The Market


RM’s 2020 Elkhart sale brings in the money

RM’s 2020 Elkhart sale brings in the money 25th October 2020

Humiliated businessmen – don’t you just love them? The market certainly does when their assets are up for grabs at No Reserve. There was RM Compiano in Milan in November 2016 and Bonhams Obiang at Bonmont in September 2019. Now, after two days of frenetic selling in Elkhart, Indiana, the Canadians have disposed of over 270 motor cars and ’bikes belonging to bankrupt Interlogic CEO Najeeb Khan.

Motor cars and motorbikes alone grossed over $42m. The final figure will be much more once the books, automobilia, petronalia*, chairs, tables, models, engines, trucks, trailers and even a couple of drinks bar units are included. A determined Texaco collector paid $1,440 all-in for an immaculate stickered-up trash can.

Khan, the former owner of Interlogic Outsourcing Inc, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in October 2019 but denies any wrongdoing. RM scheduled the sale for earlier this year, but it was put back due to the pandemic and run ‘live’ 23-24 October with a limited number of bidders in the room joined by others on the internet and over the telephones.

At a glance (provisional):

* Gross (motor cars and motorbikes): $42,248,761
* Percentage sold by number: 100%
* Top-selling car: 1952 Ferrari 225 S Vignale Berlinetta $2,810,000, $2,550,000 net (est. $2.5m to $3.5m) 
* Well sold? No Reserve throws up some oddities but $240.8k gross for the first Land Rover Series 1 restored by Jaguar Land Rover Classic Works (pictured, below) left its $90k to $120k estimate in tatters
* Well bought? Hard to say without seeing the car, but with a different audience the 300 SL ‘Gullwing’ purchased new by Italian racing driver Umberto Maglioli with matching numbers and factory-fitted Rudge wheels might have fetched more than $1,495,500 all-in

Proceedings were conducted at such a pace, trousers-on-fire, US cattle-sale style, that the auctioneers were rotated every 20 or so lots for a breather. Nearly $9.6m for cars and ’bikes was grossed on day one. Buyer’s premium was RM’s usual North American 12%/10% split for cars; 20% for everything else.

Much pre-sale debate centred on the three new reproduction Jaguar racing cars built by the Coventry company (and its suppliers). Would these limited-edition facsimiles really prove to be an ‘investment’? It’s not a simple task to establish the exact purchase price, with taxes, finance and exchange rate issues, but each car can probably be summarised thus:

* 1957 XKSS Continuation. Sold new ca. £1.5m + tax. Say $2.1m ex-factory. Sold October 2020 for $1.8m net, $1.985m gross.
* 1955 D-type Continuation. Sold new ca. £1.7m + tax. Say $2.38m ex-factory. Sold October 2020 for $1.2m net, $1.325m gross
* 1963 Lightweight E-type Continuation. Sold new ca. £1.25m + tax. Say $1.85m ex-factory. Sold October 2020 for $1.8m net, $1.985m gross. Note, this is not one of the six production cars, it is chassis ‘zero’, the car built up by specialists as a prototype. One could probably build a race-winning ‘E’ in the UK for £500k

We welcome confirmation from Jaguar Land Rover on the original selling prices – these guides provided by a marque expert. The excellent Peter Jaye-built C-type replica went for $291k, the surprisingly attractive and very usable Cooper-Jaguar T38 for $1.765m.

The latter – and other cars more suited to hard-core European events – selling under low estimate was a feature of the event. Although it came out on top, the attractive 1952 Ferrari 225 S Vignale Berlinetta, an original Mille Miglia and Monaco GP car with some matching numbers, required auctioneer Maarten ten Holder to wring the last drop out of the saleroom to sell it at a half-respectable price. This early 1950s car, and the Vignale Fiat 8Vs, were fish out of water. The Otto Vu Supersonica by Ghia sold mid-estimate at just over $2m.

Khan’s taste was eclectic and though it lacked many classic Ferraris, Shelbys, 911s and US muscle cars, pretty well ran to everything else. The dozens of bubble cars, Fiats, Autobianchis, Piaggios, Hondas and an Amphicar found a welcome audience at Elkhart.

At $1.16m, the 1969 Miura P400S was probably market-correct given its now unfashionable non-standard mods and locally made ‘improvements’.

Interestingly, the Toyota 2000GT, a model that taken a hit since the highs of 2014-2015, sold near top estimate at $912.5k. This actual car had been sold twice by Mecum in recent years, once for $925k in August 2015 and again for $750k in May 2017.

So, a tremendous result, once again proving the power of No Reserve coupled to a varied and quality catalogue. As the first, almost ‘proper’ big live event since lockdown, it also demonstrates the demand for classics in 2020, particularly in the US and perhaps, just perhaps, the performance of the Toyota 2000GT presages an uptick in the market. Time will tell – the Arizona sales conducted on this basis could be interesting.

RM Sotheby’s at Elkhart, Indiana, 23-24 October 2020 – provisional results

Total gross cars and motorbikes: $42,248,761
Number of cars not sold: 0
Number of cars withdrawn: 1
Total number of cars and motorbikes: 272
Number sold: 272
Percentage cars sold by number: 100%
Percentage by value average low/high estimate: 95%
Percentage of cars sold below low estimate: 28%
Percentage of cars sold not met avge of estimates: 43%
Percentage of cars sold met/exceeded top estimate: 42%
Average value of cars sold: $155,326
Average year of cars offered: 1967
Percentage of cars offered at No Reserve: 99%

* Collecting signs, pumps, containers and everything to do with the marketing and sale of gasoline.

All prices quoted are gross, with buyer’s premium, unless otherwise noted.

Photos by RM Sotheby’s