HomeThe MarketRM Sotheby’s Amelia Island auction sails past $42 million with 95% sold

RM Sotheby’s Amelia Island auction sails past $42 million with 95% sold

An exceptional 1929 Duesenberg Model J Torpedo tops the results


A unique classic Duesenberg, a 1929 Model J “Disappearing Top” Torpedo convertible coupe dressed in polished aluminum, went through the roof last weekend with a sale of $5.725 million to lead RM Sotheby’s Amelia Island, Florida, auction. 

Calling the live onsite auction “a resounding success,” RM Sotheby’s reported sales totaling $42,174,340 (all results include auction fees) with 95.28 percent of the 99 collector cars offered going to new owners. Just four cars did not achieve their reserve prices.

RM Sotheby’s Amelia Island auction sails past $42 million with 95% sold
The 1929 Duesenberg sports boattail rear styling

“The undoubted star of the sale was the 1929 Duesenberg Model J ‘Disappearing Top’ Torpedo convertible coupe by Murphy,” according to an auction news release.  “This beautifully restored example is one of two examples built with polished and brushed bare aluminum coachwork, and the sole intact survivor.”

RM’s own restoration shop brought the Duesy back to excellent condition, the release says, resulting in an award at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance and Best of Class honors at the Amelia Island Concours.  The final auction result for the Torpedo eclipsed the high pre-auction estimate of $4 million.

RM Sotheby’s Amelia Island auction sails past $42 million with 95% sold
1995 Ferrari F50

Eight cars sold for more than a million dollars each during the single-day live auction, with Ferraris reigning as the next-four highest sellers: a 1995 F50 reached $3,772,500, a 1968 275 GTB/4 sold for $2,810,000, a 1971 275 GTS/4 Daytona Spider hit $2,452,500, and a 1992 F40 sold for $2,040,000.  A 1961 Ferrari 250 GT Cabriolet SII was seventh-highest seller at $1,491,000.

Other top-selling cars were a 1935 Mercedes-Benz 500K roadster, for $1.6 million; a 2015 Porsche 918 Spyder, at $1,490,000; a 1965 Shelby 289 Cobra originally used as a Shelby American demonstrator, $967,500; and a 1958 Mercedes-Benz 300SL roadster for $923,500.

RM Sotheby’s Amelia Island auction sails past $42 million with 95% sold
1935 Mercedes-Benz 500K 3-position roadster by Windovers

Other noteworthy auction sales were for a 2012 Lexus LFA, the 430th of 500 produced between 2010 and 2012, driven less than 500 miles and selling for $700,000; a “pristine” 1965 Austin Healey 3000 BJ8 that reached $168,000; a single-family-owned 1959 Fiat Jolly that sold for $106,400; and a beautiful 1965 Porsche 356 C Cabriolet that soared to $280,000.

Another closely watched car at the Amelia auction was what RM Sotheby’s called “one of the most historically significant Corvettes ever to be offered to the public,” the 1960 Chevrolet Corvette LM was entered by Brigs Cunningham in the 1960 24 Hours of Le Mans. The car was rediscovered in 2012 and presented in as-found condition.  It sold for $758,500.

The top-10 highest sellers at the Amelia Island auction were:

1. 1929 Model J ‘Disappearing Top’ Torpedo, $5,725,000

2. 1995 Ferrari F50, $3,772,500

3. 1968 Ferrari 275 GTB/4, $2,810,000

4. 1971 Ferrari 275 GTS/4 Daytona Spider, $2,452,500

5. 1992 Ferrari F40, $2,040,000

6. 1935 Mercedes-Benz 500K Roadster, $1,600,000

7. 1961 Ferrari 250 GT Cabriolet SII, $1,490,000

8. 2015 Porsche 918 Spyder, $1,182,000

9. 1965 Shelby 289 Cobra, $967,500

10. 1958 Mercedes-Benz 300SL roadster, $923,500

(All results include auction fees)

Gord Duff, global head of auctions for RM Sotheby’s, noted that the Amelia Island sale showed the enduring strength of the higher-end collector car market.

“What our Amelia Island sale has demonstrated, is that the market really is remarkably strong, with exceptional cars achieving great prices,” Duff said in the news release. “Perhaps the most striking aspect of this sale is the sell-through rate, which at 95 percent demonstrates that cars coming to market with attractive pre-sale estimates will always find a new home.”

RM Sotheby’s Amelia Island auction sails past $42 million with 95% sold
1965 Porsche 356C Cabriolet

RM Sotheby’s has several live and online auctions scheduled for the summer.  On June 15, the company will conduct its first sale in Milan, Italy, with 21 lots livestreamed from the Palazzo Serbelloni. 

After that, the company heads to Liechtenstein for the June 19 sale of a single-owner collection of 25 Rolls-Royce and Bentley automobiles. 

On July 17, RM Sotheby’s will conduct an auction for a single lot: a 2010 McLaren Mercedes MP4-25A Formula 1 race car driven to victory by Lewis Hamilton, marking the first time a Hamilton F1 car has ever been offered at public auction.

In August, RM Sotheby’s returns for Monterey Car Week in California for its flagship sale at the Portola Hotel on August 13 and 14. 

 For more information, visit the RM Sotheby’s website.

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.


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