Despite Justin Bell’s exhortations, Scott Devon choked on his own disappointment. His Viper-based Devon GTX had just misfired, bringing only $200,000, at the Barrett-Jackson auction in Scottsdale, Arizona.
The purchaser, Greg Sidwell, a Palm Harbor, Florida, businessman who’d brought 28 of his partner’s muscle cars to sell at Scottsdale, said moments before the GTX went on the block that he was attracted to the “very rare exotic” and “considered it something to add to the collection.”
For Sidwell, it was a glorious snag. “I think I got a great deal,” he said afterward. “I don’t know what the true market value of it is. In my case, that wasn’t the driving factor. I hope to get the car next week and start enjoying it.”
But for Devon – who’d put his crowd-pleaser through an elaborate development process-this was a fist in the gut. Pre-sale estimates had ranged as high as $400,000. About an hour earlier a 1964 Ford Fairlane brought a ridiculous $1 million. So it hadn’t seemed unreasonable that the Daniel Paulin-designed, carbon-bodied coupe – which looked as though it had gobbled up a Bugatti Type 57 en route to the chrome-plating tank – might become the object in a bidding war.
Alas, the auction block can be a cruel stage.
After the hammer, even Devon’s grammar was a casualty. “I wished I didn’t sell it,” he said as the car rolled down the ramp. “Someone got a great deal.”
Bell grabbed Devon’s shoulder, saying of the result, “I promise you, it’s really very good.” Meaning to console, he suggested that the GTX would sell again for $1 million within five years.
The racing driver had taken time from his Speed commenting duties just after prime time on Saturday evening to drive his friend’s creation onto the block.
Devon rode shotgun. His wife Terri walked in alongside, as well as restoration specialist Roger Gress, who oversaw the car’s final preparation.
As one of two Devon GTX prototypes created with production intent before the economic bust of 2008, this serial number 1, titled as a 2008 Dodge Viper, was tuned for 650 hp and modified for chassis grip worthy of a Laguna Seca lap-record attempt by Bell.
Devon, a Grand Rapids, Michigan, businessman with endeavors ranging from frozen garlic bread to the astonishing $15,000 Tread 1 wristwatch, had tendered a bid to buy Viper as a stand-alone brand in Chrysler’s bankruptcy. He’s keeping the other GTX prototype, as well as all molds and dies.
Our guess about Devon? He said he chose the Viper platform over the equally serviceable but less expensive Corvette because “I love the rawness-it’s absolutely a beast.”
Because that’s the right answer, we see Scottsdale’s flat price for the GTX as just a momentary setback. Watch for the next Devon. His Tread 2 timepiece could be on your wrist for less than $15,000. Or if things keep going well, you could find yourself behind the wheel of his next automotive masterpiece.