RM Auctions returned to the historic Auburn Auction Park (3–5 September) for its 50th annual Auburn Fall collector car auction. With more than 500 quality cars and 400 lots of automobilia presented across the three-day sale, total sales achieved nearly $18 million with an impressive 91 percent of all lots finding new homes. Bidders at the Auburn Fall sale hailed from no less than 34 countries with more than 45 percent representing first-time RM clientele.
“This year’s Auburn Fall auction results bested those of the previous year, and there was noted enthusiasm in the room for the wide-ranging offering of motor cars and automobilia. We were thrilled to see our clients participating in the auction across all of the available channels, whether via phone, internet, absentee, and of course in person,” said Donnie Gould, Car Specialist, RM Sotheby’s Group. “Given the staggering amount of those who registered to bid in advance as we requested, it was reassuring to see the appetite for great American collector cars such as those highlighted in Auburn this year.”
The Auburn Fall auction was, fittingly, led by a pair of American classics—a 1935 Auburn Eight Supercharged Speedster at $770,000 and a 1936 Duesenberg Model J Tourster at $632,500. Offered publicly for the first time in over two decades, the genuine and fully restored Auburn Eight Speedster presented in the striking, period-correct Nassau Orange finish, having been properly sorted for use, and was appropriately complimented at auction by the 1936 Duesenberg. One of only ten “JN” cars produced for Duesenberg by Rollston, the Model J retains its original engine, drivetrain, frame, and firewall. Having recently undergone a detailed mechanical and cosmetic preparation, the Duesenberg presented beautifully in an elegant and unusual chocolate hue finish.
RM Auctions also saw several significant, single-owner collections bring strong prices across the three-day auction, including The Bill Akin Collection, assembled by noted enthusiast, historian, and Indianapolis race car restorer Mr. Bill Akin. Comprising 11 automobiles and over 250 pieces of automobilia, all offered without reserve, the collection achieved a total of $1,998,544 in sales during the Saturday sale session. Leading the collection was a trio of notable Indianapolis 500 race cars—a 1960 Epperly Indianapolis, restored by Mr. Akin twice since the late 1980s and contested in the 1961 Indy 500 with Lloyd Ruby behind the wheel, taking 8th place, at $385,000; a 1961 Epperly Indianapolis, piloted by Bobby Marshman during the 1962 Indianapolis 500 and finished 5th overall, at $407,000; and a 1953 Kurtis 500 B Indianapolis, driven by Jimmy Davies in the 1953 and 1955 Indy 500 races, where he finished 10th and 3rd respectively, at $550,000.
Additional private collections offered at the 50th annual Auburn Fall auction include The David Leimbach Collection, comprising 65 diverse automobiles, spanning the spectrum from big-block muscle cars to late-model AMG Mercedes-Benzes, which achieved $1,414,936 in sales, led by a 1964 Chevrolet Impala SS Convertible at $60,500; The Roadmaster Collection, chronicling the evolution of Buick, with the diverse lineup made up of Brass Era motor cars, racers, low-production convertibles, and muscle cars, and which brought $1,314,486; The Duane Sell Collection, comprising 61 pre- and post-war American classics, which brought an overall $2,225,743, led by a Sunlit Gold 1968 Shelby GT500 Fastback desirably equipped with four-speed manual transmission, at $115,500; 22 cars offered from the bankruptcy estate of entities previously controlled by Bikram Choudhury, which achieved a collective $1,044,473; and The Walter Miller Estate, featuring 39 undeniably eclectic cars, which generated a total $582,530.
“While this year’s sale looked a little different than previous years at the Auburn Auction Park, we were pleased to be able to return to the Classic Car Capital of America to celebrate our 50th anniversary Auburn Fall sale with our clients,” said Gord Duff, Global Head of Auctions, RM Sotheby’s Group. “With an overall sell-through rate of 91 percent, this year’s sale has demonstrated that there is still a robust demand for quality collector cars despite the current state of the world, particularly American-made motor cars, which achieved strong prices and filled our top ten sale slots. We look forward to returning to Auburn again next year to continue this great Labor Day weekend tradition.”