Fine competition cars bring millions at RM Sotheby’s auction

One of these exceptional vehicles sold for $3 million; the other brought close to $2 million. Can you guess which is which?
(RM Sothebys)
The Smart Collector

WHAT: Antique and vintage autos have been collected since before Henry Ford. There has been increased attention given to rare, signature and one-of-a-kind modern vehicles. We’re not talking production cars, but fine competition examples.

Several on-the-ball established auction houses have branched into high-end collector autos. As example, RM Sotheby’s is one arm for investment quality automobiles aimed at a global market.

MORE: In the 19th annual Arizona sale this January, the company realized $36.5 million in sales, including a circa 1966 Shelby 427 semi-competition Cobra (Chassis No. CSX 3040) for $2.9 million and entrepreneur Preston Tucker’s circa 1948 Tucker 48 (Chassis No. 1029) at almost $1.8 million. Images accompany this column.

SMART COLLECTORS KNOW: At this level, restoration is allowed, but top dollar goes to cars worked on by acknowledged restorers known in the field. This is not about fixing granddad’s vintage truck in the garage.


HOT TIP: The ultimate dream for a collector is a vehicle found in original condition, then masterfully restored. In the online catalogue, several cars were photographed in original condition on-site as found in storage, covered with decades of dust. Another photo shows each ready for sale.

Next in desirability would be a one- or two-owner vehicle.

BOTTOM LINE: The big bucks vehicles here came from desirable single owner collections. More cachet!