A lot happened in the collector car world during 2016.
- Jerry Seinfeld sold a passel of Porsches.
- A couple of firsts at Pebble Beach as a Lancia and a first-time entrant won best of show.
- The Le May museum pulled three classics from its collection and drove them from Tacoma to Detroit, the feat all the more impressive since the drive took place in winter weather.
- Pardon the pun but muscle cars are flexing their muscles again on the auction blocks.
- Speaking of auction blocks, records were set at the Monterey sales for highest prices paid for an America, a British, a French and a pre-war vehicle.
And the list continues, as you’ll see starting tomorrow when we launch our annual countdown of what our editorial staff considers to be the top 10 collector car stories of the year.
But while we limit the countdown to the top 10, there are several other stories that unfolded during 2016 that may not have made the final cut, but were significant enough that we’d be derelict if we didn’t bring them to your attention at least one more time:
- Popular auctioneer Max Girado and the company’s managing director for European operations leaves RM Sotheby’s after a decade to launch his own London-based collector car brokerage.
- After his departure from Barrett-Jackson in 2015, perhaps the most popular collector car auctioneer of recent times, Spanky Assiter, returns to take the gavel at the inaugural Amarillo Collector Car Auction.
- Two brand new collector car auctions companies launched in 2016 — The Motorsport Auction Group (MAG) was created to take over the annual sale in Reno during Hot August Nights and collector Bradley R. Farrell, chief operating officer for the short-lived Keno Brothers auctions, founded The Finest Automobile Auctions, staging sales at Hershey and Aspen/Snowmass in 2016 and adding a Boca Raton date early in 2017.
- New, too, was the inaugural Atlanta Concours d’Elegance held at the Chateau Elan resort of Don Panoz, sports and racing car builder and sanctioning body leader.
- Sometimes, Mecum Auctions’ huge sale early in the year at Kissimmee, Florida, is overshadowed by the ensuing Arizona Auction Week, but not in 2016, not with Mecum posting more than $100 million (including buyer’s fees) in sales. Three vehicles — all American muscle cars from the early 1970s — sold for more than $1.6 million at the 10-day auction.
- Turmoil engulfs the AACA Museum and its relationship with the Antique Automobile Club of America. The museum has gone through seven acting or full-time general managers since 2007 and it was announced recently that the proposed merger between the club and museum will not take place.
- And in one of the saddest stories of the year, Ralph Marano Sr. had just completed an 18-month restoration of his 1938 Packard 1605 Super Eight with one-off Bohman Schwartz coachwork, the car making its debut at the Hilton Head Island concours d’elegance, where it won best in class honors and was expected to be a top contender for best of show. That is, until something went wrong and it rolled backward off the berm where it was parked and became submerged in a lagoon.