Leake sees new ownership expanding not only its reach, but the collector car marketplace
With 450 vehicles on its docket, Leake Auction Company will start its Dallas Spring sale with an evening that includes a customer-appreciation dinner and, as dessert, the sale of automobilia and as many as 60 vehicles on Thursday, April 12.
The heart of the auction begins at 10 a.m. Friday with 150 cars being sold that day before a bidder and consignor party that evening at the Gas Monkey Garage. The sale concludes with the big Saturday finale in the historic Dallas Market Hall.
“We are excited to start the event on Thursday evening — this is new for us and will allow us to expand our offerings, while making it more accessible for our clients,” Richard Sevenoaks, general manager of Leake Auction Company, said in the pre-sale news release.
“Richard Rawlings will once again host our exclusive bidder and consignor party at his garage on Friday evening,” Sevenoaks added. “This is always a fun opportunity for our clients to tour his garage and see behind the scenes of his TV show.”
The Dallas auction will be the second since Leake was acquired by Ritchie Bros. — well, sort of, because Leake also has been selling a few cars at Ritchie Bros. heavy-equipment auctions.
For example, at the recent Ritchie Bros. auction in Fort Worth, Texas, “we ran 10 cars through the middle of the auction, and they did (sold for) about 10 percent above what our estimate was, which made us very pleased,” Sevenoaks said in an interview with the ClassicCars.com Journal.
Sevenoaks said the idea is to broaden the collector car marketplace.
“How many cars can they absorb at a heavy-equipment auction?” he wondered aloud. “Is it 100? Is it 200?.”
Meanwhile, he said, cars not hammered sold at Leake sales can remain available through the Iron Planet (another Ritchie Bros. subsidiary) website, and he noted that at least five cars not sold during bidding at Leake’s Oklahoma City sale in February sold later online.
Bidding also can be done online during Leake auctions.
“There’s saturation in the traditional (collector car) marketplace,” Sevenoaks said. For example, he pointed out, in the next few weeks, there are around a dozen major auctions just within what he calls “our region.” Bidders, he said, cannot physically attend all of those sales.
“We’ve made a decision that the digital world is the current and future marketplace,” he said, adding that the Leake family (Sevenoaks is the son-in-law of founder James Leake) has traditionally kept up with technology, buying radio stations early in that era, adding three television stations in the 1950s, and also participating in the cable revolution.
Regarding technology, Sevenoaks said, “You stay in front or get buried by it.”
The same thing, he noted, applies to those consigning cars to auctions. There is a major demographic shift taking place, and younger customers want newer cars. Prices largely have stagnated for cars from the 1950s and ‘60s as new bidders seek cars from the 1990s and even the 2000s.
“The marketplace tells us where to go,” Sevenoaks said. “We’re going where the market is driving us.”
He said there was a similar transition in the late 1970s when most of the cars at collector auctions were pre-war vehicles, when a 1968 Ford Shelby GT500 was just a used car and when “you couldn’t give away a Ferrari.”
But with the influx of baby-boomer bidders came an era in which you couldn’t afford a Ferrari.
“The lineup we are presenting in our April auction truly has something for every car collector, especially those who are looking for trucks, Broncos and exotics,” Sevenoaks said.
Among the featured cars are a 2005 Ford GT, 2008 Factory Five GTM and 2013 Ferrari 458 Italia.
But don’t fret, the docket also includes the likes of a 1969 Plymouth Road Runner, 1970 Dodge Challenger, a 1970 Ford Torino Cobra, even some 1950s Chevys, and a ’74 K-5 Blazer.