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Sold! See what was hot in Arizona

Auction roundup of January sales indicate a healthy 2011 ahead
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SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – Collector car hobbyists who use the January Scottsdale auctions as a barometer of business for the year ahead should feel encouraged for 2011. According to early reports, auctioneers reported more than $157 million in sales, which is a healthy increase over last year.

Scottsdale-based Barrett-Jackson led the pack of five auction houses with about 1,300 cars sold for a total of $70 million, up 3 percent from a year earlier. Charity cars sold at Barrett-Jackson for a total of $4 million.

The ambulance that was said to have carried the body of President John F Kennedy after his 1963 assassination in Dallas was sold at Barrett-Jackson's Arizona auction for $132,000.

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Barrett-Jackson reported its top seller was a 44-foot, high-performance boat with a custom trailer and color-matched 2008 ZO6 Chevrolet Corvette that sold for nearly $750,000.

The ambulance that purportedly carried the body of President John F Kennedy after his 1963 assassination in Dallas was sold for $132,000, far less than estimates. Barrett-Jackson had advertised that the 1963 Pontiac Bonneville ambulance picked up JFK's casket as it was unloaded from Air Force One at Andrews Air Force Base on Nov. 22, 1963 and drove it to Bethesda Naval Hospital. Old Cars Weekly editor Angelo Van Bogart reported a few days before the auction that there were questions about its authenticity. Read his blog for more on the claims by the Professional Car Society that the original ambulance was scrapped back in 1986.

Gooding and Co.

Gooding and Co. had the top-selling car of the week, a 2006 Ferrari FXX Evoluzione that went for $2.09 million, and it had eight cars that sold for more than $1 million each.

1949 Ferrari 166 MM Touring Barchetta, chassis number 0024 M (photo by
Hugh Hamilton © 2010, courtesy RM Auctions)

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RM Auctions

RM Auctions enjoyed a strong start to its 2011 auction season, posting a record $30.8 million in sales, with an impressive 96 percent of lots sold and four automobiles exceeding the magic million-dollar mark.

RM’s two-day sale presented 180 quality automobiles, spanning a diverse range of blue-chip automotive marques. Top honors went to a coveted 1949 Ferrari 166MM Barchetta, a matching-numbers Mille Miglia veteran and the 10th of just 25 examples built, which attracted strong interest, achieving $1.87 million.

A stunning, superbly-restored 1955 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Coupe also garnered significant attention, spurring a lively bidding war between Europe versus the Middle-East to well-exceed its presale estimate at $1.37 million – a new auction record for a steel-bodied 300SL Gullwing.

“We are thrilled with the results from this week’s Arizona sale. The offering attracted strong interest from collectors around the globe, with numerous lots exceeding expectations,” says Rob Myers, chairman and founder, RM Auctions. “It is a great start to the New Year and paints a very positive forecast for the auction season ahead.”

RM’s 2011 Arizona sale kicked off Jan. 20 with “The British Are Back” – an exclusive evening sale dedicated to the best of the British. Rolls-Royce claimed the top two sales of the night with a handsome 1932 Rolls-Royce Phantom II Newmarket Sport Sedan, one of just three original Brewster-bodied examples, bringing $440,000, while an extravagant 1921 Rolls-Royce 40/50 HP Silver Ghost Phaeton, built for the Calcutta Motor Show, realized $379,500. Rounding out the top three sales from the evening, a 1963 Aston Martin DB4 Series IV Vantage exceeded its pre-sale estimate, selling for $352,000.

Friday’s top-sellers list was dominated by an exciting series of Ferraris and the best of the Classic Era. Led by the sale-topping 166 MM Barchetta, other highlights included a stunning 1965 Ferrari 500 Superfast, one of just 32 built, for $935,000; a 1973 Ferrari 365 GTB/4 Daytona Spyder, offered from the personal collection of Baseball Hall of Famer Reggie Jackson, for $880,000; and the ex-Jacques Swaters 1995 Ferrari F50 Show Car, showing less than 1,000 miles, for $742,500.

The American Classics category was headlined by a rare 1933 Packard Twelve Sport Phaeton by Dietrich which realized $1.76 million, closely followed by a 1929 Duesenberg Model J Dual Cowl Phaeton driven by Elvis Presley in the film “Spinout” for nearly $1.24 million. The sale’s cover car – a spectacular 1931 Marmon Sixteen Coupe, one of only six survivors – also attracted spirited bidding, achieving $687,500 to set a new price level for Marmons.

Additional RM sale highlights included:
• 1939 Bugatti Type 57C Three-Position Drophead Coupe for $913,000;
• 1930 Cadillac V-16 Roaster for $577,500;
• 1956 Cadillac Eldorado Biarittz Convertible for $286,000; and
• 1926 Duesenberg Model A Dual Windshield Phaeton for $275,000

With only 19,000 miles from new, this 1970 Plymouth Hemi ’Cuda
convertible headlined the Russo and Steele 11th annual Scottsdale
Auction Jan. 19-23.

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Russo and Steele

Russo and Steele bounced back from last year's storm disaster with $21 million in sales. The Phoenix-based company had a record for its Scottsdale event with a 1970 Plymouth Hemi Cuda that sold for $1.70 million.

"We knocked it clean out of the park and ripped the cover off the ball this year,” said Drew Alcazar, CEO and co-owner of Russo and Steele. “Everything from our seminar to the auction block was a tremendous success."

Highlights of the 2011 Scottsdale auction were the sales of a 1970 Plymouth Hemi Cuda Convertible that sold for $1,705,000; 1955 Mercedes Benz 300 SL Gullwing, $704,000; a 1965 Shelby Cobra CSX 1001, $335,500; a 1970 Plymouth Cuda 440/6 4-spd, $236,500; and the 1957 Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz, $194,700.

They weren’t the high sales of the auction, but two Willys coupes sold at Russo and Steele reflected an interesting trend among restored and modified examples of these cars. A rarely restored to stock 1941 Willys Americar coupe in a subdued shade of beige (n original color) was crowded with excited bidders pouring over its No. 1 condition. They incited crazed bidding to $145,000, a very healthy number for a car that was the prewar equivalent of a Geo Metro when it was new.

Meanwhile, a 1941 Willys coupe in a more commonly seen modified state sold for $41,000. This fiberglass car was built as custom, rather than as a more typical gasser or drag car, and included a matching custom trailer. While it fetched a strong price, not too long ago, we would have been reporting that the modified car had outsold the stocker.


MotoExotica offered 229 cars in its inaugural auction held in Phoenix Jan. 14-15, and finished with a sell-through just over 32 percent and total sales revenue of $1.44 million with a six percent commission added in.

Top sellers among vintage cars was almost entirely a bowtie affair and included a '65 Pontiac Tempest GTO convertible with Tri-Power that sold for $63,000; '54 Chevy Corvette roadster that sold for $56,750; '65 Chevy Corvette convertible equipped with a 327-cid V-8 and four-speed manual transmission that sold for $38,000; a modified '66 Chevy Chevelle Malibu convertible powered by a 396-cid V-8 that sold for $32,250; '71 Mercedes-Benz 280SL convertible that sold for $31,500; '69 Chevy Camaro RS convertible that sold for $30,750; '71 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am coupe that sold for $30,000; and a '58 Chevy Impala hardtop equipped with the 348-cid V-8 topped with three two-barrel carbs that sold for $29,000.

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