RM Auctions Arizona 2012 – Auction Report

Report and photos (unless noted) by Rick Carey, Auction Editor

This year marked RM’s “Lucky Thirteenth” Arizona auction, held January 19-20, 2012 at the posh Arizona Biltmore Resort and Spa. Growing from $6.3 million in 2000 to consistent totals in medium eight figures, RM’s $25,660,400 sale in 2012 marked the Arizona auction’s fifth year with greater than $20 million in sales.

RM got shuffled around some this year, moving into a ballroom in the main Biltmore hotel from the convention center which was booked to an oil company’s North and South American sales meeting. The new room was inconvenient for bringing cars onto the block, and cramped for bidders and onlookers. A return to the Convention Center next year would be a positive development.

Even with that disruption the auction moved smoothly and efficiently, dispatching 126 of the 140 lots offered in the two-day sale for a sale rate of 90%, a sell-through performance which RM has made almost monotonously habitual and a testament to the RM team’s effectiveness, contacts and diligence.

From Ferraris to Shelbys, RM put away eighteen of its top twenty cars. The top sale was only(?) $1,815,000 for the Ferrari 410 Superamerica coupe s/n 0671SA with unique Scaglietti coachwork re-created for Greg Garrison on the original chassis. There were seventy-eight lots hammered at $100,000 or more. Sixty-six of them sold, an 85% sell-through. The predominance of six-figure cars speaks amply for the consistent quality across the board at the Biltmore, and for the strength of the collector car market.

Ed Lenahan contributed significantly to this report.

RM Auctions
Cars Offered / Sold
Sale %
Sold < Low Est
Sold > High Est
Average Sale
Total Sales
Change
2012
140 / 126
90.0%
71.4%
7.1%
$203,654
$25,660,400
(17.2%)
2011
182 / 174
95.6%
40.2%
18.9%
$178,144
$30,995,075
57.6%
2010
169 / 150
88.8%
55.7%
11.4%
$131,094
$19,664,100
8.0%
2009
127 / 106
83.5%
69.8%
10.4%
$171,802
$18,211,025
(31.6%)
2008
93 / 86
92.5%
44.7%
14.1%
$309,598
$26,625,400
(11.4%)

RM Auctions Arizona 2012 – Auction Report

1913 Pathfinder Series XIII 5-Passenger Touring

Lot # 104 1913 Pathfinder Series XIII 5-Passenger Touring; S/N 1331; Dark Blue, Black fenders/Black leather; Black leatherette top; Estimate $125,000 - $175,000; Older restoration, 3+ condition; Not sold at Hammer bid of $90,000 -- RHD. 37x4 1/2 black tires on Grey wood spoke wheels, electric starter, folding windshield, Stewart speedometer, rear-mounted spare. Sound old paint cracking at some joints. Sound interior and good chassis that is nearly like new. A sound and unusual old car that will be great on tours. Reported a post-block sale for $87,000 by RM at Amelia Island in 2007 from the original family ownership and sold again by RM at St. Johns in July 2011 for $115,500. It's no surprise the St. Johns buyer wasn't a seller six months later at the reported high bid here at the Biltmore. It might bring a little more somewhere else, but is getting shopworn (while adding zero miles to its Stewart odometer since 2006 in Hershey.)

2002 Ferrari 575 F-1 Maranello Coupe

Lot # 107 2002 Ferrari 575 F-1 Maranello Coupe, Body by Pininfarina; S/N ZFFBV55A220129323; Ruby Red/Tan leather; Estimate $95,000 - $130,000; Unrestored original, 2 condition; Hammered Sold at $110,000 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $121,000 -- F-1 transmission, SF shields, carbon fiber interior trim, Alpine stereo and navigation. Very clean and barely used. Driver 's seat shows no wear, not even on the bolster. Serviced in 2007 at 10,045 miles and now with some 12,300 miles. No Reserve. Sold new for some $260,000, while the depreciation curve of this 575 parallels that of a Corvette, the financial consequences in absolute dollars are more breathtaking. Its more recent service while only 2,000 miles old is edging up on another calendar anniversary that will see it back in the shop for renewal (and a payment on the dealer's yacht.)

1972 Porsche 911T 2.4 Coupe

Lot # 111 1972 Porsche 911T 2.4 Coupe; S/N 2500482; Yellow/Black leather; Estimate $65,000 - $85,000; Cosmetic restoration, 3 condition; Hammered Sold at $40,000 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $44,000 -- 2.4/140hp, 5-speed, Fuchs 15 inch alloy wheels. Very nice respray in yellow over a straight, relatively low-mile long-hood 911. Catalog says complete restoration but cracked chassis undercoat and musty interior suggest otherwise. A little Febreeze away from being a decent 911. No Reserve. Among the many variations of 911s made, the long-hood models made before the US government mandated 5mph bumpers in 1974 continue to outpace all but the rarest 911s in terms of value. This was a solid, but by no means great, car with solid, but not great, options. Despite being well below the $65,000 - $80,000 estimate, this was a fair price for both buyer and seller.

1983 Ferrari 512 BBi

Lot # 112 1983 Ferrari 512 BBi; S/N 48165; Red, Red sills/Tan leather; Estimate $95,000 - $135,000; Visually maintained, largely original, 3+ condition; Hammered Sold at $87,500 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $96,250 -- TRX wheels and tires, A/C, Pioneer cassette stereo. Sound repaint could have been masked better. Good upholstery. Orderly, clean and tidy engine. A well maintained and presented Boxer. No Reserve. Sold by Christie's in Los Angeles in June 2000 for $82,250, and subsequently given a less than sterling repaint which hasn't helped its value at all. Its value history at auction is a point against 'cars as an investment' without being careful (and fortunate) in the choice of the cars.

1955 Austin-Healey 100M Le Mans Roadster

Lot # 113 1955 Austin-Healey 100/M Le Mans Roadster; S/N BN2L/228363; Engine # 1B/228363; OEWhite/Dark Grey leather, White piping; Estimate $115,000 - $145,000; Recent restoration, 2+ condition; Hammered Sold at $147,500 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $162,250 -- Silver painted wire wheels, overdrive. 100M Registry authenticated as a factory 100/M, BMIHT Certificate. Freshly restored, better than new and impossible to fault. The penultimate in 4-cylinder Healeys, the 100/Ms have pulled ahead of the Healey pack in recent years as interest in the 6-cylinder Big Healeys has waned. They have power, torque (like a farm tractor), light, responsive handling and deserve their recent popularity. This transaction re-sets the bar high, even for one of the 640 factory 100/Ms and runs the risk of reaching 'buy it now, before it's more' territory.

1957 Jaguar XKSS Replica Tempero

Lot # 118 1957 Jaguar XKSS Replica, Body by Tempero; S/N 7E69649; Silver/Dark Red; Black cloth top; Estimate $115,000 - $145,000; Facsimile restoration, 2- condition; Hammered Sold at $132,500 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $145,750 -- E-type based with 4.2 liter engine, triple Webers, 5-speed, 2-piece 5-bolt wheels, luggage rack, side exhaust. Good paint, chrome and interior. Aluminum body replica by Tempero built to high standards. Shows a little age but not much use. To assess the value of a real one just add two zeros at the end of the price and take off the 1 at the front. Yes, this is a fake, but it's recognized as one of the best fakes out there, a quality that is recognized in the price it brought here as well as the $123,750 price the same car with 449 fewer miles on its odometer brought here two years ago.

1933 Ford Deluxe Phaeton

Lot # 121 1933 Ford Deluxe Phaeton; S/N B5255245; Blue-Grey/Brown leatherette; Beige cloth top; Estimate $40,000 - $60,000; Older restoration, 3- condition; Hammered Sold at $35,000 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $38,500 -- Enclosed rear spare, radio, wide whitewalls. Built as a 4-cylinder Model B in righthand drive in Australia and re-engined with a '34-style flathead V-8 and converted to lefthand drive. A tired but sound old car with aged paint, chrome, interior and top. Windwings on the back seat floor; no sign of side curtains. Grimy chassis. Paint checking on right front fender. No Reserve It would probably have been worth more as a very rare 4-cylinder, but it wouldn't have the sound and performance of the 85hp flathead. Despite its mixed origins and fading condition it's a rare phaeton and is a sound value at this price.

1937 Cord 812 Supercharged Convertible Coupe Sportsman

Lot # 126 1937 Cord 812 Supercharged Convertible Coupe Sportsman; S/N 32405; Light Yellow/Red leather; Estimate $325,000 - $425,000; Older restoration, 2 condition; Hammered Sold at $350,000 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $385,000 -- Cord fog lights, wide whitewalls. Excellent paint, chrome, interior and glass. Restored like new with better cosmetics and now with a little age but almost no use. CCCA Premier #843 but the presentation of this Cord is much more fresh than that number indicates. Known history for years, an originally supercharged Sportsman formerly in the Marvin Tamaroff collection. Sold by RM at Meadow Brook in 2007 from the Tamaroff collection, the odometer today shows just 444 miles, up from 27 when seen in Michigan where it brought $352,000. The restoration's age is beginning to show just a little but the price still reflects the appeal of the rare Sportsman body style and the quality of a restoration that must be pushing if not well into its third decade.

1959 BMW 507 Roadster

Lot # 128 1959 BMW 507 Roadster; S/N 70203; Engine # 40190; Black/Grey-Green leather; Estimate $900,000 - $1,200,000; Recent restoration, 2+ condition; Hammered Sold at $900,000 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $990,000 -- Rudge wheels, blackwall tires. Freshly restored to like new condition with better paint and upholstery. Replacement engine of correct 507 type (confirmed by BMW Classic) and fitted with reproduction Rudge wheels. Sharp, crisp and beyond perfect in its appearance and presentation. Credit the quality of RM's restoration and the attractive color choice with this price, which largely ignores the replacement engine and fully values the repro wheels. It is a gorgeous automobile, one to be enjoyed for its style, rarity and design and to hell with the nit-pickers who whine about its engine. Although that judgment may not stand the test of time.

1909 Buick Model F 5-Passenger Touring

Lot # 129 1909 Buick Model F 5-Passenger Touring; Engine # 18759; Maroon, Black accent/Black leather; Black cloth top; Estimate $60,000 - $80,000; Older restoration, 3+ condition; Hammered Sold at $50,000 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $55,000 -- RHD. Stewart speedometer, Luna clock, acetylene headlights, kerosene side lights, bulb horn, Atwood acetylene generator, Red frame, running gear and wood spoke wheels with black tires. Restored a while ago and toured since but well maintained and still more than just presentable. No Reserve. Brass is bringing important prices recently and this Buick, the foundation on which Billy Durant built General Motors (and Dan Akerson based the rebuild of today's General Motors), is a prime example of both the appeal and the values. A sharp and well-maintained car for tours, its value is not only in its condition and age but also is the many events where it can be used. It is a good value for both the buyer and the seller.

1937 Cord 812 Phaeton

Lot # 133 1937 Cord 812 Phaeton; S/N 31918H; White/Red leather; Black cloth top; Estimate $140,000 - $180,000; Older restoration, 3+ condition; Hammered Sold at $135,000 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $148,500 -- Supercharged during restoration. Outside exhaust head pipes, Cord fog lights, wide hubcaps, wide whitewalls, radio, heater. Sound but aged older restoration. Dirty chassis. Sketchy history. If any open Cord could be said to be 'just a car' this is it. It could be better if someone spent a lot of time and money on it, but at this price that's a losing proposition. It's a great tour car, and this is great tour car money for a semi-supercharged 812 Phaeton.

1930 Duesenberg Model J LWB Dual Cowl Phaeton LeBaron

Lot # 135 1930 Duesenberg Model J LWB Dual Cowl Phaeton, Body by LeBaron; S/N 2336; Engine # J-487; Red, Black/Black leather; Black cloth top; Estimate $900,000 - $1,200,000; Older restoration, 2- condition; Hammered Sold at $800,000 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $880,000 -- Long wheelbase. Chrome wire wheels, dual chrome-wrapped sidemounts, wide whitewalls, dual windshields, luggage trunk, dual remote spotlights, radiator stoneguard. Original engine was J320; no factory record of the present engine's installation exists but ACD Category 1 certified. The only LWB Dual Cowl Phaeton built by LeBaron on the J chassis. An older show quality restoration with good but aged paint, interior and chrome. Chassis is lightly oiled from use and dusty from storage but otherwise in sharp condition. John M. O'Quinn Collection. Sold by RM here in 2006 for $1,001,000 and none the better for six years in John O'Quinn's warehouses and the seven additional miles on its odometer. On the other hand, it's the only LWB dual cowl phaeton by LeBaron and has a long history with this engine in collections as diverse as John Troka, Tony Pascucci, William Coverdale and Bill Lassiter. Its style and uniqueness more than make up for the age of its restoration. It should be considered a good value at this price.

RM Auctions Arizona 2012 – Auction Report Page Two

Comments

  1. Ronald Sieber says

    Rick:
    Once again you have submitted a great report on the prevailing auction landscape and the beasts that roam within it. Thanks for doing that.

    Many of us in the Porsche 356 world were blown away by the price of the Speedster as you reported. It will be interesting to see where their prices go if the Asian market (the people with all of our money) ever discovers that any Porsche collection of worth needs to have at least one 356 Speedster, even an example with only the ‘Normal’ engine. There are several great collections across that pond. Hmmm…

    • Rick Carey says

      Thanks for the compliment, which should also be extended to Ed Lenahan. Even as a newbie to this arcane field Ed did a marvelous job of helping me cover all the Arizona auctions.
      As to China, it’s a puzzle. Some prescient figures like Don Williams have been present in China since just after the doors started to crack open and I think they’ll lead the Chinese wealthy into the collecting world. If their view is influential it will be classics first. Classics are the safest sell to newcomers, and safety is still an important factor in Chinese investment. As an adviser you don’t want to raise your clients’ expectations early, and good early experiences are core to building a lasting car collecting culture.
      It’s an evolving story that has intriguing implications but, as we’ve seen again and again, the tides of international collecting ebb and flow. Remember all those cars that got vacuumed up into Japan in the early 90’s? Many if not most have come back to the U.S. and Europe. Russia was sopping up cars like bread soaking up gravy a few years ago; that trade has slackened dramatically. And Greeks bought cars, too. No more.
      Don’t put much faith in bubbles. It’s OK to take advantage of them, but be ready to cut and run at the first sign of unsustainable surface tension. At 1/3 of a million dollars the Speedster bubble is stretched very thin.

  2. Ken Smith says

    Rick – Once again many thanks for your auction coverage. I look forward to all of them and enjoy them very much. Great work!!

  3. says

    “The penultimate in 4-cylinder Healeys…” = the next to last, so my question is which one do you consider the best, or ultimate? I had a ’60 3000 I bought used and a ’62 ditto I bought new. Should have kept that one, of course..

  4. says

    Of the 59 Griffith 400’s built for the entire world has one ever been sold at an auction? It’s the only car that could beat Shelby AC Cobras! See the light blue one on 2011 Silverstone, Gentlemen Drivers, race on U-tube. Those 400’s were really race cars built for the streets. About 400 to 500 lbs. lighter than a Cobra and running the same 289 Cu. inch Ford Hi-Po engine. Also, it had unequal wishbone suspension all around with four shocks and springs in the rear.

    Jack A. Griffith is up in age, however, he did built a car that Shelby AC Cobras hate to see on the track. Take a look at the 2013 Old Timer Grand Prix and you’ll see the McInerney Griffith 400 catch and pass the fastest of the Cobras. It’s on U-tube.

  5. Rick Carey says

    Hi, Charles.
    There are two Griffiths in my auction data as follows:
    s/n 6000006A, the 273 Plymouth-powered prototype with automatic transmission reported sold at RM Amelia in 2004 for $28,600, offered at the Kruse Auburn Fall auction later that year with a high bid reported of $32,500 and sold by RM at Boca Raton in February 2005 for $27,820.
    s/n 2004000 with 289 Ford, dual quads and 4-speed which no-saled at the Rupp auction in Ft. Lauderdale in January 2008 with a reported high bid of $37,000, then at Mecum’s Monterey auction in 2009, cosmetically freshened and painted Re-sale Red, with a $60,000 reported high bid.
    I haven’t seen or heard of one at auction since, which is unfortunate but not surprising since Griffith owners have a high opinion of the cars’ significance and value that is canceled by the Griffiths’ obscurity and the lamentable fact that the car is to all outward appearances a re-engined TVR.

    • says

      Rick: Sources from England including the London Financial Times had an article to hold on to your Griffith if you owned one because they were highly sought after, especially the Series 400. One British car authority stated that an original Griftith 400 could be worth 200,000 pounds and that’s a lot of American dollars.

      So, why the price difference in the US? I believe my wife and I saw that Griffith 600 at Amelia Island in 2011. It had a heavy steel body with the Chrysler 273 cubic inch engine and was a poor handeling car. In Europe we haven’t seen that many Griffith 200’s in races. Jack Griffith announced in 1962/3 that with the Hi-po 289 a Griffith 200, and they made about 200 of them, could do 0 to 60 in 3.8 seconds! And that started the Griffith craze in the US.

      Did you have the opportunity to see the videos I recommended re. the McInerney Griffith 400 against some of the fastest Shelby AC Cobras in the continent. Maybe more Americans should view those videos. Those who do are astonished that an obscure mark of an automobile could beat Cobras, Corvettes, Porsche 904, 911’s, lightweight Jaguars as well as regular E Jaguars, Aston Martins, Ferrari’s, and swift Lotus Elans. Of course this is in the historical racing events for cars of the sixties (2011 Silverstone, Gentlemen Drivers, race and 2013 Old Timers Grand Prix; U-tube).

      Where are the 59 Griffith 400’s? One writer states that the sheiks have most of them in their collection. For after the London Financial Times wrote about the future value of the Griffith 400’s it seem, and as you stated, that one cannot find an original Griffith 400.

      My best,
      Charles

  6. Rick Carey says

    Charles,
    There’s a difference between hype and reality.
    The Financial Times, reputable resource though it may be for financial news, has bupkus credibility in the collector car market. “One writer states that the sheiks have most of them” is hardly credible.
    Let’s be clear. Griffiths are fast. They’re rare. They’re also obscure.
    They’re re-engined TVRs. “[P]rice difference in the US?” They are US cars, built for the US market. If American collectors and vintage racers don’t appreciate them, who does?
    Are you trying to create a legend for Griffiths with your persistence?
    Good luck.
    It isn’t going to happen.
    Does a Griffith represent good performance value compared with a 289 Cobra? Yes, but it isn’t ever, in my opinion, going to close the gap in value. Like Italias (which are actually pleasing to look at), Panteras and Isos, they’re blips on the graph of automotive history.
    Thanks for your observations.

    Rick

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