammer bid of $32,000. – 413/360hp, long crossram dual quads, automatic, power steering, power windows, wheel covers, narrow whitewalls, pushbutton radio. – Excellent paint, chrome and interior. The engine compartment and chassis are nearly like new although some of the less noticeable underhood areas got less than careful paint preparation. That aside, this is a gorgeous Chrysler. – Sold at Mecum Monterey in 2010 for $92,750, then at RM’s auction of the Staluppi Collection in 2012 for $71,500. Skip forward seven years and it was sold at RM’s Ft. Lauderdale auction last year for $38,500 and reported bid to $34,000 at Mecum Kissimmee two months ago. The Online Only offer was fully hedged for the disrupted times but the consignor can be reasonably assured (if anything is assured in March 2020) of finding a buyer at a higher price, if not the $45,000 that RM is asking for it online after the sale.

Lot # 335 1966 Ferrari 330 GT SII Coupe 2+2, Body by Pininfarina; S/N 8627; Engine # 8627; Rosso Rubino/Crema leather; Estimate $300,000 – $325,000; Older restoration, 2- condition; With Reserve; Post-block sale at $236,364 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $260,000. – 3967/300hp, triple Webers, Ansa exhaust, 5-speed, Borrani alloy wheels, woodrim steering wheel, power windows, air conditioning, books, tools. – Classiche certified. US market car. Never restored all at once but got significant attention over the years and shown at Concorso Italiano several times in the 2000s, including an FCA Platinum award. No condition report, but at Gooding & Company’s Scottsdale auction last year we rated the car in #2- condition and noted a scratch on the left A-pillar, a chip on the filler cap, and a generally solid but aged overall presentation, making it better for the long drives and tours for which it was designed than for the show field. Needs to be collected from Vero Beach, FL. – The later Series II version of the 330 GT 2+2 has a more conventional two-headlight face instead of the funkier quad-headlight setup of the Series I cars. The Series II is worth more, but it’s still a four-seater and that means it’s near the bottom when it comes to Enzo-era V12 Ferraris. In Scottsdale last year this one hammered not sold at a $240,000 high bid. Given recent events and the general softening in the Ferrari market since, a lower number here would not have been at all surprising. Instead, it bucked the trend in this negotiated result after it close online without selling.

Lot # 347 1956 Austin-Healey 100/M Le Mans Roadster; S/N BN2L229979; Engine # 1B229979M; Reno Red/Black, Red piping; Estimate $55,000 – $65,000; Older restoration, 3+ condition; With Reserve; Hammered Sold at $44,000 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $48,400. – Painted centerlock wire wheels, dual mirrors, Lucas driving lights, badge bar, boot cover, overdrive, front disc brakes (original drum brakes included) woodrim steering wheel, upgraded to Le Mans specs, BMIHT documented and 100 Le Mans registered. – Worn seats but mostly good interior. Very clean recently detailed engine bay. Represented as matching numbers. Older paint with a few blemishes on the nose and a pair of chips on top of the right front fender. Delaminating windshield. First restored in the 1980s, when it was fitted with Le Mans upgrades, then mechanically overhauled about seven years ago. A solid older restoration that would make a great event car. – Sold by Auctions America at Ft. Lauderdale in 2015 for $73,700, then by Bonhams at Amelia in 2018 for $61,600. The odometer has added 36 miles since 2018. The car is holding up pretty well, but the market’s perception of its value isn’t. The result here leans heavily toward being a bargain, but is not quite there.

Photo by Corey Escobar

Lot # 360 1941 Ford Super Deluxe Station Wagon; S/N 186472898; Blue, Varnish/Brown; Estimate $50,000 – $60,000; Older restoration, 2- condition; With Reserve; Hammered Sold at $49,000 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $53,900. – Heater, radio, 3-row seating, hubcaps, trim rings, wide whitewalls, oil filter, dual outside mirrors, dual taillights, enclosed rear spare, grille guard, bumper tips. – 1985 AACA National First Prize and Senior, Dearborn award in 1998. Retained by a Ford dealer through WWII, restored in the 80’s. AACA First in 1986, Senior in 1987, 1998 Early Ford V-8 Dearborn Award winner. Very good older paint, chrome, wood, varnish and interior. Some of the wood appears to be original but much of it is newer. The engine compartment and chassis show some age and careful use after being restored like new or better. Not a show wagon any more but a wonderful driver. Gernatt Collection. – Sold by Christie’s at Tarrytown in 2000 for $47,000, then by RM at Hershey in 2017 for $57,750. The odometer has added just 59 miles since 2017 and the car is in substantially the same condition now as it was then. This is a reasonable price for a quality Ford Woodie.

Photo by Theodore W Pieper

Lot # 366 1934 Packard Eight Dual Cowl Sport Phaeton; S/N 378984; Light Gray/Dark Red leather; Black cloth top; Estimate $135,000 – $140,000; Older restoration, 3+ condition; With Reserve; Not sold at Hammer bid of $100,000. – 319/120hp inline eight, 3-speed, Goddess of Speed radiator mascot, painted wire wheels, hub caps, whitewalls, dual sidemount spares with mirrors, dual chrome horns, luggage rack, spotlight. – Body-off restored in the late 1970s. Paint is presentable and clean considering the age, with some minor chips and scratches throughout, especially in the door jambs. Fair chrome with minor pitting on the radiator shell and a few other spots. Light cracks in the leather and the kick panels are coming undone. Tidy and correct but used engine bay. An older restoration on a handsome car that still has life left in it, but only for casual driving. – It wasn’t often that a collector car restored in the 70’s was done to such high standards and holds up this well for over 40 years. It was offered twice in 2005, at Auburn Fall and Branson Fall, bringing high bids of $130,000 and $125,000 respectively. RM sold it at Hershey in 2007 for $187,000, then at Amelia in 2011 for $154,000. It has added just 146 miles to the odometer since 2011 and has lost the garish cranberry red fenders it had back in 2005 (thank you very much.) In a retail environment it’s not unreasonable to think it’s worth more than the reported high bid here, but not as much as the low estimate.

Photo by Christian Brown Photography

Lot # 413 1976 Porsche 912E Coupe; S/N 9126000709; Engine # 4060629; Arrow Blue, White/Black leatherette; Estimate $35,000 – $50,000; Visually maintained, largely original, 4+ condition; With Reserve; Hammered Sold at $28,000 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $30,800. – 1971/86hp, 5-speed, white painted Fuchs wheels, sunroof, Pioneer cassette stereo. – Previously displayed at the PCNA museum in Atlanta. Painted to match the 2018 911 GT3 in the sale (Lot 232). Relatively rare sunroof. Rough paint with numerous areas that require attention. Cracks in the dash, door panels falling apart, glove box is deteriorated, sun visors are equally rough. There are oil leaks underneath and the exhaust system is rusted out. The right front has repair panels welded in. Rust in several areas underneath. Represented with $11,500 in recent work. It needs more. Needs to be collected from Houston. – For 1976, the Porsche 914 was bowing out but the 924 wasn’t quite ready yet, so Porsche looked into the back catalogue and resurrected the 912 for a single-year run and called it the 912E. Essentially a 911 with the engine from a 914, the 912E is a rare car with only about 2,100 built, but with about half the power of the equivalent 911 it’s not exactly a hot commodity in the Porsche world. The original 912s from the 1960s are worth significantly more money, and for an example with so many problems, this is an expensive result even in the best of times. The buyer must have been thinking 1967 rather than 1976.

Lot # 421 1961 Chevrolet Corvette Convertible; S/N 10867S106316; Roman Red, White coves, Roman Red hardtop/Black vinyl; Estimate $90,000 – $110,000; Older restoration, 3+ condition; With Reserve; Hammered Sold at $66,000 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $72,600. – 283hp/270hp, dual quads, 4-speed, hub caps, clock, aftermarket radio with cassette, hardtop only. – Represented as a Big Brake car. The paint is good other than light surfaces on the trunk and a small chip on the passenger’s side taillight housing. Good but older chrome. The trim on the cove vents is pitted and the corner of the front bumper on the driver’s side is wavy with small indentations. Good newer top. There is some dirt and grime in the wheel wells and underbody. Very good interior. Restored a while ago and lightly driven. – Crossed the block at Auburn Fall six months ago where it was reported bid to $80,000, a missed opportunity for the consignor. With expectations thus adjusted this is a realistic result for a sound and usable dual quad ’61 Corvette, especially one offered online with no photo of the engine number.

Lot # 422 1970 Plymouth ‘Cuda Convertible; S/N BS27H0B280941; Lemon Twist, Black hockey sticks/Black vinyl; Black vinyl top; Estimate $85,000 – $95,000; Older restoration, 3+ condition; With Reserve; Not sold at Hammer bid of $69,000. – 340/275hp, automatic, power steering, hubcaps, Radial T/A tires, floor shift, pushbutton radio. – Very good paint with one filler crack on the driver’s side corner of the nose. Light pitting and some surface scratches on the rear bumper. Good interior with lightly faded gauges. The bottom seam of the top is ripped and the headliner is aged. Tidy but used engine bay. Represented as matching numbers, 77,233 miles and a relatively rare ‘Cuda convertible. Restored a while ago to good enough standards. – This is a neat ‘Cuda convertible. It was reported bid to $70,000 at Mecum Harrisburg seven months ago but now in two completely different venues and procedures the bidders have sung a nearly identical song. It’s time for the consignor to hear the music and adjust to a revised reality.

Photo by Jeremy Cliff

Lot # 435 1996 Porsche 911 GT2 Coupe; S/N WP0ZZZ99ZTS392164; Polar Silver/Black, Gray leather; Estimate $950,000 – $1,100,000; Unrestored original, 2- condition; With Reserve; Hammered Sold at $810,000 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $891,000. – 3.6/430hp, 6-speed, Speedline wheels, air conditioning, power windows, tinted windshield. Clear bra on front fenders, hood, bumper and mirrors. – One of 194 993 GT2 road cars. Showing 30,113 km (18,712 miles) from new. Wear to the driver’s seat that matches the mileage. Otherwise like-new. Needs to be collected from Chicago. – The ultimate-spec 993 and one of the most valuable 911s of any kind, the original GT2 is a highlight in any auction. Aside from the 2017 LaFerrari Aperta (no-sale at $3.84M), this was the most valuable car offered during the week. Other GT2s have sold for more, particularly ones in more exciting colors, but some have also sold for less. This is a realistic result the seller can and should be happy with.

Photo by Corey Escobar

Lot # 440 1961 Dodge Dart Phoenix D-500 Convertible; S/N 5317121966; Midnight Black/Red vinyl; Black vinyl top; Estimate $110,000 – $125,000; Older restoration, 2- condition; With Reserve; Not sold at Hammer bid of $90,000. – 383/330hp, cross-ram with Weber carbs (not the Carters it should have), pushbutton Torqueflite automatic, spinner wheel covers, narrow whitewalls, pushbutton radio, no power steering or power brakes, bench seat. – Great paint, flat body panels, even fits, brilliant chrome and stainless. Better than new but marked down for the Webers. – This is a sweet car even though the Dart Phoenix body contours and details are contrived and derivative. It’s what’s under the hood and inside the car that makes it special. The underhood presentation with the long ram dual quads is awe inspiring. The yoke-style steering wheel, button laden dashboard and dashtop-mounted rear view mirror are daringly different. If it didn’t look contrived from the outside it would be worth much more. It sold for $123,750 at RM’s sale of John Staluppi’s collection in 2012. Bid to $80,000 at RM’s Ft. Lauderdale auction a year ago, it could have sold here for the reported high bid.

Photo by Ken Wallace

Lot # 448 1993 Mazda RX-7 Coupe; S/N JM1FD3312P0201851; Vintage Red/Black cloth; Estimate $50,000 – $60,000; Unrestored original, 2- condition; With Reserve; Post-block sale at $44,545 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $49,000. – 2,616cc/255hp twin turbocharged twin rotor, 5-speed, factory cassette stereo, power windows, air conditioning, books, tools, jack, service records. – Two-owner car with 15,778 miles. Original with no modifications. Factory coatings, markings and stickers present in engine bay, along with the original R1 strut bar. Minimal touched up chips on the nose. Otherwise clean, likely original paint. Minor scuffing on lower plastic lip. Interior looks nearly new. Some surface rust on heat shield on exhaust. An excellent unmolested example. Needs to be collected from Philadelphia. – One of the prettiest cars of the 1990s as well as one of the most technically sophisticated, the third and final gen (FD) RX-7 often suffered one of several fates. Some became drift cars, some got the Fast & Furious treatment with body kits and coffee can mufflers, and some went to owners unfamiliar with the quirks and needs of a rotary engine. Many have also had their complex sequential twin-turbo system converted to a single turbo setup. Any unmodified, low-mile FD RX-7 is therefore a rare opportunity and the online bidders jumped at this chance. Other, lower-mile RX’s have sold for more, but all things considered this was a deservedly strong result, closed here in a negotiated deal after online bidding ended.

Lot # 453 1957 Buick Special Estate Wagon, Body by Mitchell-Bentley; S/N 4D2028946; Red, White/White, Black vinyl; Estimate $30,000 – $40,000; Older restoration, 3- condition; With Reserve; Hammered Sold at $27,000 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $29,700. – 364/250hp, 2-barrel, Dynaflow, chrome wire wheels, whitewalls, spotlight, power steering, power brakes, bench seat, Sonomatic radio. – Good paint. Long scratch on passenger door. Dull, tired chrome. Pretty worn, lightly discolored interior. Aged with paint loss in the engine compartment. An older body-off restoration, still presentable and pretty, but no prize. A sound and enjoyable driver. – According to various plates on this car it’s a Special Series 49, but it’s grown a ventiport on the front fenders that would have onlookers think it’s something more than a 2-barrel Special. It was sold at Mecum Kissimmee in 2015 for $35,640, then reported bid to $28,000 at Kissimmee in 2018. The result today makes sense.

Lot # 469 1970 Oldsmobile 4-4-2 Convertible; S/N 344670E108232; Sherwood Green/Parchment vinyl; White vinyl top; Estimate $100,000 – $135,000; Older restoration, 2+ condition; With Reserve; Not sold at Hammer bid of $91,000. – L31 455/365hp, M22 4-speed, ram air hood, chrome rim SS wheels, F70-14 Polyglas tires, 3.42 limited slip, P/S, P/B, Hurst shifter, bucket seats, no console, AM-FM. – Restored some time ago to like new condition with better than new cosmetics without going over the top. Excellent clear coat paint with some small defects noted, bright chrome and stainless but some failing pot metal trim. Accurate underhood finishes. A highly impressive example documented with its build sheet. – Sold at Barrett-Jackson’s Reno auction in 2013 for $55,000 and showing today exactly the same 31,399 miles as in 2013. It was sold again at Barrett-Jackson WestWorld in 2019 for $55,000. RM is offering it after the auction closed, asking $104,500, $4,500 over the pre-sale low estimate. The seller’s expectations are commendable, but irrational.

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    • Shawn Dougan
    • April 11, 2020

    Only you could write a “fatiguingly detailed” report like this, AND make me want to read the whole thing! Well Done

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