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AUCTION EXPRESS: Buyers turn out for Leake Dallas and Garth's November auctions

Sales prices were strong and bidding furious at two late November auctions: the annual Leake Dallas Auction near downtown Dallas, Texas and Garth's Thanksgiving Auction in Delaware, Ohio. Meanwhile, discerning collectors are looking ahead to Feb. 7, 2009 when a 1937 Bugatti Type 57S crosses the auction block in Paris.

Leake Dallas Auction
Phil Skinner &
Robert Williams reporting

Considered one the last major sales of the calendar year, Leake Auctions presented its 36th annual Dallas sale over the weekend of Nov. 21-23 at the Trade Mart located near downtown Dallas.

Kicking off Friday afternoon with two rings of collector cars, the bidding was fast and furious. With the policy instituted by president of the company, Richard Sevenoaks, the sellers were promised to put in their pocket exactly what the final bid was. As a result, nearly six out of every ten cars offered were either called sold or went to a new owner through post-block sales activity.

Saturday saw a strong crowd in attendance. For nearly ten hours over 300 vehicles were offered on the two rings, again seeing strong sales than we have witnessed at other “with reserve” sales in recent months. During this Nov. 22 auction segment, 45 years to the day of the assasination of President Kennedy, it was pointed out that the hall where the sale was being held had been the planned destination for the Kennedy motorcade.

For the final day, approximately 30 vehicles were consigned for sale, accompanied by about 50 re-runs from sellers who wanted to take a second chance in getting their cars sold.

Over the three days, a total of 509 cars were offered with 265 of these called sold. Auction company records showed $5,979,000 in bid sales, plus the eight percent buyer’s premium taking the total close to the $6.5 million mark. These numbers were within a few dollars of the Nov. 2007 sale, and that was with a larger number of cars and slightly higher sell-through rating.
“Dallas is still quite strong economically,” Sevenoaks said. “Both dealers and private collectors come to this sale and I feel it is a true indicator of the market, the quality cars are still selling strong, while sellers of lesser cars are going to have to make adjustments or improvements to make the money some of the no-sales were hoping for.”

Garth’s Thanksgiving Auction
On Nov. 28, bidders packed Garth’s 200-year-old barn in Delaware, Ohio, to see who would take home five prized automobiles offered for sale.

The competitive and determined bidding began right out of the box with a 1908 Ford Model S runabout. Equipped with a 149-cubic inch four-cylinder engine packing 15 hp, the Ford cost someone $750 in 1908, but with several excited bidders in the room the hammer dropped at $30,550.

As the snow came down, prices went up when the 1925 Kissel 8-75 Speedster went from a $10,000 opening bid to its selling high bid of $73,450 in about 60 seconds. Bidders in the room and on the internet were committed to taking home the bright-yellow speedster. In 1925, Kissel started its production of the straight eight-cylinder engine making it an option to the 1925 models. This particular speedster showed an older restoration using parts from a 1927 Kissel sedan to complete an example with some expected imperfections.

An additional highlight of the sale included a 1924 Kissel 6-55 coupe. Listed as rare with an unrestored exterior and believed to be one of the few in existence, it brought $12,925.
Other top selling items of the day included a 1925 Ford Model T touring that sold for $7,050 and a collection of Kissel car parts that sold for $3,172. A Kissel 1925 Speedster straight-eight engine sold for $3,172.

Commenting on the results of the sale, Jeff Jeffers, president of Garth’s, said, “Bidding on the cars was interesting – particularly the Kissel speedster and the Ford Model S. They have a great look that appeals to not only car enthusiasts, but anyone who has an enthusiasm for the period. We saw a lot of cross-over interest from the art and antique community.”

For additional information regarding this auction, call 740-362-4771, or visit

Ex-Howe Bugatti offered
The 1937 Bugatti Type 57S originally owned by Earl Howe, whose existence has only been known to a handful of people during the last 50 years, will be sold at Bonhams’ Retromobile sale in Paris on Feb. 7, 2009.

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The Bugatti with Atalante coachwork retains all the attributes that will ensure its appeal to the world’s most discerning collectors. It has a spectacular provenance having been owned by Earl Howe, Lord Ridley, Harold Carr and others; it has a continuous and chronicled history; and it has exceptional originality retaining original chassis, engine, drivetrain and body. It even has what appears to be low mileage with an odometer reading of 26,284.

James Knight, international head of Bonhams’ motoring department said, “I have known of this Bugatti for a number of years and, like a select group of others, hadn’t dared divulge its whereabouts to anyone. It is one of the last great barn discoveries, and we at Bonhams are honoured to have been selected to handle its sale.”

Bugatti Type 57S, chassis no. 57502, was completed at the Bugatti works on May 5, 1937, sporting two-seat Atalante coupe coachwork. It was ordered new by motorsport great and the British Racing Driver’s Club’s first president Earl Howe via UK Bugatti agents, Sorel of London. Howe had a long association with Ettore Bugatti and his machines, and developed a friendship with Ettore and his son Jean, having raced their Grand Prix motor cars.

Howe took delivery of 57502 on June 9, 1937, and was to retain his Bugatti for over eight years. He added a personal touch by fitting his own bumpers, rear-view mirrors on the A-pillars and a luggage rack, which it retains to this day. It was to become his personal companion, escorting him to Brooklands and other race meetings. The car would have seen relatively little use during World War II as Howe served with the Royal Navy Volunteer Reserve.

After hostilities ceased, the T57S was sold via Continental Cars to J.P. Tingay in 1947. It was Tingay who fitted the car with a Marshall K200 supercharger – as finding an original Bugatti blower proved impossible so soon after the war.

M.H. Ferguson acquired the Bugatti from Tingay in 1950, and by 1954, it formed part of Lord Ridley’s collection. Dr. Harold Carr then acquired it in 1955 from Lord Ridley. Dr. Carr drove the car for the first few years, but in the early 1960s, it was parked in his garage where it remained for nearly 50 years, until Dr. Carr’s death in 2007. The T57S is being sold on behalf of the family of Dr. Carr, and will be offered with an extensive file of correspondence documenting its fascinating history.

James Knight said: “The Atalante is incredibly original and, although it requires restoration, it is restoration in the true sense of the word. From my perspective, save for some of the interior, all original parts can be restored or conserved in order to maintain originality. It offers a truly rewarding project to the new owner, who will join a select list of distinguished owners, to play such an integral part in bringing this wonderful motor car back to life. It has all the finest attributes any connoisseur collector could ever seek in one of the ultimate road-going sports cars from the golden era of the 1930s.”

For more information on this sale, visit

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