Published: September 29, 2020
Review by Greg Smith, Photos Courtesy Saratoga Motorcar Auction
SARATOGA, N.Y. – In its senior year, the Saratoga Motorcar Auction, a benefit for the Saratoga Automobile Museum, realized its maturity as the sale pulled in $3.7 million amid the pandemic. The auction was held at the Saratoga Spa State Park on September 19 and resulted in a 70 percent sell through rate with more than 11,000 online spectators watching and bidding over the internet.
“The success of this auction, in the midst of a global pandemic, is a massive win for the future of the museum’s initiatives,” said Carly Connors, executive director. “I cannot thank our staff, volunteers, consignors and bidders enough for following all NYS and CDC safety guidelines to make our event successful and safe.”
While providing funds for the museum’s exhibition programming, the benefit also supports the museum’s initiatives, including the Distracted Driving Safety Program, which reaches nearly 25,000 students annually.
The auction was led by a $275,000 result for a 1958 Plymouth Fury that was personified in the 1983 cult horror classic Christine, a film adaptation of Stephen King’s novel of the same name. The auction house wrote, “This car is evil. It is also a movie star.” Director John Carpenter reportedly used 16 Plymouth Fury’s in filming, with many being ruined in one way or another. This example was used for close ups and was spared the poor treatment, along with two others that toured the United States to publicize the film’s release. The car was raffled off to more than 40,000 entrants following the film, won by Scott Edminster. It eventually found its way into the collection of Ron Pratte, whose collection was sold in 2018. From there, it entered the collection of the Rochester Auto Museum.
Porsche supplied two high rolling lots as a 2011 911 Speedster sold for $239,000 while a 1970 914/6 took $137,500. The Speedster featured a 3.8 liter flat-six cylinder engine with 408 horsepower in all original condition and completely unaltered. Only 356 examples of the car were produced, this #322. On the 914/6, the auction house wrote, “In the late 1960s, Porsche and Volkswagen thought they could replace two aging models with one. For VW it was the Karman Ghia and for Porsche it was the four cylinder 912. For VW it would be a sporty showroom star and for Porsche it would tap into the entry level sports car market. The two companies went into a ‘gentlemen’s agreement’ that produced the Porsche 914.”
Chevrolet accounted for 43 lots in the sale and the maker found its leader in a 1959 convertible Impala. This was also a movie car, featured in the 2017 film Baby Driver. The car had a 348 V-8 tri-power engine and came restored, with new canvas top, paint and interior. Behind at $83,600 was a 1958 Impala with a 283-cubic-inch V8 engine that was in nut and bolt restored condition. Born in the 30s but restored to modern times was a 1938 Master Street Rod, $30,800, and a 1939 Cabriolet, $51,700. The former was originally created and owned by Bill Wyso of Schenectady, an award-winning creator of hot rods and interiors.
The museum deaccessioned a 1931 Pierce Arrow Model 42 Phaeton, which sold for $82,500. The car had been featured in the museum’s “East of Detroit” exhibit and is powered by a 132-bhp 385-cubic-inch straight eight with a four-speed manual transmission. The Great Depression would ultimately do the company in when it closed its doors in 1938. The 42 Phaeton was made towards the end of a five-year run where Studebaker controlled the company, which began in 1928. Two other sales that benefited the museum included automobiles of earlier times: a 1910 Maxwell AB Roadster, $20,900, and a 1909 Paterson model 14 buggy, $8,800.
Bidders appreciated the original condition of a 1941 Packard 110 sedan, which sold for $28,050. The car featured a 237-cubic-inch inline flathead 6 engine and a three speed manual column shift. It has taken various awards in its past and was originally sold new on July 14, 1941 by Hon, Smithson & Raymond, a Packard dealer from Chicago. From four years later was a Ford 1946 Super Deluxe Woodie in completely restored condition that brought $55,000. The car was only shown once at Fall Hershey AACA where it received a Junior Award.
Ford’s Model A was represented by a 1929 stunner that had received a ground up restoration with body artwork for a florist shop. The Model A, produced between 1928 and 1931, came in a number of variations, including a truck chassis for delivery vehicles. It brought $21,450. From three years later was Plymouth’s 1932 PB Roadster, which featured a ground-up restoration and sold for $31,350. The auction house wrote, “There were ten different Plymouth models offered in 1932. The Businessman’s Roadster cost $495 and 3,225 were sold of a total production run of 121,468… This car is one of 320 ‘Collegiate Special’ models built in 1932. The black and orange colors represent Princeton University and it was a $40 factory option. This model is one known to be built as a Businessman’s Roadster featuring these eye catching colors.”
“This year’s auction further solidified the Saratoga Motorcar Auction’s standing among the national auction houses,” said Bill Windham, auction director. “The increased quality of consignments and the volume of online and phone bidders this year was incredible.”
The 2021 Saratoga Motorcar Auction will take place on September 24 and 25 on the grounds of the Saratoga Spa State Park. For more information about the Saratoga Automobile Museum, www.saratogaautomuseum.org or call 518-587-1935. For more information about the Saratoga Motorcar Auction, www.saratogamotorcarauction.org.
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