As Gord Duff, a car specialist for RM Auctions, got to talking about the various vehicles that will be offered at the company’s sale March 8 at Amelia Island, he stopped his words for a realization.
“There’s a little bit of a theme going on with long-term ownership,” he said. “And it’s not just any car, but some of the best cars in their own right.”
For example, a 1965 R-model Shelby GT350 that not only is the winningest of its ilk but has been owned by the consignor since 1967.
Or a Dietrich-bodied 1932 Packard Twin Six individual custom convertible sedan being offered for the first time in more than 30 years.
Or that among the 16 cars being offered from the Malcolm Pray Collection are some that Pray owned for more than 45 years.
“The longer somebody’s owned a car makes it that much more special for the buyers,” Duff said.
“Not to everybody, but it makes a difference to certain clients,” he added. “You’d rather be the second or third owner than the 10th owner. You’d rather buy a car with long-term ownership than one that’s traded hands every few years.”
In the case of the ’65 Shelby GT350, it tics several boxes — long-term ownership, racing history (a big deal because of the importance of racing cars at the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance), and 2014 marks the 50th anniversary of the Mustang itself.
Driven by well-known American sports car racer Charlie Kemp, the No. 23 B/Production Shelby won 17 consecutive races during the 1968 and 1969 seasons and clocked 184 miles per hour at Daytona, fastest speed ever for a 289-powered Shelby — and that includes Shelby Cobras, the RM auction catalog notes.
“With race cars that were very successful, they also may have crashed a lot,” Duff said, “but this one is pretty clean.” Indeed, the catalog notes that the car, with a pre-auction estimate of $900,000 to $1.2 million, still wears “remarkably original” bodywork.
As for the ’32 Packard, it’s been part of the Bob and Sandra Bahre Collection for some three decades. Carrying the same pre-auction estimate as the Kemp Shelby, the V-windshield Packard is one of no more than six such cars built with Dietrich coachwork. Duff noted that while the car was restored around 25 years ago, “you’d swear it was done a year or two ago it has been looked after so well.”
And then there are the cars from the Pray Collection. Pray, who died last August at the age of 84, was an early Volkswagen and Porsche dealer who at one point also owned the largest Saab and Audi dealerships in the U.S. He was a benefactor to organizations working to mentor and motivate youth through Scouting and other programs.
Cars from his collection crossing the block at RM’s Amelia sale include a 1958 BMW 507 Series II roadster, a 1938 SS 100 Jaguar roadster, a 1935 Amilcar Type G36 Pegase boattail roadster, a 1961 Ferrari 250 GT Series II cabriolet, a 1937 Bugatti Type 57C roadster, and a 1937 Delahaye 135 Competition Court torpedo roadster with Figoni et Falaschi bodywork.
While several of those are seven-figure cars, Pray’s cars also include several five-figure vehicles, among them a 1941 Ford Super Deluxe woody wagon and a 1948 Lincoln Continental cabriolet.
It is fitting to sell his cars here.”
— Gord Duff
[/pullquote]“He had some fabulous cars,” Duff said. “Not all were concours quality, but to purchase them off the second owner, those opportunities become less and less.”
Duff added that Pray was both a regular participant at Amelia Island concours and a long-time client of RM.
“It is fitting to sell his cars here,”Duff said.
Pray’s is not the only collection being offered at the RM auction. Several cars, including an alloy-bodied 1949 Jaguar XK120 roadster, are being offered from the estate of Charles R. Swimmer of San Diego.
Also crossing the block will be a 1957 Mercedes-Benz 300SL roadster, one of only 25 with original Rudge wheels. Originally, this one was owned by actress Natalie Wood, who was nominated for an Academy Award for her performance in Rebel Without a Cause. She bought the car when she was 19 years.
The car was a silver blue color, but the teenage actress had it repainted pink, though she left the original red interior as is. The car subsequently was restored to its original factory color.
The one-day sale includes 93 vehicles, ranging alphabetically from a 1947 Allard K1 roadster to a 1929 Willys-Knight 66B “Plaidside” roadster, and chronologically from a 1901 De Dion-Bouton New York-type Motorette to a 2007 Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren roadster.