Motor City

  • RM Auctions announces a spectacular group of European highlights for its annual Motor City sale, July 26 in Plymouth, Michigan
  • Led by a 1929 Rolls-Royce Phantom II Barker Torpedo Tourer, built for Indian royalty, the roster of European highlights joins a superb series of American classics at the sale, many of which were conceived and built in Detroit
  • Celebrating 20 years as the official auction of the Concours d’Elegance of America at St. John’s, the single-day sale features an excellent roster of 79 American and European automobiles, along with one classic Gar Wood boat
  • Complete digital catalogue now available online at www.rmauctions.com


BLENHEIM, Ontario (June 24, 2014) – RM Auctions, the world’s largest collector car auction house for investment-quality automobiles, is delighted to announce the addition of a fantastic group of European highlights to its upcoming Motor City auction, July 26 in Plymouth, Michigan. A long-standing summer tradition for enthusiasts, the single-day sale will celebrate its 20th anniversary in 2014 by presenting 79 quality collector cars and one classic wooden boat. As in the past, the RM sale acts as a prelude to the Concours d’Elegance of America at St. John’s, making for a larger celebration of the collector car hobby.


Leading European highlights for the Motor City auction is a sporty 1929 Rolls-Royce Phantom II Barker Torpedo Tourer, chassis 50XJ, which was commissioned by the Ruling Chief of Nandgaon State, Mahant Sarveshwar Das, who served as the 10th chief, from 1913 to 1940. As was common throughout the 1920s and 1930s, Maharaja Rolls-Royces were regularly ordered to the unique specifications of their original owners, and the example on offer at Motor City is no exception. The bespoke coachwork by Barker, who held the warrants to build coachwork for the British Royal Family, was incredibly ornate, and the car was fitted with various special features including beautiful inlaid cabinetry for a silver tea service, a lady’s vanity, and cocktail accoutrements. In 1966, Ray Howard, an American enthusiast working in India, discovered the Rolls-Royce in a collection of fine automobiles owned by the Maharaja of Orissa, and eventually exported the car to his family home. Seldom offered for public sale in its lifetime, and yet to be seen on a North American concours field, its upcoming auction presents a special opportunity to purchase a Maharaja Rolls-Royce in its unique, original configuration (Est. $650,000 - $850,000).  


Alain Squindo, Vice President of RM Auctions says: “The Motor City event is unique in that it celebrates the very best of America’s automotive capital, right in its backyard. In addition, we have the privilege of presenting these exceptional Detroit-built cars alongside the finest examples from Europe. Collectively, it makes for a tremendous offering with global appeal – a coachbuilt Rolls-Royce built for Indian royalty presented alongside the motor cars commissioned by America’s captains of industry.”


The Phantom II Torpedo Tourer will keep good company at the upcoming Motor City sale, joined by a 1929 Rolls-Royce Phantom I Merrimac Ascot Tourer, chassis S368LR, one of only 28 genuine Ascot Phaetons built. With a well-known history from new, S368LR was delivered to Russell Phelps Kelley Sr., the son of railroad magnate William V. Kelley and once married to Daphne Field, the grand-niece of Marshall Field, in February 1930. The car eventually moved from the highest echelon of Chicago society to the stable of Mr. Stephen Antine of Massachusetts, who owned the automobile for nearly 30 years, during which time it became well-known in East Coast circles of the Rolls-Royce Owners’ Club. In fact, the Phantom I was registered to the RROC during its time in Massachusetts. Featuring its original bodywork and engine, S368LR would be a cornerstone acquisition of any fine collection (Est. $400,000 - $500,000). The July sale also features a spectacular 1911 Mercedes 38/70HP Seven-Passenger Touring in the style of Vanvooren, chassis 13496. Commissioned by Colonel Samuel P. Colt, nephew of the famous arms manufacturer, 13496 has spent most of its life in the ownership of well-known enthusiasts, including B. Scott Isquick, who commissioned a 12,000-hour restoration to return the car to its original condition. A multi-award winning example, the high quality of its restoration has been recognized via numerous accolades, including AACA Senior National First Prize honors, the AACA Cup, and the Ansel Adams Trophy at Pebble Beach (Est. $450,000 - $600,000).


Additional featured European automobiles slated for the RM’s July sale include:


  • a 1953 Rolls-Royce Silver Dawn Park Ward Drophead Coupe, chassis LSLE43, built for pharmaceutical baron Eli Lilly Jr., and equipped with the rare 128-horsepower engine and an automatic transmission (Est. $325,000 -$450,000);
  • a highly original 1927 Rolls-Royce Phantom I Binder Brougham de Ville, chassis 61RF, originally built for five-and-dime heiress Jessie Woolworth Donahue’s annual visits to Paris and displayed at the Petersen Automotive Museum (Est. $200,000 - $300,000);
  • a genuine and exceptionally rare 1925 Renault Model 45 Tourer, chassis 139416, complete with its original open bodywork (Est. $200,000 -$300,000);
  • a stately 1923 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost Oxford Seven-Passenger Touring, chassis 107JH, formerly owned by well-known collector and enthusiast Harry Resnick (Est. $200,000 - $275,000); and
  • a beautifully restored 1960 Mercedes-Benz 190 SL Roadster, chassis, presented in a stunning Maroon over Ivory color combination (Est. $175,000 - $225,000).


For further information on RM’s Motor City sale, or to view the complete digital catalogue, please visit www.rmauctions.com or call toll free at 800 211 4371 (+1 519 352 4575 outside North America). 


The RM sale is a featured attraction of the Concours d’Elegance of America at St. John’s weekend. With festivities kicking off on July 25, this year’s concours program displays an exciting new energy, as illustrated by an expanded schedule of events that features a number of unique opportunities for enthusiasts. Activities include a diverse mix of tours, displays and seminars, before culminating with the 36th annual Concours d’Elegance of America at St. John’s on Sunday, July 27. A frequently updated schedule of events for the concours is available online at www.concoursusa.org.


RM Auctions Motor City – Event Details

Sale date: Saturday, July 27, 11:00 a.m. (auction will run approx. 4–5 hours)

Preview date: Friday, July 26, 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. EDT

Location: The Inn at St. John’s, 44045 Five Mile Road, Plymouth, Michigan 48170

Admission: Admission to the auction is open to registered bidders, consignors, and qualified media only. Bidder registration is $200 and includes an official auction catalogue and admission for two. Admission to the preview is free of charge.


For those unable to attend the event in person, Internet, absentee, and telephone bidding options are available, and the auction will stream live at www.rmauctions.com, providing real-time coverage of the event.