Auctions America, Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, April 1-3, 2016
With collector car auctions popping up like daffodils in the spring (although some of them might better be likened to stinkweed in the swamp) reporting on even a cross-section can be arduous.
The Scottsdale auctions in January are a case in point, but the proliferation is better seen at Amelia where there were five overlapping auctions in the space of just three days. Getting a sense of what’s going on means dashing from place to place in a near-frenzy, trying to find cars representative of collecting, the evolving market and the individual auctions and committing them to photos and a written record.
Then along comes a weekend in Ft. Lauderdale at Donnie Gould’s Auctions America. It was a breath of fresh air. It helped that I got to stay with friends, John Kyle and Kristina Bruni and their three delightful children. But it was the Auctions America event at the Broward County Ft. Lauderdale Convention Center that made the difference.
The cars were – and this is an impression uniformly shared by the usual suspects who populate collector car auctions – consistently interesting, good quality and often downright rare and unusual. That’s not to say that all of them were pristine, but even the ones that weren’t had something to commend them to collectors of various stripes.
Usually, to try to capture a cross-section of an auction, I will notice a particular car, then look around it for, usually, two or three more that say something about collecting and the collector car market. At Auctions America Ft. Lauderdale I’d have six or eight in the immediate vicinity that fit the bill, so many that I ran the risk of getting ahead of myself taking photos.
It turned into a thoroughly enjoyable three days, and reminded me why I do this and why I like the cars and the car auctions so much, just for the shear diversity of impressions. It was the antithesis of the hustle and pressure of Scottsdale, Amelia and Monterey, three days of having fun poking at and writing about fun cars.
At the end of the day my feet hurt just as much, but they were happy feet.
There were sub-$10,000 cars that looked solid and would happily have introduced newcomers to the pleasure (and pain) of owning an old car. There were six-figure classics that would hold their own on any concours lawn or CCCA tour.
Many of the cars were offered with reserves at a time when the high end catalog auctions won’t take anything under $200K with a reserve. Having a reserve is essential to most collectors, for whom the prospect of having their honest $30K car fail to find an appreciative audience in a no reserve auction and changing hands for $15K to a bottom-feeder is heart- and bankbook-breaking. With a 68.9% sell-through the presence of reserves on 17.6% of the cars seemed to have little effect, except on owners’ willingness to consign, and it adds honest, cared for, collector owned vehicles to the docket.
It was a marvelous three days, gearing me up for the rest of 2016 and making car collecting affordable and approachable for new collectors.
Auctions America Fort Lauderdale 2016 – Auction Report