Auburn is a small village in Indiana with a population of just 12,000. It is the home of the Auburn-Cord-Duesenberg Museum (ACD). Once a year in this wonderful location, they hold the ACD Festival, a typical American party with everything multiplied tenfold. Cars? Thousands. Occupied land? Hectares. Folk music concerts that look more like mini-Woodstock festivals. And then the parades, the rallies, the Club Swap Meet, and even an “Ice Cream Social” (I have no idea what that is but I’d really like to join in).
This decidedly more folk “Monterey Car Week”, would be incomplete without its own particular auctions. And while Worldwide is based in Auburn, RM organized a mega-sale.
The numbers and goals were clearly on the opposite ends of the spectrum: RM brought 451 cars and sold 395 (87.58%), Worldwide came with just 104 and sold almost all of them, with 100 changing hands (equal to 96.15%). In both cases, success came primarily for the very high percentage of lots offered without reserve: 61.41% at RM, and 73.07% at Worldwide.
In dollars, however, the conversation changes slightly: while RM sold $15,154,988 (€12,806,581), which translated into an average of $38,367 (€32,421) per car, at Worldwide, sales were $16,916,465 (€14,295,100) (11% more), but with a quarter of the cars of offer, the average price was $169,165 (€142,950) per car. And the difference lies in the approaches: Worldwide put on their event at their headquarters and brought the crème de la crème, whereas the RM team had just emerged (victoriously) from Monterey and opted for cars for everyone. In short, both won.
The most interesting cars? It’s hard to whittle the list down to just a few, but here are some of my picks:
Let’s start with the most expensive lot from RM, a White Model 706 Yellowstone National Park Tour Bus. Used in the famous American park from 1936 to the late 60s, it is one of 98 produced. It goes without saying that vehicles like this are not easy to sell: a car can be stored in any garage but this? Then of course there’s its use: you can participate in rallies with a car, but with a bus, any gathering is done inside the vehicle. This is the reason for the estimate of $100,000-$150,000. But it would appear that this niche is populated by wealthy individuals because it changed hands for $550,000 (€464,800). Attention: one year ago another 706 from 1936, in this case used at the Glacier National Park, was sold for $450,500, once again against an estimate of $100,000-$150,000. It’s time for RM to review those quotations.
If you don’t have room for a pre-war bus, you should try to get your hands on a Volkswagen Beetle. By all accounts, everyone is currently looking for this model and a rare 1962 Convertible in a beautiful colour combination (offered only in that year), with the very rare Judson compressor, removable Akkord “picnic” radio and fog lights, was absolutely perfect! The estimate of $55,000-$65,000 was correct (almost high), but it sold for $121,000 (€102,250). A new world record for a Beetle that has not starred one of the “Herbie” films.
Its older cousin, the Porsche 356, suffered a curious fate. No fewer than five came up for sale: three coupes and two convertibles, including a highly desirable 1964 Carrera 2 Coupe. The coupes were sold at the minimum threshold of their estimates, while the two convertibles were awarded above their maximum estimates. Even a 1956 356A 1600 Cabriolet “barn find” (yes, but the barn must have been wiped out by a hurricane…) against an estimate of $75,000-$95,000 without reserve skyrocketed to $236,500 (€200,000). In comparison, the Carrera 2 Coupe changed hands for $368,500 (€311,400) (against an estimate of $350,000-$400,000), a number that’s a good 40% less than a car wash ago.
At Worldwide, the atmosphere was decidedly different: of the ten most expensive cars, eight were pre-war models and only one of those was European.
The star of the sale was a 1938 Bugatti Type 57C Atalante Coupe which was sold below my predictions at $1,765,000 (€1,491,500). For this reason I can only consider it a very good purchase.
But the car everyone was waiting for was the 1965 Shelby Cobra Daytona Coupe that once belonged to Carroll Shelby. Ultra-sponsored, an on sale for a year now through private negotiation (always with Worldwide), in the end it was sold for $1,490,000 (€1,259,100). Why so little? Because in very fine print, the description stated that the car had been rebodied using a Cobra 427 as a base. What’s more, Shelby owned it at the turn of the new century, not exactly at the brand’s peak. Worldwide took a risk for their image with this one, and the results speak for themselves.
One car I would set my eyes on is the Dual-Ghia Convertible. After the world record set in January ($605,000) the price of this model is beginning to rise again, and even if the 1957 model offered by Worldwide didn’t reach those lofty heights, at $456,000 (€385,350) it was still the second-most expensive one sold in the last seven years. If you like Italian-American hybrids, now’s the time to look for one. Right now they’re still going for under $500,000, but the next time one comes up, that may no longer be the case.