Market and auctions

Worldwide at cruising speed

Cliff Goodall’s view

Photo credit: Worldwide Auctioneers

Auburn in Indiana is becoming increasingly important for Worldwide, so much so that it has a monopoly on its sales. I’m “old” enough to remember when Worldwide organized its April auctions in Texas, but now everything has changed and the city that gave its name to the brand from the 30s is the location of choice.

Just like being behind the wheel: everything you need to know to fully understand the situation

As always, Worldwide did not announce the estimates of the cars on offer, but considering that 87.04% of the cars (or 47 out of 54) changed hands, I am almost certain that they were more than happy with the result. Total takings amounted to $4,442,517 (€4,228,965), equivalent to roughly $94,522 (€89,978) per car – a result that’s more or less in line with the competition, also thanks to a substantial number of cars offered without reserve: 32 cars in total, equivalent to about 59% of the cars on offer and 68% of the cars sold.

Just like being behind the wheel: everything you need to know to fully understand the situation

The most expensive car of the auction was the 1930 Cadillac V16 Series 452 Roadster. These cars usually have only one purpose: participate in the various Concours d’Elegance events around the world. It follows therefore that the coachbuilder who assembled the car is often more important than the condition the car is in. As it wasn’t mentioned in the catalogue, I donned my Indiana Jones hat and started combing through the attached documents and discovered that it had participated in Villa d’Este a few years ago winning its class – certainly a great start – and in the end that it had been made by Fleetwood, the coachbuilder located within the factory itself. The final sale price was $758,500 (€720,325), perfectly in line with the current quotations for this model.

1930 Cadillac Series 452 V-16 Roadster sold for $758,500 (€720,325)

This brings us to the second-most expensive lot of the sale. A 1936 Auburn 852SC Boattail Speedster. The quotations for this model are slightly higher than the Cadillac, and range between $800,000 and a cool million dollars. So why was this particular one sold for just $283,750 (€269,468)? Simple: it had been rebodied at some undefined point in the past and its original configuration was unknown. All this crushed its quotation, and I would not have offered any more.

1936 Auburn 852 SC Boattail Speedster sold for $283,750 (€269,468)

One of the lots that intrigued me the most was the Mercedes-Benz 600 LWB Pullman Four Door Limousine. Produced in 1965 for the Vice-Prime Minister Chen Yi of the People’s Republic of China. After the amazing result in Paris of the Zil that once belonged to the Mongolian president, this Mercedes raised my antennas. Instead, that previous success wasn’t repeated: the car went unsold, with a deal made after the auction terminated for $200,000 (€ 189,934).

1965 Mercedes-Benz 600 LWB Pullman Four-Door Limousine sold for $200,000 (€189,934)

Another car with an illustrious past also ended up under the hammer: the 1941 Lincoln Continental Coupe represented all the joy of living. First of all, it was painted bright green, then because the first owner was the actress, Rita Hayworth. We were expecting the famous actress would have raised the price. Considering that this model is worth around $30,000, we were thinking of somewhere around the $40,000 mark. Instead, two starry-eyed bidders were all it took to push it all the way to $73,920 (€70,200).

1941 Lincoln Continental Coupe sold for $73,920 (€70,200)

The 1955 Jaguar XK140 Roadster sold by Worldwide was the most mysterious car of the sale. Black with a light tan interior and in very good condition, it sold for $162,400 (€154,225): But why since examples in similar condition regularly sell for $80,000-$100,000? It was not an SE. It shall remain a mystery. 

1955 Jaguar XK140 Roadster sold for $162,400 (€154,225)

As always, I will close with my favourite and decidedly affordable lot… This time, that honour went to the white over red BMW Z3M Roadster. Truly remarkable and at $43,120 (€40,950) the new owner went home with pure fun.

2002 BMW Z3 M Roadster sold for $43,120 (€40,950)