8 August 2011

Concours thrives in new location

Many in the collector car hobby had concerns about the viability of the Meadow Brook concours and, by extension, the RM auction that had traditionally been held in conjunction with it. After corporate sponsorship — the lifeblood of any concours — dried up in 2009 and in 2010, it was announced that the show, now known as the Concours d’Elegance of America, would move to a new venue, the Inn at St. John’s in Plymouth, Mich. We needn’t have worried. The new venue quickly made all in attendance forget about Meadow Brook Hall and the RM auction held on Saturday posted generally strong (if slightly uneven) results.

Total sales were $7.6 million with a sell-through rate of 85 percent. Strangely, for a Michigan auction, prices on some of the American iron were a bit soft. A “driver condition” supercharged 1937 Cord Beverley sedan seemed well-bought at $66,000 (including the buyer’s premium) as did a ’53 Olds 98 convertible at $41,250. Pre-war cars did better, with the top sale, a 1932 Packard Twin Six custom convertible sedan, bringing $1.1 million and a 1929 Duesenberg Model J convertible Berline bringing a market-correct $704,000.

Interestingly, it was the British cars that did quite well, with a stunningly restored 1969 MGC coupe bringing what had to be a world record price of nearly $30,000. A more desirable but less well-presented MGA coupe did $22,000 and a pretty, but less-than-spectacular 1974 Triumph TR6 brought a healthy $17,600. A recently restored but not particularly correct or well-presented Series I E-type roadster was well sold at nearly $100,000. Chalk that up perhaps to the E-type 50th anniversary hype.

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