Not all of the auction action of late has been taking place on the block. A new collector car auction company has been launched in Texas and a historic sales house has been sold in Europe.
The new Houston-based auction company is Cord & Kruse. Its founders are Craig Corbell, who among other things owns the rights to the Cord automobile trademark, and Tiffany Kruse, who is part of the Texas-based third generation of the well-known Kruse auction family; her father is Dan Kruse.
Cord & Kruse will launch February 19-20 with an auction via the Proxibid format, and will follow up a week later with another sale on the Motorious Online website. Cars still not selling will be advertised on the Cord & Kruse website for an additional 30 days.
Corbell has been a live-auction customer for several years; he acquired the rights to the Cord brand at a collector car auction. He’s observed that the live-auction audience continues to be dominated by older bidders.
“I’ve always been a younger person (at those auctions),” he said. “I’m 45 and I’m still a younger guy.”
But he adds that such a situation needs to change as older bidders are replaced by younger customers more accepting of online transactions.
“The business has always been intriguing to me,” Corbell said. “We want to take the good things from both live and online, and we want to keep the sellers’ costs down.”
He shared the story of friends who had a 2000 Mustang GT that had been supercharged by Richard Petty’s garage. A prominent online auction company wouldn’t accept the car because of its modifications, so the friends opted for a live sale, which meant a large entry fee, $2,000 in transportation costs, plus the expense of flying to the site to see the car on the block.
“It had a lot of costs whether they sold the car or not.”
Cord & Kruse has a $99 listing fee and a $250 charge for still and video photography, and it charges a 5 percent commission to the seller and 8 percent to the buyer. Corbell said Cord & Kruse also includes extensive customer-service support throughout the process.
Cars that don’t sell the first week of a sale are offered again the second week, and even afterward, Cord & Kruse will work with sellers and bidders to achieve a sale, Corbell said.
“We want to make it a no-brainer to try us,” he added.
While getting the new auction company up and running, Corbell continues to explore the possibility of putting the Cord brand back on the road. The release of recent low-volume production regulations from NHTSA would seem to propel such plans, and Corbell said he’s intrigued by reports that a new federal economic-stimulus plan could offer incentives to new US-based manufacturing efforts.
Meanwhile, historic auction house Coys of Kensington, which last year entered what the British call “administration” (a state of being unable to pay debts), has been purchased by the Calleri family, which runs Geolog International, a company founded in Italy in 1982 that provides on and offshore oilfield services with oil, gas and geothermal operations.
The Calleris also are car enthusiasts, and they have retained long-time Coys staffer Nick Wells as the auction company’s managing director. Wells also is part of the new ownership team.
“We are delighted to be working with Nick and his team in relaunching this world-recognized 102-year-old classic car business,” Richard Calleri was quoted in the sales announcement. “Thanks to Nick’s proven experience and professionalism, planned new service offerings and fully transparent sales processes, Coys will bring new sources of value to buyers and sellers of classic cars and propel the auction house into the next stage of its development.”
Wells added that changes include a new board of directors drawn from the classic car world to assist in strategic alliances and new product launches.
“We will be announcing our auction and event calendar shortly, both for the UK and Europe,” Wells added. “We are looking at both frequency and the quality of what we offer and will be bringing to the market a number of new ideas and locations that will provide new experiences that we hope will attract a much wider audience to the brand.”
Coys website lists three upcoming sales: April 10 at Essen, Germany; July 17 at Chiswick House in London; and December 8 at the Royal Horticultural Halls, also in London.