HomeThe MarketRM’s Auburn sale shows softening collector car market with lower results

RM’s Auburn sale shows softening collector car market with lower results


RM Auction’s Auburn Fall sale, the 49th such event held during the Auburn Cord Duesenberg Festival, posted $16.6 million in sales from its four days of auctioneering at Auburn Auction Park in Indiana, with an impressive 90 percent sell-through rate.

The total, however, was down from last year’s Auburn Fall sale, which hit $21.7 million.  More than 600 collector cars and 800 lots of automobilia were offered.

Leading the results in the first and second slots were a pair of ultra-low-mileage 2005 Ford GT sports cars that went for $302,500 and $291,500, respectively, once again showing the enduring strength of these young classics.  All results include auction fees.

A 1933 Chrysler CL Imperial Dual Windshield Phaeton was a top-10 classic

In third place was another Ford-powered sports car, a 1970 De Tomaso Mangusta by Ghia, which sold for $214,500 after an intense 4-way bidding competition.

The next four slots were taken by pre-war American classics: a 1933 Chrysler CL Imperial Dual Windshield Phaeton, for $192,500; a 1931 Cadillac V-12 Phaeton, also for $192,500; a 1923 Duesenberg Model A Sport Touring, $187,000; and a 1935 Packard Twelve Convertible Sedan by Rollston, $160,000.

“We saw great energy and attendance across all four days at Auburn Fall,” Gord Duff, global head of auctions, RM Sotheby’s Group, said in a news release. “The auction room was packed throughout the weekend, and there were lineups out to the road on Saturday of people eager to get into the Auction Park.

The 1953 Corvette reached $148,500

“While we’ve witnessed a softening in the collector car market in 2019, our Auburn Fall sale continues to see strong results, with 90 percent of all lots sold and 75 percent of all cars sold this year. 2020 will mark 50 years of Auburn Fall and we’re very excited to continue this great Labor Day weekend tradition.”

One of the highlights of the auction was the generosity shown during a charity sale.

“A memorable moment of the weekend, a 1993 Chevrolet Corvette was auctioned off on Saturday,” RM said in the release, “with all proceeds benefitting the Spread Ari’s Light Foundation, founded by long-term friends of RM Auctions, the Dougans, and named in the memory of their daughter Arianna ‘Ari’ Dougan, a young girl who battled cancer for most of her eleven years, but touched the lives of so many people, both in her hometown of St. Louis and around the world.

“The car quickly sold for $9,000 to a bidder in the room, who immediately donated it back to be re-auctioned for the foundation. The car resold to a second bidder in the room for an additional $9,000.”

The top-10 sales at RM Auction’s Auburn sale were:

  1. 2005 Ford GT, $302,500
  2. 2005 Ford GT, $291,500
  3. 1970 De Tomaso Mangusta by Ghia, $214,500
  4. 1933 Chrysler CL Imperial Dual-Windshield Phaeton, $192,500
  5. 1931 Cadillac V-12 Phaeton, $192,500
  6. 1923 Duesenberg Model A Sport Touring, $187,000
  7. 1935 Packard Twelve Convertible Sedan by Rollston, $160,000
  8. 1971 Plymouth ‘Cuda Convertible, $150,000
  9. 1953 Chevrolet Corvette, $148,500
  10. 2012 McLaren MP4-12C GT3, $145,000

(All results include auction fees)

RM Sotheby’s Group’s next auction is the The Sáragga Collection in Comporta, Portugal, that takes place September 21.  The following week, on September 28 in Dayton, Ohio, RM Sotheby’s presents the unique Taj Ma Garaj auction with an eclectic group of Porsche and Volkswagen cars and collectibles amassed by the late John Dixon.  For more information, visit the auction website.

Bob Golfen
Bob Golfen
Bob Golfen is a longtime automotive writer and editor, focusing on new vehicles, collector cars, car culture and the automotive lifestyle. He is the former automotive writer and editor for The Arizona Republic and SPEED.com, the website for the SPEED motorsports channel. He has written free-lance articles for a number of publications, including Autoweek, The New York Times and Barrett-Jackson auction catalogs. A collector car enthusiast with a wide range of knowledge about the old cars that we all love and desire, Bob enjoys tinkering with archaic machinery. His current obsession is a 1962 Porsche 356 Super coupe.


  1. Maybe person was down cause ticket price went up $10.00 from last year. Kept me from coming. Who figured someone needed to raise the price that much?????????

    • Eugene, Veterans were free and best just get a bidders pass. If you can’t afford an extra 10 bucks just go back to your trailer and watch more Beverly Hillbillies.

  2. With all due respect, the admission price for spectators is only a small portion of the overall income for an auction event. I don’t think a $10 increase in admission would prevent any serious bidder from attending. I bought several cars over the years at the Auburn Auction and the admission price was never a factor that determined whether I would attend.

    Besides, the quality of the homemade ice cream sold out of a booth manned by a local ladies group was itself worth the price of admission.

    • Yeah. Someone intent on spending a quarter mil on a car is REALLY gonna flinch at ten buck$ more to get into the mix. Are there folks from other planets on this site, or am I missing something?
      Love the Mangusta. Compared to this, Panteras are dirt common. Seen many Panteras, not once have I seen a Mangusta in person.
      Had I the means, the Packard is more like me, even though the Imperial is dead sexy.
      But really- ten bucks? Who complains about ten bucks anymore? I reflexively tip bartenders & waitstaff more, and as a disabled veteran, even with a full-time job, I am far from wealthy.
      Breathe, man. Breathe.


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