Gooding classic car auction aids Shriners Hospital

PEBBLE BEACH, Calif.– The Gooding & Company classic car auction here was icing on the cake — the 2012 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance.

The California-based auction house claimed the highest sale total in automotive auction history with $113.7 million in two days.

Gooding, the “official” Pebble Beach auction house, began its sale on the eve of the 60th Concours and completed its work at the Equestrian Center as concours guests were departing. The company reported the average price per car sold was $1,033,966. It said 110 of the 123 vehicles offered sold.

A highlight of the weekend was the sale Sunday of the von Krieger Special Roadster 1936 Mercedes-Benz 540 K: for $11,770,000. This was, Gooding said, a double world record for a Mercedes-Benz and a pre-war car at auction.

Saturday evening a 1960 Ferrari 250 GT LWB California Spider sold for $11,275,000, realizing a world record for a Ferrari California Spider.

Twenty-four collector cars sold in excess of $1 million.

Celebrity Jay Leno donated and helped auction his 2012 Fiat 500 Prima Edizione to benefit the Fisher House Foundation, a non-profit that serves the families of wounded American soldiers. The first-edition Fiat 500, valued between $25,000-$35,000 according to the auction estimate, realized a final price of $385,000 and attracted an additional $215,000 of charitable contributions, resulting in $600,000 in fundraising for the foundation.

Twelve vehicles from the William A.C. Pettit III collection sold Saturday, realizing more than $4 million total benefiting Shriners Hospital for Children in Tampa, Fla.

Gooding & Company said it has auctioned off, including these results, more than $30 million in collector cars over the years benefiting charities that impact various causes and foundations around the world.

The Pacific Grove auction house provided two thick books detailing cars for sale during the two-day auction. Multiple photos, condensed information on each car’s most important features and long narratives gave bidders and guests all the information they might need. Chances are the most serious buyers knew everything well in advance and knew how high they were willing to go.

Joseph Jennings Jr. of Grosse Pointe, Mich., said he had read through them with friends and found them fascinating.

“The writing was excellent and there was so much information about each car,” said Jennings, who said he has longed for something like a ’50s Mercedes convertible but has not taken the plunge.

Those on site also did not take the plunge when it came to some of the 140-plus vehicles for sale. A creamy yellow 1935 Duesenberg JN Convertible Coupe, an award winner with a movie credit and a romantic connection to stars Clark Gable and Carole Lombard, did not sell at auction. Its estimated value was “available on request.”

Likewise, an “orphan” 1911 S.P.O Raceabout, once advertised in print as “The car for two is the car for you,” did not sell and no high bid was reported.

But real racing cars like a 1920 Bugatti Type 13 ($379,500), a 1913 National Series V N3 Roadster (at no reserve, $203,500) and a 1919 Miller TNT ($1,210,000) were successful.

David Greenlees of The Old Motor in Brattleboro, Vt. spent much of his Pebble Beach time preparing an unrestored 1907 Fiat from the Larz Anderson Museum in Brookline, Mass. for the concours.

Greenlees was anxious to spend time in the Gooding tents. Acquainted with the company’s president, David Gooding, Greenlees said he had received information from a competing auction.

“I just threw it away,” he said. “Gooding is the best.”

The atmosphere at Gooding before and during the two evening auctions was “electric,” according to Charlie Ross, who served as the Gooding auctioneer.

After the sale, Ross said he wished he might once again have the thrill of presiding over the sale of a car like Baroness Gisela von Krieger’s 1936 Mercedes-Benz.END