Motor City

  • RM Sotheby’s readies for its annual Motor City sale, July 25, in Plymouth, Michigan
  • Event is the official auction of the Concours d’Elegance of America at St. John’s
  • Latest auction highlights include a pair of supercharged cars; a 1935 Duesenberg Model SJ Dual-Cowl Phaeton and a 2005 Ford GT
  • Additional feature attractions include a dozen diverse vehicles offered from renowned Michigan collectors Howard and Norma Weaver
  • Complete Motor City digital catalogue now available here:



BLENHEIM, Ontario (July 2, 2015) – RM Sotheby’s, the world’s largest auction house for investment-quality automobiles, is counting down to the return of its well-established Motor City sale, July 25 in Plymouth, Michigan. A highlight of the Concours d’Elegance of America at St. John’s weekend, the two events combine to provide a wonderful illustration of the passion that drives the collector car hobby. In keeping with tradition, star lots for RM’s Motor City sale shine a spotlight on American design and engineering, with iconic automobiles of both the Classic Era and modern high-performance slated for the podium. Highlights are led by a pair of immediately recognizable supercharged cars from very different eras; a 1935 Duesenberg Model SJ Dual-Cowl Phaeton and a 2005 Ford GT.


From the 1910s through until the 1930s, it was not uncommon for a wealthy owner to have a favorite coachbuilt body that would be moved to a new chassis every few years rather than buy an entirely new automobile at tremendous cost. Duesenberg Motors President Lucius B. Manning was no exception and had at his disposal a “sweep panel” dual-cowl phaeton built under the LaGrande label that he used on no fewer than four Model J Duesenberg chassis, including the car on offer at Motor City. Years later, the chassis was sold to collector Hubert Fischer, who commissioned a recreation of Mr. Manning's original LaGrande body. Cosmetically restored to the highest standard, and boasting a recently rebuilt, upgraded SJ-specification engine, this award-winning Duesenberg Model SJ Dual-Cowl Phaeton, engine no. J-562, would be warmly welcomed in any number of club circles (Est. $850,000 - $1,100,000).


Fast-forward to iconic American cars of more recent times, and you’ll find the Ford GT. Built to celebrate Ford’s 100th anniversary, the GT is immediately identifiable as a modern version of the company’s Le Mans-winning GT40 of the 1960s. The 2005 Ford GT on offer, chassis no. 095, is presented in virtually new condition, finished in Mk IV Red, equipped with all four factory options, and showing just 370 miles. The most incredible of modern American supercars, it will be offered in Michigan, where it was born and bred (Est. $300,000 - $350,000).


“For more than a century, America’s Midwest has been responsible for some of the world’s greatest automotive design, and, reflected in the diversity of this year’s offering, our Motor City event continues to be a fantastic showcase for this evolution of the American automobile,” says Gord Duff, Car Specialist, RM Sotheby’s. “As the official auction of the Concours d’Elegance of America, together the events provide a relaxed weekend for enthusiasts, while also doubling as a great introduction to the exciting collector car hobby.”


Further highlights from RM’s Motor City catalogue include:


  • A dozen prized automobiles from enthusiasts Howard and Norma Weaver, proprietors of one of Michigan’s most interesting collections of American cars. Led by a 1957 Dodge Custom Royal Lancer Coupe, equipped with the potent Super D-500 engine and considered to be the most desirable Dodge of the era (Est. $75,000 - $90,000), and the family’s most cherished vehicle, a rare 1931 LaSalle 345A Seven-Passenger Touring (Est. $80,000 - $100,000), the diverse collection ranges from CCCA Full Classics to additional glitzy 1950s cruisers;
  • Late Duesenberg historian Ray Wolff’s 1922 Mercer Series 5 Raceabout, chassis no. 15150, an early American performance car with fascinating history. Originally owned by Venezuelan General Aguiar, who reportedly had the only sports car in the country in the 1920s, the Mercer was uncovered by Wolff 1967. Today, survivors are treasured as an engineering landmark of their era (Est. $325,000 - $375,000);
  • An authentically restored 1956 Ford Thunderbird, chassis no. P6FH291216. A true piece of aviation history, the T-bird was purchased new by George and Peg Crockett, founders of Alamo Airways and owners of Alamo Field, for use as their tarmac support vehicle. Adding to its unique history, it was famously driven by Mr. Crockett along a dry lakebed in Nevada, to keep a Cessna 172 aloft for 64 days, 22 hours, and 19 minutes in late 1958. Crockett kept up with the plane above while feeding several 5-gallon cans of gasoline up to it using a rope. Today, the Cessna still holds the world record for longest-duration continuous flight. Later sold to Howard Hughes’s Hughes Tool Company, it is offered in beautifully maintained condition (Est. $60,000 - $75,000); and,
  • A series of additional European sports and on-the-rise collectibles, including a stylish 1971 Mercedes-Benz 280 SE 3.5 Coupe, chassis no., finished in Graublau Metallic and equipped with desirable floor-shift transmission (Est. $120,000 - $150,000), and a 2001 BMW Z8, chassis no. WBAEJ13481AH60437, offering advanced engineering clothed in a modern yet timeless design, with less than 16,000 miles on the odometer (Est. $175,000 - $225,000).


A longstanding summer tradition for collectors, RM Sotheby’s Motor City auction has carved a reputation over the past two decades as one of the leading events honoring the American automobile. Held at the Inn at St. John’s, the 2015 sale will lift the gavel on an exceptional roster of 80 vehicles, representing nearly a century of automotive history. For further information and to view the complete digital catalogue, please visit or call +1 519 352 4575.


About RM Sotheby’s

RM Sotheby’s (formerly RM Auctions) is the world's largest auction house for investment-quality automobiles. With 35 years’ experience in the collector car industry, RM's vertically integrated range of services, from private treaty sales and auctions to estate planning, and financial services, coupled with an expert team of car specialists and an international footprint, provide an unsurpassed level of service to the global collector car market. RM proudly holds four of the top ten all-time records for the most valuable motor cars sold at auction. In February 2015, RM formed a strategic partnership with Sotheby’s, uniting the two companies for the full calendar of future automobile auctions. For further information, visit


Images are available upon request

All RM Sotheby’s catalogues are available online at High res photography for RM’s Motor City sale is available via the RM Sotheby’s Media Center, or by contacting a member of the RM Sotheby’s press department. If you are interested in attending an RM Sotheby’s event as a member of the media, please visit to register for media credentials.


About the Concours d’Elegance of America at St. John’s

The Concours d’Elegance d America at St. John’s is dedicated to the preservation and historical relevance of prestigious world-class automobiles. Through our yearly exhibition of automotive design, craftsmanship and history, we strive to provide the community at large with a visual, artistic and educational perspective of the classic world of automobiles.


The Concours d’Elegance of America at St. John’s continues the tradition of exhibiting prestigious collector cars and also offers an automotive art exhibit, a vintage car auction, motoring tour, Autobahn Night, the Italian Happening and many other social events. In 2011, this world-class event moved to the beautiful grounds of the Inn at St. John’s in Plymouth, Michigan.


For more information on the Concours of America, please contact

Steve Keyes, Communications Director
248-430-7626 Office
248-952-7022 Mobile