RM Auctions John Staluppi 2012 – Auction Report

RM Auctions, John Staluppi Collection, North Palm Beach, Florida, December 1, 2012

Report and photos by Rick Carey, Auction Editor

Single owner collections are always fun. The cars reflect the outlook of the person who assembled the collection. Often they’re well known and recognized by other collectors for their provenance.

So it was with some anticipation that I flew to Florida in late November for RM’s sale of John Staluppi’s collection. I wasn’t prepared for the superb environment he’d built for them, as impressive as any single owner’s collection I’ve seen, with a whole shadow box village around the periphery, a magnificent bar in the back corner and a breathtakingly detailed and landscaped Lionel O-gauge three-level model railroad setup too large to fit in single-car garage bay, all surrounding a beautifully restored 32-foot Herschell-Spillman carousel.

The trains brought $103,500, the carousel $460,000.

The cars brought, if it’s conceivable, even more.

John Staluppi has apparently scratched this itch and is going to turn his car collecting attention elsewhere. The Cars of Dreams Museum was sold out to the bare walls. Everything was offered without reserve and he ended up with over $10 million in his pocket to start his new collecting gig.

Naturally – except for one withdrawn lot – everything was sold, much of it for prices hard to conceive. $78,100 for a ’66 Mustang (2-barrel 289, automatic) convertible? It was frequently breathtaking, full retail and more.

But that’s part of the excitement of single-owner collection auctions. Buzz runs high and good sense is sometimes subsumed by exuberance.

113 cars were offered, all sold for a total of $10,421,950 with commission, an average of $92,230 and a median transaction of $82,500. 38 cars, 31%, sold for under the low estimate, but 19, 16.8%, sold for over the high estimate, sometimes way over. The low estimate on sold cars was $8,644,000; the hammer bids totaled $9,474,500, 109.6% of the low estimate.

RM Auctions John Staluppi Collection 2012 – Auction Report

1965 Ford Mustang 2+2 Fastback Coupe

Lot # 210 1965 Ford Mustang 2+2 Fastback Coupe; S/N 5F09A315845; Vintage Burgundy/Black vinyl; Estimate $40,000 – $50,000; Older restoration, 2 condition; Hammered Sold at $57,000 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $62,700 — No Reserve. 289/225hp, 4-speed, styled wheels, red line tires, pushbutton radio, front disc brakes. Excellent paint, chrome and interior. Restored like new without going overboard. Replacement engine. Multiple Mustang Club of America winner. A nice car, but with the replacement engine not as nice as the price it brought. It was sold for $50,820 at Barrett-Jackson Palm Beach in 2010, a more appropriate but still generous price.

1955 Buick Roadmaster Convertible

Lot # 211 1955 Buick Roadmaster Convertible; S/N 7B5020665; Cherokee Red, Dover White/Red, White leather, Black cloth; White vinyl top; Estimate $90,000 – $120,000; Older restoration, 3 condition; Hammered Sold at $72,500 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $79,750 — No Reserve. Dynaflow, P/S, P/B, chrome wire wheel, wide whitewalls, pushbutton radio, P/W, power seat, power antenna, dual outside mirrors. A quality older restoration that looks like it has newer paint over the old paint. 2005 Buick Nationals Gold Award winner. Lightly soiled upholstery, good carpets. Flush fits and even gaps. Attractive, accurately detailed engine compartment but aged chassis and underbody that needs detailing. Sold for $110,000 at Barrett-Jackson Las Vegas in 2008, and exceptional price at the time which is endorsed by the result here, appropriate to the car’s rarity, style and condition.

1957 Chevrolet Corvette Convertible

Lot # 212 1957 Chevrolet Corvette Convertible; S/N E57S104257; White, Silver coves/Red vinyl; Black vinyl top; Estimate $80,000 – $100,000; Older restoration, 3+ condition; Hammered Sold at $70,000 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $77,000 — No Reserve. 283/220hp, 3-speed, radio, spinner wheel covers, whitewalls. Good paint, erratic chrome, good interior. Underbody painted over superficial prep. Sound and usable but not impressive. Described as numbers-matching, little consolation for the uninspiring base engine. Sold for $110,000 at Barrett-Jackson Palm Beach earlier this year. The Staluppi Collection bidders were slow out of the gate, but later prices more than made up for the modest, but appropriate, price this Corvette brought.

1969 Chevrolet Camaro Indy Pace Car Convertible

Lot # 213 1969 Chevrolet Camaro Indy Pace Car Convertible; S/N 124679N614296; Dover White, Hugger Orange stripes/Orange, herringbone vinyl; Black vinyl top; Estimate $60,000 – $80,000; Visually maintained, largely original, 3- condition; Hammered Sold at $48,500 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $53,350 — No Reserve. Automatic, P/S. P/B, A/C, cassette stereo, Rally wheels with trim rings, Radial T/A tires, cowl induction, console gauges, badged 350/300hp with illegible engine number. Z11-coded trim plate. Visor signed by Mario Andretti, ’69 Indy winner. A mostly original car with a good repaint and replaced interior. Otherwise pretty tired, with rattly doors and plenty of age and use that is beyond patina. Sold for $70,400 at Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale in 2008, this result is more reasonable, but hardly reasonable enough for this Camaro’s age condition and shaky presentation.

1956 Buick Special Convertible

Lot # 214 1956 Buick Special Convertible; S/N 4C1177425; Seminole Red, Dover White/White, Red vinyl; White vinyl top; Estimate $65,000 – $85,000; Cosmetic restoration, 3+ condition; Hammered Sold at $66,000 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $72,600 — No Reserve. 322/220hp, Dynaflow, P/S, P/B, P/W, chrome wire wheels, whitewalls, dual remote spotlights, pushbutton radio. Sparkly old cosmetic restoration with good cosmetics and underhood presentation. Underbody is clean but hasn’t been restored. This Buick brought a material premium attributable less to its quality or rarity than to a shiny presentation and the Staluppi Collection sale buzz. It would have been a good value at $55,000.

1960 Dodge Polara D-500 2-Dr. Hardtop

Lot # 215 1960 Dodge Polara D-500 2-Dr. Hardtop; S/N 6307101191; Azure Blue/Azure Blue vinyl; Estimate $70,000 – $90,000; Recent restoration, 2- condition; Hammered Sold at $78,000 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $85,800 — No Reserve. 383/330hp, cross-ram but with Weber 4-barrels, pushbutton automatic, power swivel bucket seats, P/S, P/B, pushbutton radio, gold flecked transparent steering wheel rim, chrome wire wheels, whitewalls, rear antenna, dual outside mirrors. Excellent paint, chrome and interior. Flat panels, flush fits, even gaps, spotless underbody. Better than new without being too good. Marked down only on account of the Webers. Sold for $126,500 at Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale in 2008, the price of this rare D-500 Polara today is much more representative of the quality of its restoration and the comprehensiveness of its options list. It is a sound value even at this healthy price, particularly in the exuberant environment of the Staluppi Collection sale.

1955 Chevrolet Bel Air Convertible

Lot # 218 1955 Chevrolet Bel Air Convertible; S/N VC550039256; Engine # T55F FB; Turquoise Blue, White/Turquoise Blue, White vinyl; White vinyl top; Estimate $80,000 – $100,000; Older restoration, 2- condition; Hammered Sold at $73,000 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $80,300 — No Reserve. 265/180hp, Powerglide, oil filter, electric wipers, wheel covers, whitewalls, heater, pushbutton radio, skirts. Excellent paint, chrome and interior. Underbody is good but the engine compartment and chassis are driver quality. Body color overspray on the engine ground strap suggests the current repaint was done partially assembled. There’s little to fault on this ’55 Bel Air Convertible, or in the price it brought which appropriately reflects its specification and condition.

1956 Cadillac Series 62 Convertible

Lot # 220 1956 Cadillac Series 62 Convertible; S/N 5662026320; Red/White, Red leather; Estimate $150,000 – $200,000; Older restoration, 3+ condition; Hammered Sold at $272,500 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $299,750 — No Reserve. 365/305hp, dual quad Eldorado engine, batwing air cleaner, P/S, P/B, skirts, chrome wire wheels, pushbutton radio, P/W, Autronic eye, power antenna, continental kit. Good paint, chrome and interior. Underbody is old, inside window wells is ugly and oversprayed. Pretty but neither fresh nor thorough underhood. A sound but superficial and now aged old restoration. At Barrett-Jackson Palm Beach in 2007 this ’56 Series 62 sold for $110,000, a record price for its year and model. There is a lot to like about it, especially the dual quad intake, but also a lot not to like about its restoration and presentation. But this is another record result, and not just for a Series 62, but also more than the most expensive ’56 Eldorado Biarritz. In this case the bidders’ rationality and reason were the victims of the mysterious driving forces of competition. The result is overstated by a factor of nearly three. Let’s be really clear: this Cadillac is egregiously over-priced, and would have been only a modest value even at the low estimate.

1963 Chevrolet Corvette Coupe

Lot # 222 1963 Chevrolet Corvette Coupe; S/N 30837S116851; Engine # 3116851 F0529SD; Daytona Blue/Blue vinyl; Estimate $90,000 – $120,000; Visually maintained, largely original, 3+ condition; Hammered Sold at $92,500 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $101,750 — No Reserve. 327/300hp, Powerglide, AM-FM, centerlock alloy wheels, narrow whitewalls, P/S, P/B, A/C, tinted glass. Engine has been out and redone; engine number is accurate for the chassis and configuration. Good repaint and original interior. Orderly underhood and chassis even if not close to pristine. A well maintained but not even cosmetically restored split window with a boring drivetrain. A 4-speed Fuelie in this condition would be fully valued at this price. The A/C adds something to value, but not close to the price this Powerglide Vette brought. It’s expensive.

1956 DeSoto Fireflite Adventurer Convertible Coupe Design Study

Lot # 224 1956 DeSoto Fireflite Adventurer Convertible Coupe Design Study; S/N 50383976; Black/Gold vinyl, Beige cloth; Beige cloth top; Estimate $150,000 – $200,000; Rebodied or re-created, 2 condition; Hammered Sold at $142,500 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $156,750 — No Reserve. 341/320hp Hemi, dual quad intake, Powerflite, chrome wire wheels, whitewall tires, pushbutton radio, P/W, P/S, P/B, Hi-way Hi-Fi. Very good paint, chrome and interior. Done to very high standards, but only a rear view mirror view of what DeSoto could have built in 1956, i.e., there was no 1956 DeSoto Fireflite Adventurer Convertible built. Sold for $187,000 at Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale earlier this year, this is a cool car and one-of-a-kind. Its value is in the eye (and bank account) of the beholder and it’s impossible to argue with the Staluppi Collection bidders’ conclusion.

1957 DeSoto Fireflite Adventurer Replica Convertible

Lot # 225 1957 DeSoto Fireflite Adventurer Replica Convertible; S/N 50424347; Black/Beige vinyl, Gold cloth; Tan cloth top; Estimate $150,000 – $200,000; Older restoration, 3+ condition; Withdrawn — No Reserve. 345/345hp, automatic, P/S, P/B, chrome wire wheels, whitewall tires, pushbutton radio, P/W. An older restoration and upgrade to Adventurer trim and dual quad power. Good paint, chrome, interior and underhood but not fresh. On-site but clarified history in a saleroom notice and later withdrawn. Sold for $159,500 at Worldwide Houston in 2010 and $247,500 at Barrett-Jackson Palm Beach in 2011.

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