(photo credits: Ben Majors © 2016 courtesy RM Sotheby’s)
The 17th annual Arizona Biltmore sale in the U.S. was 28-29 January. RM Sotheby’s kicked off the 2016 auction season in fine style with £43.6 million in total sales and an impressive 85 percent of all lots sold. Pre-event buzz was around the headlining 1937 Mercedes-Benz 540 K Special Roadster which on the day achieved £6.9 million making it the most valuable motor car ever sold in Arizona Auction Week history.
In all, 17 lots achieved more than £500,000 results, setting various new benchmarks for models along the way. It was also notable that bids were attracted from 20 countries around the world for the two-day sale of 149 cars.
The undisputed star of the event was a 1937 Mercedes-Benz 540 K Special Roadster, chassis no. 130894, which crossed the stage during Friday’s sale. An original U.S. car with well documented history from new, the highly desirable “high door”, “longtail”, factory left-hand-drive Special Roadster was offered fresh to the market, following 26 years in single ownership.
As expected, bidding opened at £3.5 million before rapidly climbing to a record breaking £6.9 million. This gorgeous car broke the previous Arizona sale record also set by RM Sotheby’s in 2015. The Special Roadster is now ranked as one of the most valuable pre-war automobiles ever sold at auction.
RM’s 2016 Arizona catalogue was impressively diverse and included a 1929 Duesenberg Model J Disappearing Top Torpedo Convertible Coupe, one of just six original examples built, which sold for £2 million and a 1989 Mercedes-Benz 560 SEC 6.0 AMG ‘Wide Body’ presented in excellent original condition, sold just beyond its upper-estimate at £107,000.
Below are the top ten sales from Arizona.
1. Lot 242 – 1937 Mercedes-Benz 540 K Special Roadster (Chassis 130894) £6.9 million
2. Lot 133 – 1929 Duesenberg Model J Disappearing Top Torpedo Convertible Coupe (Chassis 2199) £2 million
3. Lot 140 – 1965 Shelby 427 Competition Cobra (Chassis CSX 3010) £1.6m
4. Lot 145 – 1965 Ferrari 275 GTB (Chassis 07053) £1.5 million
5. Lot 132 – 1971 Lamborghini Miura P400 SV (Chassis 4912) £1.4 million
6. Lot 232 – 1965 Ferrari 275 GTS (Chassis 07935) £1.2 million
7. Lot 149 – 1960 Ferrari 250 GT Cabriolet Series II (Chassis 2153 GT) £1.1 million
8. Lot 148 – 2015 Porsche 918 Spyder (Chassis WP0CA2A13FS800804) £1.1 million
9. Lot 126 – 1962 Maserati 5000 GT Coupe (Chassis AM103 040) £1.1 million
10. Lot 254 – 1953 Cadillac Series 62 Coupe (Chassis 536253053) £992,000
There’s little time to catch our breathes from Arizona as we move over to Paris, France where RM Sotheby’s, Bonhams and Artcurial will all have sales over the next few days. Borro will be reporting on the Retromobile auctions with previews and reports of the key events.
About the Author: Tim Hutton has been involved in the automotive industry for 17 years, creating ideas and content for premium brands. When not writing about cars, you will find him driving them all around the world. Having learned to drive at seven in a racing car, petrol is very much in his veins.