Skip to main content

Star cars ready to shine at Ft. Lauderdale auction

A look ahead to the stars of the February RM Ft. Lauderdale auction; and a wrap-up look at Rupp/Flynn Ft. Lauderdale Beach; Kruse Boca Raton; and Kruse Las Vegas.


Barris creations at RM Auction

International auction house RM Auctions will bring a touch of Hollywood excitement to Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Feb. 6-8, as a series of celebrity cars cross the block at the Collector Cars of Fort Lauderdale Auction.

Image placeholder title

Cher’s Mustang features a hot pink pearl finish,
blended with candy red, deep red side panels and a
matching fade-away treatment

The annual three-day sale at the Greater Fort Lauderdale/Broward County Convention Center has offered numerous examples of celebrity cars over the years, from several versions of the Batmobile to the “General Lee” Dodge Charger from the movie “Dukes of Hazzard.” The 2009 event will continue the grand tradition as a host of celebrity cars are presented for auction alongside a lineup of Classics, exotic sports cars and Detroit muscle cars.

Image placeholder title

Sonny’s car is finished in Murano Gold Pearl,
adorned by dark brown side panels and with an orange
and gold fade-away treatment over the wheel wells
and grille openings.

“Over the years our Fort Lauderdale event has carved a reputation as South Florida’s preeminent collector car event thanks to its ability to draw a wide range of cars and collectors from across the continent,” said RM’s Donnie Gould, a 30-year veteran of the collector car industry.

“With over 450 cars set to cross the block, our 2009 event is set to be another exciting motoring weekend and cater to every automotive taste.”

Two of the stars of the Fort Lauderdale event will be a matching pair of “his and hers” 1966 Ford Mustang convertibles. The Ford Motor Co. plucked the cars from the San Jose assembly line and commissioned customizer George Barris to personalize them to reflect the flamboyant on-stage personas of 1960s entertainment icons Sonny and Cher. Sonny’s car was finished in Murano Gold Pearl, adorned by dark brown side panels and with an orange and gold fade-away treatment over the wheel wells and grille openings. In contrast, Cher’s Mustang featured a hot pink pearl finish, blended with candy red, deep red side panels and a matching fade-away treatment. Inside, Sonny’s Mustang was upholstered with bobcat fur and antique buffed leather trimmed with rustic suede, while Cher’s car featured white ermine fur and black antique Scottish leather upholstery, trimmed in hot pink suede. Both cars were fitted with opulent three-inch long Mouton fur carpeting — Sonny’s in gold and Cher’s in hot pink.

Upon completion, the cars were used for publicity purposes before going on to appear in Sonny and Cher’s only feature-length movie, “Good Times.” Following the movie’s wrap, the Mustangs toured the car show circuit before they were returned for the use by the couple and later given back to Barris. They have since changed hands and have undergone a recent cosmetic restoration to return to their original 1966 condition. Their offering at the Fort Lauderdale event marks the first time they have come to market in 25 years.

Another famous Barris creation set for RM’s Fort Lauderdale auction block is the 1969 Volkswagen “Fire Bug.” Built by Barris and Dick Dean in the mid-1970s as a parade and promotional vehicle for the Los Angeles Fire Department, the Fire Bug was based on a mid-1960s VW Microbus. The big-budget project included flames, pin striping and artwork by Bob Bond. After retiring from the fire department, the Barris Fire Bug went on to play a starring role in the Saturday morning television show “The Banana Splits.”

Image placeholder title

This 1969 Volkswagen “Fire Bug” was built by Barris
and Dick Dean in the mid-1970s as a parade and
promotional vehicle for the Los Angeles Fire Department.

The curtain is also set to rise at RM’s Fort Lauderdale event on the famous jet black 1980 Lamborghini LP400S Countach, used in the movie “Cannonball Run,” and one of the world’s most iconic supercars. In 1981, this actual car was chosen to lead an all-star lineup for the hit movie, a madcap adventure about an illegal race of characters across America. Directed by veteran Hollywood stuntman Hal Needham and written by legendary automotive journalist Brock Yates, the movie starred Burt Reynolds, Dom DeLuise, Farrah Fawcett, Jackie Chan, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr., Roger Moore, Peter Fonda and Adrienne Barbeau and Tara Buckman as the Lamborghini team. The screenplay was based on Yates’ series of real-life Cannonball Run adventures while he was editor at Car & Driver magazine. A rare two-owner car from new, this example has been the star of several Hawaiian Tropic-sponsored events.

In addition to the auction, RM will present the inaugural Wheels fund-raising benefit. To also be held at the Greater Fort Lauderdale/Broward County Convention Center and coinciding with the opening night of the auction, the charity gala will provide guests with a flashback to the days of chrome and whitewall tires as they party among the cars of the 1950s and ’60s. The evening will feature a silent auction, along with ’50s-inspired entertainment. All proceeds from the charity auction will benefit Heritage Fort Lauderdale.

RM’s Collector Cars of Fort Lauderdale Auction will open with a public preview on Feb. 5 beginning at 9 a.m. and continuing through the weekend. The auction begins on Feb. 6 from 3 p.m. and continues on Feb. 7 and 8 from 10 a.m. both days.

For more information on this auction, call 800-980-7635 or visit

Rupp/Flynn Ft. Lauderdale Beach
Martin Goffe reporting

The 15th annual Ft. Lauderdale Beach Collector Car Auction was held Jan. 2-4 at the War Memorial Building and was presented by Dave Rupp and Mike Flynn, Jr.

Many of the vehicles offered were restored previously and thereafter kept in climate-controlled buildings with little usage. Forty-four such examples from one museum were listed in the auction catalog. Other vehicles offered were from estates with a similar history of restoration or excellent originals. This accounts for the quality of the vehicles offered at this sale.

As an example, five Lincolns consigned by a collector included a 1979 model with only 346 miles on the odometer and the window stickers still intact. Others in this group had mileages of 3,071 (’71); 20,581 (’76); 17,581 (’80) and 4,407 (’76).

Another example of high quality cars present, a 1947 Ford Sportsman woodie, billed as the best restored one in the world, was bid to $210,000, but was a no-sale since the owner’s reserve was $300,000.

You never know what you’ll see at an event like this, and two of the surprises this time were a pair of 1936 Ford club cabriolets. Mathematically speaking, what are the chances of finding two of these cars painted exactly the same color, Washington Blue, when only 4,616 were made 73 years ago with convertibles having a low survival rate? (These two cars were not from the same consignor.)

The Saturday auction led off with an unusual lineup of 36 Corvettes presented consecutively, all appearing in excellent condition. Unfortunately, only 10 of these were declared sold, reflecting the downturned economic conditions that currently exist.

Image placeholder title

High sale honors at the Rupp/Flynn Ft. Lauderdale
Beach Auction in Florida went to this 1967 Shelby
Cobra 427SC roadster that sold for $3.5 million. It
originally was part of Carroll Shelby’s Cobra
Caravan that traveled across the country.
(Marty Goffe photo)

One of several noteworthy sales was the 1 of 5 DeSotos produced with fuel-injection, this being a 1958 Adventurer convertible that sold for $475,000 — most likely a world record paid for any DeSoto. Also, the gold 1967 Cobra 427SC roadster (CSX 3021) that was part of Carroll Shelby’s Cobra Caravan that traveled across the United States sold for $3.5 million.

Again, undoubtedly due to current economic conditions, the declared sell-through was 36.2 percent based on 159 sales of 439 vehicles that crossed the block. Many consignors were heard to say, ‘I’m not taking this car home!’ Therefore, as in past years, there may have been a multitude of post-block sales, thus increasing the actual selling percentages.

Kruse Boca Raton
Phil Skinner reporting

For Kruse International, the New Year started promptly at noon, Jan. 1, for its return to Boca Raton’s Polo Club in sunny south Florida. For four-days, the crowds came, often creating a standing-room only atmosphere as a parade of vehicles were run across the block.

This was a return to a venue Kruse had used nearly a decade earlier. With 200 acres available, there was plenty of room for the vehicles consigned to the sale. But not everything went off without a hitch. Dry conditions created a lot of dust in the air and car owners were having to do double duty. To help the sellers, the auction company provided several efficient cleaners who did their best to make each lot appeared presentable to the sometimes strong and enthusiastic crowds.

There were many cases, however, of cars receiving honest bids well within the current market range but with the sellers refusing the money, hoping that the current down-turn in the market will correct itself. Also plaguing stronger sell-through ratings were the large number of late-model exotic cars brought to the sale from local dealers who had too much invested to let them go for the bids being offered. Coupled with sometimes too many cars on the list, a number of consignors just withdrew their cars and went home early.

Overall, 476 different lots were auctioned with 153 of these declared sold for a 32.3 percent sell-through rating. Several cars topped the six-figure level such as a trio of Cadillacs including a 1957 Eldorado Brougham that sold for $125,000, a ’59 Eldorado Biarritz convertible that sold for $150,000 and a ’68 Eldorado hardtop, bought new by Elvis Presley, that sold for $115,000.
The sale total came to just over $5.5 million on the hammer. With the new 10 percent buyer’s commission initiated by Kruse at this sale, the total sales figure increased to more than $6.1 million.

Kruse Las Vegas
Phil Skinner reporting

Owing to a soft economy combined with the holiday rush, the final collector car auction for 2008 was staged Dec. 19-20 at the South Point Resort & Casino in Las Vegas by Kruse International, and saw a mixed bag of automotive lots, with rather weak sales.

Out of a selection of 150 lots, just 34 lots were declared sold for a total of $598,550, plus the buyer’s commission of eight-percent for a sale total of $646,434. The high sale was a 1954 Kaiser Darrin roadster, with the original engine and pocket doors, hammered sold at $68,000.

Several celebrities came by, including award-winning actor Tony Curtis, now retired from working in front of the cameras and turning his energies to art, where several of his originals were offered to the crowd.

Really “wowing” the crowd as well as auction crew was Playboy Playmate of the Year Pamela Anderson, who had consigned her “Lovestream” customized travel trailer that had been given to her by “Playboy” magazine founder Hugh Hefner.

Anderson was not shy about making sure that the new owner would have a great photo opportunity with her in the trailer and the bidding was strong. Set with a reserve of $20,000, the opening bid met that mark and continued up to $31,000 when the gavel fell. The high bidder was a bit of a showman himself, Don Laughlin, who seemed pleased with the purchase and attention doted on him by Anderson.

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

Where to Bid

Car Auciton

Check out the Old Cars Auction Calendar

The Old Cars Auction Calendar has the when and where you are looking for when it comes to classic car auctions.