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Hot times in the desert: 2012 AZ auction week highlights

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Weekend One :: Jan. 13-15

GRG Auction
Among the 200 vehicles expected at the GRG Scottsdale auction is Howard Hughes’ custom one-of-a-kind 1936 Lincoln V-12 boat-tail speedster, recently documented and appraised by Automotive Research Services at $3.5 million. Like Hughes, the Lincoln is larger than life, and given its appraised value, it should be interesting to see if the car will exceed the $1 million it fetched at the June 2009 Leake Tulsa auction.



MotoExotica will have a little something for everyone, including muscle, postwar convertibles and sports cars. We’ve picked three to watch at its Scottsdale sale: the 1970 Shelby GT-350; 1948 Buick Super convertible; and 1956 Austin-Healey 100 Le Mans. Scottsdale is the annual barometer for value trends in the hobby, particularly for muscle, so the 1970 Shelby GT-350 sale should be more fun to watch than a Hollywood blockbuster. Postwar Buicks also seem to be gathering steam, so watch for the sale of the Super droptop to live up to the model’s name. Austin-Healey fans will be waiting to see if Bonham’s recent record $1.3 million sale of a 1953 Austin-Healey 100S with important race provenance rubs off on the 1956 Austin-Healey 100 Le Mans offered by MotoExotica.


Weekend Two :: Jan. 15-22


Finned MoPar convertibles and muscle cars tend to make headlines at Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale, but this year, figures for the big Classics are worth a watch. The auction company will be listing several noteworthy automobiles, including an Isotta-Fraschini Tipe 8A cabriolet, a 1930 Duesenberg Model J with Murphy cabriolet (town car) coachwork and one of the five racy 1933 Pierce Silver Arrow fastbacks built, any of which could earn “sky is the limit” bids. However, the lot we’ll be most eagerly watching is the 1948 Tucker consigned to the sale. With Tucker values hovering around the magic million-dollar mark, this car is expected to maintain that price spike into 2012 and join the seven-figure Tucker club.


Russo Camaro CherokeeC

Russo and Steele
Modifieds and muscle are mighty at Russo and Steele, and the ground shaking is expected to continue for 2012. Of the 700 cars expected, we’ll be watching two in particular: the 1965 Shelby 427 Cobra originally used as a PR vehicle and the one-of-a-kind 1967 Chevrolet Camaro “Cherokee” show car built by the GM Design Center as a styling exercise. Expect the Shelby Cobra to knock on the million-dollar mark and then bust the door down, but the bidding action on the unique Camaro will be as hard to predict as a drag slick on a patch of oil.


RM Ferrari

RM Auctions
RM Auctions always presents a stellar lineup at its annual January Arizona sale, and 2012 continues the tradition. It’s difficult to pick the car to watch at this sale, which includes a documented Nickey 1967 Camaro SS with a 427-cid V-8 and dual fours, a Waterhouse victoria-bodied 1931 Chrysler CG Imperial and the 1931 Duesenberg Model J LeBaron phaeton built on the long wheelbase. All are cars to watch, but we’ll be particularly tracking the sale of the 1931 Marmon Sixteen convertible coupe, one of just eight known to exist. What makes this one a watcher is the earlier sale of an under-restoration 1933 Marmon Sixteen convertible sedan for $160,000 at a sale held in conjunction with the Glenmoor Gathering of Significant Automobiles. A strong sale price for this convertible coupe at RM Auctions’ sale could mark an upward trend and reflect heightened interest in these rare Classics.



The car to watch in Bohnam’s Scottsdale sale isn’t either the Model A or Model J Duesenberg or the 1932 Packard Dietrich Victoria, but it is a Dietrich of a sort — Marlene Dietrich’s 1930 Rolls-Royce Phantom I with Hibbard & Darrin Transformable Torpedo Phaeton coachwork. The aluminum-bodied Rolls was not only owned by Dietrich, it appeared with the Golden Age Hollywood actress in the 1930 film “Morocco.”
Combine the Rolls’ heritage, the Hollywood connections, and the fact that the finally restored car has not been seen publicly since at least the 1970s, we’d expect this car to exceed its $425,000 to $525,000 pre-sale estimate.


AZ 12 - Lot 14 - 1956 Chrysler Windsor - Internet

Silver Auctions
Silver has great variety in its lineup, from a Hawaiian Bronze and Chocolate Brown 1951 Ford Crestliner to an award-winning 1939 Plymouth business coupe to several restored 1960s convertibles and all-steel hot rods. With all the talk around unrestored originals, the car that may make for the most interesting bidding is the rare and unrestored 1956 Chrysler Windsor Town and Country station wagon offered in the sale. If bidding is strong for this “long roof,” it may prove that collectors are gaining appreciating for those cars that show “how it was.”


Gooding Packards

Gooding & Company
For three decades, Clark Gable headlined theater marquees across the country. Now, his old Packard is the headlining act. Gable’s 1932 Twin Six convertible coupe is one of six Packards from the collection of Packard collector and restorer Thomas A. Moretti to headline the Gooding & Company Scottsdale auction. While any one of the examples from the “red hex” would be noteworthy, it’s the 1932 Twin Six Convertible Coupe that is expected to get the most attention from bidders. Classic 1932 Packard styling, open coachwork, a Twin Six chassis and the connection to leading Hollywood actor Clark Gable all make this Packard one to watch. The pre-sale estimate of $650,000-$850,000 seems conservative, so watch for this star to rise above its estimate.

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