Scottsdale 2010 Auction Recap

The 2010 Scottsdale auctions will forever be remembered as the Katrina of collector car events. All of the area auctions were affected to some degree by the worst storms to hit central Arizona in forty years. Tropical storm force winds of up to 60 mph, 4 inches of rain, flash floods, hail and unconfirmed reports of tornados were more characteristic of Oklahoma in May than Phoenix in January.

Russo and Steele was hurt the worst by the Thursday night weather with one tent collapsing and one blowing onto the adjacent 101 freeway. Amazingly, the Russo staff was able to clear the rubble, dry off and cover nearly four hundred cars and get back in the auction business by Sunday morning. Hagerty was the first insurance company on site. More than 20 Hagerty representatives converged on the scene Saturday morning to assist owners and consigners with their claims.

Despite the auction disaster at Russo and Steele and bad weather during the week, the skies did eventually clear it was generally a good weekend for the other auction companies at Scottsdale. The British came and went at RM with particularly good results, and Gooding had stellar sales from its own two-day auction, bringing in eight of the top 10 sales of the week.

Top 10 Sales of Scottsdale 2010

1. 1956 Jaguar D-Type Sports Racer ($3.74M, Gooding)
2. 1959 Ferrari 250 GT Series 1 Cabriolet ($2.14M , Gooding)
3. 1934 Duesenberg Model J Murphy Disappearing Top ($1.81M, Gooding)
4. 1936 Hispano-Suiza Type 68 J12 Cabriolet ($1.54M, Gooding)
5. 1932 Alfa Romeo 6C 1750 Series V Gran Sport ($1.54M, Gooding)
6. 1959 Costin Lister Jaguar Sports Racer ($1.1M, Gooding)
7. 1965 Shelby 427 S/C Roadster ($1.02M, Gooding)
8. 1963 Aston Martin DB4 GT ($1.001M, RM)
9. 1960 Ferrari 250 GT Pininfarina Series II ($797,500, Russo and Steele)
10. 1927 Bentley 6 ½ Litre Sport Coupe ($726,000, Gooding)

RM Auctions

RM Auctions, expanding their auction by a day this year, posted more than $19.6 million in total sales over Jan. 21 and 22 with an impressive 89 percent of lots sold. RM’s final numbers showed a marked improvement over last year’s effort, which raked in a little more than $18.2 million with an 83 percent sales rate.

RM kicked off the two-day event with its “The British Are Coming” auction, headlined by a rare 1963 Aston Martin DB4 GT, which took the top sale at $1,001,000. Thursday was a good night in general for Aston Martin; exceptional models of the British marque took home all top five sales spots for the evening.

On Friday, top-sellers included a professionally-restored 1967 Shelby 427 Cobra, formerly part of the renowned Otis Chandler Collection, for $632,500; a 1932 Duesenberg Model J Tourster for $550,000; and a 1933 Rolls-Royce PII Continental Three-Position Drop Head Coupe for $528,000.

Ian Kelleher was pleased with the results.

“As our first auction of 2010, it was very encouraging to see such solid results,” he said. “The response to this sale, as illustrated in the impressive sell-through rate, is a great reflection of the continuing strength of the market and provides a positive outlook for the year ahead.”

RM’s Top 10 sales

1. 1963 Aston Martin DB4 GT ($1,001,000)
2. 1967 Shelby 427 Cobra ($632,500)
3. 1932 Duesenberg Model J Tourster ($550,000)
4. 1933 Rolls-Royce PII Continental Three-Position Drophead Coupe by Gurney Nutting ($528,000)
5. 1930 Duesenberg Model J Arlington Five-Passenger Club Sedan ($506,000)
6. 1965 Aston Martin DB5 ($429,000)
7. 1954 Mercury XM-800 Dream Car ($429,000)
8. 1963 Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud III Drophead Coupe ($429,000)
9. 1933 Chrysler CL Custom Imperial Dual Windshield Phaeton ($385,000)
10. 1934 Rolls-Royce Phantom II Continental Sedanca Drophead Coupe ($357,500)

Gooding & Company

Gooding, which also expanded their auctions in Scottsdale, continued to build on their success of the past two years. The auction company sold a total $33.9 million in collector cars over January 22 and 23, and they also took the honor of the top sale for the week: a 1956 Jaguar D-Type Sports Racer went home with a new owner for $3.74 million.

The Jag wasn’t a fluke, however. Gooding sold another six for more than $1 million dollars, contributing to $33.9 million in total sales. Total sales rate for the weekend was 91 percent. The upward climb continues for the auction company; they entered the fray in 2008 with $21 million in sales, and sold $32.4 in cars last year.

Gooding’s Top 10 sales

1. 1956 Jaguar D-Type Sports Racer ($3.74M)
2. 1959 Ferrari 250 GT Series 1 Cabriolet ($2.14M)
3. 1934 Duesenberg Model J Murphy Disappearing Top ($1.81M)
4. 1936 Hispano-Suiza Type 68 J12 Cabriolet ($1.54M)
5. 1932 Alfa Romeo 6C 1750 Series V Gran Sport ($1.54M)
6. 1959 Costin Lister Jaguar Sports Racer ($1.1M)
7. 1965 Shelby 427 S/C Roadster ($1.02M)
8. 1927 Bentley 6 ½ Litre Sport Coupe ($726,000)
9. 1955 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Gullwing ($660,000)
10. 1948 Cadillac Series 62 Custom Cabriolet ($649,000)

Russo and Steele

Russo and Steele had a tough go of it this year in Scottsdale. The area was hit this week with a storm of nearly unprecedented magnitude: tropical-storm-level winds of more than 60 miles per hour, nearly 4 inches of rain, flash flooding and reports of a tornado. All of the area auctions were impacted by the weather to some degree, but none with the severity of Russo and Steele.

The auction company kicked off its event on Thursday, despite the soggy weather. On Thursday they ran through 110 cars selling 43 of them for a total of $1.29M.

By Thursday night, however, the storm picked up strength, and severe straight winds at the auction site blew one of the main tents covering the cars off its moorings. A second tent collapsed. Fortunately, no serious injuries were reported, but the auction was postponed while city officials and Russo and Steele organizers assessed the damage.

Still reeling from the tent collapse, they were able to resume the auction Sunday morning at 8 a.m., with plans for more action on Monday. They sold $5.59 million on Sunday, bringing the weekend sales up to $6.88 million with a sales percentage of 39%. The average price per car is $48,000.

The most notable no-sale of the weekend was the controversial Tucker Convertible at $1.4M. Repeated questions about its authenticity prevented it from breaking reserve.

Russo and Steele sold $19.1 million in 2008 and $20.1 million in 2007. Despite everything that has happened to the company with the storm and the complete upset of their auction schedule, the average sale price per car is only off $1,000 from last year — or down only 2 percent ($66,897 in 2009).

Russo and Steele’s top 5 sales (through Sunday)

1. 1960 Ferrari 250 GT Pininfarina Series II ($797,500)
2. 1967 Ferrari 330 GTC ($209,000)
3. 1971 Dodge Hemi Challenger ($187,000)
4. 1968 Shelby GT500KR ($159,500)
5. 1957 Facel Vega FV4 Coupe ($137,500)


The big-daddy of auction week in Scottsdale continues to be Barrett-Jackson, with total sales topping $65 million. This year the auction company corrected a downward slide of recent years, topping last year’s total of $61,253,115. The average sales price continued to drop, however: This year the average vehicle went for $54,814, a 2.39 percent drop from 2009’s $56,154 average sale price.

In typical fashion, things really heated up over the weekend, with more than $40 million in sales coming Friday and Saturday alone. For the second year in a row, the top-selling vehicle at Barrett-Jackson wasn’t a car at all, but a vintage airplane; a 1929 Hamilton Metalplane H47 sold for $671,000. Two Shelby Cobras took the No. 2 and 3 spots, selling for $478,500 and $401,500 respectively.

One famed car took in a hefty sum, shocking many in attendance. A 1930 Ford Model A used by bank robber John Dillinger to evade federal agents sold Saturday for $165,000. The car car was used in Dillinger’s 1934 escape from the Little Bohemia Lodge in Manitowish Waters, Wis., and even had a cameo role in the 2009 movie “Public Enemies” starring Johnny Depp.

“I have to admit, this is a surprising price for a model A, regardless of ownership,” said McKeel Hagerty.

Barrett-Jackson’s top 10 sales

1. 1929 Hamilton Metalplane H47 Airplane ($671,000)
2. 1964 Shelby Cobra ($478,000)
3. 1963 Shelby Cobra ($401,000)
4. 1935 Cadillac Series 40 Fleetwood Imperial Convertible ($302,000)
5. 2011 Ford Mustang GT Glass Roof Coupe ($300,000)
6. 1970 Plymouth Hemi Superbird 2 Door Hardtop ($286,000)
7. 1952 Watson Roadster (Tank car by Blastolene) ($280,000)
8. 2008 Ford Mustang FR500S Fastback Race Car ($275,000)
9. 1970 Ford Mustang Boss 429 Fastback ($275,000)
10. 1967 Ford Mustang Custom Fastback ($253,000)


Auction house Kruse International of Auburn, Indiana, was the first auction of the week, holding its 39th annual Arizona auction on January 16 and 17. Among the dozens of lots were two Duesenbergs: A 1934 Model JN Rollston convertible sedan, and a 1930 Willoughby long wheelbase formal limousine. Both were said to be owned by company head Dean Kruse, and they were listed in the brochure as “must sell.”

Both sold, but for prices that shocked many in attendance. A Houston collector picked up the JN Rollston for a reported $792,000. An older restoration showing distinct signs of aging, it nevertheless sold for a price described by one of the dealers in attendance as “very cheap.” As recently as this fall, the JN was offered at an Auburn sale, where it stayed with its owner despite a high bid of a reported $1,700,000.

The Willoughby sold for just $335,500 to another bidder. No recent comps in a similar price range could be found for the Willoughby, described in the auction brochure as an Auburn Cord Duesenberg Club Category 1 car. Category 1 cars are those that carry their original coachwork, as well as motor and chassis.

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