Last RM Sotheby's Amelia Island Sale
RM Sotheby’s will hold their 24th and final Amelia Island auction on March 4, 2023. The auction will be held in a new location, a bespoke venue on Lynndale Road that aims to combine the auction experience with the beauty of Florida’s coast.
The auction will be headlined by a number of pre-war cars including an extremely rare Packard New York Sport Coupe and an award-winning Duesenberg Model J with the the “Disappearing Top” Convertible Coupe coachwork by Murphy.
Pre-war Classics at RM Sotheby's
The 1931 Duesenberg Model J appeared in several Hollywood movies and still has its numbers-matching chassis, engine, and coachwork. Benefitting from an award-winning restoration it includes extensive documentation tracing its ownership back to Pacific Auto Rentals and is estimated by RM Sotheby’s to be worth $3,850,000 – $4,500,000.
A 1930 Cadillac V-16 Roadster by Fleetwood will also cross the auction block and its history can be traced back to its original owner, who sold the car three years after purchasing it in the course of the Great Depression. Its second owner, whose son John Moir is a well-known collector of pre-war automobiles, kept this car in excellent condition as it remained with the Moir family for more than 80 years. This presents well in its original factory color combination of Boone Brown and Thorne Maroon. It underwent a restoration in the early 1990s.
The restoration resulted in a car that scored 98.25 points and a Primary First Prize at a CCCA competition in ’97, after which the Cadillac was rarely viewed in the public. It remained in John Moir’s collection until 2014, the same car his father paid $500 to buy in 1933. At the time of the sale Mr. Moir joked, “I think we made a profit.” The estimate from RM Sotheby’s for the 1930 Cadillac V-16 Roadster by Fleetwood at their final Amelia Island auction is $1,100,000 – $1,500,000. Some profit indeed!
Another pre-war car being offered from the same collection is a 1934 Packard Twelve Sport Coupe by LeBaron. This example is one of only four constructed on the shortened 136-inch wheelbase with the twelve-cylinder engine. Packard used this exact chassis to demonstrate the quality of work done by the Packard Custom Body Division at the 1934 New York Auto Show.
This is the only example of this car that was equipped with design study elements by Packard’s Custom Body Division. It is a Classic Car Club of America Full Classic and was photographed at the Packard factory in 1934 and 1935. Being Packard’s response to the Cadillac Aerodynamic Coupe of 1933, the design was groundbreaking at the time with its fastback roofline that made it a supercar of its day.
It retains its original chassis and engine, as documented by original photographs that are in the Michigan State University collection, which show the car in its original New York Auto Show configuration as well as the coachwork completed by Packard following the auto show that includes new front end sheet metal and an updated grille and headlights.
The original special order tag was recently discovered underneath the passenger seat frame and shows the date 2-21-35 and lists Packard themselves as the customer. The tag is included as part of the car’s history file. Subsequent ownership history begins when it was titled in Pennsylvania in 1939, indicating that it likely remained with Packard until that year.
It won an AACA National First Prize in 1983 and subsequently took a CCCA National First Prize following a restoration by Steve Gunder of Kansas. The car is eligible for a variety of shows and has not made an appearance at Pebble Beach since 1988. RM Sotheby’s estimates this car to be worth $2,250,000 – $3,000,000 when it hits the block at Amelia Island.
Although RM Sotheby’s will be making its last appearance at Amelia Island this year, it wouldn’t surprise anyone to see one of these cars in a future edition of the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance.