HomeThe MarketRM Sotheby’s scores strong Arizona sale despite pandemic changes

RM Sotheby’s scores strong Arizona sale despite pandemic changes

Auction in unfamiliar venue with limited audience has 90 percent sell-through


RM Sotheby’s Arizona Week auction was an “unrivaled success,” the auction company says, despite a change from its customary venue and pandemic restrictions that reduced live attendance and hampered the usual social-gathering aspect of the 22nd annual event.

The auction had a 90 percent sell-through rate with 75 cars sold and a total result of more than $35 million, which is about $4.5 million more than last year’s pre-pandemic Arizona total held under normal conditions. 

The one-day RM Sotheby’s auction took place at the OTTO Car Club, a classic car storage and event facility in north Scottsdale, rather than the familiar setting at the historic Arizona Biltmore Resort; the Phoenix landmark has been closed with an anticipated reopening set for March. 

rm sotheby's
1937 Bugatti Type 57SC Tourer by Corsica

“It was tremendous to start the year off on such a positive note given that we were the sole remaining auction company to host a live event for the annual Arizona weekend,” Gord Duff, RM Sotheby’s global head of auctions, said in a news release. “In working with the local authorities and the capable team at OTTO, we were able to safely welcome clients back to the live auction format.” 

With in-person attendance restricted, about 50 percent of the bidding took place online, the Canadian auction company said.  Arizona week rival Bonhams also held a live auction, but without an audience and with bidding done remotely.

The other six Arizona Week collector car auctions were either canceled or postponed. The signature Barrett-Jackson auction was moved back to March.

A 1954 Ferrari 375 America Coupe by Vignale was a top seller

The top seller at RM Sotheby’s was, as expected, a bright-red 1955 Jaguar D-type competition car with “substantial race history” that sold for $6 million (all sales include auction fees) to a phone bidder.  The Jaguar with its iconic offset fin represented the highest sale of the January auctions, according to Hagerty.

The Jaguar was originally sold by Bernie Ecclestone to British racer Peter Blond, and retains many original components. 

The second highest price at RM Sotheby’s was for a rare 1937 Bugatti Type 57SC Tourer, one of eight examples bodied by Corsica and one of just two four-seater versions. It brought $4,735,000. The Bugatti, with its original chassis, engine, gearbox, differential and body, comes with a “known and fascinating ownership history,” the release says.

A 2020 LcLaren Speedtail sold for more than $3.2 million

After that came one of two modern exotics that cracked the auction’s top-10 list, a 2020 McLaren Speedtail, sold for $3,277,500.  The other is in the No. 9 spot, a 2019 Ford GT Lightweight that went for $967,500.

The Top 10 highest sellers at RM Sotheby’s Arizona auction were:

1. 1955 Jaguar D-Type, $6 million

2. 1937 Bugatti Type 57SC Tourer by Corsica, $4,735,000

3. 2020 McLaren Speedtail, $3,277,500

4. 1954 Ferrari 375 America Coupe by Vignale, $2,557,000

5. 1956 Ferrari 250 GT Alloy Coupe by Boano, $1,352,500

6. 1957 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Roadster, $1,066,500

7. 2019 McLaren Senna, $1,044,000

8. 1932 Cadillac V-16 Convertible Coupe by Fisher, $1,022,500

9. 2019 Ford GT ‘Lightweight,’ $967,500

10. 1933 Packard Twelve Individual Custom Convertible Sedan by Dietrich, $819,000

(All results include auction fees)

RM Sotheby’s heads to Paris for its next auction on February 13.  The auction will be livestreamed with remote bidding options only.

For more information, visit the RM Sotheby’s 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. Hi Bob,
    Do you have a feel for Austin Healey 3000 values?
    It seems like prices have fallen and are still falling, where as prices of some other British cars including E Types are going up.
    Do you think that this is a permanent or temporary correction, and could it be a sign of aging car collectors and the new generation not being interested in collector cars. It also seems that British Car Club memberships include mostly dedicated old members with few younger members.
    If this is the case, are values going to keep falling in the near future as estates sell off cars of deceased owners?
    Ian Cook


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