RM’s Palm Beach auction moves to online-only, but the cars are still sweet

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1997 Porsche RUF 911 Turbo R RM Sotheby's / Andrew Miterko

It’s likely a familiar refrain by now, but we’re living in a different world than we were just a few weeks ago. With delays and cancellations for everything from Miami Music Week and South by Southwest to Major League Baseball and Formula One, plans have changed for everyone this spring, even if you’re fortunate enough to be safe and healthy. 

Our little world in the collector car hobby is similarly affected, as the auctions we looked forward to covering over the next couple of months are either canceled or postponed. For example, Barrett-Jackson has moved its April West Palm Beach auction to October 15, and Bonhams will hold its March 29 Goodwood sale behind closed doors with increased absentee bidding.

RM Sotheby’s, on the other hand, is taking a different approach in these volatile times, moving its own Spring 2020 Palm Beach auction to an online, multi-day format. (The auction was originally scheduled to take place at the Palm Beach International Raceway.) Bidding is live now as of 11:00 a.m. on Friday, March 20. A staggered closure on available lots begins at 11:00 a.m. on March 25. About 80 percent of the 225+ vehicles on offer carry a reserve.

RM started its “Online Only” division last year and has sold memorabilia, posters and cars through the platform, so this isn’t uncharted territory for the auction house. In addition, the list of consignments for Palm Beach 2020 is the usual mix of neat cars and trucks we’ve seen at this sale year after year. That variety means something for every taste and budget. There is entry-level fun like a 1979 El Camino SS and 1981 Toyota SR5 Pickup as well as heavy-hitting high-dollar dream cars like a 2005 Porsche Carrera GT, 2017 LaFerrari Aperta, 1996 Porsche 911 GT2, and 1963 Shelby 289 Cobra. There are also fun oddballs like a 1958 MG Magnette and a 1948 Allard K1 up for grabs.

We may be in front of our computer screens instead of soaking up the sun down in Florida, but we’re still watching this auction intently. If Amelia Island 2020 was the last of the pre-COVID-19 collector car auctions, then Palm Beach is the first test of our new normal. Keep an eye out for our analysis of the sale here.

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