4 March 2014

Auction Preview: Amelia Island 2014

Bill Warner held his first Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance in 1996, and RM Auctions bolstered the weekend’s footprint eight years later with their first Amelia sale. Six years after that, Gooding landed in Amelia with its own auction, and the Amelia Island weekend became arguably the most important auction week in North America outside of Scottsdale and Monterey. This year Hollywood Wheels plans to join the fray.

Like the other top-tier multi-auction events held in the U.S. over the year, Amelia weekend sees some of the rarest and most desirable models extant. The consignment list is always well rounded, though, with a car for every taste. Here is a selection of cars we will be eyeing.

RM Auctions – March 8, 2014

1972 Chevrolet Corvette LT1 convertible
Lot 126
Presale estimate: $110,000 - $120,000
Hagerty Price Guide: $18,500 - $65,900
For generations, the 1972 Corvette was just a used car. Not so much anymore, as the C3 body style has aged much better than most people expected. It doesn’t hurt that the LT1 packed a wallop, even in downrated post-1971 form. The car’s high estimate here is an eye-popping $120,000, which is nearly twice HPG’s #1 value. Part of this is due to this ’Vette’s rare status as one of 57 1972 convertibles with factory air conditioning, and the rest is due to the C3’s emergence as a legitimate collector car.

1955 Volkswagen Beetle convertible
Lot 134
Presale estimate: $60,000 - $80,000
Hagerty Price Guide: $7,100 - $38,200
Everybody has a story about a Beetle, partly because Volkswagen created one for nearly everybody on the planet, and partly because the Bug so perfectly and unassumingly spoke to car people and non-car people alike. This one has particularly high aspirations nearing $80,000, which seems like plenty. Then again, put it next to a Fiat Jolly or BMW Isetta and honestly ask yourself which one you’d rather drive.

1965 Shelby GT350R
Lot 147
Presale estimate: $900,000 - $1,200,000
Hagerty Price Guide: $475,000 - $853,000
This car may not be the high sale of the weekend, but it will be one of the biggest stories if it sells. It is one of the most important versions of the Mustang ever built, and is timed to sell very close to the model’s 50th anniversary. This car will be Exhibit A in the case showing how highly regarded the Shelby Mustang truly is among collectors.

1986 Lamborghini Countach LP5000 QV
Lot 148
Presale estimate: $325,000 - $375,000
Hagerty Price Guide: $128,000 - $194,000
The Countach is on a lot of observers’ watch lists as an indicator of just how close to becoming serious collectors Generation X actually is. The Countach, after all, was on ostensibly every male teenager’s bedroom wall in 1984. Bonhams sold a 1975 Countach for $836,000 last August, but the later cars with their additional cladding, spoilers, ducts and embellishments have never been really been taken seriously by the market. Expect this sale to make the case otherwise.

1950 Packard Eight Station Sedan
Lot 118
Presale estimate: $60,000 - $80,000
Hagerty Price Guide: $28,100 - $87,600
An unusual car that illustrates Packard's difficulty adapting to the postwar automotive landscape. Once one of America's premier luxury brands, the station sedan offered here, with its woody body, was an odd nod to a more utilitarian-minded buyer. Or the well-heeled gentleman who needs a luxurious estate car. Or, well, who knows. Buyers of the day were equally vexed, and few were sold, which makes them fun to trainspot today.

Gooding & Company – March 7, 2014

1968 Datsun 1600 Roadster
Lot 6
Presale estimate: $35,000 - $45,000
Hagerty Price Guide: $6,800 - $30,100
Datsun roadsters are interesting in that they are arguably superior to an MGB in many respects, but collectors have only woken up to this fact in the past five years. Ratty ones are all most people know, but this example is stellar and has a strong presale estimate to prove it. The 1967 mid-model year is typically the one buyers yearn for, but condition trumps all here. Interestingly, Gooding is also offering a stellar MGB with an even higher estimate, so this is a great chance to compare how the two types of cars are viewed by buyers.

1973 Porsche 911 Carrera RS
Lot 10
Presale estimate: $900,000 - $1,100,000
Hagerty Price Guide: $644,000 - $905,000
Prepare to witness the first million-dollar public sale of a 1970s 911 not driven by Steve McQueen. There are only a handful of cars that come anywhere close to the 911 RS's five-year appreciation, which has more than doubled. Newbies aren't even aware these could be found all day long for $100,000 a decade ago.

1988 BMW M6
Lot 21
Presale estimate: $20,000 - $30,000
Hagerty Price Guide: $10,000 - $33,700
One of the coolest sights on the Island this weekend will be having nearly two dozen BMWs from the same collection for sale at the same venue. While there are undoubtedly more important cars from this collection present, this M6 is particularly interesting in that it will be another piece of the case that will illustrate (or not) how collectors are starting to change the way they view cars from the 1980s — a topic that is on many owners’ minds.

1957 Buick Caballero Hardtop Station Wagon
Lot 63
Presale estimate: $150,000 - $225,000
Hagerty Price Guide: $37,700 - $98,600
The hardtop four-door station wagon is one of the oddest body styles Detroit ever produced. A purely aesthetic decision in an otherwise supremely practical package, fewer than 15,000 were built over two years and very few are seen today. Gooding landed $90,750 in Pebble Beach 2013, which caught the attention of owners who are now looking to test the market. This one believes there is plenty of money still on the table.

1969 Ferrari Dino 206 GT
Lot 70
Presale estimate: $475,000 - $550,000
Hagerty Price Guide: $223,000 - $434,000
Yet another Dino chasing the half-million mark, only this one doesn’t have chairs, doesn’t have flares, has a fixed roof, and uses an engine that is 20% smaller than the later 246s. That last part is important, of course, as the 206 GTs are much rarer than later Dinos. Note that this estimate is not far off of the presale estimate of a Daytona GTB, which could turn the value chain of "mass-produced" Ferraris on its head.

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