On Friday, Jan. 18, a total of 93 specially selected vehicles crossed the auction block during RM’s eighth annual offering of collector cars at the Biltmore Resort in Phoenix, Ariz.
British auctioneer Peter Bainbridge seemed more comfortable than we had ever seen him as he continually produced top results with 88 of the consigned lots going to new homes. This represents a sell-through rating of 94.6 percent. Taking the honors as top seller was a tie between a 1938 Mercedes-Benz 540K Special Cabriolet and a ’34 Packard Twelve Dietrich coupe, both hammered sold at $1,850,000. Other cars that topped the million-dollar mark included a ’29 Duesenberg Model J LeBaron dual-cowl phaeton at $1.6 million, one of the ’41 Chrysler Thunderbolt retractable-top coupes for $1.2 million, an early original owner ’64 Shelby Cobra at $1,575,000, and a ’66 Ferrari 275 GTB/6C coupe at $1,250,000. Total sales amounted to approximately $24.2 million. On top of this, a 10 percent buyer’s premium was added, making the total value of this event well over the $26 million mark.
Several record prices were achieved including the sale of a 1959 Edsel Corsair convertible for $115,000. This car had been exported to the USSR when new for display at an exhibition in Moscow, and was meticulously restored and still had a box full of spare parts that had accompanied the car on its adventure behind the Iron Curtain.
We talked with several consignors of this sale and the one catch-word we heard more often than not was “professional” from the way the cars were presented to the way that RM treated both the people and the vehicles.