April 21, 2024

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Geared for the Automotive Life

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Five To Watch in Amelia Island

We’re just a few short weeks out from this year’s Amelia Island concours and auctions, and RM Sotheby’s, Gooding & Co and Bonhams all have catalogs full of fantastic headline collector cars ready to go. Low-production and racing Porsches are going to be big this year in Florida — as they have been for a number of years already — but there are a few other special lots that I’ll be watching closely as well, both from Porsche and elsewhere.

Here are five to keep an eye on — and why:

Bonhams lot 248

1974 Porsche 914 2.0

No Reserve 

No, this isn’t a 550, it’s not a 356 and it’s not a 911. What it is, however, is a (relatively) inexpensive way into Porsche ownership. Or at least it used to be.

The 914 has been gaining ground in the market for some time, just like pretty much every other classic Porsche out there. But here in Amelia, Porsche is a staple, and I think we can expect to see quite a few buyers placing big bids to own great examples. But how enthusiastic will the buyers be?

This 914 is a low-miles mostly original car in a good color, and it’s the 2.0-L version, which is a plus. The estimate range here is $50k to $70k, which not so long ago was 914/6 money — and it’s being offered at no reserve, so we know it will sell. 

Yeah, the 550 and the 718 RSK will tell us something about the market, but the once-inexpensive 914 will, too. 

Bonhams lot 277

1936 Packard Eight Model 1401 Coupe Roadster

No Reserve

“A complete restoration project with rewarding endgame.” That’s how the catalog describes this car and I don’t disagree.

Scottsdale showed us that the market for classics is still as strong as ever, but it also showed us a lot of shiny, restored examples that need nothing other than transport and some detailing prior to show duty. This Packard needs just a little more than that. So how will it do?

Barn Find mania may never die, but I don’t think it’s riding as high as it once was in the market, and that’s significant in auction pricing. This will be interesting in that the price achieved will help to illustrate buyer confidence in this segment — especially as the market continues to evolve to suit younger tastes. Again, $50k to $70k is the estimate, and there’s no reserve. Keep an eye on it.

RM Sotheby’s lot 181

1959 Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz

Motorcar Studios ©2021 Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

Amelia is all about Porsches and Classics — but Americana does well here, too, and high-end examples of the fin era also have a history of big sales alongside the concours.

When it comes to GM, it doesn’t really get better than the ’59 Biarritz. This was the top-level convertible in ’59 — one of only 1,320 built — and in retrospect, it’s the ultimate in styling from its era. Those two factors tend to push pricing here, which explains the $250k to $300k estimate range on this particular example.

This is a fantastic car, and it’s going to be interesting to see how it does in a smaller setting than Scottsdale or Kissimmee — but in one that has a good track record for cars such as this.

Gooding & Company lot 1

1956 Porsche 356A Super Coupe

No Reserve

What was it I was just saying about Barn Finds in the market? You may be able to trash that sentiment with the first lot out of the gate over at Gooding. 

Rust holes, missing paint, exposed stuffing, cables dragging on the ground — this Porsche has it all, right? Well, the one thing it does have is vision — something that car people possess much to the chagrin of our “realistic” spouses. I doubt someone will buy this to keep it as-is, so the Barn Find thing is right out — but it will be bought as an opportunity among the fervor. Remember what is going to surround this lot in Amelia this year, and don’t discount the power of association and presence. It also doesn’t hurt that this car has a bunch of its original parts. 

This may be a long road, but I think there will be several buyers willing to take it.

Gooding & Company lot 42

1967 Toyota-Shelby 2000 GT

I look at this as a crossover lot. This is something that appeals to a wider range than, say, a comp Cobra. In fact, your average Shelby buyer probably isn’t in the market for a 2000 GT, but the 2000 GT buyer? I think most of them covet the Shelby, too.

So what about a 2000 GT that had the Shelby touch?

This is one of three prepared for racing by Shelby, and it has all the right provenance and condition to do well.  

The market for Japanese collector cars has been taking off for a few years now — specifically on cars built after the 240Z hit the scene — and I think this car is going to benefit from that momentum. I think it speaks volumes that the current owner — who has had it since 1980 — is offering it for sale now.