Every January a wave of enthusiasts descends on the greater Scottsdale, Arizona area for what is commonly referred to as “auction week.” For the past couple decades, American muscle cars have been the focal point of any talk about the American car market in Scottsdale. But lo and behold, not a single muscle car made the list of top 10 American cars sold across all the auction houses.
For the most part, pre-war American cars sold the best. What does that mean for the muscle car market? Not much, really. There are few million-dollar muscle cars in general, and there were no Hemi Cuda Convertibles in Scottsdale to top the list.
What did sell well were exclusive opportunities to purchase the first 2019 Ford GT Heritage Edition and 2020 Shelby Mustang GT500 as well as luxury icons of the depression era. Here are the top ten American car sales for Scottsdale 2019.
Top dog for the week was Ford’s highly anticipated 2019 GT Heritage edition. This homage to the GT40 race car which dominated Le Mans in the late ‘60s was finished in striking Gulf livery. With proceeds going to benefit charity, the opportunity to own the first GT Heritage saw eager bidding topping out at a substantial $2.5 million. Almost as notable, it was announced on the block that this particular car would not be subject to the two-year restriction on the owner selling that all other GTs are bound to.
Ford’s 700+ horsepower answer to the Dodge Hellcat and Camaro ZL1 is here and ready to do battle. Benefiting charity, Barrett-Jackson offered the chance to own the first 2020 GT500 off of the production line. $1.1 million was the final total—a winning bid from Barrett-Jackson CEO and Shelby Mustang collector, Craig Jackson.
The Shelby Cobra needs no introduction. It stands as one of the most iconic American sports cars, alongside the Chevrolet Corvette. The combination of a powerful Ford V-8 and a light British chassis allowed the 289 Cobras to give the Corvette a run for its money on the track. Gooding & Company offered this striking California black plate car which sold for $1.05 million. Seven figures is a hefty number for a lot of American classics, but this equates to “average” value of a decent 289 Cobra.
1930 Cadillac Series 452 Sport Phaeton by Fleetwood
V-16 Cadillacs are the pinnacle of pre-war General Motors design and luxury. These cars are as much a work of art mechanically as they are aesthetically. The huge V-16 engine was unbelievably smooth and offered up gobs of power while emitting merely a whisper. The coachbuilt bodies offered up the finest luxuries that could be offered to the elite during the height of the Great Depression. One of only a few surviving Sport Phaetons, this V16 Cadillac is an AACA and CCCA award winner and justifiably commanded a substantial price of $940,000.
Another Cobra offered by Gooding & Company. This 289-equipped example was one upgraded in period for SCCA competition. This car was a regular competitor in the late ‘60s and was being offered up after more than 40 years of single ownership. Racing cars can be hard to place a value on and while this car was the recipient of a $470,000 restoration, it went for just over low estimate. Not a bad price to pay for a Cobra with known race history and long-term ownership.
The Auburn 851 Boattail Speedster is another one of those iconic pre-war designs that nearly any car enthusiast can identify with ease. These sports cars received a powerful, supercharged eight-cylinder engine making these among the best performing cars of the era.
Few cars of the depression era are more iconic and exclusive then a Duesenberg. The Model J and SJ are among the fastest cars of their time as well as offering unparalleled class. Duesenbergs were popular among the elite of the time including names such as Clark Gable and Gary Cooper. The Model JN took the Model J and with a few tweaks, lowered the car’s stance giving it a sleek and sporty look compared to high riding cars of the time. This sleek Tourster offered at Worldwide Auctioneers is a vision of pure 1930s class and went to its new home for $605,000.
For Corvette enthusiasts, owning a real C7.R to go play with on the track would be a dream come true. The only downside is how difficult it would be to drive on the street. Well, in 2016, Chevrolet offered the next best thing. The C7.R edition was available to 500 lucky buyers and offered many track-oriented options to the already insane Z06. The standard Z07 package added carbon ceramic brakes, adjustable aero and a set of stickier Michelin Pilot Super Sport Cup 2 tires, while special trim and an available Corvette Racing Yellow or Black exterior color topped the option off. The car offered was previously owned by NASCAR racer, Jeff Gordon and was auctioned off to benefit charity.
Average value in #2 condition (Excellent): $407,000
We start and finish our list with almost the same car, a Ford GT Heritage. Only available in Gulf livery, these cars were a 2006 only option to commemorate Ford’s Le Mans history. This example was a good one that was actually used with 3092 miles. Sure that’s not many miles, but is higher for collector-grade GTs. The price paid for this car is $38,500 more than another Heritage with 288 miles. So what gives? This car was one of 50 cars delivered new to Canada. Does that warrant such a premium? It did for someone.