The car auction calendar’s bellwether is nearly upon us. And despite events occurring all over the Phoenix area, it is simply known as Scottsdale Auction Week.
For 2017, the juggernaut grows larger still as a new sale, hosted by Worldwide Auctions, adds another 82-car offering to the immense total of over 2,500 cars at Barrett-Jackson, RM Sotheby’s, Russo and Steele, Bonhams, Gooding and Company and Silver Auctions.
Last year, the Arizona auctions realized a total of $244.8 million. That was down from $289.9 million (-15.6%) from 2015 and even below 2014’s total of $252.7 million (-3.1%.). Whether 2017’s mix of cars consigned and bidders’ willingness to pay handsomely for them will be sufficient to reverse the recent record remains to be seen, however there is no shortage of fascinating cars. Following are the most anticipated.
Let’s begin with what will likely be the largest sale: Bonhams at the Westin Kierland on Thursday declined to estimate a result on its 1960 Ferrari 250 GT Short Wheelbase California Spyder (s/n 2277GT). Be assured, however, that if it sells, it will bring well over $10 million and should be the week’s headline result. Two other highlights include their ex-Le Mans, Mille Miglia and Targa Florio ‘52 Ferrari 340 America Vignale Spider (s/n 0196A) with an estimate of $7.5-9 million.
In the same estimate range is the factory, ex-Bob Jane, 1963 Jaguar XKE Series I Lightweight (s/n S850667), which may set a new overall price record for E-types. This is the first appearance for an XKE Lightweight at auction since 2005, which didn’t sell. (The current E-type record is “more than [$7.55M]” via private sale, according to The Daily Mail. The last Lightweight to sell at auction sold in ‘03 for $1.375M.)
Barrett-Jackson, the auction company that spawned this week of car-madness, is bigger than ever at its WestWorld location offering seven days of cars, trucks, hot rods, customs and turkey legs (it’s a circus, trust us). One of its most exciting consignments is an original Bill Thomas Cheetah, competition chassis number 006, the only one built and raced from new with a 427-cid L88 engine (now powered by a ‘67 L88 crate engine). Lot #1376, it has seven documented owners from new and is comprehensively and freshly restored. While ’57 Chevys are sometimes overlooked, it will be hard to pass by B-J’s Lot #1280, a three-speed 283-cid, 283hp fuel-injected convertible (strangely enough for a convertible, a heater/radio delete car) from the featured Charlie Thomas Collection (s/n VC57S197572). There are Fords, too, including an unrestored and largely original ‘67 Shelby GT500 Fastback in Lime Gold over black, Lot #1461 (s/n 67410F7A01874.) Not to be overlooked either is Lot #1343, a 1956 DeSoto Convertible Indy Pace Car (s/n 5031587) with a 330-cid Hemi V-8, an award winning and very rare model equipped with HiWay HiFi underdash record player.
Russo and Steele’s historic location was finally overcome by Scottsdale’s inexorable expansion and had to find a new home. Now located at the Salt River Fields at Talking Stick, their devotion to American Muscle is apparent from consignments like this: An unrestored, original black-on-black ‘71 Plymouth Hemi ‘Cuda with four-speed (s/n JS23R1B242313). They also have a multi-award winning, Bloomington Gold, 1968 Corvette with the fabled L88 engine (s/n 194378S417431) and a ‘69 NICKEY 427/425hp four-speed Camaro.
RM Sotheby’s is offering 160 vehicles, from a Divco Bread Truck to a Mercedes-Benz 540K Special Roadster, over two days, Thursday and Friday, at the Arizona Biltmore. The Divco, done up in ‘Moldy J. Mildew’ livery, is lot number 104, and is estimated at $20,000-$30,000. It is one of 101 lots RM Sotheby’s is offering without reserve.
The Mercedes-Benz, s/n 408383, will likely cost you a bit more. Probably between $7.4-$8.4 million to be precise, Lot #258, but it is a gorgeous example of classic German engineering and design. RM Sotheby’s is also offering a similarly gorgeous and equally beautiful car from two decades later, a 1961 Ferrari 400 Superamerica Short Wheelbase Coupe Aerodinamico with coachwork by Pininfarina (s/n 2841SA). Lot # 231, it is estimated at $3,250,000-$3,850,000 and will be high on any aesthetically minded collector’s list of limited production, gran turismo Ferraris. Among RM Sotheby’s 160 vehicles, fourteen were built after the turn of the 21st century, increasingly popular among collectors, including a 1,200hp 2013 Bugatti Veyron 16.4 Super Sport 300 estimated at $2.1-$2.3 million, lot #228, and a pair of 2011 Porsche 911 RS coupes, a GT3 at $225,000-$275,000 (Lot #125) and an awesome 620hp GT2 with an estimate of $450,000-$500,000 (Lot #144.)
The new folks in the valley, Worldwide Auctioneers, have settled on a Wednesday date, south of Old Town Scottsdale where their 82-car lineup is led by a simply wonderful 1955 Lancia Aurelia B24S Spider America (s/n B24S1177) estimated at $1.2-$1.5 million. Of special note at Worldwide are three Jaguar Club of North America award-winning Jaguar XK 120s, from the Lanny Sims estate, all offered without reserve: 1952 Fixed Head Coupe (s/n 679067), $80,000-$120,000 Lot # 21; 1950 Open Two Seater (s/n 670261), $125,000-$175,000 Lot # 54; and 1952 Open Two Seater (s/n 672435), $120,000-$140,000 Lot # 59.
Gooding & Company has one of the most unusual and beautiful cars in Scottsdale this year, Lot #34, its supercharged 1936 Squire 1½-Liter Tourer (s/n 1501). Calling it rare is an understatement: Adrian Squire built only seven examples. It has period competition history in the RAC Rally and at Brooklands. Estimated at $1.5-$2 million, it earns respect from every informed pre-war sports car collector. A wonderful design comparison is created by Lot #144, the gorgeous William Lyons-designed 1938 3½-Liter SS 100 Jaguar (s/n 39067), estimated at $450,000-$525,000. It was owned for many years by the first host of the “Today Show”, Dave Garroway, and maintained for him by David Hopping in Eastport, N.Y., (where it fired my imagination as a 16 year old); J. Fred Muggs may have sat on its alligator leather upholstery.
Equally exciting is Lot #55, a 1975 Lancia Stratos SF Stradale (s/n 829ARO001948) estimated at $500,000-$600,000 and unusually presented in its original Azzuro blue. The Stratos has Ferrari Dino power and also Ferrari-powered is Lot #146, a 1966 Ferrari 275 GTB long nose alloy Berlinetta (s/n 08117); Ferrari Classiche certified, it is gorgeous and fast, but has been made even faster with the addition of a sextet of Weber carburetors.
We’ll let you know how they, and the rest of the 2017 Scottsdale Auction Week, perform. Is there a certain car that you’re particularly interested in? Don’t worry, we won’t tell...