Leake Auctions is not likely to stage another traditional collector car auction until Scottsdale in January 2021, but that doesn’t mean it won’t be offering cars for live-action bidding.
The company recently held its first online auction and plans to do them every other week for the rest of the year, said Gary Bennett, general manager of Leake, the collector car sector of Ritchie Bros.
Leake’s online auctions will be presented with a live auctioneer to announce and accept bids and with cars crossing a virtual auction block every 2-3 minutes. The next sale is scheduled for August 17, at 5 p.m. Eastern time, and will offer a docket of 68 cars.
Leake hopes to offer around 100 cars for bidding every other Monday through the rest of the year, although planning to reopen in-person auctions during Arizona Auction Week.
“I don’t believe the virtual world will ever take the place of the live-event world,” Bennett said. “We’re not selling commodities. This is an emotional, passion-driven hobby.
However, he added, with a live auctioneer and a live-auction-style format, “this is pretty exciting, it’s a reasonable substitute.”
Well, reasonable but not ideal, he might have added, since he also revealed that Leake Auctions had an agreement with the Texas Rangers baseball team to use its brand-new baseball stadium, Globe Life Field, for a live collector car auction in September.
“But we all know what’s happened in Texas and actually across the South,” Bennett said in reference to the Covid-19 pandemic. “Ritchie Bros. is not doing live events through the rest of 2020, it’s too much of a risk for customer and employees.”
Bennett said Leake’s first online sale encountered numerous technical issues, but it still had nearly 700 registered bidders from all 50 states and 15 countries and was witnessed online by nearly 30,000 viewers. Those technical issues reduced actual sales, but despite that experience, “we have consignors knocking down our door,” said Brian Rose, Leake consignment director.
Leake planned to limit its first online sales to 60 vehicles, but the August 17 event will have a 68-car docket because of demand by consignors.
Leake hopes bidders will respond, even if they cannot, as Rose put it, “touch, feel and smell” the vehicles.
For one thing, Bennett said, Leake has had time to work out the technical glitches and has worked with consignors to improve vehicle online presentations, including the sharing of more video of vehicles.
For the August 17 sale, Leake said the 68 vehicles on the docket range in value from around $5,000 to $150,000, with an average of $43,000. The docket includes a 1933 Plymouth customized coupe with a supercharged V8 engine, 1941 Indian motorcycle, 1956 Jaguar XK140, a Hemi-powered 1969 Plymouth Road Runner coupe, 1970 Oldsmobile 442 convertible, 1993 Ferrari 512 TR and a 2008 Dodge Viper.
For details, visit the Leake website.