RM Auctions Don Davis Collection – Auction Report

RM Auctions, Don Davis Collection, Fort Worth, Texas, April 27, 2013

Report and photos by Rick Carey, Auction Editor

Auctions of single owner collections are always exciting. The owners’ reputations for quality and focus confer instant “provenance” and collectors flock to them to take home a piece of automobile, and automobile collecting, history.

Frequently those pieces come at a steep price. Competition with other collectors has a way of loosening bidders’ purse strings and makes reporting, let alone interpreting, the results a challenge.

That was the case at RM’s auction of Texas collector Don Davis’s 64 cars in Fort Worth.

Does a million dollar Toyota 2000GT represent a lasting value benchmark, or is it a unique confluence of time, place, participants and opportunity that ignited bidding for a rarely seen star car?

Do the generous prices for the low mileage series-built mid-engined Ferrari V-8s (328 GTSi and Mondial t Cabriolet) vindicate the results for similar cars at RM’s Monterey auction last August?

By my reckoning, of the 48 cars written up, four (the three mentioned above plus the Porsche 959 Komfort) achieved spectacular results. Another twenty-two were expensive in the current market. Only four could be considered good values. There were no bargains.

But that also shows the effectiveness of marketing single owner collections in an auction, a technique which RM has perfected in this and other recent sales.

Tread carefully through the results of the 48 cars reported here, there are land mines among the reported results.

RM Auctions
Cars Offered / Cars Sold
Sale %
Sold < Low Est
Sold > High Est
Average Sale
Median Sale
Total Sales
Don Davis Collection
64 / 64
100%
18.8%
28.1%
$331,727
$154,000 [46.4%]
$21,230,500

RM Auctions Don Davis Collection – Auction Report

1957 Ford Thunderbird Convertible

Lot # 101 1957 Ford Thunderbird Convertible; S/N D7FH140526; Dark Grey/Red; Black cloth top; Estimate $60,000 – $80,000; Recent restoration, 2 condition; Hammered Sold at $77,500 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $85,250. No Reserve – 312/245hp, automatic, A/C, P/S, P/B, engine dressup, Town & Country radio, chrome wire wheels, whitewalls – Restored like new with careful attention to details. Underbody is better than it came off the line. – Aside from its excellent presentation the best thing about this T-bird are the colors, rich dark grey metallic on the outside and lipstick red inside. It is spectacular. This is an heroic price for a ’57 T-bird with an ordinary equipment complement, but this is a good example of a car that deserves to be recognized as superior. The first car to cross the block in RM’s auction of Don Davis’s collection, its exceptional price set the tone for the rest of the sale.

1962 Chevrolet Bel Air 2-Dr. Hardtop

Lot # 103 1962 Chevrolet Bel Air 2-Dr. Hardtop; S/N 21637S294496; Engine # S294496 T0216QB; Red/Red vinyl, cloth; Estimate $80,000 – $100,000; Recent restoration, 2 condition; Hammered Sold at $100,000 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $110,000. No Reserve – 409/409hp, dual quads, 4-speed, P/S, steel wheels, hubcaps, blackwalls, bench seat, heater and radio delete, knee knocker tach, bubbletop body – Restored like new with lovely paint, chrome and interior and a gorgeous engine. Represented as numbers-matching, backed up by the original order form and dealer invoice. – Highly desirable hardly does this impeccably restored, maintained and documented 409/409 Bel Air Bubbletop. It was the king of the road in 1962 and even the bench seat adds to its appeal (and its lighter weight than more sporty buckets adds to its acceleration.) It is a premium car and it brought a premium price.

1991 Ferrari Testarossa

Lot # 104 1991 Ferrari Testarossa; S/N ZFFSG17AXM0087423; White/Tan leather; Estimate $80,000 – $100,000; Unrestored original, 2- condition; Hammered Sold at $95,000 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $104,500. No Reserve – A/C, power locks, P/W – A clean, lightly used car with 10,184 miles and two owners from new. Driver’s seat is lightly stretched. Chassis and underbody are lightly oiled and road grimy but not gross. Major service in January 2012. Assembly #5015. – Reported sold for $61,480 at Mecum’s Dallas auction in September 2012, a price that is much more appropriate than the generous premium thrown at it today. There is no shortage of similarly low mileage, pampered, documented Testarossas out there that will be more than happy to rush to market at $20,000 or so less than the price this one brought today.

1946 Chrysler Town and Country Convertible

Lot # 106 1946 Chrysler Town and Country Convertible; S/N 7400604; Engine # ;/; Estimate $125,000 – $175,000; Older restoration, 1- condition; Hammered Sold at $120,000 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $132,000. No Reserve – Fluid Drive, turn signals, pushbutton radio, heater, dual remote spots, wheel covers, wide whitewalls – Excellent paint, interior and chrome. Wood panels look like shelf paper and although they’re not the effect is not flattering. Framing looks perfect. Beginning to show some age here and there but still in nearly show car quality condition. – RM has made almost as much money off this car as it brought today. This is the fifth time they have sold it: $132,000 at Arizona in 2003, $104,500 at Amelia 2003, $187,000 at Meadow Brook 2007 and $126,500 at Arizona 2011. The odometer has added just 483 miles since 2003, most of them probably accumulated rolling on and off transporters to the various auctions. For all of that, however, it is a quality example of Chrysler’s highly desirable early postwar Town & Country convertible and is a sound acquisition at this price.

1974 BMW 3.0 CS Coupe

Lot # 107 1974 BMW 3.0 CS Coupe; S/N 4310374; Anthracite Grey/Beige leather; Estimate $90,000 – $120,000; Modified restoration, 2+ condition; Hammered Sold at $100,000 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $110,000. No Reserve – Extensively upgraded including 3.5 liter engine, 5-speed, limited slip, suspension work, upgraded R134a A/C, CSL air dam, Euro bumpers, P/W, Becker Europa II cassette, power sunroof, Alpina alloy wheels, blackwall radials – 7,202 miles showing and immaculate. Restored like new and highly detailed with an abundance of performance and comfort enhancing upgrades that contribute to a driving experience that should be as satisfying as its meticulous presentation. – Some might quibble with the modifications, but they are so well thought out and implemented nearly seamlessly that they add to rather detract from the CS’s value as a superb driving automobile. A $50,000 car in stock form, the bidders added another $50,000 in recognition of the potential driving satisfaction, a generous increment but difficult to argue with.

1957 Oldsmobile Ninety-Eight Starfire Convertible

Lot # 108 1957 Oldsmobile Ninety-Eight Starfire Convertible; S/N 579A04375; Coronado Yellow/White, Silver, Black vinyl; White vinyl top; Estimate $100,000 – $150,000; Older restoration, 2- condition; Hammered Sold at $150,000 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $165,000. No Reserve – 371/300hp J-2 with three 2-barrels, automatic, P/S, P/B, A/C, WonderBar radio, flipper wheelcovers, whitewalls, skirts – Very good, clean and well maintained older restoration to like new condition. Good paint, bright chrome and stainless. Shows some age but is still in very sharp, clean, presentable condition. – A pretty car under any circumstances, and very well restored in a bright, cheerful color, the J-2 engine adds substantially to the value of this 98 Starfire. The bidders responded accordingly but a bit over-enthusiastically even considering the J-2 engine and factory A/C.

1963 Chevrolet Corvette FI Coupe

Lot # 109 1963 Chevrolet Corvette FI Coupe; S/N 30837S117508; Gold/Tan vinyl; Estimate $125,000 – $150,000; Older restoration, 2 condition; Hammered Sold at $175,000 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $192,500. No Reserve – 327/360hp fuel injection, 4-speed, spinner wheel covers, narrow whitewalls, woodgrain steering wheel, AM-FM, P/W, 3.36 Positraction – Restored like new. Windwing chrome is thin. Excellent chrome, paint and interior. Sharp underhood. Represented as matching numbers with original Protect-o-Plate, owner’s packet and manual. A first class Corvette. – Much was made of this being the 50th anniversary of the Sting Ray Corvette, which may account for this car bringing $52,000 more here than it brought last year at Mecum Houston where it sold for $140,450. That was only the Sting Ray’s 49th anniversary, a milestone of little significance.

2005 Ford GT

Lot # 110 2005 Ford GT; S/N 1FAFP90S85Y400530; Centennial White, Blue stripes/Black leather; Estimate $200,000 – $250,000; Unrestored original, 2 condition; Hammered Sold at $210,000 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $231,000. No Reserve – MacIntosh CD stereo, BBS wheels, red calipers – ‘Under 900 miles’ according to the catalog, the odometer is electronic and thus no readable on preview. Essentially unused and in showroom condition or better. – After dropping into the low-mid $100,000s in 2008-9 Ford GTs have attracted renewed interest as their rarity and performance comes to be better appreciated as collector cars. This car is a good example of most of them – barely used and well maintained – and of their current prices in this condition.

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