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 executed on behalf of trustees of U.S. Bankruptcy Court saw spirited bidding activity both in the auction room and remotely from no less than 2,500 bidders from 53 countries, with 55 percent of bidders representing first-time RM Sotheby’s clientele.
Kenneth Ahn, President and CEO, RM Sotheby’s, said: “We are extremely pleased with the results, especially considering the complexities and challenges of executing such a high-profile auction with multiple constituents in the current market environment. I believe this auction highlighted RM Sotheby’s key strengths and capabilities as a global market leader for achieving successful results for private collections. The Elkhart Collection auction was also another case study for the power of ‘no reserve’ collection auctions, with many of the lots seeing incredible results. The success of The Elkhart Collection auction joins previous court-authorized bankruptcy auctions that RM Sotheby’s has successfully conducted such as the 2016 Duemila Route sale in Milan, Italy on behalf of the Italian Government and the 2017 Level 5 Motorsports liquidation in Auburn, Indiana on behalf of U.S. Federal authorities, and further highlighting our company’s ability to execute complex sales successfully on a global scale.”
Strong prices were achieved across both sale days with a total of eight motor cars achieving in excess of $1,000,000. The undoubted star of the auction was a rare and beautifully finished 1952 Ferrari 225 S Berlinetta by Vignale, which sold for a final $2,810,000 during the Saturday sale session. The fifth of an estimated 21 examples built, the 225 S Berlinetta was highly competitive in period, having finished 2nd overall at the 1952 12 Hours of Casablanca, 4th overall at the 1952 Monaco Grand Prix, and 10th overall at the 1952 Mille Miglia, among other events. Another rare competition car also snagged one of the top five sale slots, a 1955 Cooper-Jaguar T38 Mk II, selling for $1,765,000. The second of a mere three examples built of this unique Cooper design powered by Jaguar’s racing-specification XK engine, the highly authentic Cooper-Jaguar saw six victories at Goodwood and Silverstone in the 1956 and ’57 seasons and today has been recommissioned by marque specialists for recent participation in prestigious international events.
Rare and sought-after Fiats within the collection also drew much pre-sale attention, as well as in the auction room, with a one-of-15 1953 Fiat 8V Supersonic by Ghia, originally delivered to famed General Motors designer Henry S. Lauve, leading the pack and taking the top second sale slot at $2,040,000. Following close behind was a unique pair of 1954 Fiat 8V Coupes by Vignale, the first of which was based upon the famous Demon Rouge design and the second of which wears stunning, subtle coachwork and is believed to have been exhibited at the VII Concorso d’Eleganza di Roma in 1954. The two Otto Vu examples achieved $907,000 and $775,000, respectively.
Also claiming spots within the top ten were three extremely rare Jaguar continuation cars— believed to be the first example offered publicly, a 1957 XKSS, one of nine examples produced, sold for $1,985,000; an as-new 1963 E-Type Lightweight, known as “Car 0”, the first of seven built by Jaguar Classic and used as the North American press car, brought $1,710,000; and a 1955 D-Type, one of 25 D-Types produced by Jaguar Heritage and finished in the iconic Scottish Racing Blue of Ecurie Ecosse, generated a final $1,325,000.
Additional standout highlights include a 1955 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Gullwing, originally delivered to Scuderia Ferrari driver Umberto Maglioli and retaining its matching-numbers chassis, engine, gearbox, and body, which achieved $1,495,500 during the Friday sale session; a wonderful example of the original supercar, a 1969 Lamborghini Miura P400 S by Bertone, boasting a very well-maintained restoration, which sold for $1,160,000 on Saturday; and a 1967 Toyota 2000GT, one of 62 original left-hand-drive, U.S.-market examples and retained for over 30 years by the original owner and famed American racer Otto Linton, which brought $912,500.
Following the auction, Donnie Gould, Car Specialist, RM Sotheby’s said: “We could not be more thrilled with the success of The Elkhart Collection auction. I am grateful to the consignors for entrusting us to offer this meticulously curated, high quality collection of cars and memorabilia. This was a truly unique collection representing exceptional quality, and we had nearly 75 percent of bidders participating over the phone or internet placing thousands of bids, with more than half of all bidders new to our company. I am proud of how our team members globally executed this sale flawlessly. Overall, the results were exceptional proving that the market for high quality collector cars is alive and well across all price points.”