There were, of course, headliners at this year’s RM Auction at the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance: the big buck classics. The softening that some say has hit the collector car market hasn’t touched the huge dollar cars, at least not yet. At Amelia, the cream of the collector car crop exceeded or met preauction price estimates.
Two Duesenbergs and Edsel Ford’s tailor-made hot rod - see yesterday’s post - all broke the million dollar barrier. At $2,650,000, a Murphy bodied Duesenberg exceeded the top preauction estimate by $650,000. The other Duesenberg, a 1929 LeBaron-bodied berline, 210,000 brought $10,000 above the preauction estimate at a sale price of $1,210,000. A 1931 Bentley 8 liter “Open Tourer” with bodywork by Harrison brought $2,200,000. RM had declined to make a preauction estimate on either the Bentley or the Edsel Ford special.
Even a notch down in price, the truly rare classics held their value.
When General Motors invites you to an event, they feed you. They take you to classy restaurants, and they pick up the tab. And there is always a GM executive there, to pull out the credit card at the end and tease you into believing that you’re getting inside information in the meantime.
At Amelia Island, the official host with the credit card was from Cadillac. (No, the photo accompanying this article has nothing to do with the car. It’s the view from the room at the Ritz. Off the balcony. I wanted you to understand the level of journalistic sacrifice involved in reporrting on these events.)
But, we digress.
General Motors – along with Rolls-Royce, Bentley, and Bugatti – is an official sponsor of the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance. And, even though they no longer sell a model labeled the “Concours,” they still consider Cadillac their premium brand.
So, GM had the juice to park the CTS next to the Veyron on the circular drive in front of the hotel.
Now, we need to level with one another, so that I’ve made full disclosure.
Cars – expensive cars - line the circular driveway leading up to the front portico as you arrive at the Ritz. Reflexively, you think to yourself that there must be a million dollars of cars right on that driveway, exposing in your thought just how little you comprehend about cars like this. One car alone parked on that driveway – a Bugatti Veyron – goes for $1.2 million. A few spaces beyond are two Rolls-Royce “drophead coupes” and they sticker out at $350,000 each, more than either of the two Phantoms parked next to them, or the Bentley Arnage and Flying Spurs parked next to the Veyron.
And that’s only one side of the driveway.
The next day, Saturday, they will hold the RM Auction behind the hotel and, in anticipation of the event, RM has set up a display in the center of the hotel lobby: the arrestingly red 1934 Ford Continental Speedster designed by Robert Gregorie to the specifications of Edsel Ford. Seat s for two, cycle fenders, mostly hood, low and long. It’s parked in the lobby. It is the start of the auction – so unique that RM had declined even to predict a sale price.
Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance 13th edition is set for March 7-9, 2008 at the Ritz-Carlton Amelia Island hotel. Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance will celebrate General Motors’ 100 years of automotive history and the Henry Ford’s venerable Model T. Also you will be able to enjoy many test drives, auctions and seminars.