Amelia Island — Silly Season for Porsches?
by Rick Carey
The two auctions held during the week of the Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance were marked by several exceptional transactions in high-dollar cars, continuing the pattern seen in other auctions recently.
RM Auctions in its 14th year at Amelia sold a total of $23,102,000 (including motorcycles and Ele Chesney's complete set of Lalique mascots.) That was its second-highest Amelia auction total. Its 87.9% sale rate was consistent with earlier Amelia auctions, but the strength of their top consignments was noteworthy.
RM's top sale was the Cord Front Drive L-29 "Hayes Coupe" designed by Count Alexis de Sakhnoffsky. Still in remarkably good order and appearance with a quarter-century old restoration, it had sold at the Gooding Pebble Beach Auction in 2008 for $1,078,000 but today brought $2.2 million hammer, $2,420,000 with commission, over double its value less than four years ago.
It was a good example of the rapid escalation of values for no-stories cars at the top of the market.
Ferrari 250GT S/N 0465GT, one of four built by Pininfarina with special coupe coachwork and several unusual features including plain front fenders without vents, brought $1,300,000 hammer, $1,430,000 with commission. Aston Martin DB5 Vantage Convertible S/N DB5C/1924/R brought $1.1 million hammer, $1,210,000 with commission, a record price for a DB5 Vantage convertible, and Ferrari 365 GTB/4 Daytona Spider S/N 15417 continued the recent strong trend for Daytona Spiders, also bringing $1.1 million, $1,210,000 with commission. A freshly restored 300SL Roadster, S/N19804210002580, resplendent in all-black with black Rudge centerlock wheels, set a record for the model at $900,000 hammer, $990,000 with commission.
The 1 ½ Liter Squire Drophead Coupe by Corsica S/N 1063 pushed within a shout of seven figures with its $900,000 hammer bid, $990,000 with commission. Squires are a special case. Extremely rare and technically sophisticated, they are also little known and take particular care and feeding by an auction company to reach an informed audience, or inform a larger audience. That was particularly true of 1063 since its Corsica body was extensively (and very effectively) altered for Pat Hart during a late 90's restoration. RM did an outstanding job of presenting this one.
A day earlier Gooding & Company presented its third Amelia Island auction at the Amelia Island Plantation. The sale was highlighted by the Drendel Family Collection of turbocharged Porsches, an array of such significance that every Porsche enthusiast in the world had something from it squarely in his or her sights, or at least looked to it for a statement on the strength of the Porsche market.
It didn't disappoint, but even before the Drendel cars crossed the block Gooding torched the market with the sale of Porsche 550 Spyder S/N 550-0062 (a regular 550, not a 550A, an RS 61 or RSK) making $3,350,000, $3,685,000 with commission. With five bidders actively contesting the car until the very end the tent was agog, not least because most had viewed Gooding's pre-sale estimate of $2.2-2.6 million with skepticism, if not derision. It set the tone for the rest of the sale.
Drendel's Porsche 935/76, S/N 9305700001, the first 930 chassis and 935 built, bested its $2 million high estimate with a price of $2.3 million, $2,530,000 with commission. Its 911 GT1 Evo nearly met its $1.2 million high estimate with a bid of $1,150,000, $1,265,000 with commission. The McLaren MP4/3 with TAG/Porsche turbo V-6 power, a car with absolutely no racing history, brought $780,000 hammer, $858,000 with commission.
The ex-Holbert Racing Porsche 962, S/N 962-103, Daytona 24 Hours winner in 1986 and 1987, was if anything a reasonable buy at $1,750,000, $1,925,000. Ex-Porsche System Racing, Martini Racing, 911 Carrera RSR Turbo, S/N 9114609016 (R9), brought an eye-opening $2,950,000 hammer, $3,245,000 with commission.
And the 917/30 Can-Am, one of just six built? Oh, $4 million hammer, $4,400,000 with commission. For a car with no racing history at all.
But that pales beside the $66,000 ($72,600 with commission) paid for lot number 56, a 1994 Porsche 968 Turbo S replica. A replica.
Gooding claimed a total of eleven records, all of them not surprisingly Porsches.
It was that kind of week, ending up on the lawn of the Ritz Carlton at the Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance where plastic Porches driven by the concours' honoree Vic Elford continued Porsche's strong weekend and 50th anniversaries were celebrated by the Daytona 24 Hours, a dozen Ferrari 250 GTOs and the Shelby Cobra.
The weather was good, too.
It made for a dream of a weekend.
Editors footnote: We were sorry to learn of the death of Ferdinand Alexander 'Butzi' Porsche, father of the 911 and many other significant models like the 904, a week ago at the age of 76.