HomeThe MarketThird auction joins Amelia Island lineup

Third auction joins Amelia Island lineup


Collection of Virgil Exner Imperial convertibles | Photo courtesy Hollywood Wheels
Collection of Virgil Exner Imperial convertibles | Photos courtesy Hollywood Wheels

There’s a new kid on the auction block this year at Amelia Island, where Hollywood Wheels joins RM and Gooding & Company with a third classic car sale.

Not that Hollywood Wheels is new to auction action. It’s been in business for going on a decade. And while this will be its first auction at Amelia Island, it is not the first time its owner has staged an event there.

“We went to Amelia Island last year with our Festivals of Speed event,” said Mike Flynn Jr., owner of Hollywood Wheels and a partner in the Festivals of Speed shows.

The Festivals of Speed are celebrations of exotic sports cars, designed so people with supercars can display them in a concours-style setting, and so car enthusiasts can see those cars and visit vendors offering an exhibition of automotive and luxury lifestyle products and services.

The inaugural Amelia Island Festival of Speed was held last year at the Omni Amelia Island Plantation, which was undergoing a massive renovation with 80,000 square feet of new facilities.

Seeing the potential in that additional indoor space, “We contracted for that space and decided to bring in the auction element this year,” Flynn said. Some 120 vehicles will be offered at the first Hollywood Wheels Amelia Island Select Motorcars & More sale March 8, but Flynn already is planning to expand the auction to two days and more than 200 cars in 2015.

“I’ve been a car collector since the 1980s,” Flynn said. “I got into the auction business in Fort Lauderdale after Kruse got out. We’ve done sales at the Palm Beach convention center twice a year for the last five years, a spring and a fall auction.


This is just another thing before Bill’s (Amelia Island concours founder Bill Warner’s) big show on Sunday.”

— Mike Flynn Jr.



“I’m a customer of RMs and Auctions America and Barrett-Jackson and Dana’s (Mecum Auctions), but to me there’s starting to be a void at Amelia. In Monterey you have five auctions and lots going on. Scottsdale is the same way, with five or six auctions and lots of stuff going on. At Amelia we brought the Festivals of Speed to add things to do.”

Now, he says, he’s adding more than 100 cars to those being offered by RM and Gooding & Company. He also said his auction will start at 2 p.m. Saturday March 8, about the time RM’s sale is winding down. The Festival of Speed is Friday and Saturday, March 7-8.

“All we’re doing is adding another 100 cars to the market. A couple hundred cars (at RM and Gooding) isn’t a lot on such a weekend. We’re just adding a few more handpicked cars for the customers who already are there,” Flynn said.

“We’re not a catalog auction. We’re not trying to mimic Rob (Myers) or David (Gooding), but we have great cars. We try go have something for everyone. They can be $25,000 cars or million-dollar cars, but something for everyone.

“We just want to enhance the whole Amelia Island experience. Everyone is there anticipating the concours on Sunday. This is just another thing before Bill’s (Amelia Island concours founder Bill Warner’s) big show on Sunday.”

Among the consignments for Hollywood Wheels’ inaugural Amelia Island auction is a group of 1957-61 Imperial Crown convertibles that will be offered as a single lot. Flynn said the cars were collected by a woman whose husband also was a car collector, but her interest was in the big convertibles designed by Virgil Exner when he led Chrysler’s design staff.

“She wants them to go to one collection or to a museum,” Flynn said. “They will be sold as one lot. Yes, it takes some buyers out, but we have had a lot of people and museums inquire about them.”

Watson Indy roadster
Watson Indy roadster

Also being offered is the first Indy-style roadster built by A.J. Watson, whose cars dominated the 500-mile race in the 1950s. This 1954 was built by Watson and Jud Philips for car owner Bob Estes.

“It was painted once but otherwise is all original,” Flynn said, adding that the car finished seventh in its rookie run at Indy, didn’t finish because of transmission troubles in 1955 but was third in 1956, “the last time it raced.”

The docket also includes the 2012 Bugatti Veyron in red and red displayed at the 2012 Frankfurt auto show, a Cadillac limo built for the president of the Dominican Republic, an all-original 1934 Covered Wagon camper trailer, a 1968 L88 Chevrolet Corvette, and several motorcycles, including the 1949 Triumph Trophy TR5 “Fonzie” Scrambler from the Happy Days television show, a pair of 1930s Brough Superiors (one with a sidecar), and a 1918 Harley-Davidson with a sidecar and single-family ownership.

Larry Edsall
Larry Edsall
A former daily newspaper sports editor, Larry Edsall spent a dozen years as an editor at AutoWeek magazine before making the transition to writing for the web and becoming the author of more than 15 automotive books. In addition to being founding editor at ClassicCars.com, Larry has written for The New York Times and The Detroit News and was an adjunct honors professor at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.

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