RM Sotheby's Scottsdale 2022 Auction Huge Success
The Arizona Biltmore hosted RM Sotheby’s first live auction of the year – its 23rd annual Phoenix sale – on January 27, 2022. Total sales amounted to $43.4 million with an impressive 95% of all lots sold. One of the other million-dollar cars sold included an NFT, showing that there’s really no stopping the NFT train.
Pre-war cars haven’t been the hottest segment of the market lately, but RM Sotheby’s offered a 1931 Duesenberg Model J Tourster on the block, complete with CCCA Full Classic documentation that was a huge attraction to bidders and curious onlookers alike during the auction’s preview days. Really showing their passion for the collector car world, the restoration – which left the Duesenberg retaining all of its original parts – was completed by RM Auto Restoration. The ’31 Model J Tourster – and no, that isn’t a typo, it’s a “Tourster” and not a “Tourer” – sold for more than $3.4 million.
Previously the Duesenberg won Best in Class at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance and was certified Category 1 by the Auburn Cord Duesenberg Club. It is one of only eight examples of the Tourster that were built when new by the Derham Body Company, known to be a favored coachbuilder of those wealthy enough to afford a Duesenberg in the Philadelphia area. Surprisingly, all eight of them are still known to exist and have been restored, though it might be debatable whether the other seven approach the quality of this restoration. Although this example won Best in Show at Pebble Beach in 2012, since it will have been ten years since that win the new owner will be able to enter it at Pebble again, so we may see this show up in California when Monterey Car Week heats up.
Gullwing Record Price
A new record was set for the auction price of a 300 SL Gullwing when the 1955 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Alloy Gullwing sold for the remarkable total of $6.825 million, making it the most expensive car at RM Sotheby’s this year. It is one of two Gullwings sold by RM Sotheby’s in Scottsdale, the other selling for $1.71 million. Aside from being the Leichtmetallausführung – Light Metal Version – of the Gullwing, this example is one of very few that retains its numbers-matching 3.0L NSL engine and original alloy body. Only 24 Alloy Gullwings were built in 1955, making this a rarity amongst rarities.
Unlike some other alloy bodied Gullwings that we’ve had the pleasure of seeing over the years, this one was put to some real use on the road. Its most well-known owner, Hyatt Cheek – a former president of the Mercedes-Benz Club of America – drove this car to Mercedes-Benz and Gullwing events all over the country. He even took it on the Colorado Grand and Texas 1000 road rallies, leading to it becoming a familiar sight to other Gullwing enthusiasts. During Cheek’s ownership the car was maintained by marque specialist Paul Russell, adding yet another gem in its crown. Although it does not have its original transmission, nor does it have the original lightweight plexiglass windows that shipped on it from the factory – it currently has glass windows and a type-correct gearbox from a 1957 model – the astronomical price of this car was really no surprise considering there may never be another one quite like this available again.
RM Sotheby's Scottsdale 2022 NFT?
Mixing the very new with the very rare, a 1988 Cizeta-Moroder V16T – chassis number 001 – was sold for more than $1.36 million by RM Sotheby’s, along with a one-of-one NFT. The V16T was owned from new by music producer Giorgio Moroder, who also happened to be an original investor in Cizeta-Moroder. This is the only one of the ten V16Ts built that was badged as a Cizeta-Moroder and, being the prototype that was displayed at the Los Angeles and Geneva Motor Shows in 1989 it has significant differences compared to the nine production models that were completed.
The accompanying NFT includes a four-track EP by Giorgio Moroder, exclusive to the car, a 3-D rendering of the car completed in collaboration with notable digital artist Jeremy Ian Thomas, a.k.a. “Soulajit,” a 3-D scan of the car, and all the desired documentation digitized. If this wasn’t rare enough as the prototype, the NFT certainly sets it apart from any other V16T in existence. The high price of this million-dollar car doesn’t surprise us in the least as it really is one-of-one, and that’s before factoring in the NFT. We just wonder how long its new owner will hang onto it before we see it – and the accompanying NFT – pop up at another auction.
RM Sotheby's Scottsdale 2022 Sale a Big Success
Overall, with the ten most expensive cars sold by RM Sotheby’s at the Arizona Biltmore being in the seven-figure range – the least expensive of those ten being the 1988 Cizeta-Moroder V16T – we have to call this a great success for RM Sotheby’s and an interesting glimpse into the future of the collector car market and potential inclusion of NFTs in other sales moving forward. In fact, RM Sotheby’s is partnering with Lamborghini to auction the Lamborghini Space Key NFT – now known as “Space Time Memory” – which is currently open for bidding until February 4 at 7:50 PM CET (that’s local time in Rome). More information about “Space Time Memory” and the Lamborghini Space Keys is available at nft.lamborghini.com.