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It’s that time of year again, where the big collector car auctions get revved up for some serious gavel action in Arizona. RM Auctions, which this year is offering a whole fistful of vintage and classic British machinery, is also offering this, the very first Dodge Charger ever built.
Launched as a concept in 1964, it was based on the existing full-size Polara two-door, but was designed as a showcase for Chrysler’s then new Hemi V8, the all-conquering 426. The ’64 Charger was converted into a two seater, sporting a cut down roof with original Batmobile type pods for the driver and passenger, plus a notable absence of chrome (including the bumpers), special side scoops and unique Halibrand wheels.
However, because of high demand for those new Hemi V8s, especially in NASCAR, when the Charger concept actually made its debut, it was powered by a standard 383 cubic inch big block Polara V8, rated at 305-hp. It toured the show circuit for a year and was then acquired by a prominent Dodge dealer who passed it onto his son, who made some alterations to the car.
In 1999 it was acquired by noted dream car collector Joe Bortz who had it restored at no expense. In fact Bortz went a step further and had one of the original, hand built Hemi engines installed, thus creating the car’s ‘should have been’ original configuration.
In 2007 the car was purchased by collector John M. O’Quinn and now, following his death, is up for auction, along with other items from the O’Quinn estate. According to RM, the car will likely sell for between $750,000 and $1 million when it goes under the hammer later this month.
[Source: RM Auctions]
The very last Mercurys might be rolling off the assembly lines as this blog is posted, but the brand will likely have a long future yet, at least in classic car circles.
If marques like Edsel, Plymouth and Studebaker are anything to go by, then Mercurys will likely resonate with collectors and car enthusiasts long after the name becomes a distant memory amongst regular consumers. Mercury also has a number of cars produced in it’s 72 year existence that will likely attract more collector attention than most.
The 1940s ‘woodie’ wagons and convertibles are highly prized among collectors, while the 1949-51 ‘Bathtub’ Mercurys have long been a favorite with custom car fans. Cars like the Cyclone, Cougar (shown) and Marauder also rank among the best of the muscle car era.
And prices seem to reflect a growing demand for Mercurys on the auction circuit. Not too long ago, a 1969 Cougar (a luxury XR7, not a performance oriented Eliminator), went under the gavel for almost $100,000 at one of Mecum’s Auctions, while RM sold a 1946 Mercury Sportsman Woodie for a staggering $368,000.
But there are those that believe it will be tough for Mercury to perhaps resonate with tomorrow’s collectors who might have little idea of the brand’s storied history. However, Garry Bennett, V-P of Consignment for Barrett-Jackson, believes that the brand will follow in the manner of some other ‘orphan’ makes, with certain cars especially, attracting a following. Not too long ago he said, “the fact that they’re going to discontinue [Mercury], it’s going to create new awareness.”
Back during the first muscle car collection boom in the 1980s, the two big collections everybody knew about were Otis Chandler’s in the West and Milton Robson’s in the East.
Today, although many other high profile collections have spawned, fueled by a second boom during the last decade, Robson’s group of rare and interesting cars has remained one of the most notable – a diverse stable of prime automobiles that he amassed over more than 25 years.
Now, 55 cars in the collection are to be sold at auction, RM putting together a single vendor sale in Gainsville, GA on November 13. Among the cars up for grabs, include a whole fistful of prime Detroit muscle – notably a Starlight Black 1969 Ram Air IV Pontiac GTO Judge Convertible; a 1969 Chevy Camaro Yenko S/C and a 1969 ZL-1 Camaro (shown). The particular ZL-1 illustrated above is number 63 out of 69 built and features the ultra rare aluminum 427 big-block V-8 and four-speed manual gearbox – estimates place it’s value at between $500,000 and $750,000.
Other highlights of the auction include a 1969 Pontiac Firebird 400 convertible; 1970 Chevy Chevelle SS454 LS6 convertible, 1970 Ford Ranchero GT; 1970 Buick 455 GS and some rare full-size early muscle machines, including a lightweight 1962 Bel Air 409 as well as a selection of highly desirable 1950s cars like a 1957 DeSoto Adventurer convertible and a one-of-a-kind, supercharged 1953 Cadillac Eldorado.
For more information on this once in a life time auction event, click on the link below:
[Source: RM Auctions]
It’s arguably the most famous car in the world, but the 1964 Aston Martin DB5 driven by Sean Connery as James Bond in the film Goldfinger, is to be joined at RM’s Automobiles of London auction on October 27th by other Bond artifacts – namely a Hiller UH-12 Helicopter piloted by Pussy Galore (Honor Blackman), in the same film, plus a more recent Bond vehicle, a 1998 Jaguar XKR used in the Iceland chase sequence in 2002′s Die Another Day.
This was one of three such cars prepared for filming that featured all-wheel drive and an onboard weapons system and until recently was the property of the Jaguar Heritage Trust.
On a final note, although not directly Bond related, a 1969 Lamborghini Islero, driven by Sir Roger Moore in the film The Man who Haunted Himself, will also be up for auction at RM’s Automobiles of London. For more information on this prestigious event, click on the link below.
[Source: RM Auctions]
Looking to own a true, one-of-a-kind Ford Mustang collectible? Well, this one is gonna cost ya. RM Auctions is offering the 2004 Ford Mustang GT-R Concept, originally introduced at the 2004 New York International Auto Show as a tribute to 40 years of Mustang performance. A custom built Mustang with performance and race-inspiration in mind, RM Auctions is estimating that the GT-R concept will sell for $250,000 to $350,000.
For a vehicle that’s neither DOT nor EPA certified, that’s a pretty penny to pay for a track-only car, or something to sit in your show garage. But what the lucky owner will get is a Valencia Orange painted 2004 Mustang sporting a high compression, fully built 440-hp powerplant. Mated to a TTC T-56 six-speed transmission.
Inside the entire chassis has been overhauled with a full roll cage, Sparco racing seats and stripped to its bare necessities. Suspension upgrades include coilovers with remote reservoirs, ready to hit the track. 20-inch wheels are found on each corner, wrapped with Pirelli slicks with Brembo brakes peeking behind the classic five-spoke design.
Lastly on the outside is an abundance of carbon fiber components giving the car a more aggressive look while improving aerodynamics.
So you have a hole burning in your pocket?
GALLERY: 2004 Ford Mustang GT-R Concept
Rob Myers, founder of RM auctions, recently announced that a subsidiary of his company, Auctions America by RM had purchased the 235 acre Auburn Auction Park, previously owned by Kruse Inc. Kruse has experienced financial difficulty in recent months and had it’s auction licenses suspended in its home state of Indiana. The purchase of the auction park divests Kruse of any interest in the park, but Auctions America by RM has stated that it will put on an auction alongside the Auburn-Cord-Dusenberg festival, which has been a staple of the park for 40 years.
The purchase is also significant, because the 1974 running of the A-C-D festival represented the very first time that Myers himself attended a collector car auction. “All of us within the RM group of companies are very excited to take on these new opportunities and we look forward to upgrading the auction park and continuing to serve our clients,” he stated.
For information on the acquisition of the park click on the video link below of watch the video:
[Source: RM Auctions]
For those into muscle cars, June 19th at the Town and Country Resort in San Diego proved to be a high point of the year, as 102 cars; many of them prime Detroit performance machines from the late-1960s and early-1970s went under the gavel. The auction included a number of high profile Corvettes and Pontiacs, including cars from Jim Wanger’s own private collection.
By the time the auction had concluded a total of $6.9 million in sales had been generated, with an astounding 100 percent sell through rate. The top profile car of the weekend was an ultra rare 1969 Corvette Stingray equipped with aluminum head L88 engine. Approximately 115 L88s are believed to have been built for 1969 and the survivors are highly desirable. This one outperformed it’s pre-sale estimate, going for a healthy $401,500. The next strongest seller was a 1970 Chevrolet Chevelle SS454 LS-6 convertible – another highly coveted machine, that went for $231,000. Another 1969 Corvette, this time a 427/435 horsepower convertible, also sold for $231,000. It was interesting to note that out of the top 10 highest selling cars, no fewer than five were Corvettes and two were Mustangs, both Boss 429s, today considered the most desirable of breed, thanks in part to their special NASCAR homologated engines.
The sale also included some European exotica, namely in the shape of high performance BMWs and Mercedes-Benz AMG models, but only one made the top ten – a 2003 BMW Z8 roadster, that went for $143,000. Although the auction was a far cry from the days of $3 million dollar muscle cars that we were witnessing just a few years ago, the high sell through rate in San Diego indicates that the hobby is still as buoyant as ever.
[Source: RM Auctions]
Whenever one of the original 21 Scaglietti designed Testa Rossas comes up for sale, it’s usually very big news. Last year at the third annual Ferrari Leggenda e Passione auction; held at the Ferrari factory in Maranello and hosted by RM in conjunction with Sotherby’s, the car shown in this blog, a 1957 Testa Rossa (chassis 0714TR), sold for a record 9,020,000 Euros (approximately $12.4 million). This amid one of the worst economic slumps in recent memory.
Now at the upcoming Sporting Classics of Monterey auction, to be held from August 12-14th at the Portola Hotel and Spa, yet another Testa Rossa is slated to cross the auction block. The car, 0738TR, was built in 1958 and delivered brand new, to Brazilian Jean-Louis Lacerda Soares. During the course of its history the car has been extensively raced – it was campaigned by Lacerda Soares under the Esquadari Largatixa banner for a number of years and for the past 14 seasons has garnered a number of wins and podium finishes at historic road racing events around the world. Painted in the national Brazilian colors of yellow and green it’s also a very eye catching example and the racing pedigree is likely to mean the car will bring top dollar at the auction. It will be interesting to see, that given the slow economic recovery, if this car will top the record set by 0714TR last year.
The Sporting Classics of Monterey is one of the most prestigious auctions of its kind anywhere in the world and the caliber of vehicles has to be seen to believed. Besides the T-R, other rare and desirable Ferraris up for grabs include a 1959 covered headlamp California Spyder (one of the original long wheelbase cars – delivered new to Prince Vittorio Emanuele di Savoia – the only son of Umberto II, the last King of Italy); a 1959 410 Superamerica and a 1966 500 Superfast. Current estimates place all these cars selling in the $800,000 to $3-million plus range.
[Source: RM Auctions]
The last Aston Martin DB5 used in the original James Bond movies will go up for auction at an auction being held in London at the end of October.
The iconic silver sports car comes with all of the usual gadgets, including machine guns, rotating license plates, an oil slick, ejector seat and bulletproof shield. The car was purchased from the Aston Martin factory by Jerry Lee, an American broadcaster. Lee paid $12,000 for the car, a hefty sum in those days, and the vehicle has remained in his collection for 40 years.
RM Auctions, the firm selling the vehicle, expects the Aston to go for roughly $5,000,000, with all proceeds going to the Jerry Lee Foundation, a charity designed to help combat crime and social problems brought on by poverty.
[Source: Auto Express]
GM might have dealt Pontiac a quick and undignified death, but the late performance oriented marque lives on. In classic car circles Pontiacs represent some of the most desirable vehicles of all, especially those from the muscle car era. And if perhaps to illustrate the point, on June 19th, RM Auctions will host it’s Classic Muscle and Modern Performance sale, at the Town and Country Resort and Convention Center in San Diego, CA;. the highlight of which will be an impressive number of primo Pontiac muscle cars, including a select number of GTOs and Firebird Trans Ams being offered for sale from the private collection of Jim Wangers.
For anybody with even a passing interest in muscle era Pontiac power; Wangers needs no introduction. Working at the Advertising Agency of McManus, John and Adams in the 1960s; Wangers, via his now legendary promotion techniques, helped cultivate a performance image for the Pontiac brand that resonates with enthusiasts to this very day. Among the cars up for auction from his personal collection, include a 1965 GTO hardtop, a 1966 GTO convertible; two Carousel Red 1969 GTO Judge coupes, one of which is an original Drag Race dealer program car; a 1967 Firebird 400 magazine project car “Greenbird,” an original 1969 Trans Am (one of just 697 ever built) a 1979 10th Anniversary Trans Am; 1989 20th Anniversary Turbo Trans Am and a 1999 30th Anniversary Trans Am that was featured in Car & Driver and Motor Trend magazines, back when it was new. The Auction is one of the most highly anticipated of the year and is likely to draw substantial crowds and a ready number of potential buyers for these rare and desirable Pontiacs. Check out our gallery below or hit the link for full details and specs on all the cars. Plus, make sure you stick with AutoGuide for our follow up report to this one-of-a kind auction.
GALLERY: RM Auction Jim Wanger’s Pontiac Collection
On the heels of the Bugatti Type 57 that sold for “$30-40 Million” (hey, what differences does a mere $10 million make) a Ferrari 250 GTO, a car regarding as one of the greatest sports cars of all time, has just sold for $25 million.
The car, sold by RM Auctions, is one of 39 ever made, is powered by a V12 engine that puts out 302 horsepower and scoots to 60 mph in 5.4 seconds is good for 174 mph – incredible numbers for 1963 and still decent today. The styling is simply iconic, perhaps the most recognizable vintage Ferrari ever.
Max Girardo of R.M. Auctions had this to say about the sale of such a historic machine. “The exclusivity of Ferrari’s 250 GTO cannot be understated. As they rarely come to market, new owners become part of a very exclusive ‘club’ and are welcomed with open arms at literally any of the world’s great concours events, races, and rallies. We are pleased to have been able to unite this exceptional car with a new and immensely enthusiastic owner. It’s fantastic that this car will now be used in earnest on the classic car scene around Europe.”
When it comes to cars, few places are as mad about the automobile as Metro Detroit. It’s nicknamed the world’s motor capital and for good reason. Aside from the headquarters of Ford, General Motors and Chrysler, it is also home to thousands of tier one and tier two suppliers, aftermarket companies, performance and restoration shops. On April 24-25, classic car fever was running hot as RM Auctions hosted it’s annual Classic Car Auction of Michigan, held at the Rock Financial Showplace in Novi, west of Detroit.
This particular auction tends to attract a sizable number of cars and is billed as the largest indoor event of its type in the Midwest. Naturally, being in the Detroit area, a lot of cars that cross the block are American classics and muscle cars, but other marques also tend to be well represented.
This year’s auction witnessed a flurry of activity as cars crossed the block on Saturday and Sunday, with strong bidder interest on both days. By the time the gavel fell for the last time, a 1958 Pontiac Parisienne convertible had garnered top sale honors, going for a robust $104,500. The Parisienne is a unique Canadian market Pontiac that features Arrowhead division body work and interior embellishments, with Chevrolet chassis and running gear. Pristine survivors are rare, but clearly in demand as witnessed here.
Behind the Parisienne, the next highest sale price was for a 1960 Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz, which went for $82,500. Other notable vehicles of interest that crossed the block, included a selection of early “Brass Era” vehicles, notably the earliest known Ford still in existence – a 1903 Ford Model A (not to be confused with the 1928 version), a 1904 Rambler Model L; 1904 Overland and 1918 Nash truck. Big 1930s luxury cars, that pay homage to Detroit’s rich automotive past and continue to be among the most blue chip of investments in the hobby, were also out in healthy numbers, including a 1929 Dusenberg Model J convertible sedan, with bodywork by Murphy, a 1932 Dusenberg Model J Torpedo Berline Rollston and a 1931 Chrysler CG Imperial.
According to Ken Wallace, Car Specialist and Manager of RM’s Ypsilanti, Michigan based office, “RM was very pleased with the attendance and results from the April 24-25 auction. Bidder registrations were up substantially over 2009 – more than 45 percent with interest from across the U.S. and Canada and even beyond, including the UK, Ireland and Norway. Strong interest and enthusiastic bidding led to some great results, with prices realized that are consistent with current market values.”
[Source: RM Auctions]
For those with the means, RM Auctions is offering the chance to own not one, but two Mercedes-Benz CLK GTR street cars. Essentially road legal versions of the FIA GT1 race cars, just 25 of these incredible exotics were built to meet FIA regulations, which clearly state that any race car must be based on a production model street car.
As a result, these street cars are actually based on the race cars, and not the other way around. They boast 612-hp 6.9-liter V12 engines, six-seed sequential transmissions with paddle shifters and carbon fiber brakes.
The CLK GTR race cars competed in the FIA GT1 class in 1997 and 1998, taking the championship in their first year.
As mentioned, just 25 of these cars exist with only five of the roadster models ever made.
Both cars will hit the auction block on October 28th at RM Auction’s Automobiles of London sale.
We’ll take both!
GALLERY: Mercedes-Benz CLK GTR Street Cars
More on the CLK GTR street cars after the jump:
A Ferrari has once again set a new record for the highest sale price at an auction. The 1957 250 Testa Rossa sold for 9,020,000 Euro (or roughly $12 million), topping the previous record holder, a 1961 Ferrari 250 GT that reached $9.6 million last year.
The 250 Testa Rossa hit the block in Ferrari’s home town of Maranello during a special Ferrari-themed RM auction titled Leggenda e Passione.
“The historical significance of this car attracted a bidding war as collectors from around the world – both in the room and on the telephone – competed to secure one of the most alluring and iconic of all Ferrari racing cars,” said RM Europe’s managing director Max Girardo.
Debuting at the Buenos Aires 1000 Km race in 1958, the 250 Testa Rossa is one of just 22 similar models. It placed fourth in that race and was later sold to an American who raced it extensively in the SCCA championship.
Official release after the jump:
Ferrari has announced that it will auction off the rights to the very last F430 to roll off the assembly line and donate the proceeds to help citizens of the Abruzzo region that was devastated during the April 6th earthquake in Italy.
Rights to the car will be on the block at a special Ferrari-themed RM Auction this Sunday, however, the car itself will not be built until the end of the year.
The 490hp F430 will come with a special two-tone paint job using the traditional colors (red and blue) of Aquila, the city hardest hit by the earthquake. The owner will then be invited to the Ferrari factory in Maranello to chose the remaining options on the car. Ferrari has said it will toss in several pricey options from its Carrozzeria Scaglietti catalog.
The Italian exotic will come with a certificate signed by Ferrari Chairman, Luca di Montezemolo and a special dedication plaque.
This news also marks the first admission by Ferrari that F430 production will end this year, making the arrival of a concept to succeed the impressive exotic at the Frankfurt Auto Show this Fall almost certain.
Official release after the jump: