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Precedent Set When Former President Attends Auction

By: Peter Volny & Linda Goddard

Former President George Bush, in the background, attended the Barrett-Jackson auction.

Once again, the Phoenix/Scottsdale area was mobbed with buyers and tire kickers for Auction Week 2018 in January. Whether this was due to a booming stock market or the horrendous winter being experienced in the northeast is debatable, but, regardless, the city and the auctions were delighted to welcome them, as were the hotels and restaurants, which were sold out.
Total sales were $248 million, with even more expected to close after the auctions, which is down about five per cent over 2017. Some 2,668 cars sold – an 83 per cent sell rate on the 3,176 cars that crossed the block at the seven auctions. Overall average sales price was just shy of $93,000.

One possible explanation bandied about for the modest reduction is that with the stock markets booming investors are putting their money on Wall Street. The ‘correction’ since then may have them rethinking this strategy.
Surprisingly, neither of the two Jaguar D-Types made reserve so did not sell but may very well do so afterwards. High bids were $8.9 million for the red one at Gooding and $9.8 million for OKV 2, the ex-Stirling Moss green car at RM. Still 32 cars sold for over $1 million so buyers are still looking for the right car at the right price.

Perennial leader Barrett-Jackson sold an astounding 1,721 vehicles, nearly all at no-reserve, for $116.7 million for an average price of $67,809. The undisputed highlight, from the huge partisan crowd, came on Saturday night when Former President George W. Bush made a surprise appearance to help Jay Leno auction off a 2018 Corvette Carbon 5 Edition that hammered at $1.4 million with proceeds going to the George W. Bush Presidential Center’s Military Service Initiative which helps post 9/11 veterans to return to civilian life.
Another show stopper was a 2017 Ford GT donated by Ron Pratte,, which raised $2.55 million for the Autism Society of North Carolina. This brings the amount raised by Barrett-Jackson for charity to over $100 million.

Celebrity sightings have become the norm at this event which is much more than just an auction. This year Michael Phelps, Kenny Chesney, David Spade, Tim Allen, Alice Cooper, Bruce Arians, Alan Williams, Archie Bradley, and Arizona Governor Doug Ducey were in attendance.

This 1958 Porsche 550A Spyder sold for US$5.2 Million at the Bonham’s Auction.

Top sales, other than the above charity specials, were a 2015 Porsche 918 Spyder at $1.43 million; a 1952 Ferrari 212 Europa at $1.1 Million and a 1965 Chevrolet Corvette Cutaway Coupe also at $1.1 million.

This 1965 Ferrari 275GTB Speciale sold for over US$8 million. 
Copyright and courtesy of Gooding & Co. Photo by Mathieu Heurtault

Gooding Auctions had the highest sale of the week for a spectacular one-off 1965 Ferrari 275GTB Speciale at $8.085 million that belonged to Batista Pininfarina, renowned designer of many iconic Ferraris. With five of the top 10 sales, Gooding sold 12 cars for over a million each. Total sales were $49.2 million and 110 cars for an average of $447,415.

Yet another Ferrari, a 1954 500 Mondial went for a record setting $4.45 million and a 1931 Bugatti Type 55 Roadster for $4.07 million. Also in $1 million plus category were a 1967 Ferrari 330GTS at $2.53 million; a 2014 Pagani Huayra at $2.09 million; an Iso Grifo A3/L prototype at $1.76 million; a 2015 McLaren P1 at $1.73 million and a 1953 Ferrari 212 Europa Coupe at $1.07 million.

This 1966 Shelby Cobra 427 S/C sold at RM Sotheby’s Auctions for $2.95 million.

RM Sotheby’s Auctions had $36.5 million from 110 cars for an average of $331,818 with nine going above a million dollars. Highest sale was a 1966 Shelby Cobra 427 S/C at $2.95 million, almost $1 million more than the low estimate and even half a million higher than the high estimate – no doubt a VERY satisfied seller.

Also in the seven-figure category were a 1947 Tucker 48 Sedan at $1.8 million; a 1964 Ferrari 250 GT Lusso at $1.7 million; a 1960 Ferrari 250 GT Cabriolet at $1.4 million. Of the top 10 sales, four were Ferraris and two were Shelby Cobras, with the Tucker, a 1955 Alfa Romeo 1900C SS Speciale, a 1987 Porsche 959 Komfort, and a 1957 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Roadster filling the bill.
Bonham’s Auctions saw $25.2 million in total sales with an 87 per cent sell rate. This year’s star was a 1958 Porsche 550A Spyder at $5.2 million. Seven sold above $1 million: a 1972 Ferrari 365GTS/4 ‘Daytona’ Spider at $2.6 million; a 1991 Ferrari F40 at $1.5 million; a 1957 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Roadster at $1.5 million; a 1930 Bentley Speed Six at $1.45 million; a 2015 Porsche 918 Spider at $1.3 million; and a 1995 Ferrari F50 at $1.15 million. A 2005 Ford GT once owned by none other than Carol Shelby sold for $489,500, well over $100,00 above market value just showing once again how important is provenance.
Locally owned and operated Russo & Steele Auctions in their second year at Salt River Fields did $15.9 million from 415 cars at an average $38,197. Highest sales were a 1964 Cheetah GT at $660,000, 1965 Shelby GT350 Mustang $341,000, and a 1967 Corvette 427 L71 for $302,500.

Worldwide Auctioneers in their second year in Scottsdale saw $6.2 million from 50 cars for an average of $122,319. Top sale was a 1938 MB 320 Cabriolet at $420,000 followed by a 1971 Plymouth Cuda at $418,000 and a 1965 Shelby GT 350 at $352,000. The star attraction, perhaps of the all the auctions, however, did not sell, not meeting its reserve. This was the infamous 1939 Mercedes-Benz 770K Grosser Offener Tourenwagen once owned and used by Nazi Fuhrer Adolph Hitler. High bid of $7 million did not meet the reserve.
Silver Auctions sold 180 cars at an average of $17,620 with the high bids going to a 1969 Ford Mustang Boss 429 at $206,280, a 1959 Corvette Convertible at $78,840, and a 1962 Buick Electra 225 Coupe at $76,680.

Peter Volny and Linda Goddard are frequent contributors to Private Wealth Canada on luxury automobiles and travel.


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