AE News: Duesenberg tops RM Amelia Island auction

Headlining the RM Amelia Island Auction on March 14, 2009 was a 1930 Duesenberg Model J Murphy convertible coupe that sold for more than $1 million. Also news behind the G. Potter King Atlantic City auction, Feb. 26-March 1; Kruse sale in Del Mar, California March 7; and the first Kruse Tuscon sale Feb. 27-28, 20009.
Publish date:
Image placeholder title

Duesenberg tops RM Amelia Island
Vintage car collectors from around the globe descended on Florida on March 14 for RM Auctions Automobiles of Amelia Island event that achieved more than $12.5 million in sales with a sell through rate of 83 percent.

The single-day auction, which presented 107 motor cars and a selection of vintage memorabilia, launched an exciting motoring weekend in northern Florida, which was capped off by Sunday’s Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance.

Illustrating the continuing enthusiasm and interest in the collector car hobby, the auction room was standing-room only for the duration of the event. In addition to on-site bidders, the event also attracted a large volume of Internet and telephone bids.

“The Amelia Island vintage car weekend is a permanent and popular fixture on the automotive calendar, and enjoyed national and international attendance,” said Ian Kelleher, president and chief operating officer of RM Auctions.

“Results from our Amelia Island auction indicate the market remains stable for quality collector cars with continued passion for the hobby from around the world,” he added.

Headlining the sale was a 1930 Duesenberg Model J Murphy convertible coupe that sold for $1,072,500, and a supercharged ’35 Auburn 851 speedster that sold for $566,500.

Nine Fords from the private collection of Grant Oakes changed hands for a total of $700,000. Highlighting the collection, a 1932 Ford Model 18 Deluxe three-window coupe sold for a record $165,000.

“RM continues to be a trusted custodian of private collections and we are excited to have been selected to represent yet another exceptional single-owner collection in 2009,” added Kelleher.

Other sales highlights include:
A rare and restored 1954 Packard Panther-Daytona roadster concept car - $700,000; rare ’41 Chrysler Newport dual-cowl phaeton - $687,500; restored ’66 AC 427 Cobra - $675,000; the legendary ’11 Oldsmobile Autocrat “Yellow Peril” race car - $660,000; a factory-certified 1966 Ferrari 275GTS - $445,500; and ’37 BMW 328 cabriolet - $302,500.

G. Potter King Atlantic City auction
John Gunnell reporting

The Atlantic City Classic Car Auction, held Feb. 26 to March 1 in the Atlantic City Convention Center, represents an East Coast tradition. Today’s modern Atlantic City Convention Center allows for bigger crowds, better lighting, better access and much better concession stands. This year, the auction organizers, G. Potter King, added “better cars” into the equation and the result was a strong 34 percent selling ratio in a lackluster economy.

The auction offered 423 lots and 144 of them were hammered sold for a total dollar figure of $2,740,350 in gross sales. Many sales were accomplished by getting the vehicle owners to drop unrealistic reserves. Many transactions took place at around one-half the reserve price and a few bidders were willing to give only about a third of the seller’s expectations. However, it was encouraging to see the high level of actual commerce taking place and certainly some of the car trades translated into parts sales for swap meet vendors. A common thread heard throughout the weekend was, ‘The collector car market is down a bit, but no where near as much as the stock market or real estate market.’

In addition to the auction ramp, Atlantic City featured a car corral and an Auto Salon where vintage cars and trucks were displayed for sale. The 500-space swap meet offered a diversity of products and services. Most of the 2008 vendors, such as the non-profit Vintage Automobile Museum of New Jersey, Ragtops & Roadsters, Paul’s Chrome, Nu-Chrome Restoration and the Bumper Boyz were back selling and taking orders. The wives of car collectors enjoyed a selection of non-automotive items ranging from custom-made jewelry to true antiques.

In the auction action, prewar cars seemed to be easy to sell, with one after the other of the 1920s, ’30s and ’40s cars going to new owners. Atlantic City is also a good market for vintage Cadillacs and Oldsmobiles (especially 4-4-2s). Thornton Restorations, in nearby Philadelphia, specializes in redoing these hi-po Oldsmobiles and seems to have a good following.

The auction was filled with interesting cars including an unrestored ’41 Cadillac Sixty Special sedan brought by Troby’s Memory Lane of South Hackensack; a ’38 Dodge D5 convertible sold by Markwood Dodge of Moorefield, W.V.; and a ’32 Ford ambulance-hearse professional car offered by Carolina Classic Cars. With the trend towards unrestored cars sweeping the hobby today, Janice Wind’s ’52 Cadillac Fleetwood sedan received lots of attention. Though painted conservative black, the car was near flawless with 134,100 miles.

For those talented in the art of restoration, Atlantic City offered some gems in the rough that could be purchased low, fixed up and sold high in future markets. One of these was a recently unearthed 1961 Corvette that had the wrong engine, an aftermarket floor shifter and its fair share of scars and patina. When the hammer dropped, it was sold for $22,750. Want to bet that the next time it trades the price will be closer to six figures?

All in all, Atlantic City was a refreshingly good auction that blended a great selection of cars with owners looking to sell and motivated bargain hunters with cash to spend. This combination proved that the old-car marketplace is far from dead and that now is a good time for vintage car lovers to stock up on affordable cars.

Del Mar hosts Kruse sale
Phil Skinner reporting

In association with local collector-car dealers, Kruse International conducted its second annual Del Mar sale, staged on March 7 at the Del Mar Fairgrounds in California. While as many as 150 cars had been expected to be consigned to this sale, just 55 lots were on hand, and many of these came from area dealers.

“I don’t think people realize how easy it is to take part in a sale like this,” said Fred Giddins, a vice-president with the Kruse organization. “Local sales like this are perfect to buy or sell a vintage car. Next year we will have to try and promote this event with more focus towards local collectors.”

Just 15 vehicles were declared sold and several bargains were seen along the way. A few cars did bring good money, such as a sharp 1955 Packard Caribbean convertible that traded hands for $77,500. Overall, the sales amounted to around $190,000 when the 10 percent buyer’s commission was figured into the mix.

“We saw several areas we could improve upon for this sale,” Giddins said, “and Dean Kruse, as well as the rest of our staff, are committed to doing just that.”

Kruse tries Tucson
Phil Skinner reporting

For the first time ever, the southern Arizona town of Tucson hosted a collector-car auction, and while it wasn’t a smash success, the foundation seemed to have been laid for a promising future. Kruse International teamed up with local old-car fan and promoter Mike Moga, to give this modern city out of the Old West a taste of what happens each January just up the road about 100 miles in Scottsdale.

A total of 118 vehicles were on hand for the two-day sale staged on Feb. 27-28, and opening ceremonies were attended by Tucson’s Mayor Bob Walkup, a collector-car fan himself with a sharp MGA 1600 roadster. While sales were not record-breaking for the current economy, the near 40 percent sell-through and nearly $900,000 raised in total sales were encouraging. Taking the high sale was an unrestored “fuelie” 1962 Chevrolet Corvette convertible well documented from its first owner, declared sold at $89,000.

Often at a first-time event, there are bound to be overlooked details, but we have never attended a premiere event that seemed to go so smoothly. Excellent audio and even video coverage helped those in the audience follow along, and there seemed to be plenty of enthusiasm from both the locals and the Kruse team.

Vowing to return in 2010 to the same location, both Moga and Dean Kruse said they were looking forward to their return to old Tucson.

CLICK HERE to tell us what you think in the Old Cars Weekly forums

Where to Bid