RM Sotheby’s first auction of 2016 was held in Phoenix, Ariz., Jan. 28-29. The overall total was largely unchanged, though more lots were offered and sold and both the average price and the sell-through rate were down. In all, 126 cars changed hands for $62.8 million (vs. $63.7 million in 2015).
The auction’s star car was a gorgeous 1937 Mercedes-Benz 540K Special roadster, which became the most expensive car sold during Arizona auction week. Its sale price of $9.9 million including buyer’s premium eclipsed the Ferrari 250 LM that RM sold in 2015 for $9.625 million.
Surprises were plenty. A 1965 Amphicar sold for $93,500, which was a price that hasn’t been exceeded since 2011. A 1959 Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz sold for $390,500—more than $100,000 above the model’s current ceiling—which is testament to the quality of the car’s restoration. A split-window 1952 Volkswagen Beetle sedan sold for $66,000, making it one of the most expensive non-Herbie closed Beetles to ever sell. The fastest four-door of its time—a 1979 Mercedes-Benz 6.9L sedan—sold for a heady but justifiable $60,500. A minor surprise was the $121,000 paid for a lovely 1968 Intermeccanica Italia, which was on the low side of the going rate.
As was the story for much of last year (and among the broader Arizona auctions), more newer cars performed well in Phoenix. Rarity ruled, as a one-of-80 2011 Ferrari 599 SA Aperta sold for $1,182,500, a one-of-50 1989 Mercedes-Benz 560 SEC AMG with wide body kit sold for $154,000, and a one-of-599 2011 Ferrari 599 GTO changed owners for $770,000.
Other late-model performers included a 2002 BMW Z8 that earned $264,000, a 1987 Aston Martin V8 Vantage with X-Pack that traded for $451,000, and a 2005 Ferrari Superamerica that landed $682,000.
RM Sotheby’s next North American sale is scheduled for Amelia Island, Fla., Mar. 12. Key consignments include a 1957 Ferrari 250 GT TdF, a 1939 Mercedes-Benz 540K Spezial Cabriolet A, and a 1962 Ferrari 400 Superamerica Aerodinamico coupe.