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Yellow Peril pace car heads to Amelia Island auction

The annual antique car auction conducted by D.E. Foeller Auto Sales has outgrown its Ft. Myers location and is headed for a new facility in Sarasota. Additional auction news about Amelia Island and the Iola Car Show, plus highlights from Bonhams at Retromobile, and RM Fort Lauderdale.
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The Yellow Peril was regarded as one of the largest and most
powerful vehicles of its era.

‘Yellow Peril’ at Amelia Island
A significant collection of vintage motor cars will roll into Amelia Island March 14 for RM Auctions’ Automobiles of Amelia Island event.

A popular fixture on the auto events circuit since 1999, the annual multi-million dollar auction will once again be held in conjunction with the famed Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance.

Held on the grounds of the Ritz-Carlton Hotel, the event weekend is commonly referred to as the “Pebble Beach of the East Coast,” attracting collectors and enthusiasts from around the globe.

“Our Automobiles of Amelia Island auction is an important event on the collector car calendar as it attracts many European and East Coast enthusiasts,” said Ian Kelleher, managing director of RM Auctions.

Some 100 vintage motor cars are set to cross the block during the single-day RM auction. Highlighting the line-up is the legendary 1911 Oldsmobile Autocrat “Yellow Peril” race car, a well-documented ’59 Ferrari 250GT LWB California Spyder and an innovative ’54 Packard Panther concept car, one of just four built and the only one in roadster form.

The “Yellow Peril” has a fascinating vintage racing history. Regarded as one of the largest and most powerful vehicles of its era, the car’s original owner, John Greenway Albert, modified it shortly after purchase in an effort to make it race ready. Modifications included constructing a one-off aluminum race body and a unique gas generating system — the latter which saw Albert emerge as a pioneer of fuel injection. Painted bright yellow, Albert named the car “The Yellow Peril” and raced it on various dirt and board tracks, reportedly often removing the fenders and headlamps to further lighten the load.

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One of the earliest concept cars built, this 1941 Chrysler Newport
dual-cowl phaeton also paced the 1941 Indianapolis 500. The car
will be offered for sale at the RM Auctions Florida sale at Amelia
(RM Auctions photo)

Other notable highlights for the event include: a 1941 Chrysler Newport, one of the earliest concept cars built and used as the Official Pace Car for the 1941 Indianapolis 500; a ’39 Bugatti Type 57C faux cabriolet ‘Charmaine’, one of the last Bugattis built before World War II and formerly owned by a series of famous British personalities; an award winning ’34 Packard Twelve five-passenger phaeton; a ’63 AC Cobra, the first American Ford entry at Le Mans; and a collection of award-winning Fords from noted Ohio collector, Grant Oakes.

A full-day auction preview will be held March 13 from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., followed by the auction beginning at 11 a.m. on March 14. Admission to the auction is by catalog only, which admits both the catalog holder and a guest. The full-color collectible catalog is available for a fee by calling 800-211-4371 or visiting

Foeller sale moves to Sarasota
The 12th annual Antique Car Auction presented by D.E. Foeller Auto Sales of Ft. Myers, Fla., will be held at the Sarasota/Bradenton International Convention Center in Sarasota, Fla. The auction will be held on March 21-22, with a preview scheduled for March 20 and prior to the start of the auction each day at 10 a.m.

“We have outgrown our past location in Ft. Myers, and are delighted with our new larger facility,” Foeller explained. “This new facility will allow us to have all cars inside with air conditioning.”

For more information on this auction, call 239-571-5274 or visit

VanDerBrink Auctions at Iola
VanDerBrink Auctions will be hosting the auction at the 37th Iola Old Car Show for 2009. VanDerBrink Auctions is known for its professional, personal auction services and its auctions of private collections and older salvage yards.

VanDerBrink Auctions will be implementing changes to the Iola auction, including having no buyer’s premium, no admission fee to the sale and free bid cards. VanDerbrink Auctions will also have low selling commissions and fees.

The auction will be broadcast live and on-line July 11, starting at 10 a.m. July 10 is registration onsite and preview of auction cars.

VanDerBrink Auctions will only be accepting 175 vehicles for this sale. Iola regulations say that these vehicles must run and drive. Sellers will receive their registration fee for the car corral back towards the auction entry fee if they consign their vehicle to the auction. Auction company founder Yvette VanDerBrink has been working with the board of the Iola Old Car Show and is looking to this new opportunity.

For more information on this auction, call 605-201-7005 or visit

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One of five American cars in Bonhams’ Paris sale, this 1911
Pratt-Elkhart roadster was the oldest and, at $59,340, one of two
to sell.
(Kit Foster photo)

Bonhams at Rétromobile
Kit Foster reporting

The talk of the town in Paris in early February was Bonhams’ sale of the ex-Earl Howe Bugatti Type 57S Atalante. Belying pre-sale estimates from $5 million up, the recently uncovered unrestored car nevertheless drew a high bid of 3.1 million euros (about $4 million), before the 10 percent buyer’s premium. Not far behind was “Black Bess,” the 1913 Type 18 Bugatti Labourdette two-seater, formerly of Roland Garros, Louis Coatalen and other big-name owners, knocked down at 2.2 million euros ($2.8 million). The real shocker of the evening was a 1973 Citroën DS23 cabriolet by Henri Chapron. Estimated to sell below 190,000 euros, it soared over the top to 300,000 (345,000 or $445,000 with premium), believed to be a record for any Citroën.

Below these high flyers, though, were plenty of good buys, a Type 57 Bugatti Ventoux Coach well below estimate at $215,000, a well-restored SS100 Jaguar at $279,285 and a 1966 Ferrari 275 GTS Spyder at $372,000. Of 85 lots, 61, or 72 percent, were declared sold.

The Biscooter was a minimalist runabout built in the 1950s by a remnant of Avions Voisin, a conglomerate then known as SNECMA. Gabriel Voisin’s own Biscooter was on sale, purchased by an eager enthusiast for $38,570. Adding comic relief to the sale was a collection of seven promotional vehicles built for the Tour de France bicycle race. Ranging from intriguing to bizarre, they sold at prices from $7,400 to $43,000.

American cars were few. A 1911 Pratt-Elkhart roadster sold for $59,340, within its range of estimates, while a 1932 Packard Eight with “Coupé Chauffeur” body by French coachbuilder Franay (an open-drive town car) was a relative bargain at $71,200. The 1931 Cadillac V-12 All Weather Phaeton and 1955 Ford Thunderbird both failed to reach reserve, while the best bid for an American car, 1,350,000 euros or $1.74 million, was drawn by a 1929 Duesenberg J Murphy convertible. It was similarly unsuccessful.

Opener for the sale was a George Barris-customized electric golf cart built for singer Elton John. Used for stage entrances, it sold for $4,450. Bottom feeder of the event was a Formula One tandem-seat mini-racer powered by a motorcycle engine. Said to have been used by Ayrton Senna to drive race sponsors from Camel cigarettes around the track, it featured a human-sized effigy of Joe Camel. It was purchased for just $2,075.

RM Fort Lauderdale auction
The beat goes on in the collector car market as RM Auctions’ Collector Cars of Fort Lauderdale event held February 6-8 attracted strong interest with total sales surpassing $11 million.

The annual three-day Florida sale held at the Greater Fort Lauderdale/Broward County Convention Center offered a full range of American and European collector cars, from a 1927 Austin Seven to a custom 2008 Dodge Challenger SRT8 built by Steve Sanderson and George Barris.

Among the more than 400 vintage vehicles offered for bids was a pair of customized 1966 Ford Mustang convertibles built by Hollywood’s legendary “King of the Kustomizers,” George Barris, who made a special appearance at the sale. One of the top sellers of the weekend, the inseparable pair of Mustangs, which were customized by Barris for 1960s entertainment icons Sonny and Cher, brought $198,000. Another unique Barris creation known as “Fire Bug,” originally built as a promotional vehicle for the L.A. Fire Department, sold for $49,500.

“The collector car world continues to provide many notable opportunities for both buyers and sellers regardless of the challenges of the current economy,” said RM Auctions’ Donnie Gould, a 30-year veteran of the collector car industry.

“The solid attendance and results of this year’s Fort Lauderdale event reinforces that the interest and enthusiasm for collector cars remains strong,” he added.
As the gavel fell for the final time over the weekend, sales for the Collector Cars of Fort Lauderdale event, including memorabilia, totaled $11,588,100 with a 66 percent sell-through rate. The top seller of the weekend was a 1936 Packard Twelve coupe roadster that sold for $220,000.

Other sales highlights included:
A 1948 Ford Sportsman convertible coupe - $199,100; ’54 Buick Skylark convertible - $187,000; ’39 Packard Model 1708 convertible sedan - $176,000; and ’70 Ford Mustang Boss 429 fastback - $165,000.

For more information on this auction or full sales results from the Collector Cars of Fort Lauderdale event, visit

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