RM Auctions Arizona 2012 – Auction Report

RM Auctions Arizona 2012 – Auction Report Page Two

1958 Porsche 356A 1600 Speedster

Lot # 136 1958 Porsche 356A 1600 Speedster; S/N 84607; Aquamarine Blue/Red vinyl; Black cloth top; Estimate $300,000 - $375,000; Recent restoration, 1 condition; Hammered Sold at $305,000 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $335,500 -- Meticulously restored in mint, as-built condition. Painted by Junior Conway at a cost (reportedly $80,000) sufficient to buy most Porsche 356As. Best in show at the 2000 Porsche Parade and still good enough ('good enough' is an almost laughable concept considering its condition) to win Best in Show at the 2009 Dana Point 356 Porsche Concours. Matching numbers. Highly impressive is barely sufficient to describe it. Restored by Tim Goodrich, who retained and replaced the original carpet tacks among other nearly meaningless details of its restoration (restitching the original tool roll through the original holes in the re-dyed original fabric is another.) Only show field miles since, with 14 showing on its odometer. This is nearly GS money for a 1600 Normal Speedster, but it will amaze Porsche fanatics with its detail. It is not a rational acquisition, but is understandably irrational. (Photo courtesy RM Auctions (c) 2011 Hugh Hamilton)

1903 Stearns Suburban Rear-Entry Tonneau

Lot # 138 1903 Stearns Suburban Rear-Entry Tonneau; S/N 114; Black, Maroon/Black leather; Estimate $80,000 - $100,000; Recent restoration, 1- condition; Hammered Sold at $75,000 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $82,500 -- RHD. Leather rear mudguards, steel up front, white tires, single self-generating carbide headlight. Restored for David Uihlein in 1994, believed to be the oldest Stearns extant, better than new and lightly and carefully used. John M. O'Quinn Collection. History anecdotally known since 1913 on Washington Island in Lake Michigan and found in largely complete condition which gives it a leg up on an eventual London-Brighton Run entry and accounts for its appeal and value.

1915 Pierce-Arrow Model 48 7-Passenger Touring

Lot # 139 1915 Pierce-Arrow Model 48 7-Passenger Touring; S/N 12472; Maroon/Black leather; Black leatherette top; Estimate $250,000 - $300,000; Older restoration, 2- condition; Hammered Sold at $187,500 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $206,250 -- RHD. Maroon wood spoke wheels, 37x5 blackwall tires, Dawley headlights, nickel brightwork, bulb horn and Klaxon electric horn, dual right side spares, Westinghouse front spring shackle dampers, luggage trunk, jump seats. A quality older restoration holding up very well and still an excellent tour car that will be shown with pride. Offered at Barrett-Jackson in 1995 reportedly restored in 1993 and unsold at a high bid of $97,500. This result is modest money for a thoroughly equipped 48hp Pierce in quality touring condition.

1967 Chevrolet Camaro Z-28

Lot # 141 1967 Chevrolet Camaro Z/28 2-Dr. Hardtop; S/N 124377N216877; Black, White stripes/Black vinyl; Estimate $95,000 - $125,000; Recent restoration, 2- condition; Hammered Sold at $85,000 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $93,500 -- 302/290hp, 4-speed, Hurst shifter, P/S, red line tires, cowl induction hood. Thoroughly but erratically restored with bad trim chrome, worn pedal pads and broken window seals. Good paint, interior and chrome. '(C)onsidered to be' matching numbers, whatever that is. Z/28 Registry, with a copy of its original window sticker. No Reserve. The sketchy history of this Z/28 is endorsed by its sketchy restoration, but not by its premium price, a third more than the restoration and documentation support.

1955 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwing

Lot # 143 1955 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwing; S/N 5500712; Red/Beige leather; Estimate $600,000 - $700,000; Visually maintained, largely original, 3+ condition; Hammered Sold at $575,000 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $632,500 -- Polished Rudge wheels, fitted luggage, hinged steering wheel, Becker multi-band radio, dual Talbot mirrors. Good paint, surface cracked possibly original upholstery and similarly possibly original matching luggage. Clean chassis doesn't look like it has been restored. Scratched windshield trim. A sound car that has had attention as needed but without history before the consignor. By any measure 300SL Gullwings have taken off in recent years, but nowhere more so than in this year's Arizona auctions. This tidy largely original car brought money that would have bought the best restored Gullwing just a few years ago and while it may need nothing it also burdens its new owner all the uncertainty that goes with an old car. The price is right in the current market, it only remains to be seen if the market is rational.

1915 Brewster-Knight Model 41 Round-Cornered Falling Front Landaulet, Body by Brewster

Lot # 146 1915 Brewster-Knight Model 41 Round-Cornered Falling Front Landaulet, Body by Brewster; S/N 41042; Maroon, Black leather mudguards/Black leather, Beige cloth; Estimate $60,000 - $80,000; Older restoration, 3+ condition; Hammered Sold at $80,000 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $88,000 -- Blue frame and running gear, French style tonneau striping, Black wicker trunk. Good older restoration that has been freshened and is still presentable if not concours. The coachwork is oh, so Brewster, blending coach-style tonneau with automobile elements and the quiet if effulgent Knight sleeve valve engine in the style preferred by 1910s commercial aristocracy. John M. O'Quinn Estate. Offered at the New York Auto Salon Auction in 1999 where it was a $55,000 no sale and sold shortly thereafter to John O'Quinn, high style didn't get much higher, at least in automobiles, in 1916 than this Brewster-Knight. It is more important than its formal and dated coachwork suggests to modern collectors and is a sound value at this price.

1950 Jaguar XK 120 Roadster

Lot # 147 1950 Jaguar XK 120 Roadster; S/N 670288; Pastel Blue/Blue, Grey leather; Blue cloth top; Estimate $175,000 - $200,000; Recent restoration, 2+ condition; Not sold at Hammer bid of $125,000 -- Steel wheels, blackwall tires, skirts. Freshly restored with excellent cosmetics. Everything fits perfectly and is better than new. 99.99 points JCNA judged more than once and an outstanding example of an early steel-bodied XK 120. Offered by RM at Monterey in August at a high bid of $170,000, the seller might have learned that 'your first offer is often your best offer.' This car is essentially flawless but the consignor is pursuing an unattainable goal of recovering the restoration costs. It needs to be cut loose. Arizona would have been a good place.

1953 Nash-Healey 161 Pinin Farina Roadster

Lot # 210 1953 Nash-Healey 161 Roadster, Body by Pinin Farina; S/N 11867; Red/Tan leather; Estimate $90,000 - $110,000; Recent restoration, 3+ condition; Hammered Sold at $65,000 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $71,500 -- 252.6ci, 140bhp straight six, 3-speed transmission with overdrive, wide whitewall tires, wire wheel covers, radio. Good paint and chrome. Leather shows some wear on driver's seat. Underside is well restored with some mileage. No Reserve. Nash-Healey's have had a tough go of it since the heady prices of 2007 and 2008 when an example in just about any condition would trade in the six figures and the best examples could stretch towards $250,000. They're still good looking cars, in a mid-fifties American sports car sort of way, but their international origins make them a little too foreign for the collectors of American cars and the Nash name seems to damper the enthusiasm of the European sports car set. Although this car was sold in 2007 at Barrett-Jackson for $101,200, $71,500 was a fair price in today's market.

1966 Shelby Cobra 427 Roadster

Lot # 217 1966 Shelby Cobra 427 Roadster; S/N CSX 3228; Red/Black leather; Estimate $750,000 - $850,000; Visually maintained, largely original, 3+ condition; Hammered Sold at $800,000 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $880,000 -- 10-spoke centerlock alloy wheels, Goodyear Eagle GT tires, wind wings, 427 side oiler, dual quads, grille and trunk guards. Good repaint and older interior. Clean engine compartment showing some age and seepage. Reassembled by the second owner with a 427 side oiler instead of the original 428, a change that has only positive effect on its value. Never fully restored, just attended to as needed with 10,683 miles from new. The only stories about this Cobra are good ones and it was treated accordingly by the Biltmore bidders who accorded it a premium price in line with its premium presentation. It's expensive, but not unreasonably. (Photo courtesy RM Auctions (c) 2011 Tim Scott)

1973 Ferrari 246 GTS Dino

Lot # 218 1973 Ferrari 246 GTS Dino; S/N 4404; Red/Black; Estimate $175,000 - $225,000; Cosmetic restoration, 3+ condition; Hammered Sold at $185,000 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $203,500 -- Dayton-style seats, Black roof panel, A/C, P/W, Kenwood CD stereo. Owned by the family of the first purchaser, Louis Jolton, until recently and complete with factory books, jack bag and service records including engine rebuild at 54,709 miles and now showing 66,011 miles from new. A sound and orderly old Dino with good new paint and interior. Gussied up a bit with Daytona-style seats and with a commendable history, this was a $155,000 Dino GTS. How it got to $185,000 hammer and just over $200K with commission is left to the value concepts of the Biltmore bidders. It's at the curl of some wave at this price, ready to engulf the gullible.

1952 Allard K2 Roadster Factory Special

Lot # 220 1952 Allard K2 Roadster Factory Special; S/N 91K3019; Maroon/Black leather; Estimate $175,000 - $215,000; Competition restoration, 3+ condition; Hammered Sold at $107,500 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $118,250 -- RHD. 392 Chrysler Hemi optimistically reported to put out 600hp with dual Holley 4-barrels, Buick drum brakes, black Halibrand kidney bean 5-bolt wheels, driver's roll hoop, bucket driver's seat, full width Plexiglas windshield, 4-spoke woodrim steering wheel. Historic race prepared and used. New York Auto Show display car in 1952, aggressively modified for historic racing and strengthened throughout. No Reserve. This car was sold at Barrett-Jackson in 2007 for $198,000 when it showed just 32 fewer miles on its odometer. It is an historic racer's dream Allard, thoroughly and professionally prepared by the best professionals in the UK. It isn't even close to 'correct', but it is the stuff of big cojones, a thrilling, endorphin-exuding radical ride that will make itself known at any historic racing venue where its FIA papers make it eligible. It's a big thrill for today's modest price.

1982 Ferrari 308 GTB Racing Car

Lot # 224 1982 Ferrari 308 GTB Racing Car; S/N ZFFAA02A3C0037931; Red/Grey cloth; Estimate $70,000 - $90,000; Original, modified for competition or performance, 3- condition; Hammered Sold at $30,000 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $33,000 -- 308 QV engine, modular wheels, roll cage, fire system, Wilwood brakes, Koni Blue shocks, 344 rack and pinion steering. SCCA logbook. Runs well. Weak recent repaint, dirty (even grungy) inside. A 288 look-alike done to modest standards. No Reserve. Few folks at the Biltmore were attuned to this racer with its Dzus fasteners painted over and many other indicia of erratic if not outright indifferent materials and workmanship. Even at that, however, it was bought right at this price.

RM Auctions Arizona 2012 – Auction Report Page Three


  1. Ronald Sieber says

    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,

  6. Rick Carey says

    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.


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