May 28, 2024

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Geared for the Automotive Life

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Snapshot: RM Sotheby’s Fort Lauderdale 2022

Image: Jonathan Oppenheim, courtesy of RM Sotheby's

RM Sotheby’s returned to southern Florida for its 19th annual Fort Lauderdale auction on March 25 and 26, complete with a wide-ranging docket of vehicles. This edition was the company’s first regularly scheduled and in-person auction in south Florida since 2019 due to the pandemic.

The Basics: $17m in total over two auction days, top sale was a $638k 2005 Ford GT.

Next-gen models and supercars from the 1980s and later made a strong showing at the Fort Lauderdale event. Two 2005 Ford GTs cracked the top ten sales list, with one of them landing as the top seller of the entire auction. That Mk IV red example, first owned by Kid Rock, sold for $638k. It came with a guitar signed by the star. The other Ford GT sold for a healthy $437,250.

The only pre-1980 cars to land in the top 10 were a 1962 Aston Martin DB4GT Zagato recreation at $456,500, as well as a 1938 Horch 853 Sport Cabriolet and 1972 Maserati Ghibli SS 4.9 at $374k and $352k, respectively. The Aston was converted into the iconic Zagato coupe in 2000 and 2001 by Rod Jolley Coachbuilding in the UK.

Here are five other lots that grabbed my attention Fort Lauderdale:

Image: Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

1998 Lamborghini Diablo VT Roadster

S/N: ZA9RU31B9WL12080

Sold price: $467,500

The Basics:

Silver metallic over a black interior with 4,936 kilometers on the odometer. 5.7-L V12 with a 5-speed manual and all-wheel drive.

Taylor Says:

It looked as though, unlike the Countach, the upward price trajectory of the Diablo might have been a flash in the pan, as prices softened a bit in late 2019 and into the early days of the pandemic. But just as the rest of the market as a whole has rebounded, so has that of the Diablo.

Certain years and trim levels have started to pull away from the rest of the pack as Diablo buyers choose their favorites. The early cars and limited production, special models like the Diablo GT and this Diablo VT Roadster have seen the largest selling prices.

Finished in a clean, non-offensive color scheme and having covered just under 5k kilometers — about 3k miles — this one of 200 VT Roadster had everything going for it to be a star of this auction. The proof is that massive final price of $468k. Don’t think that is a flash in the pan either — these prices will continue to be the going rate for unique limited-run Diablos.

Image: Jasen Delgado, courtesy of RM Auctions

1993 Ferrari Mondial t Cabriolet

S/N: ZFFRK33A2P0095437

Sold price: $100,100

The Basics:

From the final year of Mondial t cabriolet production. Has traveled just 5,027 miles. Finished in classic red over tan, it features a 5-speed transmission with a rare electro-mechanical actuation system. Offered from the Rey Collection

Taylor Says:

Mondials don’t really appeal to me. Open top or closed, they’re just not my thing.

Sure, this is a late model car in red, with low miles and offers the open-air driving experience people desire, but it is still a model that was a far cry from Ferrari’s best — and built during the time when the company’s build quality was near its worst.

Then I saw that little note about the rare Valeo-sourced transmission setup — an electro-mechanical actuation system mated to the 5-speed manual transmission that lets the driver shift without the use of a clutch pedal. In fact, the car doesn’t have a clutch pedal. Though, the iconic 5-speed with its gated shifter remains. It sounds like this system actually works, too.

As a novelty piece of Ferrari history that is also useable, the price paid for this Valeo Mondial doesn’t seem out of line. Too bad it wasn’t a Valeo 512 TR, though.

Image: Jasen Delgado, courtesy of RM Auctions

1957 Ford Fairlane 500 Skyliner F-code

S/N: F7FW376072

Sold price: $176,000

The Basics:

Offered from the Rey Collection. A rare, supercharged Ford with the company’s ground-breaking automatic retractable hardtop. Restored in correct Raven Black with a white vinyl and Black Airweave interior.

Taylor Says:

That top was a technological marvel pulled off by FoMoCo in the 1950s. Despite being difficult and expensive to keep operating today, thanks to a bevy of relays and switches that all must work properly, the system will always be beloved for its novelty.

Add to that Ford’s rare Paxton supercharged F-code engine and you have one special luxury sled that is also somewhat of a sleeper — especially this one with its Continental Kit. RM Sotheby’s catalog states that only about 1,000 full-sized Fords were produced with the F-code drivetrain, and it estimated that about 20 were Skyliners.

Beautifully restored to correct configuration, this Fairlane has yet to see much time on the road with just 55 miles noted on the odometer. A few more shakedown miles are likely needed to make sure everything is on-the-button. For the new owner’s sake let’s hope they are uneventful miles.

The one unknown with the car is its early history. Was it ever wrecked? Are the engine and drivetrain components original? I have to wonder if the price would have been higher had that history been available to buyers. Either way, real-deal F-code Skyliners will never show up often, if you want one this was your chance, matching numbers or not.

Image: Jonathan Oppenheim, courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

1993 Toyota Supra Twin Turbo Sport Roof

S/N: JT2JA82J0P0002596

Sold price: $176,000

The Basics:

Premier Edition from the first year of Mk IV Supra production. Features a removeable hard top and coveted six-speed manual transmission. Remains in stock configuration with 19,000 miles on the odometer.

Taylor Says:

I was onsite for RM’s Sotheby’s Amelia Island sale in 2019 when they offered some of the cars from the Youngtimer Collection. Walking around a Mercedes-Benz 560SEC AMG wide-body and a black Mk IV Supra, I wondered if the final bids would live up to the hype of the pre-auction chatter. They certainly did.

Fast forward a few years and the Mk IV Supra Twin Turbo remains the darling of the youngtimer cars. This was no fluke.

That example at RM Sotheby’s Amelia in 2019 achieved $173,600. A few months later Barrett-Jackson sold another for $176k at its 2019 Northeast auction. Fourth-gen Supras have been showing up at online and land auctions ever since, often selling anywhere between $70k and $120k, if not more.

My point in writing this car is less about pointing out the popularity of the Supra. Those watching the market have noticed. No, the reason I covered this car is to compare it to the F-code Skyliner above. Both sold for the same price. Both are icons of the respective generation they were created. And there is room for both models — and their dedicated fans — in today’s crowded market. The need to get behind the wheel and absorb new car knowledge runs through us all.

Image: Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

1973 MG B GT

S/N: GHD5UD316763 G

Sold price: $23,100

The Basics:

Well preserved older restoration on an MG that spent most of its life in California. Finished in Mallard Green with a tan interior.

Taylor Says:

I’ve always had a soft spot for these little British coupes. Living in a climate where it rains eight months out of the year, having a fixed roof overhead has always been more appealing than futzing with a droptop that can never be dropped.

The biggest draw, however, does not have to do with the open or closed body style, but the reasonable price placed on most MGBs. They are almost pocket change compared to the Austin-Healeys and Jaguars of the same period at double or more in price.

There are sure to be necessary repairs — it is a classic British sport car after all.  The good news is tons of the little machines were produced and the four-cylinder engine seems like it was chosen as the motor of choice for some half of all British cars of the time. Most needed parts should be easy to come by, as should finding someone knowledgeable to help.

From a dollar to miles-per-fun standpoint, the MGB is relative bargain. If you live in a rainy climate and opt for the convertible, just make sure it seals decently. Wet clothes will dampen the fun. Pun intended.