Arizona Auto Auction Week – The Wrap Up

Arizona Auto Auction Week – The Wrap Up

Arizona Auto Auction Week – The Wrap Up

Two Italian Cousins - Ferrari and Maserati

Two Italian Cousins – a Ferrari and Maserati at the RM Sotheby’s Auction in Arizona

The shock to my system has worn off already as I acclimate to the cold back on the tundra. I want to write down some thoughts about my trip to the AZ auctions this year for those of you who watch them. Understand, I am no “old hand’ at the AZ auction scene. My first auction experience was a little over two years ago in 2014, which makes this my third year. Without a doubt, it’s a great experience for a car nut of any shape, size, or breed. The various auction houses literally have something for everyone, and more, if you include memorabilia, motorcycles, toys, and whatever. The AZ Concours d’Elegance is spectacular and is the keystone event to kick off the week. This week long “Event” also generally kicks off the collector car season now. Even without a car to buy or sell, I still like going because it provides me with an idea of current market strength and values, as well as the quality of cars that are being offered. It also allows me an opportunity to meet and talk with professionals in the industry and see this business through the eyes of others that make their living in it. It is truly educational overall. Without me going into some deep dive on the results, you may want to check out this article in Petrolicious by Benjamin Shahrabani: What Does The Collector Car Market Look Like After The 2016 Arizona Auctions? It is a really good analysis of the metrics and atmosphere. Overall, $250 million changed hands in the big houses, down about 15%. I also saw many, if not most cars not reaching their estimated values. I also didn’t see a lot of really perfect cars in the production car areas. The coachbuilt cars are usually stunning, but some of the production cars just looked a little shabby to me. I believe the years of compounded annual growth just caught up with the market a bit, and people figured why not, let’s just send it out and see what happens. Typically not a good strategy, unless it’s a barn find or some sympathetic restoration. Between the US stock market woes, the de-valued Euro and the somewhat optimistic expectations, you may not look at the week as a win. Actually, I just feel it simply re-set the bar a bit. I also believe that the really nice cars will always bring the best prices. Half-assed work really stands out at these events, especially to the eye of the savvy collector. The stories about the bidding wars on TV cars aside, the people coming out to really buy cars are looking at them very carefully, and with a wary eye. A driver quality car is still a driver quality car. They don’t become more valuable because they are under the lights. Overall, the Healeys were probably down around the aforementioned 15% mark this year. The Series 1 E-Type Roadsters were bringing top money, as did most of the other Jaguar E-Type models and years. Porsches continued their value march forward generally, with Ferrari not bursting to new levels unless they were special cars. It was still fun and I’ll be going next year, knock wood. Maybe I will bring a car and enjoy the game again!


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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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Arizona Auto Auction Week – Chasing Classic Andy Reid

Arizona Auto Auction Week – Chasing Classic Andy Reid

Arizona Auto Auction Week – Chasing Classic Andy Reid

I attended my first Auction Preview a few years ago here in Scottsdale when our Austin Healey 100R was at Bonham’s. Normally I’m not much of a guided tour kind of guy so I figured I would just walk around with the catalogue and do my own research. But then I decided to take a tour led by Andy Reid, who’s auction reviews I have read for years now in Classic Motorsports Magazine and a few other publications. Since I was keeping an eye on the 100R, I thought, why not?

With a group of about 30 people, Andy led us through an amazing automotive history of European cars. Be it Alfas, Astons, Jaguars, Mercedes, or Porsches, there was an interesting commentary and review. Production numbers, values, developmental history, there was info about it all, including his opinion as an auction journalist as to the collectability. The group was mesmerized and actually payed attention amid all of the shiny stuff around them. Even my celebrated ADHD was abated for the tour.

I had some free time and stuck around after the formal tour was over and learned a few things about Jaguars and Ferraris I hadn’t even thought of. I signed up for one of his tours last year and again was drawn into the detail and uniqueness of many of the cars I may have simply passed over otherwise. Afterwards, he and I talked for quite some time. I found out he represents Hagerty insurance, and decided to reach out as I was shopping to realign my general business and collector car policies. Andy is now my insurance guy, and become a trusted friend. I look forward to his reports in ClassicCars.com.

I spent yesterday afternoon doing another of his tours (see more photos below) and again I learned things I wouldn’t even have thought to ask – and yes – everyone paid attention among all of the beautiful eye candy. If you get a chance to attend one of his previews, do it, because Andy can get me to do something most of my friends will attest is almost impossible, shut up and listen. I always learn something new.

Thanks again, Andy.


Read More of My Blog Posts


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
Arizona Auto Auction Week – Judging the Future Classics

Arizona Auto Auction Week – Judging the Future Classics

Arizona Auto Auction Week – Judging the Future Classics

Future Classics - Sport and SpeciatlyMy friend Andy Reid was asked to be the chief judge for a new car show here in Arizona to compliment the already crazy week of activities. The show was titled “Future Classics” and the main sponsor was www.classiccars.com, where Andy is their East Coast editor. In a moment of desperation he asked me to help judge the European cars coming there.

The show was held at High Street near the Desert Ridge Mall and was a wild success with more than 150 cars in attendance. Hip hop and dance music was blaring and I got to see a wide assortment of cars, from 930 Turbos to a one-of-three optioned Mitsubishi Starion, (pretty ratty, but pure gold in the owner’s eyes!)

Both “diamonds in the rough” and beautiful custom builds shared the street. After the AZ Concours d’Elegance it was certainly different, but no less fun! The quality and craftsmanship of the work on these cars exceeded many I saw on Sunday and the attention to detail was amazing! You can see the some of the cars on their Facebook page, Future Classic Car Show.

future-classics-1The Best of Show went to John Garza’s perfect resto-mod done on a first generation Toyota Celica (top photo) with a four cam engine swap. If TRD built a Celica, this would be it! So cool! Also of note was an unmolested Saab 900S with less that 40K miles. The Chicago based husband and wife team of Arnie and Lena Press each won with their Dinan Stage 3 BMW M3 Coupe and Acura NSX. Both were absolutely beautiful cars.

I don’t often get to spend time with the “modern” stuff! Hope I get asked again next year.


Read More of My Blog Posts


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
Arizona Auto Auction Week – Let’s Get Started!

Arizona Auto Auction Week – Let’s Get Started!

Arizona Auto Auction Week – Let’s Get Started!

Let’s get this week going!! Arizona Concours d’Elegance today at the lovely Biltmore. What a great backdrop for the fine cars shown. I’ll be posting more pictures this week as I check out the auctions, beautiful weather, and car values. Stay tuned!


Read More of My Blog Posts


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
Arizona Auto Auction Action – More Than Just Barrett Jackson

Arizona Auto Auction Action – More Than Just Barrett Jackson

Arizona Auto Auction Action – More Than Just Barrett Jackson

Back in 2014 I made my first trek west to Arizona Auction Week here in Scottsdale. It was so successful, and I had so much fun, that it is now an automatic repeating event on my January calendar.

Aside from the fact that the weather in Illinois is typically miserable and I have family and friends here I love seeing, this event is a great way to kick off the new year for the classic and collector car hobbyists and professionals alike.

Still often referred to as the Scottsdale “Barrett Jackson” auction, (mostly due to the TV presence) it has grown into something much bigger. In addition to the huge Barrett Jackson show, there a number of smaller, yet no less serious auctions happening, each with their own flavor. Russo Steele, RM, Bonham’s, Gooding’s, to name some that I enjoy attending.

In 2012 I was starting to worry that Mark Baker’s marvelous 100R was going to fall into disrepair due to lack of use. Around mid-year, on a whim, I asked Kathy if she might be interested in trying to sell the car at auction, maybe in Monterey. We felt the ability to see the car would help increase interest, as print ads hadn’t been very fruitful. The only house with space was Russo Steele and they accepted the consignment. We set a reserve in the $90,000 range and sent it to California.

Bidding only went to $ 84,000 so it was decided to simply take it back home. 2013 brought another round of fruitless sales attempts. Kathy Baker and I agreed that if the 100R was sent to Scottsdale, I would come out and marshal it through the process, as well as enjoy some much welcomed family time.

Bonham's Auction - Sport and Specialty's Austin Healey 100R

Bonham’s listing renamed Mark’s car to a 100BN1 Competition and  went into great detail about the car and its history.

Bonham’s accepted the car and it was placed as the last lot of the day. My first auction experience taught me some really valuable lessons, besides patience.

  • First: Don’t try to sell a unique European sports car at a generally American muscle car oriented house. Bonham’s was a far better choice for this car specifically. In my opinion, Russo Steele is a reputable high-end auction house, just far better suited to represent cool American iron.
  • Second: Don’t simply send a car out and hope it is presented well before it hits the stage. You don’t have to camp out, but occasional visits and just answering questions of interested folks can help.

The car hammered at $124,500, with premium, it passed hands at $136,400. For a non-factory Le Mans 100M, that was an excellent price for an excellent car. I must also admit that the bidding to that number was absolutely intoxicating! Once it passes the previous $85K mark I was pretty happy. When it hit $100,000, I was pacing like an expectant father. When it hammered at $124,500 you would have thought the Cubs won the World Series I was so giddy! Fun? Oh yea!

I will post more this week from Scottsdale. I want to share some thoughts on current sports car values and the impending “bubble”. Stay tuned……


Read More of My Blog Posts


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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