Sotheby’s Records $44.4M for Private Car Collection

Sotheby’s Records $44.4M for Private Car Collection

Sotheby’s Records $44.4M for Private Car Collection

Last year my Alfa racing partner John Wheeler called me to ask some questions about how collector car auctions worked, as he knew I followed them and have attended quite a few around the country. He and the firm he works for were hired to develop strategies to pay back creditors, and one of the strategies involved cars…a lot of cars.

In this case he was looking to liquidate more than 200 cars with the best return and least amount of cost possible. This was no barn-find-hoarding deal either, these were virtually all collector-grade vehicles. After attending the Scottsdale auctions early this year to better understand the process, he began working with RM Sotheby’s to hold a private auction event.

The Elkhart Collection” auction was held last weekend and it turned out to be a very successful event. $44.4M successful:

BLENHEIM, Ontario (26 October 2020) – This past weekend, 23-24 October, RM Sotheby’s presented the exceptional Elkhart Collection in a live auction held in Elkhart, Indiana, grossing a total of $44,385,420 in sales. Featuring over 240 highly collectable cars and a wide selection of memorabilia offered almost entirely without reserve, the two-day auction.

I’ve been watching the comments regarding the crazy prices and the lack of bargains available. I went there looking for good deals, and indeed, there weren’t any steals. Memorabilia and equipment in some cases went over typical retail. People wanted to buy some stuff! While some were disappointed, personally, I thought it was great to see.

Over the past few years the overall auction results have been somewhat lackluster, with certain marques doing the heavy lifting at many auctions. This was a “No Reserve” auction which brought a distinct drama to the occasion. Sorry naysayers, but it was fun watching the needle move and the hammer fall. Watching cars not hit reserve and being unceremoniously shuffled offstage is quite a letdown.

The Brit marques were a bit off, but the specialty cars did well. For such an eclectic collection, there was a little something for everyone. One buyer I spoke with went home with a Mercedes Cabriolet with a modern driveline, the 427 Iso, and the Miura. He caught the fever and looked pretty happy with the results.

You can see all of the results on the RM Sotheby’s site, now updated, and, some pictures below from the auction by our site manager Bill Oakes. Next up, Scottsdale I hope. Interesting year, and an interesting auction.


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The Restorer’s Healey – John’s 1967 BJ8

The Restorer’s Healey – John’s 1967 BJ8

Regular followers know that the white-over-blue 1967 Austin Healey BJ8 that shows up on social media is one of my favorite cars. I purchased the car from my customer and friend Tony Grau and his family as an uncompleted project. We had previously assembled and painted...

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Your Virtual Tour Guide

Your Virtual Tour Guide

For some reason, I just love giving tours of Sport and Specialty. I gave many plant and home office tours during my years in corporate sales, but touring plants, warehouses and administrative offices just wasn’t as much fun as showing people how you blow up cars and...

read more
It Drives Like an Alfa

It Drives Like an Alfa

I met my racing and paddock partner John Wheeler almost twenty years ago when I first started Vintage Historic racing. I was trying to figure this whole thing out and he was my coach and mentor. The most important thing he ever told me when I bemoaned my slow times...

read more
No One Races Alone

No One Races Alone

A few weeks ago I got involved in an online conversation where someone claimed that the only reason we can’t go racing is that organizers would demand a driver’s meeting, and if we could just do the meeting on our phones we’d be just fine to go racing again. I quickly...

read more
Breaking The News

Breaking The News

Over the past week I had two customer visits from two different types of customers. It got me thinking about the differences between the two, both really nice guys who want work done on their cars. The main difference is that for one, it wasn’t his first rodeo with a...

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Fuelfed’s Shop Visit on a Fine Summer Day

Fuelfed’s Shop Visit on a Fine Summer Day

Well, if variety is the spice of life, Saturday’s Fuelfed stop at Sport and Specialty for lunch was a real home run. Brian and Lorraine Hughes asked if I would entertain having their tour stop in for lunch on Saturday. I couldn’t say yes fast enough.

As a new sponsor, this was a perfect opportunity to show their community how great our shop is, as well as get to fill our lot with a huge variety of European sports cars. From Aston Martins to TRWs and Bentleys, not to mention the many Porsches models from a variety of years.

The S & S crew all showed up to answer questions and help entertain the visitors. Plus, we were able to source a bunch of picnic tables, and everyone had room to enjoy the great weather and cool cars. Bill Oakes had his camera in hand and took all of these great photos.

I think we all needed this short getaway and glad that we were able to partner with Fuelfed and their great membership! See you all soon!


Read More of My Blog Posts


The Restorer’s Healey – John’s 1967 BJ8

The Restorer’s Healey – John’s 1967 BJ8

Regular followers know that the white-over-blue 1967 Austin Healey BJ8 that shows up on social media is one of my favorite cars. I purchased the car from my customer and friend Tony Grau and his family as an uncompleted project. We had previously assembled and painted...

read more
Your Virtual Tour Guide

Your Virtual Tour Guide

For some reason, I just love giving tours of Sport and Specialty. I gave many plant and home office tours during my years in corporate sales, but touring plants, warehouses and administrative offices just wasn’t as much fun as showing people how you blow up cars and...

read more
It Drives Like an Alfa

It Drives Like an Alfa

I met my racing and paddock partner John Wheeler almost twenty years ago when I first started Vintage Historic racing. I was trying to figure this whole thing out and he was my coach and mentor. The most important thing he ever told me when I bemoaned my slow times...

read more
No One Races Alone

No One Races Alone

A few weeks ago I got involved in an online conversation where someone claimed that the only reason we can’t go racing is that organizers would demand a driver’s meeting, and if we could just do the meeting on our phones we’d be just fine to go racing again. I quickly...

read more
Breaking The News

Breaking The News

Over the past week I had two customer visits from two different types of customers. It got me thinking about the differences between the two, both really nice guys who want work done on their cars. The main difference is that for one, it wasn’t his first rodeo with a...

read more
The Restorer’s Healey – John’s 1967 BJ8

The Restorer’s Healey – John’s 1967 BJ8

Regular followers know that the white-over-blue 1967 Austin Healey BJ8 that shows up on social media is one of my favorite cars. I purchased the car from my customer and friend Tony Grau and his family as an uncompleted project.

We had previously assembled and painted the crusty body and made it straight and pretty, but the remainder of the car was unassembled. My goal was to have a largely original car with a few modifications to make it a bit more road friendly in today’s environment. I wanted a gold quality build with my own choices.

I also wanted a little stiffer chassis with minimal scuttle shake. The car already had an upgraded Kilmartin chassis, so I simply decided to use the Panasport style wheels with a slightly tuned rear suspension. The new springs can be a little hard and create a taller ride-height than I like, so we removed a leaf and I was very happy with the results.

I chose the addition of the blue coves (not actual Lobella blue) because I only saw black and red as alternatives. I simply went through my stash of paint chips until I found one I liked. It also matched the leather interior and cloth top colors I wanted to use. I think I got the colors right.

I wanted a reasonably stock drivetrain, so I built a stock BJ8 spec engine because they run well when set up properly, but I had never tried a five speed conversion. My trans and OD were in pretty rough condition and would have needed a ton of work so we rebuilt a used Toyota trans which looked really good, at a fraction of the cost. On top of it, I really like the gear ratios better.

So take a look at the video and keep following our progress. Look for me at the next car show, come over and say hi. Thanks!!


Read More of My Blog Posts


The Restorer’s Healey – John’s 1967 BJ8

The Restorer’s Healey – John’s 1967 BJ8

Regular followers know that the white-over-blue 1967 Austin Healey BJ8 that shows up on social media is one of my favorite cars. I purchased the car from my customer and friend Tony Grau and his family as an uncompleted project. We had previously assembled and painted...

read more
Your Virtual Tour Guide

Your Virtual Tour Guide

For some reason, I just love giving tours of Sport and Specialty. I gave many plant and home office tours during my years in corporate sales, but touring plants, warehouses and administrative offices just wasn’t as much fun as showing people how you blow up cars and...

read more
It Drives Like an Alfa

It Drives Like an Alfa

I met my racing and paddock partner John Wheeler almost twenty years ago when I first started Vintage Historic racing. I was trying to figure this whole thing out and he was my coach and mentor. The most important thing he ever told me when I bemoaned my slow times...

read more
No One Races Alone

No One Races Alone

A few weeks ago I got involved in an online conversation where someone claimed that the only reason we can’t go racing is that organizers would demand a driver’s meeting, and if we could just do the meeting on our phones we’d be just fine to go racing again. I quickly...

read more
Breaking The News

Breaking The News

Over the past week I had two customer visits from two different types of customers. It got me thinking about the differences between the two, both really nice guys who want work done on their cars. The main difference is that for one, it wasn’t his first rodeo with a...

read more
Your Virtual Tour Guide

Your Virtual Tour Guide

Your Virtual Tour Guide

For some reason, I just love giving tours of Sport and Specialty. I gave many plant and home office tours during my years in corporate sales, but touring plants, warehouses and administrative offices just wasn’t as much fun as showing people how you blow up cars and put them back together.

I also love hosting out annual Open House and car show. The guys even like doing it. They get to show off their work to friends and customers, and let their families see what they do all week. We often tend to work in a vacuum up here, and few things can make your efforts worthwhile than watching and hearing people admire and praise your work.

Unfortunately, we had to put the brakes on our 2020 Open House this year as state and local regs strictly limit the number of attendees, and social distancing, etc. make it almost impossible to enforce. Plus, if someone were to become ill at our event I would feel awful.

While postponed, my annual tour is now available in virtual form. It’s an impromptu tour that we started last year. A more formal scripted one is being developed, but this one is still kind of fun. Take a look and feel free to reach out with any questions!

Next year I’ll give the tours in person and make sure we have plenty of Portillo’s Italian beef and sausage available. Thanks for watching!


Read More of My Blog Posts


The Restorer’s Healey – John’s 1967 BJ8

The Restorer’s Healey – John’s 1967 BJ8

Regular followers know that the white-over-blue 1967 Austin Healey BJ8 that shows up on social media is one of my favorite cars. I purchased the car from my customer and friend Tony Grau and his family as an uncompleted project. We had previously assembled and painted...

read more
Your Virtual Tour Guide

Your Virtual Tour Guide

For some reason, I just love giving tours of Sport and Specialty. I gave many plant and home office tours during my years in corporate sales, but touring plants, warehouses and administrative offices just wasn’t as much fun as showing people how you blow up cars and...

read more
It Drives Like an Alfa

It Drives Like an Alfa

I met my racing and paddock partner John Wheeler almost twenty years ago when I first started Vintage Historic racing. I was trying to figure this whole thing out and he was my coach and mentor. The most important thing he ever told me when I bemoaned my slow times...

read more
No One Races Alone

No One Races Alone

A few weeks ago I got involved in an online conversation where someone claimed that the only reason we can’t go racing is that organizers would demand a driver’s meeting, and if we could just do the meeting on our phones we’d be just fine to go racing again. I quickly...

read more
Breaking The News

Breaking The News

Over the past week I had two customer visits from two different types of customers. It got me thinking about the differences between the two, both really nice guys who want work done on their cars. The main difference is that for one, it wasn’t his first rodeo with a...

read more
It Drives Like an Alfa

It Drives Like an Alfa

It Drives Like an Alfa

Sport and Specialty - Blackhawk Classic 2020

John Wheeler in his #25 Alfa GTV.

I met my racing and paddock partner John Wheeler almost twenty years ago when I first started Vintage Historic racing. I was trying to figure this whole thing out and he was my coach and mentor. The most important thing he ever told me when I bemoaned my slow times was, “Don’t change the car, your next four seconds will come from between your ears”.

He was right of course, but then again, he was driving his beautiful #25 Alfa GTV, and I was racing my red Bugeye Sprite. Cute as hell, but certainly not a sexy Italian. My times got much better, but I still loved the looks and performance of his blue GTV. About ten years ago, envy got the best of me when a fellow racer was selling his GTV. Somewhat the worse for wear, but hey, it was a 1969 GTV with bad yellow paint. I was smitten.

I learned to drive all over again. Alfas are a little different. You need to steer them with the throttle. If the car understeers, don’t slow down, speed up! Turn in a little earlier and harder and get on the gas earlier. She’ll go down to the apex and pop up at track out. It’s an amazing feeling. I’m sure that’s not a particular Alfa trait, but it sure feels good in one. Enjoy the video.

(All video and photos by https://www.nvsndmedia.com/)


Read More of My Blog Posts


The Restorer’s Healey – John’s 1967 BJ8

The Restorer’s Healey – John’s 1967 BJ8

Regular followers know that the white-over-blue 1967 Austin Healey BJ8 that shows up on social media is one of my favorite cars. I purchased the car from my customer and friend Tony Grau and his family as an uncompleted project. We had previously assembled and painted...

read more
Your Virtual Tour Guide

Your Virtual Tour Guide

For some reason, I just love giving tours of Sport and Specialty. I gave many plant and home office tours during my years in corporate sales, but touring plants, warehouses and administrative offices just wasn’t as much fun as showing people how you blow up cars and...

read more
It Drives Like an Alfa

It Drives Like an Alfa

I met my racing and paddock partner John Wheeler almost twenty years ago when I first started Vintage Historic racing. I was trying to figure this whole thing out and he was my coach and mentor. The most important thing he ever told me when I bemoaned my slow times...

read more
No One Races Alone

No One Races Alone

A few weeks ago I got involved in an online conversation where someone claimed that the only reason we can’t go racing is that organizers would demand a driver’s meeting, and if we could just do the meeting on our phones we’d be just fine to go racing again. I quickly...

read more
Breaking The News

Breaking The News

Over the past week I had two customer visits from two different types of customers. It got me thinking about the differences between the two, both really nice guys who want work done on their cars. The main difference is that for one, it wasn’t his first rodeo with a...

read more

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