1 May 2015

Auction Preview: RM Sotheby's Andrews Collection Sale 2015

On May 2, a total of 75 cars and a wide assortment of automobilia from the collection of entrepreneur Paul Andrews will be auctioned at no reserve in Fort Worth, Texas, by RM Sotheby’s. Paul and son Chris Andrews have decided to whittle down their collection to a more manageable 15 to 20 vehicles, hence the sale. RM has called it “[a]rguably the most significant private automobile collection ever offered at a single-vendor sale,” and this isn’t just standard auction catalog hyperbole. The collection is deeply impressive both in terms of the significance and rarity of cars as well as in its diversity. Sports cars, luxury cars, customs, prewar classics and racing cars for road course, oval track and drag strip can all be found in the Andrews collection. The impressive time and effort put into building this assortment of vehicles is evident in its quality, and this will be a sale to remember. Picking a handful of favorites from this auction was even harder than usual, but here are five that we will be watching.

1953 Aston Martin DB2/4 Drophead Coupe by Bertone
Presale estimate: $1,400,000 - $1,800,000
Hagerty Price Guide: N/A

Aston Martin made fewer than 1,000 examples of its DB2/4, so it’s already a rare car, but a precious two were drophead coupes with bodywork by Bertone. The Andrews car was first ordered through S.H. Arnolt in Chicago for executive Charles A. Ward by his 60 regional sales managers as a Christmas present. Eventually, it passed to another owner with a blown engine and had a Cobra engine fitted for a time before being restored in the 1980s. It has since been shown at Pebble Beach three times. This is not the kind of car you just find for sale, and the rare Bertone coachwork helps explain why the presale estimate on this Aston is several times the value of a regular DB2/4 drophead.

1962 Shelby 289 Competition Cobra
Presale estimate: $2,200,000 - $2,600,000
Hagerty Price Guide: N/A

Any genuine Cobra is something special, but the race cars attract the most attention because the track is where the legend was born. The Cobra offered from the Andrews collection doesn’t have the most stellar race history, but it is hugely significant as the very first Cobra race car to be sold to the public. Its resume included Nassau and Daytona before making its way to Texas, where it had considerable regional SCCA success as well as a top 10 finish in the 1967 American Road Race of Champions at Daytona. In more recent years, the car has been used by the Andrews in vintage rallies like the Copperstate 1000.

1953 Cunningham C3 Coupe
Presale estimate: $900,000 - $1,200,000
Hagerty Price Guide: $450,000 - $859,000

In 1952, Briggs Cunningham decided he wanted to build a world-class performance car for the road, but the first C3 built at the shop in West Palm Beach lacked the refinement that Cunningham wanted, so he made an arrangement with Carrozzeria Vignale in Turin to supply bodywork. The C3 was advertised as “combining American engineering with Italian artistry,” and around 30 were built. The one on offer from the Andrews collection, where it has been since 2009, is actually the very first C3 fitted with that gorgeous Vignale coachwork. These hardly ever come up for sale, and given this car’s significance, it’s reasonable to expect a record price here.

1962 Ferrari 400 Superamerica SWB Cabriolet
Presale estimate: $7,000,000 - $8,500,000
Hagerty Price Guide: $3,700,000 - $4,750,000

The 400 Superamerica was one of the most exclusive cars in the world when it came out in 1959, and the cabriolet version was as much at home in front of hotels in Monaco as it was anywhere else. The first owner of the Andrews collection car, however, actually took the car to its limits in hill climbs and even at the Bonneville salt flats of all places, where it recorded 145 mph. Its real significance comes from the fact that before going to Bonneville it was also the car on the Ferrari stand at both the New York and Geneva Motor Shows in 1962. It’s hard to pick a star out of the Andrews collection, but this car is certainly in the running.

1935 Duesenberg Model SJ Town Car
Presale estimate: $3,400,000 - $4,500,000
Hagerty Price Guide: N/A

The prewar selection in the Andrews collection is fantastic and even includes three 16-cylinder cars (two Cadillacs and a Marmon), but the most notable of them is the stunning Duesenberg Model SJ Town Car by Bohman & Schwartz. The car is impressive enough underneath as a supercharged SJ that made 320 horsepower from its 420 cubic inch straight-eight, but the one-off streamlined bodywork is what really sets it apart. Originally designed for actress Mae West, the body was fitted to a car ordered by the widow of the man who had invented the Milky Way and Snickers bars. It cost an incredible $20,000 to build, and is a well-known car to any student of Duesenberg history. 

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