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.

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.

Three Isottas in One Week!

1924 Isotta Fraschini Tipo 8 Torpedo Phaeton by Cesare Sala

Offered by Bonhams | Scottsdale, Arizona | January 19, 2012

Photo – Bonhams

I can’t recall the last time an Isotta Fraschini crossed the block at auction, and here we have three of them the same week in the same town (and as of this writing, Gooding doesn’t have their catalog online and who knows what surprises it will hold). The other two we’ve featured have been the Tipo 8A models and this is an earlier Tipo 8. Instead of the 135 horsepower 7.4-liter straight eight of the Tipo 8A, this car features a 5.9-liter straight eight making 100 horsepower that would take it to 85 mph.

The styling isn’t quite as wild as the other two cars either but it still cost a cool $20,000 when new. Actually, this is the second Cesare Sala-bodied car for sale this week (Cesare Sala was an “official” coachbuilder of Isotta). This was the final year for the Tipo 8 before they switched to the 8A and only 10 of the 500 or so cars built still survive. This car was once owned by the Blackhawk Collection and by collector John O’Quinn.

Bonhams’ pre-sale estimate for this car is $425,000-$525,000. Read more about it here and check out the rest of their lineup here.

Update: Sold $447,000.

Purple Isotta Boattail

1927 Isotta Fraschini Tipo 8A Boattail Tourer

Offered by RM Auctions | Phoenix, Arizona | January 19-20, 2012

Look. At. This. Car. It’s mindblowing. First of all, how many two-tone purple cars do you see? Now, how many two-tone purple cars do you see that grab and hold your attention quite like this. Look at that grille!

This is the second Tipo 8A that we’ve featured that’s being offered in Arizona this January. It is by far the more awesome. The car is immaculate and I’d by dying to put a bid in on it, had I not been aware that RM sold this car back in 2007 for a touch over $390,000. At that time, it undercut the lower end of the estimate by a cool $60,000 – so, by definition it’s a steal. (The car lacked the current grille-work that it has now at that time).

It’s got a 135 horsepower, 7.4 liter Straight 8 engine which isn’t Duesenberg power but it’s no slouch, able to hit 100 mph. The Boattail bodywork is by Carrozzeria Italiana Cesare Sala (not a household name by any means) and it cost $6,000 back in 1927 – on top of the $8,500 chassis price. They weren’t exactly giving these cars away.

RM doesn’t have an estimate handy as of this writing, but $400,000 sounds about right, we’ll see. I’d pay it, conditions willing. More info can eventually be found here and more about RM in Arizona here.

Update: Sold $407,000.

1928 Isotta Fraschini

1928 Isotta Fraschini Tipo 8A Roadster Cabriolet by Castagna

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

This particular car, one of a few extremely valuable classics available this year at the otherwise massive custom and muscle car show that is Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale, has been located at the Blackhawk Collection in Danville, California, for the past few decades.

The car was was featured on the Isotta Fraschini stand at the 1928 New York Auto Show located at the Commodore Hotel (and sold initially from its spot at the stand). The car has complete ownership history from new and was first restored, with only 9,000 miles on the odometer, in the 1960s. The Blackhawk Collection purchased it in 1983 and restored it to its current condition. The current odometer reading is about 13,350 original miles.

The car was bodied by Milanese coachbuilders Carrozzeria Castagna in this attractive Roadster Cabriolet body style. It proved so popular at the New York Auto Show that 10 more were built just like it – only two are known to still exist. It features a 7.3 liter Straight-8 under the hood with plenty of power and a top speed of over 150 km/h. At the time it was built it cost more than a Model J Duesenberg.

Duesenbergs come up for auction much more frequently than do Isottas. There were slightly more than 1,100 Duesenbergs of all models built. There were about 950 Isotta Fraschini Tipo 8As built, which makes them rare, but comparatively not as rare as similar cars. It should bring big money – and it should, it’s a beautiful car (look at the detail on the grille) – but I don’t think it’ll see the multi-millions of some recent Model Js.

See the car at Barrett-Jackson here and info on the Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale auction here.

Update: Sold $1,100,000.