PHOENIX — Rob Myers was pretty much a kid when he started restoring old cars in a small garage in Blenheim, about 65 miles east of Windsor. But he quickly showed skill at such service and as soon as he’d finish a project, he’d sell it and start another. And another and another, and before long Myers needed to hold an auction to offer not only the cars he’d been restoring, but other classic vehicles as well.
It wasn’t long before RM Auctions was offering many of the world’s finest classic vehicles at auctions staged not only in Canada but in the United States and Europe. RM annually stages a sale in conjunction with the Concours d’Elegance of America at St. John’s in Plymouth.
Like so many other classic car auction houses, RM opened its 2013 calendar in Arizona, though this year — its 14th in the Valley of the Sun — it tried something different, switching from a two-day sale to a one-day event at the Arizona Biltmore resort and spa.
“We are very pleased with the results,” said Shelby Myers, Rob’s son and managing director of the company’s U.S. West Coast headquarters in Culver City, Calif. “We strategically limited our sale this year to a smaller, more exclusive offering than previous years, yet the sales tally for our single-day event was up on our 2012 total by more than 42 percent, a significant increase that reflects not only the exceptional quality of the automobiles presented, but also illustrates the continued strength of the market for ‘best of category’ examples.
“The Arizona auction week is widely regarded as a barometer for the new collector car season; the results from our Biltmore sale paint a very positive forecast for 2013 and we look forward to continuing the momentum at our upcoming sales in Georgia and Florida,” adds Myers.
At RM’s 2013 Arizona sale, bidders bought 89 percent of the vehicles presented and paid $36.4 million for them. The sales total was the largest in the company’s 14-year history in Arizona.
The quality of the vehicles offered resulted in eight cars selling for more than one million dollars.
The top sale — and second by only a few hundred thousand for the entire Arizona auction week — was $8,140,000 for a 1960 Ferrari 250 GT short-wheelbase berlinetta “competizione” model. With closed bodywork designed by Pinin Farina and constructed by Carrozzeria Scaglietti, the car was the 17th of only 72 such aluminum-bodied racing-prepped Ferraris.
The 250 GT was one of 11 Ferraris in the auction catalog. A 1967 275 GTB/4 sold for $1,842,500, a 1966 275 GTB went for $1.32 million, a 2003 Enzo also brought $1.32 million and a 1954 250 Europa coupe sold for $1,017,500.
Among other sales of note, a 1955 Lancia Aurelia B24S America Spider sold for $825,000 and one of only seven 1953 Allard JR “Le Mans” roadsters went for $605,000
RM’s next event is the sale of the Bruce Weiner Microcar Museum collection, February 15-16 at Madison, Ga. The annual sale at St. John’s is scheduled for July 27.