Auction Preview: Russo and Steele Scottsdale 2017
Russo and Steele has moved to a new location for this year’s Scottsdale Auction Week, after 16 years at their old location. In addition to the new venue, the Salt River Fields complex right off of the 101 Loop, Russo and Steele has again assembled its usual mix of several hundred sports, muscle and luxury cars covering a wide range of age, condition and price. Only Barrett-Jackson brings more cars out to Scottsdale, so plenty of eye-candy and bidding fodder will be available during Russo and Steele’s sale. We’ve narrowed it down to 10 that we’ll be watching closely.
1971 Dodge Hemi Challenger R/T
Hagerty Price Guide: $147,000 – $288,000
For Mopar fans, the ’71 Hemi Challenger on offer at Russo ticks pretty much all the right boxes. It’s an R/T model and has the A34 Super Track Pak as well as a 4-speed with pistol grip shifter, plus it’s completely unrestored with 64,000 miles. Just 70 Hemi Challengers were built in 1970, so expect this car to get a lot of attention on the block.
1936 Cord 810 Phaeton
Hagerty Price Guide: N/A
The Gordon Buehrig-designed coffin-nose Cord 810/812 was a landmark car with front-wheel drive and pop-up headlights. The Phaeton is among its most collectible body styles with auction results typically running well into six figures. The example on offer in Scottsdale is reportedly very well restored, and because these were low production vehicles, finding a very good one like this example isn’t easy.
1968 Chevrolet Corvette L88 Coupe
Hagerty Price Guide: $406,000 – $725,000
One of four L88 Corvettes in Scottsdale this year, Russo and Steele’s example is one of just 80 built in 1968. Restored in the 1980s and reasonably well known in Corvette circles, this L88 last crossed the block at Kissimmee in 2016, where it was bid to $550,000.
1954 Mercedes-Benz 300S Cabriolet A
Hagerty Price Guide: $456,000 – $675,000
The 300S was among the most expensive, sophisticated and luxuriously appointed cars of the 1950s. Lighter, more powerful and more carefully assembled than the standard 300, it was a car for the elite and only 200 cabriolets were built. Scottsdale is this car’s second try across the block. Russo and Steele tried selling it in Monterey last year. It was bid to $425,000 but remained unsold.
2004 Ford GT Prototype CP-1
Hagerty Price Guide: N/A
This 2004 Ford GT prototype was used for emissions testing but, more importantly, it is the first running example of the model. Unfortunately, the value here is a balance between historical significance and the fact that it can’t ever be registered for road use. Barrett-Jackson bidders arrived at $539,000 for this in Connecticut last year, but the consigner is holding out for more at Russo.
1959 Echidna Sports Racer
Hagerty Price Guide: N/A
One of the more noteworthy and attractive cars from the golden age of American road racing specials, the Echidna was the product of three Minnesotans who took a Chevy sedan frame, shortened it, narrowed it and modified the front suspension before clothing it in a Devin fiberglass body painted an attractive shade of light blue. Echidnas were fitted with 283-cid Chevy V-8s for the SCCA C-Modified class, although one was bored and stroked to 339-cid for B-Modified. Even though Echidnas were a bit of a backyard operation, they could outrun most of the period’s sports racers and it was really only the Scarabs and Listers that bested it. The one on offer at Russo and Steele is the second of just three cars built, and currently has a fuel-injected 327-cid V-8 under the hood. While this sale doesn’t have pre-sale estimates, this Echidna was recently advertised in classifieds, the seller seeking $169,500.
1949 Bentley Mark VI
Hagerty Price Guide: $18,700 – $48,400
One of several cars offered from the Missoula Auto Museum is a 1949 Bentley Mark VI. The first postwar Bentley, the Mark VI is essentially a Rolls-Royce Silver Dawn underneath and the first produced with steel bodywork, now called the “Standard Steel” models. Russo’s example is represented as a driver, museum-quality car and is offered at no reserve, which is often a recipe for a serious bargain.
1966 Shelby GT350
Hagerty Price Guide: $118,000 – $248,000
The 1966-model year GT350s differed from the original ’65 models in that they had added colors, functional side brake scoops and an available automatic transmission. Later models got bulkier, so the ’65 and ’66 cars are the most desirable. The example offered by Russo and Steele is one of roughly 1,300 GT350s built in 1966 and is represented as having been a factory demo car with the documentation to prove it.
1969 Iso Lele
Hagerty Price Guide: $27,500 – $64,900
Despite its stylish Bertone bodywork and serious rarity with less than 300 built, the Iso Lele is not an expensive car, especially compared to the six-figure Iso Grifo. The Lele also has a 350-cid Chevy small-block under the hood, so it’s also not a ruinously expensive car to maintain. In terms of exclusivity per dollar, this rare Italian-American hybrid could be the biggest bargain in Scottsdale.
1957 Studebaker Golden Hawk
Hagerty Price Guide: $19,300 – $71,400
Sporting a bold, admirable design, the Golden Hawk unfortunately arrived at the end of Studebaker’s long financial descent. It was marketed as a standalone model (rather than a trim level, as some other Hawks were) and features a pillarless hardtop and a McCulloch supercharged 289-cid V-8 that managed 275hp, quite potent for 1957. The Golden Hawk was never built in very large quantities and is a particularly rare sight today.