My Car Quest

February 28, 2020

The Gooding: Scottsdale 2015

by Wallace Wyss

Gooding, like RM, seems to be stretching the definition of what a classic car is. Like I wouldn’t have thought a 1963 Karmann Ghia is a collector car. Or how about a 1958 Bantam? Yet they both were there.

Karmann Ghia

Karmann Ghia

I think the 1962 Jaguar Mk. II was an interesting car to offer, very subtle, the kind of car a collector who wanted to be discreet about being a car collector would have. It was expected to sell for between $80,000 and $100,000 but sold for $52,800.

Shocking to those who haven’t kept up with Porsche prices was the 1963 Porsche Carrera coupe that was predicted to sell for $550,000 to $650,000. It sold for $643,500. Who would’ve thought those “bathtub Porsches” would ever be in the same league price wise today as Ferraris that cost three times as much back in the same model year of ’63?

Another Porsche that hurts me to see because I let mine go it is the ’59 convertible D they had for between $225,000 and $275,000, unrestored. I think I sold mine for $4,000 back in the day because I hated the vague shifting. Hey Porsches are hot, hot, hot today.

Also interesting was that Gooding had a 365GT 2 plus 2 Ferrari for $325,000 to $375,000 but Russo and Steele had one as well, so that’s a good test of which auction to take a Ferrari to, as Russo and Steele has a decidedly blue collar audience.

ROLLERS

One of my personal favorites at Gooding was a ’58 Rolls Royce SC I drophead but not the usual body style, the more subtle Mulliner body. I don’t think the audience appreciates yet how special these rarer models are even among Rolls fans. They predicted between $500K and $700K but $550,000 took the car.

Another Roller I liked at Gooding even more was the Phantom V Sedanca de Ville, where the front opens via a a sliding roof for the chauffeur. This was much nicer condition than the fixed roof Phantom VI over at Russo and Steele but we will have to see what that went for by comparison. Liberace had a Sedanca like this on a PV chassis but his, last I heard, was in storage and it would take a heap of work to peel off those crystals that make it look like it was encrusted with diamonds. I think the Sedanca style is very rare but rarest of all on Phantoms of this era is the Landaulette style where the rear of the roof was a convertible top. Gooding estimated theirs would go for somewhere beyond $500,000 but was a no sale as far as I can tell.

Rolls Royce

Rolls Royce

They also had a red Cobra like RM but Gooding’s Cobra was a 289 small block, predicted to go between $1,200,000 and $1,400,000. And to think when I wrote the book Shelby’s Wildlife back in 1977 the small blocks were about $3,000 to $5,000.

I think it is almost impossible for a beginner to drive, but high on bragging rights was the 1990 Ferrari 641/2 Formula One race car they had guessimated to sell for between $800,000 – $1,100,000 . Would you have to have your own race crew to run it? I dunno, a F1 car is a rarefied beast to own—no spare parts and you would have to have machine shops on call to make parts..

Ferrari Formula One Race Car

Ferrari Formula One Race Car – Photo by Wallace Wyss

In “little Ferraris” I was shocked to see a very clean white Dino 246GT. I had never seen a white one before. That color really shows off the Pininfarina lines well. They estimated it would go for between $550,000 and $750,000. I find that last estimate hard to take as I remember when Dinos weren’t considered Ferraris but a separate “baby Ferrari” brand. I bought one in the ‘80s for a customer for $30,000.

They also had a 206GT Dino which is rarer than the 246GT by a bunch and all aluminum, with knock-off wheels. It wasn’t restored but the type of customer for this model wouldn’t want a mediocre restoration, they would rather have it “as found” so they can do it right.

ODDBALLS

Gooding also had oddballs that I didn’t think belonged at such a fancy auction such as a 1968 Chevrolet Sportsvan. Who would buy it except a guy that started out his commercial business vehicle which such a car and wanted to recall the old days when he and his business were young. A 1964 Pontiac Tempest wagon was another “why is it here?” car for me.

One car I didn’t expect to see at a toney auction was a 1959 Fiat 1200 TV Trasformabile, a two seater sports car with great pretensions of style.

They estimated it would go for between $80,000 – $120,000 . It had an odd passenger seat that faced the wrong way. I haven’t figured out why, but it may have to do with odd Italian notions of romance, who knows. It is a shapely car, too bad it doesn’t have an Alfa badge or Lancia instead of Fiat or it would be worth more. It sold for $81,400.

Pontiac Tempest Station Wagon

Pontiac Tempest Station Wagon – Sold for $26,400

One unusual Ferrari sale was the white 400 Superamerica Series I Aerodinamico that fetched $4,070,000. It was stunning the way they displayed it.

In Cobras they also had a ’64 289, unrestored, but were hoping to get between 1,000,000 and $1.4 Mil. They got $979,000. By the way though for decades the big block Cobras had “bragging rights” for more power and matcho, in truth small block Cobras were in a lot more races than big blocks because once Ford pushed the GT40 program hard in’65, they withdrew almost all support for big block Cobras so they were raced less.

PORSCHE MANIA

In Porsches Gooding were betting hard on the Porsche Speedster, similar to the one Paul Newman drove in some detective movie, or James Dean raced. They were betting the one they had would go for $275,000 to $375,000. It went for $484,000.

LOCATION, NOT PLUSH FROM THE OUTSIDE

By the way the Gooding is held in a tent in back of Macys at Scottsdale Fashion Square off of Camelback Road and I have to say that at first approach it didn’t look promising, kind of a white tent pitched “out back” of the stores as it were, but once I entered, I realized it was a great setting with two long tents full of cars and then the main tent and a huge open display area with 10-20 cars. Gooding deserves praise for the way they displayed some of the cars in a center “courtyard surrounded by two tents on either side. So that Arizona sunlight lit up the cars Especially delectable was this white 400 set on a plexiglass or a glass sheet that looked clean, clean, clean. I feel that the right setting for the car, paying attention to playing off its color, was instrumental in getting such a high purchase price.

Gooding Auction

Gooding Auction Cars and People – Photo by Wallace Wyss

Not to be left out of the praise was the food (free until 10 a.m.). OK, granted, an entrance ticket and catalog set you back $200 but you got a choice of how you wanted your eggs cooked, wonderful pastries, sausage and coffee including very exotic blends made to order. Plus you had waitresses flitting about giving out drinks and white leather couches for m’lady to sit on. Among the guests I saw was Sir Stirling Moss and wife. (Every time I see him I am always tempted to sidle up and whisper something “soto voice” like “Watch it at Woodcote, Stirling, bit of a sticky wicket.”

Gooding Auction

Where the food was – Photo by Wallace Wyss

I also saw just about everybody who is anybody in the exotic car field including celebrated barn finder Tom Shaughnessy, Bruce Trenery of Fantasy Junction, Harley Cluxton of Grand Touring cars, one time a big player in Cobras and GT40s and a former team owner at LeMans, Mr. & Mrs. George Bentley of Lafayette, LA which despite their last name specialize in Jaguars, Mr. and Mrs. Skirmants, the 356 buffs from Florida, Frank Mandarano who started Corcorso Italiano, and Barnaby Brokaw of Southern California.

If you want to meet “who’s who” in the classic car field, I’d say that Gooding is a good place to meet them but be warned –very few people there wore any badges identifying which brand they were acolytes. But fortunately, through such well positioned embroidery I did meet famed Jaguar restorer Terry Larson and a German mechanic, Heinz Heinrich, from Fallbrook, CA who restored most of the 904s in existence in the US.

I didn’t see my barn find rivals, Tom Cotter and Matt Stone, but presume they are out in the boonies looking in actual barns while I prefer to hear tall tales while sipping an aperitif.

By the way my own fashion statement was blue jeans, washed but not ironed, caiman cowboy boots, dress shirt and Armani double breasted blazer plus my Victorian “steampunk” style glasses. I didn’t see a single guy in a cowboy hat, maybe the real cowboys are out on the ranch, but I lament the disappearance of country style that used to be one reason to go to Arizona.

Ah, I can hear you now asking: Well, why don’t those attending the Gooding wear marque badges? My theory is that they don’t want to open themselves up to being buttonholed by some seller who has a car coming up, you know the type that bombastically opens up with something like: “Hey, if you like Porsches? Get a look at the yadda yadda I have coming up at 3 o’clock, etc.”

NOVELTIES

In the novelty department they had a 1960 Fiat Jolly. Now if you were a denizen of the Cote d’Azur back in the ‘60s, you’d know that high rollers like Henry Ford II and Giovanni Agnelli had these Fiats with cloth umbrella style canopies and wicker upholstery so when they got to a new island they could offload it and motor into the interior in search of God knows what (well, you know what they say about the native women…). Some were bodied by Ghia, in fact Jolly models kept Ghia alive during hard times. Gooding expected to fetch between $80,000 and $100,000 for it but got $170,500. Wow!

Fiat Jolly

Fiat Jolly

In sum, I would say that Gooding was the highlight of my fleet-footed 24 hour trek through Scottsdale, made nicer by the attractiveness of the setting inside the tent, and not to forget the free food.

But as far as what cars Gooding will offer at the next few auctions, Scottsdale left me puzzled as to what a collector car is—the definition is no longer so cut and dried as it was in the days of Duesenbergs and other prewar classics and a few postwar cars, now it seems some cars are there purely on whimsy where I, as a potential buyer, want everything to be a past winner proven on the auction trail.

THE AUTHOR: Wallace Wyss is a self-taught fine artist, doing portraits of collector cars. For a list of prints, you can write him at: Photojournalistpro@gmail.com

Sell your classic car on My Car Quest – click here.

Sir Stirling Moss and Wallace Wyss

Sir Stirling Moss and Wallace Wyss – Photo supplied by Wallace Wyss

Summary
The Gooding: Scottsdale 2015
Article Name
The Gooding: Scottsdale 2015
Description
Scottsdale left the author puzzled as to what a collector car is—the definition is no longer so cut and dried as it was in the days of Duesenbergs.
Author

Comments

  1. Cindy Meitle says

    NOOOOOOOO!!! Not….the THE word!!!

    For decades it was always, “Are you going to Barrett-Jackson?” Then, it became a huge social event. How do I know, I just spent 8 years living in Arizona. Suddenly, everyone started referring to the event as “The” Barrett-Jackson and locals would correct me….ME who has over two decades in the collector car industry….by reminding me, it’s “THE Barrett-Jackson!”

    This is a fabulous article Wally, but I will never adapt to “THE Gooding” or “THE Bonhams” or “THE RM.” What if we were to call that certain event held on the Monterey Peninsula on the third Sunday of August “THE Pebble?” You definitely won’t hear it from me, and I hope the rest of our industry opts for tradition as well.

    Love your articles, love the blog!

    Cindy

  2. Roger Ramjet says

    Wallace,
    Great, great article, and spot on!!!
    We visited all of the auctions and could not agree more; Gooding is a class act. And, it seems, the results seem to prove that it pays to be so.

    I find it very simpatico that you get surprised at today’s eclecticism of “collectable cars”. I think that feeling of surprise is a product of our age. The young Turks are taking over, and it is as it should be. In the next ten years you will see the inclusion of the Japanese cars from the ’60 and ’70 and we will have to hear over and over again how “I had a Datsun 240Z and I sold it for $1,000 some years ago, wow look how much they fetch today, had I only known…”

    On the subject of the Fiat Jolly….WOW!!! $170,000!!! Incredible!
    We met the restorer who spent all 3 days right by his car not tiring of effusively and enthusiastically expounding on his restoration. He was ready with his picture album and complete list of suppliers, very helpful. What a great young man. Unassuming, straight forward, open, ernest, you could not help wanting to wish him all of the best in life. He was a person that you wanted to know. He HAD to sell the car because he agreed with his wife that, now that the new baby was born, it was time to move into the next stage of their life. Funny, he confided that if he could get close to one hundred thousand dollars he would be very happy and so would his wife. I can not help but smile that he got what he got!! The car was beautiful, for sure, but I’m certain that buyers were buying MORE than the car. They were buying the SELLERS as well, better said, they were buying the spirit embuid into the car by the sellers. When I showed the results of this sale to my wife she said “Papi, I’m sure that the buyers were happy to, maybe, over pay and at the same time help someone as nice as the seller”. If she is right, the buyers will feel great every time they see or even think of this little Jolly.

  3. wallace wyss says

    I agree being right there by your car can be a good sales tool. remember a couple years ago my former publisher stood by his Cobra at the Gooding for hours, missing many events at Monterey but fetched $660K for his efforts. Tom Warth could sell ice to Eskimos!

    I dread seeing Japanese cars at future auctions. They were not built to cruise at 160 mph, or even have as much luxury as a 70 year old Mercedes 300S. I don’t go to an auction to see a mass produced car unless it’s an odd combination of options–such as the 1969 ZL1 Corvette, one of one or a limited production car like a Toyota 2000GT..

    I still need a good reason for there being ordinary cars there like the Pontiac tempest wagon. I thought well. maybe novelty but one or two novelty cars at an expensive auction are enough for me because they are taking space that a real collector car could have.

  4. Tom Krefetz of Classic Showcase comes to mind as someone who is available at his cars to answer questions and expound upon the work that went into flawless restorations. I’ve watched him in action for over 20 years now.At times it’s not uncommon for Tom to have the most Jags and other cars consigned to an auction like RM’S Arizona sale each January, and his presence by the cars has always brought powerful sales results coupled with the auction team’s expertise for having the right people in the room.

Speak Your Mind

*