2015 top stories: No. 6 – Edison concours, new auctions join the classic car calendar

2015 top stories: No. 6 – Edison concours, new auctions join the classic car calendar

Brand new classic car events launched during the past 12 months and a number of young events grew nicely during the year.

Edison's Glenmont home in New Jersey is site of new concours | photos courtesy edisonconcours.org

Edison’s Glenmont home in New Jersey is site of new concours | photos courtesy edisonconcours.org

Brand new classic car events launched during the past 12 months and a number of young events grew nicely during the year.

Of the new events, two come most immediately to mind, the Edison Concours d’Elegance and the Keno Brothers auction.

The Edison Concours was founded by the father/daughter team Joe and Caroline Cassini and finally brought back a true, top-tier concours to the North East.

If you were fortunate enough to attend this event, you got to experience what an amazing job the Cassinis did. The cars were the very finest examples available and came from all over the country. The venue at the Thomas Edison Estate in New Jersey proved an ideal location for a concours.

Keno Brothers discuss a Ferrari during auction preview | Keno photo by Renato Zacchia

Keno Brothers discuss a Ferrari during auction preview | Keno photo by Renato Zacchia

The Keno Brothers “Rolling Sculpture” auction in New York City was another first-time event and, as I was personally involved in the auction (presenting the vehicle descriptions from the podium), I will do my best to objectively describe the event.

The presentation of the cars, the quality of the vetting process of each of them, and the overall venue, which included a VIP room with an open bar, digital tablet computers to view the auction catalog given to all registered bidders, and tremendous hospitality and concierge services offered to all bidders, made this a great auction to attend.

The negatives of the sale were the overly long videos played before the bidding began on each car, estimates that were the widest range we have ever seen, and reserves that we aggressive — to put it mildly.

With all that said, the event was not a bad first effort and incorporated many good ideas that were executed well.

Another new auction in 2015 was the Bonhams sale at Amelia Island. Bonhams was smart to stage an auction ahead of the Gooding and RM Sotheby’s auctions. The sale featured some great cars, especially for a first time sale at a new venue. There are some timing and scheduling issues that still need to be worked out; we feel that moving the preview to Thursday and the auction on Friday would be beneficial, even if it is on top of the Gooding sale, since many people do not arrive until Thursday, which means fewer buyers in the room. However, now that the sale is established, this might not be such a issue for 2015.

Auctions America staged its first sale at Hilton Head Island | Larry Edsall photo

Auctions America staged its first sale at Hilton Head Island | Larry Edsall photo

Even with the early time of the sale, Bonhams’ numbers were very strong with a total of 64 of 82 cars sold for $13.8 million.

Yet another new auction in 2015 was the Auctions America sale at Hilton Head Isalnd. This auction was a bit different for Auctions America in the way it was presented and conducted and reminded us a lot of one of its parent company’s sales in the way the cars were presented and sold. The cars on offer included pre-war to post-war vehicles with everything from full classics to modern sports cars. Despite if being a new venue, Auctions America sold 64 of 95 cars for nearly $5.5 million.

The classic car community, especially that segment into motorsports, also got a new destination in 2015 with the opening of the World of Speed Museum in Wilsonville, near Portland, Oregon. The museum has nearly 100 cars on display.

Other inaugural events during 2015 included the Classic Americana show during Monterey Car Week, Mecum Auctions in Denver, as well as new venues for the Desert Concorso, and for Mecum’s Monterey auction and Auctions America’s LA-area sale.

In addition to the debutants, young events really moved up to the next level this year. A few standouts were the Pinehurst Concours d’Elegance, Kiawah Island Motoring Retreat, and the Arizona Concours d’Elegance. Each has really started to grow and expand, offering even higher quality cars as well as improving overall programs and hospitality.

And all these new and newer events speak to the continued growth of the car hobby. While the calendar gets even more crowded each year, we appreciate how events are moving into areas that have been less well represented in the classic car hobby.

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