February 2019 Auction Highlights

We’ll pick up where we left off last time, Scottsdale. This time it’s Russo & Steele, where this 2012 Lexus LFA blew everything else away, selling for $412,500. Complete results can be found here.

Photo – Russo & Steele

Now we’re on to Retromobile in Paris, where RM Sotheby’s led it off with a huge number for this 1987 Ferrari F40 LM: $5,489,215.

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

Next, a couple of no-sales, which included the Ferrari SP30, the 2015 Morgan, the 1900 Panhard, the OSCA, and a previously-featured Hispano-Suiza. On the other hand, the Jordan 196 F1 car sold for $273,468. Click here for more results.

The second sale of the Retromobile week was held by Bonhams, and we featured a lot of cars from this event. On the extreme one end of the spectrum was the Red Bug buckboard we featured. It sold for $4,958. Now a quick rundown of no-sales from this auction: the Clement-Bayard, the beautiful Darracq, the 1911 Renault, the Bellanger, and a previously-featured Horch. The overall top sale was this 1939 Mercedes-Benz 540K Cabriolet A for $1,794,086.

Photo – Bonhams

Cars that did sell include the 1909 Sears for $22,181, the 1913 FN also for $22,181, the Berliet for $43,058, the Hanomag for $66,544, the 1912 Hupmobile for $18,267, and the Pilain for $32,619. A pair of previously-featured cars sold here too: the 1971 Bizzarrini 128 Prototype for $110,907 and aPaige-Detroit for $37,838. Final results can be found here.

The final sale from Retromobile was Artcurial’s – and it was a big one. The top sale here was the Alfa 8C 2900B Touring Berlinetta we featured for $18,997,883, which is apparently about the going rate for those cars. Other big dollar cars included the Voisin C16 for $128,471, the Panhard X86 Dolomites for $108,186, and all three Serenissimas: the Agena brought $500,360, the Ghia GT $513,883, and the ex-Le Mans Spyder a whopping $4,786,229. We’ll award Most Interesting to this 1948 Delahaye 135 M Cabriolet by Letourneur and Marchand that sold for $170,393.

Photo – Artcurial

Cars that failed to sell included the Voisin C11, the Mercedes 500K Cabriolet B, the Citroen Traction Avant Cabriolet, and the Talbot Barquette, while cars that did find new homes were the Voisin C3L for $60,885, the Dick Tricycle for $12,171, and the Rochet-Schneider for $35,160. More results can be found here.

Finally, we have Silverstone Auctions and their Race Retro Classic Car sale. The biggest money was the $381,813 paid for this 1958 Porsche 356A Speedster.

Photo – Silverstone Auctions

The Ginetta G4 we featured sold for $40,824, but the De Tomaso Longchamp Spider failed to find a new home on the block. You can see more results from this sale here.

April 2018 Auction Highlights

We’re kicking off April with a sale from Artcurial. The top sale was this 1939 Alfa Romeo 6C 2500 SS Spider for $337,628.

Photo – Artcurial

The Citroen DS 21 Cabriolet we featured sold for $156,745 and the Bristol brought $38,167. Click here for complete results.

Next up, Brightwells Bicester Classic & Vintage sale. The De Dion-Bouton and Scripps-Booth both failed to sell, but the ultra-rare Palladium Sports brought $13,342. The overall top seller was $113,242 for this 1933 Alvis Speed 20 SA Vanden Plas Sports Tourer. Click here for everything else.

Photo – Brightwells

Onward to Barrett-Jackson in Palm Beach. Both of our feature cars sold: the Kaiser Club Sedan brought $44,000 and the DeSoto Fireflite sold for $225,500. The top sale was this 2012 Lexus LFA Nurburgring Edition for $770,000. With a price like that, expect to see more of these at auctions soon. More results can be found here.

Photo – Barrett-Jackson

Now we have Osenat and a small selection of modern cars. We didn’t feature anything, but this $177,745 2012 Ferrari FF was the top seller. See everything else here.

Photo – Osenat

And finally, H&H Classics’ Pavilion Gardens sale. We didn’t feature anything here either but this 1960 Daimler SP250 Dart topped the charts at $60,282. Click here for other results.

Photo – H&H Classics

10 Modern Rarities

There are cars that are rare, obviously. Sometimes it is intentional – Lamborghini and Ferrari want to sell a lot of cars and make a lot of money, but they have to balance that with exclusivity. If everyone drove a Ferrari, they wouldn’t be as special (but we’d be a lot happier, I would guess). Anyway, we are going to celebrate 10 cars (or trucks or SUVs) produced since the year 2000 by major manufacturers that just didn’t sell. Some were flops. Others were doomed from the start.

A few cars just missed the cut. Apologies to the final generation Saab 9-5, Lincoln Mark LT pickup, those two new Scions (the 2016-only iA and iM), Pontiac G5, PT Cruiser Convertible, and (at some point in the future) the Chevrolet SS. Here we go:


10. 2005-2009 Mitsubishi Raider

Mitsubishi_Raider_crew_cab

A number of Mitsubishi’s could’ve made this list. A few years ago they sold 50,000 cars in the U.S. and Ford sold half a million F-150s in the same time span. But the Dodge Dakota-based Raider is pretty rare on our roads. Over six years, they sold only 28,334 of these.


9. 2004-2005 Saab 9-2x

Saab_9-2X

The Saab 9-2x was a badge-engineered version of the Subaru Impreza hatchback. The “Saabaru” was only sold for two years and only 10,346 were built. While the Subaru version is pretty common, you almost never see the Saab. Or maybe you do – they are identical other than the grille area. It’s the fancy-man’s Impreza.


8. 2002 Lincoln Blackwood

2002_Lincoln_Blackwood_2

Have you ever actually seen one of these? I haven’t seen one in years. This was Ford’s fancy F-150 Crew Cab and it only lasted in the U.S. for one model year (Mexico got a second year). In total, only 3,356 were built. I guess people weren’t ready for a $52,000 pickup truck from a “soft” brand. My favorite Blackwood story is that, at the end of the 2002 model year, there was a dealership somewhere that had a deal: buy a Lincoln Blackwood, get a brand new Mercury Cougar… free. Talk about saddling dealers with some dead weight.


7. 2005-2008 Isuzu i-Series

Isuzu_i-Series

This was basically just a copy of the Chevrolet Colorado/GMC Canyon that was already on sale in the U.S. The picture above shows a four-door version, even rarer than the heavily-discounted two-door base model (I once saw a brand new one on a dealer lot for about $8,000 back in its day). It was a slow-seller… in the first year there were only 1,377 takers. Isuzu left the U.S. shortly after.


6. 2010-2013 Acura ZDX

1280px-2011_Acura_ZDX_--_NHTSA

Uh, what is this? The shaving razor grille of Acura is on some sort of… SUV? Crossover? Tall car? Does it have four doors or two? I’ve only ever actually seen one of these… and they are relatively recent. Only 7,191 were built and sold (they sold 18,000+ NSXs). So you’re twice as likely to see an NSX than a ZDX. Think about that.


5. 2008-2012 Suzuki Equator

2009_Suzuki_Equator_extended_cab_Premium

The pickup market is a tough nut to crack. The Equator was a Nissan Frontier-based pickup offered by Suzuki. It’s actually a decent-looking truck – better than the Nissan anyway. Canadian sales ceased in 2010 but U.S. sales soldiered on until 2012 (and Suzuki left the U.S. market not long after). Since 2009, they sold only 5,808 of these. Pretty rare.


4. 2002-2005 Lexus IS300 SportCross

Toyota_Altezza_Gita_002

Yes, I know the photo above is of the Japanese Toyota variant, but Lexus sold it as the IS300 SportCross between 2002 and 2005. While the IS300 is one of the best (the best?) car Lexus has ever built, the SportCross was a dud. Only 3,078 were built. Bentley Continental GTs are more common on our roads.


3. 2009-2010 Hummer H3T

Hummer_H3T_NY

The Hummer H3 was an SUV built between 2006 and 2010 by Hummer. The H3T was a pickup variant only available for two of those years. It was a popular concept a few years before it ever went on sale – but by the time it did the market didn’t care. Only 5,680 were made and I have never seen a single one.


2. 2011-2014 Nissan Murano CrossCabriolet

2011_Nissan_Murano_CrossCabriolet_--_10-28-2011

I think this easily qualifies as the most bizarre vehicle on this list. It’s probably the most bizarre vehicle produced by a major automobile manufacturer in quite some time. I’m not sure how many of these were built but I’ve only ever seen two: both driven by women in their mid-50s.


1. 2011 Saab 9-4x

1280px-Saab_9-4X_--_04-08-2011

Here’s the unicorn. Before General Motors kicked Saab to its knees and shot it point blank in the head, they introduced the 9-4x. It’s basically a Cadillac SRX that was produced in Mexico for its Swedish cousin. It went on sale literally right before the brand was shuttered. Only about 500 of these were made. I’ve actually seen one in my tiny hometown. But it’s easily the rarest car on here, and thus why it is #1.

Toyota’s Ultimate Supercar

2012 Lexus LFA

Offered by Auctions America | Fort Lauderdale, Florida | March 22-24, 2013

2012 Lexus LFA

Toyota hasn’t built an exciting car in quite a while. The Supra stopped production in 2002 but stopped exporting in 1998. Since then it’s been big and bland for Toyota in the United States. Lexus wasn’t exactly setting race tracks on fire either, although the original IS caught a lot of sporting-esque people’s attention (but it wasn’t a sports car, just cool-looking).

Then in 2009 (at the height of new Nissan GT-R-mania), Toyota announces this insane car that they were going to build. Will it be the next Supra? Nope – it’s going to be a Lexus – and a $400,000 one at that.

Needless to say, this was rather shocking. Lexus began taking deposits and chose their customers (instead of the other way around) – as only 500 cars were going to be built (and were: production started in December of 2010 and ran through December of 2012). They were all built-to-suit. Strangely, these cars were sold through a two year lease program – that is, Lexus had first rights to buy the car back should the owner choose to sell it. I guess they didn’t want this one, as it’s about to be auctioned off.

With a base price of $375,000 (for the base model, which this is), Lexus only sent 150 LFAs to North America. The car uses a 4.8-liter V-10 making 552 horsepower. It sounds like an F1 car (no doubt, something Toyota learned from their V-10 F1 experience). The car is packed full of technology and drives and handles like a dream. It really is an astounding car.

It is a purpose-built supercar – the purpose here being one of the following: to show Toyota can be fun and build something awesome; for Toyota to show their shareholders that F1 was a semi-worthy investment; to better the GT-R (debatable); to make as many people as possible go “Whaaat?” (accomplished). With only 150 reaching these shores, they’re certainly rare and already out of production. As the two-year lease program has yet to expire, this is a rare, early opportunity to acquire one. This one has 400 miles on it and is essentially brand new. $350,000-$400,000 is reasonable. Click here for more and here for more from Auctions America.

Update: Sold $319,000.

Bonhams at Petersen Automotive Museum – Results

Bonham’s November 12th, 2011 auction at the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles sold a few interesting cars that we’ll talk about here. One that did not sell was the 1906 Holsman Model G-10 High-Wheel Runabout we featured here a few weeks ago.

On the upper-end of things was a 1955 Cadillac Fleetwood 75 Limousine that was once owned by Elvis Presley. It’s Elvis-association brought in $172,000 – which is a lot, but then again, this is a lot of Cadillac. This result would appear to show that, in this case, Elvis’ name is worth approximately $100,000.

On the interesting side was this 1981 Phillips Berlina T-Top:

Neo-classics were all the rage in the late 1970s and early 1980s. There were quite a number of companies sprouting up in the U.S. that sol old-style cars on modern running gear. Every one of them looks like something Cruella de Vil would drive. This particular car from the Phillips Motor Car Company is built upon a C3 Corvette chassis and uses the donor car’s L82 V8. Chances are you could find numersou Excaliburs or Zimmers for sale at any one time, but this Florida-built Phillips is much rarer. It sold for $10,350.

The next car was featured in the the Steven Spielberg and Tom Cruise movie Minority Report. It’s a 2004 Lexus that is fairly memorable from it’s role in the film (if you happened to see it). The car was featured prominently in the movie ads and at least one Lexus campaign if I recall correctly.

It doesn’t have much in the way of an interior – just a driver’s seat, a steering wheel, and some video screens. In the movie it was run on fuel cells (as that was the world-saving technology being touted as “the future” in 2004). Whether it runs or not in real life is another story. This car would work best as a pretty sculpture that sits in the middle of your collection. It brought $101,790.

Going back more than a hundred years we find this wonderful 1902 Autocar Type VIII Rear-Entrance Tonneau:

This car is a driver and is eligible for the London-to-Brighton Run. It’s attractive rear-entrance tonneau bodywork is a kind of marvel. Like three-door coupes today with their hidden rear-doors, this was an early attempt to build a somewhat sporty-looking two-seater with extra hidden seating and space behind the driver. Autocar traces its roots back to 1897 but they built their last “car” in 1911. They are still in business today, making large “vocational” trucks – thus making them, off the top of my head, America’s oldest vehicle manufacturer that’s still operating today. This car sold for $64,350.

Finally, we come to this 1951 Studebaker Land Cruiser Sedan.

It’s not remarkable – Studebaker made a good number of these – but it’s fresh (2007) restoration really looks good. It has a 120 horsepower V-8 and Studebaker’s stand-out “Bullet Nose” design. There’s just something about this car that struck me as intriguing. Do you agree or am I crazy?

For complete results, click here. Individual car pages are linked above.