Auctions America holds what figures to be its largest Auburn Spring event May 8-10 with around 900 collector cars crossing the block, including the highly anticipated sale of the John Scotti Collection of more than 400 choice vehicles. All of the Scotti cars are offered at no-reserve.
Other highlights of the sweeping Auburn, Indiana, auction include a highly original classic 1939 Packard Twelve Touring cabriolet with coachwork by Brunn; a rare, restored 1934 Chrysler Custom Imperial Airflow limousine from the Scotti collection; a 1962 Chevrolet Impala SS 409 Lightweight Sport Coupe that has been largely untouched since it raced at the Indy Nationals in 1962; an as-found 1954 Jaguar XK 120SE drop head coupe (British for convertible) rescued from a Georgia barn; a 1925 Ahrens-Fox NS4 fire truck; and a unique 1941 Allan Herschell carousel converted to run on solar power by General Electric.
The Auburn Spring auction is one of two home-court events held by Auctions America at the historic Auburn Auction Park. The other is the Auburn Fall sale scheduled for August 27-31. The spring event starts up with a preview day on May 7 prior to three days of bidding.
For the first time, the Spring auction will be covered live by the NBC Sports Network, which is delivered to more than 80 million homes in the U.S., according to Auctions America. The auction also features live streaming on the auctionsamerica.com website.
An added attraction for the Auburn auction is the Special National Spring Meet of the Antique Automobile Club of America, which will bring sterling examples of early motoring to the auction complex for public display.
Auctions America is the “mainstream auction” subsidiary of RM Auctions, according to Keith Koscak, Auctions America car specialist, with a range of classic vehicles for everyone from hands-on hobbyists to high-end collectors.
“You have RM and Gooding (Gooding & Company) catalog-style of auctions, the extremely high-end blue-chip collector cars, and then Auctions America would be a mainstream auction; we kind of look after everything else,” Koscak said. “Really, we range from $5,000 to a million and a half. We sold a Duesenberg at Auburn here last fall for a million five. And we cover everything in between.”
The no-reserve Scotti collection has stirred a lot of attention for Auburn Spring, Koscak said. John Scotti is a Montreal new-car dealer with a passion for buying and selling a wide variety of interesting cars, from vintage American cruisers, classics and muscle cars to modern European exotics.
“Right now, our registered bidders are 3 or 4 times what they would normally be at this point, and I think the Scotti collection is going to bring in a lot of new bidders and buyers,” Koscak said.
Two smaller but no-less-special classic-car collections also have piqued interest: Seven authentic Chrysler 300 Letter Cars, both survivor and restored, from the Richard C. Rigoli Collection, including a 1955 C-300 hardtop and a 1960 300F convertible; and 18 mainly ’50s and ’60s General Motors cars from the Duffy Grove Collection, featuring a1963 Chevrolet Corvette fuel-injected roadster and a gorgeously restored 1957 Oldsmobile 98 J-2 convertible.
The barn-find 1954 Jaguar XK120SE has taken on a life of its own, Koscak added, gaining from a renewed interest among collectors for great cars that still have their dusty, musty patina from years of neglectful storage.
“It seems like today, barn-find cars like this are just as popular as fully restored cars to collectors,” he said. “You don’t see that many true barn-find cars these days. I think a lot of people refer to something they find in long-term ownership and in a garage somewhere as a barn find, but this literally came out of a barn.”
The sports car was stored away in the Georgia barn by the widow of the late owner, Koscak said. It sat unprotected for more than 40 years.
“One of my clients found out about it through the local Jaguar club,” he said. “He eventually ended up purchasing it (from the widow) and pulled it out of the barn. You can tell from the photos it’s the epitome of a true barn find. There’s like an inch of dirt on the thing, but that to me is what makes it really cool.”
Fortunately, the new owner appreciated the car in its raw condition and did not attempt to clean it up, Koscak said. He did get it running and driving, however. And quite possibly, the derelict Jaguar will be driven over the block in Auburn just like the restored cars, although the auction people will have to inspect it to make sure it’s safe to drive.
There are also two other possible issues, Koscak added.
“If it happens to be a rainy day, it probably won’t (be driven) because we don’t want to wash off the history,” he said. “Also, whether you can see through the windshield.”