Superbird, super price. $176,000 was the hammer price (less commissions) when this restore
How was the market at the winter Arizona collector-car auctions this year? Better than the last few years, with quality cars bringing good money, and very little crazy money bidding and selling like there was before 2008.
And when it comes to muscle cars in general, and muscle Mopars in particular, they got plenty of interest from the biddersand two of them wound up among the top-10 sales of the entire Arizona winter auction season.
Only one of them broke the million-dollar mark: A ’70 Hemi ’Cuda convertible sold for $1,705,000 at Russo and Steele’s Scottsdale auction.
Meanwhile, at Barrett-Jackson, there were no million-dollar sale prices this year, but a restored ’56 DeSoto Fireflite convertible brought Duesenberg money when it sold for $368,000, the highest-selling Mopar at their big five-day event.
In all, according to one auction observer, it was a very good year. We’re almost back to 2007 overall sales at all the auctions, says McKeel Hagerty, president of Hagerty Classic Insurance. The difference is that it took a few more cars to get there. He adds, From an outsider/sponsor’s perspective, from a long-time-goer to these things, all of the auctions seemed busier, and all of the sponsors were back. There was more active bidding on a lot more cars.
That included the top seller at Russo and Steele, the one-of-nine-Torqueflite-equipped ’70 Hemi ’Cuda convertible, the only one of those nine finished in white with a red interior. That was a pretty phenomenal price, says McKeel, who remembers where prices were on the rarest Hemi carsand what happened to them. There were a couple reported sales a few years ago of nearly $3 million on those. Then, all of a sudden, they were back down. This result (at Russo and Steele) represented a landmark sale for those uber-rare ’70 and ’71 Hemi ’Cuda convertibles.
That’s just part of a wider trend involving original muscle from all brands. They started making a solid comeback across the board, McKeel notes. Especially with the most highly optioned, the rarest, and the most preferred ones. Those were definitely back up, and those were the cars that sold the most by Barrett-Jackson, and by Russo and Steele.
Who to thank? Not the know-nothing speculators. McKeel says, What you see are collectors who are back in the market, buying the best stuff and paying good money for it.
Wouldn’t Richard Baird be proud! This ’56 DeSoto Fireflite convertible, whose “Forward Loo
Good money for the best stuff is also reaching the re-creation/tribute segment of the muscle car market too. There’s definitely more strength in the tribute market than there’s been in the past couple of years, says McKeel. The quality of the build is important. No matter what, the muscle car world has been more tolerant of personalization than other parts of the collector-car hobby have been in the past.
That includes muscle cars equipped with slightly different (and often period-correct) wheels, or options or features that the car wasn’t built withlike disc brakes, a conversion that McKeel agrees with. If the car didn’t have them on originally, they make it more drivable. He adds of his experience with some drum-and-shoe-braked road rockets, I’ve been in more than one muscle car that felt like it was a hurtling ball of metal, and wishing that I had a parachute!
In all, McKeel says of the winter Arizona auctions, There was an appropriate group of sellers willing to take the right price, and a willing group of buyers bidding actively on cars, with some occasional points of irrational exuberance, which was fun to see.
It’s not only what car it is with what features, it’s also who sold it. Mr. Norm’s Grand S
We’ll look at some of the Mopars that crossed the block during the winter Arizona Auctions, which were the most fun ones to see, in our humble opinion. Sale prices shown don’t include commissions. For more info on each car you see herealong with complete auction resultslog onto www.barrett-jackson.com and www.russoandsteele.com. mm