There likely will be a couple of Ritchie Bros. banners displayed within the Bennett Event Center at State Fair Park in Oklahoma City, but the biggest change taking place at the Leake Auction Company sale probably won’t be noticed by buyers or sellers until the bidding begins.
Ritchie Bros. Auctioneers, which specializes in the auctioning of heavy construction and industrial equipment, recently purchased Leake, which has been auctioning collector vehicles since 1972. The OKC sale will be the first since the acquisition was announced in mid-January.
“The only real difference,” Leake president Richard Sevenoaks said when asked about changes,” will be the potential for 2.5 million online bidders,” as the Leake sales docket is exposed to Ritchie Bros. clients around the globe.
Sevenoaks said he and his team are eager to “intergrate our company into Ritchie Bros. and to take it (collector car auctions) to the next level. That’s invigorating to me.
“If you believe in the digital world, we’re going into the middle of it,” he added. “There’s a new generation attached to its cell phones. What we’re seeing at Cars and Coffees in Texas, Oklahoma and Arkansas is that 90 percent of the cars that come have drivers under 45 years of age, and they’re all walking around with a cellphone in their hand, not in their pocket. This is the digital world we’re preparing Leake Auctions for.
“I’m of the age that I’ve lived through a transition of generations,” said Sevenoaks, who learned the business from his father-in-law, auction founder Jim Leake.
“Fifty to 60 percent of the cars at auction used to be pre-World War II vehicles. Now, in the last 20 years, it’s all post-WWII. Probably in the next 5 to 10 years, as we (Baby Boomers) age out, it’s probably going to be post-2000.
“We’re going to be positioned to take full advantage of the technological revolution.”
Although the long-term strategic integration of Leake into Ritchie Bros. and its other fairly recent acquisition, Iron Planet, is a work in progress, Sevenoaks did say that Leake will have a presence and will auction off a few cars at an upcoming Ritchie Bros. equipment auction in Orlando, Florida.
But the Leake team’s primary focus is on its upcoming OKC sale, and the three others it has scheduled in 2018 — two in Dallas and one in its hometown of Tulsa.
Topping the Oklahoma City docket is the Rolland Museum Collection. Thirty vehicles — primarily racing cars and hot rods — collected by William Rolland, were to have been auctioned at a special stand-alone sale in early December in Southern California. However, the wild fires that swept across the region forced the cancellation of that sale, so the cars were transported to Oklahoma City for the sale this month.
In addition to hot rods and race cars — including several Indy racers — the Rolland grouping features the one-of-one 2006 GCT Speedster and a 2001 Ferrari 360 Modena Challenge car.
Also on the docket are half a dozen cars from the Oliver Collection, including a 1976 Cadillac Eldorado convertible, in triple white, and with less than 400 miles on the odometer. The rarely driven car was featured last year in a University of Oklahoma football parade.
The cover cars from the auction brochure are a 1919 Cadillac Model 57 V8-powered parade car with Brewster bodywork, a 1957 Ford Thunderbird and a 1947 Ford Deluxe 8 convertible coupe.
Another car of interest is a 1968 Shelby GT350 Hertz fastback that has undergone resto-mod treatment with its 301cid V8 engine bored to 348 and with updated automatic transmission, rear end, suspension and brakes.
Sevenoaks said the docket, which includes some 400 vehicles, leans toward the successful trends he observed while attending the recent Arizona Auction Week — collector pickup trucks, Mustangs, and Chevrolet Camaros, Corvettes and Chevelles.
The auction, which will feature a single block instead of Leake’s traditional two-ring setup, is scheduled for February 23-24.