Spring Novi car auction racks up sales

NOVI,  Mich. — After a one-year hiatus, the spring collector car auction returned here in April, this time handled by Classic Motorcar Auctions of Canton, Ohio.

The two-day event at The Suburban Collection expo building in Novi racked up sales of over $900,000. Classic Motorcar Auctions president Robert Lichty said he was pleased that 38 percent of items offered sold.

“We had good public attendance on Saturday and (in sales) did almost as well here as our one-day million-dollar sale in Akron,” Lichty said.Lichty said the absence in 2011 of a spring auction in metro Detroit did not help sales. And he suggested Detroit has been hit very hard by the recession and is slower to come back – even than Akron.Top sellers included a 1965 Chevrolet Corvette convertible ($72,900), a 1960 Chevrolet Impala convertible ($41,580), a 1936 Ford V-8 phaeton ($38,340) and a 1934 Ford roadster ($32,400).

Six of the top 10 were Fords, three were Chevrolets and one was a 1940 Buick Century convertible coupe.

Among the no-sales was a 1957 Mercury Monterey. The desert-tan-and-white two-door hardtop with black-and-white interior was powered by a 368-inch, 290-horsepower V-8 with push-button transmission, wide white walls and a tissue dispenser. Highest bid for the Monterey was $16,600.
A Nassau blue 1966 Corvette Sting Ray drew enough interest to raise the bidding to $45,000, but its seller said no.

An unusual 1947 two-tone Cadillac fastback “sedanet” with 150-horsepower flathead V-8 plus some modern features like power steering and brakes and air conditioning did not sell. Its high bid was $38,500. Pre-sale estimates were $50,000-$60,000.

A stately, mostly original black 1941 Packard with gray interior and 356-inch, 160-horsepower flathead straight eight engine with three-speed manual transmission brought. Its auction information said there were only 3,525 Packard One-Sixty models produced in 1941. This one sold for $19,440.

A garish1978 Cadillac Biarritz ASC conversion, with 425-inch V-8, custom moonroof and ultra-comfy, pillow-top front seats appeared very much overdressed by today’s standards. Apparently bidders thought so as well, stopping at $7,000 — not enough for a sale at auction.

But two brightly painted mid-fifties Lincoln Premiers, heavily chromed and longer than a city block, both sold: one for $11,880 and the other for $16,308.

A gray-on-gray 1937 Cadillac Series 60 four-door sedan converted to a street rod complete with 1998 Dodge frame and Ram running gear, power, air, tilt wheel, cruise and satellite radio had a high bid of $35,000 but did not sell.

A delightful light-green-and-white 1956 Buick Estate four-door, six-passenger wagon appeared to be in perfect condition. The seller claimed this nostalgia special was largely rust free and had been repainted. It had Buick’s “nailhead” 322-inch, 220-horsepower overhead-valve V-8 with Dynaflow automatic transmission under the hood. A high bid of $18,000 was not high enough.
A bid of $15,660 bought an all-metal 1929 Ford Model A rat-rod hi-boy roadster with 24-stud flathead V-8, Eddie Meyer Hollywood 2X2-barrel manifold and inned aluminum heads. A tall floor shifter, steel wheels with 1940 hubcaps and a banjo steering wheel added to its elan.

Jenny King is a  Detroit-area free-lance writer. She can be contacted via e-mail at Wright-King@comcast.net.