5 Big Sellers from the 2020 Amelia Island Auction Results
Steve McQueen’s Thomas Crown dune buggy fetches $456,000.
Doom and gloom in the stock market did little to dampen the 2020 Amelia Island auction results, with RM Sotheby's, Gooding and Company, and Bonhams all turning out strong auction results, helped along by a significant percentage of cars being offered without a reserve price. Despite selling 93 percent of the cars it offered, Gooding and Company landed last in overall sales with $20.7 million. A half-million-dollars higher was Bonhams at $21.2 million, though only 76 percent of its inventory sold. Finally, automotive auction giant RM Sotheby's landed top sales with $35.8 million; 94 percent of its vehicles found new homes. Here are five cars that sold for strong amounts at the three auction houses.
1967/68 Con-Ferr Meyers Manx Dune Buggy
Your typical genuine Myers Manx dune buggy (there are lots of similar kits out there) has appreciated significantly in the past decade and should bring well into the $20,000-$30,000 range if it's in clean and usable condition. Why the crazy premium on this one? This was the Manx used in the classic Steve McQueen film The Thomas Crown Affair, in which McQueen himself drove co-star Faye Dunaway around on the beach. McQueen, it's said, had a hand in the custom buggy's creation adding magnesium alloy wheels, a naturally-aspirated flat-six Corvair engine in the rear and a cut-down, wrap-around windscreen. This car shifted hands several times before this sale and was once traded straight up for a vintage Mini Cooper S. The seller was right to strike while the McQueen iron is hot.
1907 Renault Type AI 35/45HP Vanderbilt Racer
At the turn of the 20th century, Louis Renault's cars were really making a name for themselves in early racing events, especially in Europe. The popularity was such that wealthy American enthusiast Willie K. Vanderbilt asked Renault if he'd build a handful of racers for the American market. The 10 resulting cars were known as Renault Type 35/45HP Vanderbilt Racers and this is one of four remaining in existence. Despite only producing about 65 horsepower from its 7.5-liter four-cylinder engine, the Type 35/45 is capable of triple digit speeds due to its low weight and 2:1 final drive ratio and was very successful. Just four Vanderbilt Renaults are left in the world and this car was shown with its siblings at the 2016 Pebble Beach concours, racking up several awards in the process including the Pre-War Racing class. Pre-war cars may have a shrinking following, but this Vanderbilt Renault proves that the right car can still bring stratospheric prices.
1976 Porsche 934
Essentially the racing version of the road-going Porsche 930 Turbo, the 934 looks fairly similar to its tamer sibling. Looking at the two side by side, you'll notice the wider fiberglass fender flares of the 934, it's deeper front air dam and the center-lock BBS wheels. But get under the skin and you'll find disc brakes from the 200-mph 917 endurance racer, a full roll cage, and a 485-hp turbocharged flat-six, whereas the early 930 made perhaps 235 hp. This car is one of 31 934s ever built, has lots of period racing history including with well-known Kremer Racing, and finished third in class at the 1979 24 Hours of Le Mans. At nearly $1.4 million, the winning bid was solid for a solid car.
2004 Acura NSX-T
The original NSX has been out of production long enough that it's easy to forget it had a 15-year production run, which is quite a long time in the automotive world. This car is from the penultimate 2004 model year and as such, represents the most evolved of the first-generation NSX. Exposed headlights replace the earlier car's pop-up units, the engine is a 3.2-liter V-6 that now makes 290 hp, and the Targa-style roof panel comes off for open-air driving. Usually we see well-kept NSX models trading well below the $100,000 price point, but this exceptional Silverstone Grey car had under 9,000 miles on it and for all intents and purposes shows like it's brand new. Very well sold.
1990 Mercedes-Benz 560 SEC AMG 6.0 "Wide Body"
By 1990, Mercedes' SEC luxury coupe, based on the S-Class sedan, was terribly expensive but not very fresh-it had launched some nine years earlier. When Mercedes-Benz and AMG officially partnered in 1990, the pair breathed fresh life into an aging model with this widened, bored-out super coupe which boasted 385 horsepower and a top speed approaching the 200-mph mark. An ode to 1980s/'90s excess, this 560 SEC AMG 6.0 "Wide Body" may have set a new auction record for the model, its winning bid being more than double what we usually see these sell for in the rare event they come to market. The seller should be very happy.