Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale Highlights Pt. II

Friday, Saturday, and Sunday – but especially Saturday – are the big days at Barrett-Jackson in Scottsdale, Arizona. The past few years have seen this event be strictly a No Reserve auction with every car that crosses the block selling, but this year there were some heavy-hitters in the auction’s new “5000 Series” of classics that did in fact have a reserve. And not all of them were met – like the 1955 Flajole Forerunner we featured a few weeks ago: it was a no-sale.

A few of the other cars we featured did sell – and for a boatload of money. The 1930 Isotta Fraschini Tipo 8A by Castagna sold for $1,100,000. The 1928 Daimler Double Six P.1.50 Limousine brought $1,155,000. The 1930 Duesenberg Model J Murphy Town Car was hammered sold for $1,045,000. Another “bargain” was the 1954 DeSoto Adventurer II which sold for $1,430,000. Keep in mind, all of this happened within about an hour’s time.

One car we didn’t feature was this 1947 Bentley Mark VI by Franay:

It came from the collection of collector Ron Pratte and sold for $2,750,000, which was just barely more than I was going to offer to pay for it. The other mega-sales included the 1933 Pierce-Arrow Silver Arrow. The live television broadcast of the auction showed an overhead shot of the Silver Arrow and the lines of that car are actually perfect. It is breathtaking. It sold for $2,200,000. And the top sale of the entire auction was the 1948 Tucker Torpedo (also from Ron Pratte’s collection) which was hammered away for an astounding $2,915,000 – about three times my estimate of $1 million.

The only other million dollar sale was this all-original 1954 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwing:

$2,200,000 brought this car home. It only had 4,149 original miles on it and was one of 146 Gullwings built that year. Other highlights from Saturday included a 2009 Devon GTX – one of just two produced. It’s a Dodge Viper-based supercar that went out of production as quickly as it entered it because the Viper was axed just after the GTX was announced.

A 650 horsepower American supercar that was originally supposed to cost $500,000 sold for $220,000.

Another car that has started to interest me a little more is this Chevrolet Corvette 2003 Commemorative Edition built by Advanced Automotive Technologies. It’s a standard 2002 Corvette with a custom built body. Coachbuilding isn’t quite as vogue as it used to be but I think over time these cars won’t depreciate wildly like some other “customs.” It sold for $66,000. Another one sold on Friday for $88,000.

And of course ultra-rare muscle cars are the order of the day at Barrett-Jackson. Among Saturdays highlights was this barn-find (yet mechanically “refreshed”) 1965 Shelby GT350. I hope whoever bought it doesn’t restore it – although they paid a pretty penny for it at $385,000. 

Another rare Ford was this 1969 Ford Talladega Prototype. This car was built by Ford for Ford. It’s the only red Ram Air Talladega built. Regular Talladegas aren’t something you see everyday, much less a factory prototype. $137,500 sale price. Oh, and do everyone a favor. If you’re going to sell your car at auction and you‘re responsible for the photography: get a quality camera.

Friday also had its share of highlights including the Nash Bridges Cuda we featured. Last time it sold it was right at about $150,000. This time it sold for $88,000. Other interesting Friday cars included this 1970 Pontiac GTO Judge Ram Air III Convertible ($158,400).

There were a pair of ultra-rare and very famous 1960s drag cars. First, this 1964 Ford Thunderbolt sold for $242,000.

And right after that crossed the block, this 1968 Plymouth Barracuda Super Stock rolled across. It’s an actual “Mr. Five & Fifty” drag car built by Hurst for Chrysler. It also sold for $242,000.

Something from the quirky side was this 1929 Ford Model A Snow Bird built by B.P. Arps Company of Wisconsin. This was something that was done back in 1929 and there are multiple of them out there. It could have been yours for $66,000.

In 1987, Buick took their not-your-daddy’s-Regal Grand National and souped it up to 276 horsepower and 360 lb-ft torque and called it the GNX. They built 547 of them and recently that have become the most collectible American car of the 1980s. This time capsule example with only 1,200 miles on it sold for $88,000. For a 1980s Buick.

The only thing truly odd to cross the block on Sunday was this 1971 Kelsen Sports Rider Electric. It was a street-legal microcar built in from 1963-1973 in California. There were a number of companies who built similar vehicles and I’m not sure I’d drive any of them on the street. A golf course, maybe. When new in 1971 it cost $1,295. It sold on Sunday for $1,540. It’s not really appreciation if you’ve had to sit on it for 40 years to make $250. I used to have a ’92 Century – maybe I should have held on to it and used it to start a retirement fund.

There were also hundreds of other interesting cars. Check out full results at Barrett-Jackson’s website.

1913 Delaunay-Belleville

1913 Delaunay-Belleville Type O6 8L

Offered by Artcurial, Salon Rétromobile, Paris, February 3, 2012

Photo – Artcurial

The Type O6 was the most powerful car produced by Delaunay-Belleville prior to the First World War. It featured an 8-liter straight-six engine producing 100 horsepower at an insanely low, count-the-revs 1500 rpm. The car is capable of just over 70 mph.

These cars were sold as bare chassis with coachwork to be added later. This particular car retains its original coachwork from J. Rothschild & Sons. Over time, the hood had weakened and was replaced. The car was also repainted and mechanically refreshed – but not restored – in the 1980s.

This car was purchased new by Edward Daubree – part of the family that founded a little known company called “Michelin.” After World War I the car was given to his nephew and at the onset of the Second World War the wheels were removed from the car and walled up in a house, while the rest of the car was stashed in a different residence. The car was re-discovered in 1986 and brought back to life. It remains in the Michelin family as it has its entire existence. The car is being sold to raise funds for medical research.

Delaunay-Belleville cars are extremely rare and valuable as they were once near the height of French automobile production – being owned by royalty from France to Russia. They were out of production by the end of the 1920s and they rarely come up for sale. Here is a chance to own one with known ownership (the same family) from new. It’s a massive, amazing car with a fascinating history. Buy it.

The pre-sale estimate is a wide $525,000-$785,000. It is being sold for a charitable cause, but that shouldn’t have a huge impact on its selling price because it is worth a ton of money as it is. For a complete run down of this car, click here. To see the rest of Artcurial’s lineup, click here.

Update: Sold $600,834.

Update II: Sold, Bonhams Monterey 2016 $450,000.

Bonhams Scottsdale Highlights

We featured a few cars from the January 19, 2012 Bonhams auction in Scottsdale, Arizona. One of them, this 1967 Fiat Abarth TC Berlina Corsa, sold for just under it’s auction estimate at $46,800. One of the big sales of the auction was this 1930 Rolls-Royce Phantom I Transformal Phaeton by Hibbard & Darrin.

Once owned by actress Marlene Dietrich, it sold for $524,000. The car was given to her as a gift from director Josef Von Sternberg. The coachwork is slightly unusual with the convertible top that comes down between the windows. Interesting and pretty cool.

Another top sale was the 1924 Isotta-Fraschini Tipo 8 Torpedo Phaeton that we featured last two weeks ago. Estimated between $425,000-$525,000, it ended up in the middle at $447,000. Two more of our feature cars did not sell: the 1967 Porsche 906 factory race car and the 1929 Duesenberg Model J Murphy Convertible Sedan. So if you missed them, there’s still time!

However, the interesting 1954 Cramer Comet that we did feature fell right in the middle of it’s pre-sale estimate of $100,000-$150,000 at $122,500. It has a 1350 horsepower Allison aircraft V12. Somebody’s going to have some tire-melting fun.

The top sale of the auction goes to this 1937 Mercedes-Benz 540K Cabriolet C. This 180 horsepower German beauty is a very desirable car. RM Auctions sold a few pre-war Mercedes “K” cars back in Monterey for millions and millions of dollars. Comparatively, this was a steal at $667,000.

And look at the detail of the dashboard. These cars are magnificent.

And finally, the final car we featured from this auction was a 1947 Delahaye 135M Three-Position Drophead Coupe by Figoni et Falaschi. It blew the doors off its estimate of $250,000-$350,000 and sold for $474,500. Looking back, that estimate was pretty conservative given the ravenous appetite for pre-war French classics (not to mention anything containing the name “Figoni et Falaschi”) that existed only a few years ago. Times and tastes change and auction houses have to be aware of that. But in this case it seems that good taste prevailed.

For complete results, please check out Bonhams website here.

Barrett-Jackson: First Half Highlights

Barrett-Jackson’s Scottsdale, Arizona auction is so massive, packed with over 1,000 cars. They roll cars across the stage and hammer them sold starting on a Tuesday and go every day through Sunday. The big cars (like they ones we’ve featured from them) usually go Friday, Saturday, and (to a lesser extent) Sunday. But there are still hundreds of interesting cars that more or less go unnoticed on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. The shadow of million dollar concept cars and ultra-rare muscle cars blots out the shiny patina on the cars of the first half of the auction week. So we present some of the more interesting standouts from the first three days.

First up is this 1981 Pontiac that was used on NASCAR’s road courses in the 1980s. It is a race-winning car having been raced by Tim Richmond, Morgan Shepherd, Richard Petty, and Al Unser Sr. Valvoline-liveried cars have always looked great and with this car’s history (and the fact that it is still being used in historic racing) makes the $25,300 (with buyer’s commission) purchase price seem worth it.

Above is a 1968 Ford Mustang High Country Special – 1 of 251. The High Country Special was essentially a California Special but sold in Colorado. Basically a trim and appearance package and in this case it didn’t do anything for the price, selling for $13,750.

There were also a number of itty-bitty microcars for sale in the first three days. There was a Vepsa 400, some Isettas, and this 1959 Goggomobil TS-250 Coupe. This car is in original condition with a 247cc two-stroke engine that will take this car up to 50 mph. It brought $27,500.

We featured a ’71 Ford Torino GT from Mecum’s Kissimmee auction (which we’ll run down in the next week or so). This is a 1971 Ford Torino GT Convertible and it is awesome. Torinos don’t get the same muscle car love that Mustangs, Mopars and Chevelles get but this might have just become my favorite-looking muscle car. Maybe it’s because I’ve overlooked it for so long – so it looks fresh, but I want it. Too bad I don’t have $37,400 to throw down for it.

One of my other favorites is the 1998 Panoz A.I.V. Roadster. The A.I.V. (Aluminum Intensive Vehicle) was the “new” version of the Panoz Roadster. It features a 4.6 liter Ford V8 making 305 horsepower. It only weighed 2,500 lbs. Plymouth stuffed a V6 in the Prowler. I think of this car as having the performance the Prowler should have. Not necessarily the car the Prowler should have been (the styling of that thing is pretty good). But so is this. It just looks like a blast to drive. Could have been yours for $49,500.

Here’s something you don’t see everyday: a 1968 Mitsubishi J23A Japanese Military Jeep. Actually, you don’t see many 1968 Mitsubishi’s period or any pre-1970 for that matter. Foreign military vehicles are something that don’t appear at American auctions all too often so this would have been an excellent time to pick one up. And for $7,150, you could hardly afford not to.

There were a number of other pre-1970 Japanese classics available. When new, Japanese cars were never perceived as being future classics. Well, that attitude made pristine examples 40 years later relatively hard to find. And restoring a $7,000 car isn’t exactly solid economics. My favorite was this 1972 Datsun 510 Wagon (I like wagons). I should have grabbed it for the $8,525 it sold for.

There are customs-o-plenty at Barrett-Jackson: resto-mods, resto-rods, other things that start with “resto” and rhyme with “mods.” And then there are insane customs. Like this “Hot Rod Hearse:”

If it entered production, I imagine the slogan would be something along the lines of “Be The First Person  to the Graveyard!” It’s pretty crazy but unfortunately it is not street legal. It sold for $17,600.

Classic trucks are becoming quite collectible and auction houses realize this and try and grab the best of them to offer. One make you can never go wrong with is Diamond T. They made mostly commercial trucks but also produced a few pickups for “regular people.” They’re among the best-looking old-school trucks you can buy. Like this 1949 201 that sold for $51,700:

And finally, from the Fun File is this 1931 Ford Model AA Tanker. In Texaco livery, it would make a great static display parked near historic pumps or other automobilia. It’s quite rare but, nevertheless, I recommend driving it – it only cost $44,000.

For complete results, click here.

Auctions America Las Vegas Highlights

The other big motorcycle auction in Sin City was brought to you by Auctions America (January 12-14, 2012). The big talk of this auction was the 1894 Roper Steam Motorcycle that we featured over a month ago. It was supposed to break all motorcycle auction records when it sold. Unfortunately, it did not sell – nor did a number of other high-profile motorcycles offered at this sale.

That said, there were still some significant money changing hands and some bargains to be had as well. One that qualifies as both was this 1910 Flying Merkel V-Twin Belt DriveFlying Merkels are extremely rare and valuable: the pre-sale estimate on this one was $175,000-$200,000. It sold at no reserve for $77,500. A steal and the second highest price paid for a motorcycle at this auction. The distinction of Top Sale went to a 1964 Ducati 250 F3 Corsa at $81,200 that once belonged to 4-time Grand Prix motorcycle champion Walter Villa (this is according to their published results online. I read a story at that said the Merkel was the top sale).

One of my favorites from this sale was this 1926 Cleveland Fowler powered by a 600cc four-cylinder engine – of which just 100 were made. This one supposedly belonged to Steve McQueen – a name that increases the value of just about anything its attached to, especially things with wheels and engines. There didn’t seem to be any documented proof of this connection but the legend worked its magic: the bike sold for $76,160.

Pretty good lookin’, eh?

There were BSAa and Triumphs too numerous to count, but there was also the occasional bizarro-bike. Like this 2010 Confederate Fighter P120 – one of 50. Looking like it rode off the set of Terminator, it packs 160 horsepower and an all-aluminum monocoque. I’m guessing it rides about as scary as it looks:

There were a number of Harleys for sale in Las Vegas – and a bunch of “Anniversary” models from the manufacturer who is king of anniversary models (seriously, every 5 years). My Harley pick of the auction is this 1990 Harley-Davidson Fat Boy – one truly awesome looking bike. There is something about the styling of this Harley that stands out above the rest. I don’t know… but I think something about it’s $10,080 sale price is attractive too. Ah, the air of affordability!

Over 350 motorcycles sold and to browse through the full results, click here.

Bonhams’ Vegas Motorcycle Sale Highlights

I don’t know if you’ve ever seen the show on The History Channel called American Pickers, but every once in a while they come across an old Harley-Davidson or Indian that is basically a pile of rusty parts held together by some invisible force. Then they’ll offer the owner of said motorcycle (sometimes sans motor) a bundle of cash. Sometimes as much as $10,000. It seems insane. Then you see this:

That’s a 1915 Indian 61ci Board-track Racing Motorcycle. In original condition – pulled from a barn or a basement somewhere. It’s a first-year model of the 61ci Big-Twin. It sold for $67,860. Which is quite a sum for something you can’t really ride. And there were at least a dozen unrestored barn-find motorcycles that brought more than $10,000. I don’t find it absurd that people are buying them – I understand wanting something rare and original and wonderful. What I don’t understand is where are people finding these? How many treasures are still out there to be found? It’s fascinating.

Here’s my other favorite barn-find:

It’s another Indian, specifically a 1906 Indian Camelback. Everything is there and supposedly it was ridden as recently as the 1970s, although it doesn’t look it. More interestingly, it was the personal bike of Paul du Pont of the famous du Pont family and founder of Du Pont Motors and, later on, owner of Indian motorcycles. This brought $72,540.

Other highlights included these two Vincents:

The first is a 1953 Vincent Black Shadow Series C. If you’re going to buy a classic motorcycle and money is no object, I recommend a Black Shadow. The second is a 1955 Black Prince that has appeared at auction after auction waiting for the right person to come along and finally bid over that reserve price. It finally happened. The Vincents brought $122,500 – each.

There was also this beautiful 1928 Henderson De Luxe Four:

This beautiful blue bike could’ve been yours for $70,200. Finally, we have two interesting motorcycles that are both “feet-forward.” And they were built almost 100 years apart. The first is the 1921 Ner-a-Car, of which a fair number were built. You just don’t see them that often anymore.

It sold for $9,360 and was stated as having been restored at the Indian factory in the 1940s although it is currently missing its exhaust. The other interesting motorcycles is this:

It’s a 2002 Gurney Alligator. I remember reading about this when it was first built. It looks really strange and it’s feet-forward design lends itself more toward a luge feeling than riding a motorcycle. Only 36 were built and they’re pretty quick with 70 horsepower and a top speed of about 140 mph. It sold for $15,210 – slightly more than your average cheap new motorcycle – but this will start conversations much more easily.

Although the Coventry-Eagle we featured a few weeks ago did not sell, some of these results show that there is real passion alive in the collector motorcycle hobby. For complete results, click here.

1928 Amilcar C6

1928 Amilcar C6 Voiturette

Offered by Bonhams | Paris, France | February 2, 2012

“Voiturette” is basically French for “small car” or “light car” (no, that’s not a direct translation). The term was used widely and applied to many pre-war automobiles coming from France. Amilcar started producing cyclecars in 1921 and before long that had sturdier equipment tearing it up on racetracks in Europe.

The C6 was introduced at the Paris Auto Salon in October of 1926. It featured a twin-cam straight six with a Roots-type supercharger that made over 60 horsepower. Because Amilcar was not a giant operation like some of their competitors (like Salmson), their cars were somewhat more expensive (economies of scale, anyone?).

This led to a price for the C6 of about 40,000 francs – which is about what you could’ve bought a Bugatti Type 37 for back in the day. The Amilcar shares the pre-war open-wheel race car look (and the striking blue paint) with Bugatti and, while the Bugatti might win the sexiness competition, one could argue that an Amilcar is more interesting (and rarer).

This car did not sell at a previous Bonhams auction within the past 12 months. It is being offered again with an pre-sale estimate of about $580,000-$680,000. For a more thorough history on this particular care, click here and for more on Bonhams in Paris, click here.

Update: Not Sold.

DeSoto Adventurer II Concept Car

1954 DeSoto Adventurer II Coupe

Offered by Barrett-Jackson, Scottsdale, Arizona, January 15-22, 2012

The DeSoto Adventurer was a regular production model sold from 1956 through 1960. During it’s run, it was the best DeSoto you could buy. However, a few years prior to its introduction, Chrysler commissioned a series of beautiful concept cars, The DeSotos bore the Adventurer name (the Dodges were called Firearrows).

This is the Adventurer II – and it’s the only one. It has a sleek, jet-age body designed and built by Ghia in Italy. This car is an extension of the Ghia Supersonic cars that they built around the Fiat 8V – and the 1955 Ghia Gilda borrows a lot from the Adventurer II. It featured the Hemi engine of the day and was originally owned by King Mohammed V or Morocco.

This is another car coming from The Blackhawk Collection so you know it’s in fantastic shape and has been lovingly cared for. A few years ago Barrett-Jackson sold a Dodge Firearrow concept car for about $1 million. This car is far better looking and worth every penny of the Dodge, if not more. Fore more info, click here and more on the Barrett-Jackson auction here.

Update: Sold $1,430,000.

Duesenberg J-381

1930 Duesenberg Model J LWB Town Car by Murphy

Offered by Barrett-Jackson | Scottsdale, Arizona | January 15-22, 2012

Photo – Barrett-Jackson

Well I said in a previous post that we’d try and feature every Model J Duesenberg that comes up for auction and this is the third of the Arizona Duesenbergs for this season. And it just so happens that all three of them were bodied by Murhpy – the most prolific of all Duesenberg body-builders (now I’m picturing some hulk of a man lifting a Duesenberg with each arm like a barbell).

This car was delivered to its first owner on Halloween of 1930 (cue the sounds of ghosts and ghouls). This is that actual engine (J-381) that was fitted to this long-wheelbase chassis. There are a fair number of Model Js that have swapped engines over the years. And some that have swapped bodies – Freaky Friday-style (hmm, the Halloween theme returns).

This is an attractive Town Car from the Walter M. Murphy Company and it’s a car that would very much appear to be designed for some extravagantly wealthy person to be driven in. I’ve always wondered why “the help” were relegated to riding in the elements, but I guess that’s one of the perks of being wealthy. I’m sure the chauffeur’s union would object to this treatment if this car didn’t have a 265 horsepower straight-eight engine.

Barrett-Jackson doesn’t publish estimates for the cars they’re offering but I’m guessing it should come in right at about $1 million. There are bodystyles that are much more valuable and $1 million is a nice round number and a good starting point for valuating a Duesenberg. Also, this car has been sitting (for sale) at the Blackhawk Collection for quite some time.

There were 481 Model Js built and only 4 Murphy Town Cars. Find out more here and more about Barrett-Jackson in Scottsdale, here.

Update: Sold $1,045,000.

Update II: Sold, Bonhams Monterey 2016, $1,254,000.

Bugatti Type 38A

1927 Bugatti Type 38A Tourer by J. Figoni

Offered by Gooding & Company | Scottsdale, Arizona | January 20-21, 2012

Photo – Gooding & Company

The Type 38 Bugatti was the second iteration of the eight-cylinder Bugatti. The first, the Type 30, was introduced in 1922. It wasn’t until 1926 that the Type 38 came about (the Type 40 was introduced that same year). There were 385 Type 38 Bugatti’s built with only 54 being the supercharged Type 38A, which featured the supercharger from the Type 37A race car.

The rather anemic supercharged 2.0 liter straight-8 engine made 60 horsepower. Only a few years later supercharged Duesenbergs would be putting out 320 horsepower – then again that was almost 7.0 liters. There’s no replacement for displacement.

This Bugatti features rather exceptional bodywork by Joseph (Giuseppe) Figoni of Figoni & Falaschi fame, although that partnership would not come to fruition for another eight years.  One thing I like about this car is that, even though it’s a 4-6 passenger (depending on size) touring car, it still has that awesome “Bugatti camber” that shows that this car means business:

Photo – Gooding & Company

These cars are rare but they aren’t quite as desirable as any Bugatti with, say, racing provenance or more sporting intentions (read: “more than 60 HP”). Gooding estimates this car at $500,000-$650,000. For more info, check out the car’s page on the auction website and more on the auction here.

Update: Sold $495,000.