RM Auctions: Automobiles of Arizona Jan 20-21 2011 - Preview

1955 Mercedes-Benz 300SL 'Gullwing' - $700,000 - 800,000

‘The Brits’, having enjoyed their exclusive stay on the opening day of RM’s Arizona sale last year, ‘are back!’ in 2011. After offering 70 British-made cars on the Thursday, RM will then switch the spotlight the following day to a more international blend of American, French, Italian and German exotics.

RM will once again be holding its January sale in the familiar surroundings of the Arizona Biltmore Resort and Spa. In total, over 180 cars will cross the block in Scottsdale, AZ - many offered without reserve at one of the year’s biggest sales events.

As a Brit, and one who will be attending this month’s auctions, let’s start with the Thursday, January 20 entries. Under the cheery, post-War ‘export or die’ directive from the Board of Trade, British companies were encouraged to sell their products abroad in order to earn desperately needed foreign currency. As an extra incentive, hard-to-get engineering supplies of steel, alloys and machine tools were rationed out to exporting manufacturers only.

1953 Nash-Healey Roadster - $90,000 - 120,000 1959 AC Ace Bristol Roadster - $175,000 - 225,000

The result was a rush of affordable cars from AC, Jaguar, MG, Healey, Triumph and Allard, which were to find a place in the affections of the North American public. The catalogue reflects this, with 22 Jaguars (E-Types, XKs and saloons) joined by many more marques originating mainly in the West Midlands and, of these, we particularly like the 1952 Allard J2X Roadster ($175,000 - 225,000), the LHD 1959 AC Ace Bristol ($175,000 - 225,000) and the 1953 Nash-Healey Roadster ($90,000 - 120,000).

1958 Aston Martin DB MKIII Coupé - $200,000 - 250,000

‘Affordable’ can’t really be applied to the refined ranges from Aston Martin, Bentley and Rolls-Royce – they have always been expensive cars, favoured by discerning, well-heeled US buyers. The catalogue includes eight Astons, and pick of the bunch would be either the ‘time capsule’, Broken White (ivory) 1958 DB MK III Coupé for $200,000 - 250,000, or the 1963 DB4 Series IV Vantage ($290,000 - 340,000). Both being left-hand drive, and given the tremendous popularity of the marque right now, these could sell way over estimate.

1927 Bentley 3 Litre - $350,000 - 450,000 1950 Healey Silverstone - $180,000 - 220,000

The 1927 Bentley 3 Litre ($350,000 - 450,000) should do well, and we always have a soft spot for ‘Chinese Eye’ Rolls-Royces, the 1965 Silver Cloud III Continental Coupé looking like an elegant choice for $125,000 - 175,000. Of the earlier Rolls, the Brewster-bodied, Derby-built 1932 II Newmarket Sport Sedan ($300,000 - 450,000) is one of just three examples known to RM.

Friday’s sale starts with Lot 201, a 2005 GEM E4 LSV Electric Car ($1000 – 2000) and ends at Lot 315, the beige 1951 Studebaker 1/2-Ton Pickup Truck ($20,000 - 30,000) that looks as if it’s just pottered off a film set. In between, RM has assembled a fine selection of cars from the well-proven categories of inter-war American luxury (Cord, Packard, Duesenberg et al), the great European marques of the Forties to the Seventies (Ferrari, Mercedes-Benz, Maserati and Porsche) and classic, ‘American Graffiti’ home-grown product that includes fin-tailed extravagance, hot-rods and ‘woodies’.

2004 Ferrari 360 Challenge Stradale - $50,000 - 75,000 1950 Ferrari 166 Inter Berlinetta $400,000 - 600,000
1973 Ferrari 365 GTB/4 'Daytona' Spyder $800,000 - 1,000,000 1995 Ferrari F50 Geneva Show Car - $700,000 - 800,000

There are also some muscle cars, which include the style-setting 1964 Dodge Charger Hemi Concept Car ($750,000 - 1,000,000), but ‘brass-era’ enthusiasts would do well to wait for the company’s forthcoming Amelia Island sale, on March 12.

Ferrari, as a marque, is always a focus of North American sales. From the glassfibre 1976 308 GTB ($60,000 - 80,000) to the 1949 166 MM Barchetta ($1,900,000 - 2,400,000), RM will offer 11 carefully selected examples. The dark blue 1950 166 Inter Berlinetta, at $400,000 - 600,000, is a pretty car, while chassis-number spotters will be intrigued by the ‘GTB/4’ appellation on the 1973 'Daytona' Spyder. Factory built, shouldn’t the $800,000 - 1,000,000 convertible be a ‘GTS/4’, I hear you say, rattling your spiral-bound notebook?

1957 Chevrolet Corvette Fuel-Injected Roadster - $120,000 - 140,000 1973 Porsche 911E - $80,000 - 100,000

No, apparently, as the customarily excellent RM catalogue explains that all examples officially exported to the US were stamped ‘GTB/4’. You learn something every day.

Also in the sale are the Geneva Show 1995 F50 ($700,000 - 800,000), a competitively estimated 2004 360 Challenge Stradale for $50,000 - 75,000 and an immaculate, Series I 1965 500 Superfast at $900,000 - 1,100,000.

Elsewhere in the European exotic category are three Mercedes-Benz 300SLs (two ‘Gullwings’ and a Roadster) and two Lamborghini 400 GTs (a 1967 coupé for $275,000 - 375,000 and a 1966 spyder conversion at $175,000 - 200,000). Moving back a little in time, the Friday sale also includes a 1939 Bugatti Type 57 57C Three-Position Drophead Coupé for $750,000 - 850,000.

1933 Packard Twelve Sport Phaeton - $1,500,000 - 2,000,000

Looking at the American-manufactured cars from that golden, pre-War era, the 1929 Duesenberg Model J Dual Cowl Phaeton ($1,000,000 - 1,300,000) stands out, joined by the 1933 Packard Twelve Sport Phaeton, at $1,500,000 - 2,000,000, and the $400,000 - 500,000, 1930 Cadillac V16 Roadster.

1949 Cadillac Series 75 Custom Limousine - $300,000 - 400,000

Finally, do have a look at the 1949 Cadillac Series 75 Custom Limousine. Estimated at $300,000 - 400,000, the four-door, woodie-bodied (by Bohman & Schwartz) saloon was once owned by MGM and used for transporting actors and support staff to and from location shoots, its roof-rack piled high with hat-boxes or cases of bourbon, its occupants reclining on the Bedford cord with alligator trim seats.

As an ‘of the era’ piece it has few equals - a fabulous car.

You can view all the entries in the Classic Driver car database.

Please click HERE to see a full lotlist.


ADMISSION:
Admission to this sale requires the purchase of the offical auction catalogue for $120. The catalogue will admit two and must be presented at the entrance to the sale to be granted entry.

AUCTION LOCATION:
Arizona Biltmore Resort & Spa
24th Street & Missouri
Phoenix, Arizona 85016 USA

AUCTION:
January 20, 2011
6:30 PM - 9:00 PM MST
January 21, 2011
11:00 AM - 7:00 PM MST

PREVIEW:
January 20, 2011
9:00 AM - 6:00 PM MST
January 21, 2011
9:00 AM - 6:00 PM MST

GALA RECEPTION:
January 20, 2011
4:00 PM - 6:00 PM MST
Admission to the reception requires the purchase of an official auction catalogue.

RM Auctions
One Classic Car Drive
Blenheim
Ontario N0P 1A0
Canada


Telephone: +1 519 352 45 75
Fax: +1 519 351 13 37


Website: www.rmauctions.com

Email: [email protected].

Text: Steve Wakefield
Photos: RM Auctions





ClassicInside - The Classic Driver Newsletter
Free Subscription!