Automobiles of Amelia Island, RM Auctions

Automobiles  of Amelia Island, RM Auctions March 2008
The 10th annual Automobiles of Amelia Island hosted by RM Auctions was another successful and entertaining event. Held in conjunction with the Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance, the vintage car event saw over 100 rare automobiles cross the auction block, with four breaking the magic million dollar mark.

The auction preview, (held on the day prior to the auction), and the auction day itself, had very unusual weather. High winds made the large tents feel like kites - expanding and contracting - under the enormous pressure. Additional reinforcements were made where necessary to keep the tents safe and secure, not to mention the numerous rolling treasures of which they stored. The threats of hurricanes did not seem to slow interest, as nearly every seat and standing area was filled during the auction. Over 91% of the vehicles that crossed the auction block were sold.

More than $16.8 million in automobile and memorabilia was auctioned. Highlights included a rare 1931 Duesenberg Murphy Convertible, which sold for $2.64 million, and an historic 1934 Ford Model 40 Special Speedster, custom built for Edsel Ford, which sold for $1.76 million. A gorgeous 8-Liter Bentley Open Tourer with coachwork by Harrison sold for $2.2 million and a LeBaron bodied Duesenberg went for $1.21 million.

Analysis
Over 90% of the vehicles were sold with the average sale of the day being nearly $168,000. 60% of the vehicles were offered without reserve which is considerably more in comparison to last year's results at the same auction. Last year saw $2 million more in sales with the average sale being $214,800. Even though this year had more cars offered with reserves, it had a higher sales ratio than last year. Over 25% of the vehicles that sold were above the estimated value, which was higher than last year's 17%. Since many are wondering if the collector car market is slowing, this could be a good indicator that the industry is still strong and prospering. It may also be an indication that during these questionable economic times, sellers are a little more cautious with their investments and do what is necessary to guarantee the market value is met. Buyers, while cautious of the fluttering economy, realize that the cars up for sale may be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to make the purchase. In short, most of the cars were sold and most fetched the market value.

Highlights
Two Duesenberg Model J's brought in a combined $3.85 million, which was about 20% of the day's total sale. The top four sellers accounted for nearly 50%. The Murphy bodied Duesenberg is a multi-Best of Show winner (including the 2006 MeadowBrook Concours). It retains all of its original components and sits on a short wheelbase with a 'disappearing top' bodystyle. On auction day it shattered the estimated value which predicted a high of $2.0 million by selling for $2.64 million.

The LeBaron-bodied Duesenberg spent much of its early life in Canada, one of the few Duesenbergs ever to reside in that country. It sold for on the high-end of its expected value, at $1.21 million.

Only 100 8-Liter Bentleys were ever produced. 16 were fitted with open bodywork. Six were drophead coupes and ten were open tourers. The Open Tourer Bentley at auction was one of the few still remaining in existence. It made an appearance at the 1989 Pebble Beach Concours, has lived on several continents, and been well used throughout its lifetime. The 8-Liter Bentleys were among the best cars in the world when first introduced. They were able to outpace the competition in speed and acceleration, while offering all the luxurious amenities and pleasantries expected from a car of this caliber. Even today, the stature and rapport are still impressive. At auction, the 8-Liter Bentley sold for $2.2 million.

Arguably the most beautiful and well crafted car up for sale was the Ford Model 40 Speedster Special. It was designed by Edsel Ford and Eugene T. 'Bob' Gregorie, and fitted to a modified Ford chassis. It has European inspired styling with a custom boat tail speedster design and a shape that was perfected in a wind tunnel. The body is made from aluminum, is topless, and has cut-down doors. The canted louvers are in the precise angle of the grille and the rakish windscreen. It is very smooth, clean and stylish with no hood ornamentation, no running boards, and no brightwork. It was used by Edsel Ford until his untimely death, at which point it was sold. During the 1960s it was put into storage where it remained for nearly four decades. In late 1999, the car was discovered by the founder of the Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance. Mr. Bill Warner purchased it on the spot. It was brought to this year's auction at Amelia where it was sold for $1.76 million.

It may have not been a highlight in terms of high sales, but the 1959 Ford Galaxie was very unique. On April 29th of 1959, Ford produced their 50 millionth car, a Galaxie. It was a celebrated event highlighted by a re-creation of the first transcontinental race held in 1909. The 50 millionth Ford flew the Company's flag on the run from New York City to Seattle. In 2008, the car was put up for auction where it was sold for higher than the expected value, at $79,750.

Four 'Pierce-Arrows' brought in a combined $288,750 in sales. (This is one of the few times this many Pierce-Arrows have been offered for sale at one time). The 1927 Pierce-Arrow Series 36 Coupe was the high seller at $121,000. Only 1,900 examples of the Series 36 Pierce-Arrow were created over a three year time period making it a very rare car.

Another low production car was the Rolls-Royce Wraith, of which 116 were created. The 1938 Rolls-Royce Wraith Seven-Passenger Limousine with coachwork by John S. Inspkip, sold for $50,600. The W.O. Bentley-designed Lagonda LG6 sold for $247,500. Only 63 examples of the LG6 were built.

Replicas
There were several replicas, tribute cars, re-creation, and conversions that crossed the block. The list includes a Bugatti Type 35, a Lotus 7, a Ferrari Dino GTS, Porsche 911, Shelby GT350 Racer, and even a Cadillac V16. The Cadillac V16 was converted from a Series 75 V8 into a V16 Fleetwood Convertible Sedan. There were two other Cadillac V16s up for sale with the highest of the three selling for $522,000.

During the present season that we live, the cost to own an original car has skyrocketed so re-creations and conversions are understandable.

A number of Bugatti T35 reproductions have been made, from basic kit cars to sophisticated hand-crafted reproductions conforming to exact specifications. The T35 that made its way to Amelia had a high bid of $160,000, which was just short of satisfying the car's reserve so it left unsold. It was built by a small company named Pur Sang located in Villa Lola. The company has received much press lately with their Pur Sang Bugatti Veyron and production limited to just five units. The company's reputation for quality is nearly unmatched and their expertise with the T35 is unparalleled, as the company has been building T35 replicas for nearly 20 years.

The Shelby GT350 was a conversion. It left the factory as a Hertz Rent-A-Racer that was later fitted with a 545 engine, all-steel body, 9-inch Ford rear end, 12-inch discs in the front and 11-inch competition drums in the rear, and purpose built interior with Kirkey aluminum racing seats. It has all the modern safety equipment and a host of other improvements. This car sold for $165,000 falling within the expected range.

Conclusion
With many of the cars sold and a high percentage selling above the estimated value, the Automobiles of Amelia was another very successful event. 'Over the past decade, our Amelia Island auction, in conjunction with the Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance, has carved a reputation as one of the leading automotive events on the collector car calendar,' said Ian Kelleher, Managing Director of RM Auctions.

'With record attendance and strong prices across the board, this year's Amelia Island auction was a fitting celebration for our 10th anniversary sale,' he added.

Galleries
1906 Panhard 25/30  
1909 Ford Model T  
1912 Ford Model T  
1913 Napier 30/35 Model T44  
1918 Cadillac Type 57  
1918 Milburn Electric Model 27  
1927 Pierce Arrow Model 36  
1928 Bugatti Type 35B  
1929 Duesenberg Model J  
1929 Franklin Model 137  
1930 Pierce Arrow Model B  
1931 Bentley 8-Liter  
1931 Cadillac 355 Eight  
1931 Cadillac 452A V-16  
1931 Duesenberg Model J Murphy  
1931 LaSalle Model 345A  
1931 Lincoln Model K  
1931 Pierce Arrow Model 43  
1932 Cadillac 355B  
1932 Lincoln Model KB  
1932 Packard Model 902 Eight  
1933 Packard 1004 Super Eight  
1934 Ford Brewster  
1934 Ford Model 40 Special Speedster  
1934 MG PB Airline Coupe  
1936 Cord 810  
1936 Packard Model 1402 Eight  
1937 Cord 812  
1938 Cadillac Series 90  
1938 Lagonda LG6  
1938 Rolls-Royce Wraith  
1939 Cadillac Series 75  
1939 Cadillac Series 90  
1940 Cadillac Series 90 Sixteen  
1946 Mercury Series 69M  
1948 Lincoln Mark I Continental  
1950 Crosley Gardner Special  
1950 Ford Custom Deluxe  
1952 MG TD  
1954 Buick Skylark  
1954 Chevrolet Corvette C1  
1954 Volkswagen 1200 Deluxe  
1955 Chevrolet Corvette C1  
1955 Ford Thunderbird  
1956 Austin-Healey 100M BN2  
1956 Lincoln Premiere  
1958 Fiat 1100 TV  
1958 Lancia Aurelia  
1959 Cadillac Series 62  
1959 Chevrolet Corvette C1  
1959 Ford Galaxie  
1959 Jaguar XK150  
1960 Austin-Healey 3000 MKI  
1961 Mercedes-Benz 190 SL  
1962 Fiat Abarth 850 TC  
1963 Porsche 356  
1963 Volkswagen Beetle  
1965 Brabham BT15  
1966 Ford Shelby Mustang GT350  
1966 Ford Thunderbird  
1966 Mercedes-Benz 250 SE  
1967 Chevrolet Corvette C2  
1967 Ferrari 330 GT 2+2  
1967 Fiat Dino  
1968 Ford Shelby Mustang GT500 KR  
1968 Jaguar XKE E-Type  
1969 Porsche 911  
1972 Ferrari 246 Dino  
1979 Porsche 911 Turbo  
1993 Cadillac Allanté  
2001 Bentley Azure  
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