Auction Recap: RM Sotheby’s Arizona 2017

No one brings in more money during Arizona Auction Week than Barrett-Jackson, but while the week-long Barrett-Jackson extravaganza achieved $101 million in total sales by moving over 1,700 automobiles, RM Sotheby’s was able to achieve more than half that number in just two days and with less than a tenth as many cars on offer. Specifically, RM Sotheby’s brought in $53.7 million in total sales, with 142 lots selling out of 159 offered for an 89 percent sell-through rate and an average price of $379,248.

Bidders from 30 countries came out for the sale which, despite the unusually cold and rainy weather. Totals were well down from the $62.8 million in 2016 and the $63.7 million in 2015, but there was still no shortage of seven-figure lots, so the difference was largely due to a lower average value further down the price spectrum.

Like last year,  RM Sotheby’s Arizona sale was headed by a Mercedes-Benz 540K. This year’s car — a 1939 Special Roadster with phenomenal coachwork by Sindelfingen and a rare five-speed gearbox — sold for $6.6 million and was the second-most expensive car sold all week. A rare 1969 Ferrari 365 GTS, one of just 20 built, sold for $3,602,500. Collectible Ferraris, both vintage and modern, made up six of the top 10 sales, while a Tucker 48 recently discovered in an Ohio barn also broke the million-dollar mark, at $1,347,500.

While RM successfully moved most of its big cars, notable no-sales included a 1971 Lamborghini Miura SV at a high bid of $1.7 million, a 1996 Porsche 993 GT2 at a high bid of $850,000, a 1990 Ferrari F40 at $1.1 million and a gorgeous, mostly original 1955 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwing at $1,275,000.

With a concentrated group of top-notch, valuable cars on offer and the sheer amount of wealth tightly packed into a ballroom at the Arizona Biltmore, there aren’t really bargains to be had at this auction. That said, there were some downright unusual vehicles of interest that sort of slipped under the radar, including a 1947 Divco milk truck (sold for $16,500), a 1962 DAF 750 Daffodil (sold for $8,800), a 1961 Borgward Isabella rally car (sold for $27,500) and a 1954 Kleinschnittger microcar convertible (sold for $29,700). Possibly the best value of the sale, though, went to an all-original, never-sold 1924 Isotta Fraschini Tipo 8A Landaulet that brought $434,500. The car has an outstanding invitation for the preservation class at Pebble Beach, and while 400 grand is a lot of money, people routinely spend twice on a Pebble-quality restoration alone.

Overall top 10:

  1. 1939 Mercedes-Benz 540K Special Roadster, sold for $6,600,000
  2. 1969 Ferrari 365 GTS, sold for $3,602,500
  3. 1995 Ferrari F50, sold for $3,135,000
  4. 1961 Ferrari 400 Superamerica SWB Coupe Aerodinamico, sold for $3,080,000
  5. 2003 Ferrari Enzo, sold for $2,695,000
  6. 1967 Ferrari 330 GTS, sold for $2,475,000
  7. 1966 Ferrari 275 GTB/6C, sold for $2,117,500
  8. 2013 Bugatti Veyron 16.4 Super Sport, sold for $2,090,000
  9. 1948 Tucker 48, sold for $1,347,500
  10. 2008 Lamborghini Reventon, sold for $1,320,000

The next RM Sotheby’s collector car auction is right around the corner: The Paris sale takes place on February 8 and will feature gems like a 1962 Aston Martin DB4, a 1964 Austin-Healey 3000 works rally car, a 1934 Alfa Romeo Tipo B P3 and a 1973 Ferrari 365 GTB/4 Daytona Spider.