Although a Jaguar XK SS ran out of live bids at an insufficient $11.9m (£9.76m) on the Gooding scoreboard, a 1998 Porsche 911 GT1, one of 20 of the more Strassen-friendly versions of the factory Le Mans race car, did cross the block at Amelia Island to clock up a $5.67m (£4.65m) result. The high octane moment when Atlantic hopping UK auctioneer Charlie Ross hammered the 911 record breaker away was captured for you by snapper Jensen Sutta, my thanks to him.
A 1937 Bugatti Type 57S, one of only three to sport Vanvooren of Paris Cabrio coachwork and offered for public sale for the first time in its 80 year history, sold at RM Sotheby’s $70.77m (58.03m) bonanza meanwhile for $7.7m (£6.31m) to top the Amelia prices this year. The Big Three auctions saw 275 mainly high end investor-automobiles change portfolios for $111.18m (£91.17m) and an overall sale rate of 86% achieved.
The 5694-mile from new in 1995 Ferrari F50 originally delivered to heavyweight Champ boxer Mike Tyson punched above its pre-sale estimate to deliver a socking $2.64m (£2.16m). RM Sotheby’s also claimed two new world record auction prices for a 1929 Stutz Model M Supercharged Coupe, one of only three Blown Stutzes on the planet that had been estimated at $1-1.2m and which sold for $1.71m (£1.4m), and a two registered owner 1956 Bentley S1 Continental Drophead, guided at $700,000-900,000, also shattered the previous auction stat for the model with a $1.68m (£1.38m) milestone valuation.
One of the most intense bidding battles of this market reassuring weekend in President Trump’s favourite State though was the contest for the keys of a 1956 Maserati A6G/54 Frua S3 Coupe, for which $1.6-2.2m had been suggested, but which was finally hammered away for $2.37m (£1.94m). A 1974 Porsche 911 Carrera RS 3.0 also eclipsed its $900,000-1.1m hunch to storm into the record books with a $1.375m performance (£1,127,500 in our, as yet, only partially devalued Sterling).
The latest $2.39m (£1.96m) price in the public arena for a Gooding consigned 2015 McLaren P1 was fairly spectacular, too, as was the $1.54m (£1.26m) paid for the fourth Aston Martin DB2 built in 1949 for the personal use of AM owner David Brown. Driven in period by works driver Lance Macklin in the 1950 Targa Florio and in receipt of full restoration by AM Works, LML/49/4 was most recently concours-shown at Windsor Castle in 2016. The very first of just 37 DB5 Short-Chassis Volante Astons also fetched a noteworthy $1.7m (£1.4m) during two days of selling at RM Sotheby’s, where $70.77m (£58.03m) worth of cars sold, the highest sales total in the 19 years of Amelia Island auction history.
And then at the Fernandina Beach Golf Club, a 1955 Ferrari Europa GT in aluminium, one of only two to be so bodied by Pinin Farina, was driven past the Bonhams rostrum and purchased by a European collector for $2.23m (£1.83m in our money and my thanks for the Peter Singhof image recording the moment).
Other eyebrow raisers at Bonhams included a 1911Pierce-Arrow Model 48 S1 Roadster that epitomises the Brass Era and which sold for $550,000 (£451,000), while a 1961 Jaguar E Type S1 Roadster, one of the earliest known examples with the external bonnet-release handles, made a most impressively feline $326,700 (£267,894) after some spirited bidding by Coventry cat lovers. A still trendy looking Countach 500S Quattrovalvole from 1986 meanwhile was snapped up by an American Lamborghini enthusiast for a bullish $335,500 (£275,110) and $324,500 (£266,090) was forthcoming for Whacky Arnolt’s Bertone-sculptured in 1954 Arnolt-Bristol Prototype Roadster.
Some new record valuations at auction were claimed here, too, with a 1904 Knox 16/18hp Tudor Tourer for 5 passengers selling for $292,600 (£197,379), a 1987 BMW M6 Coupe for $104,500 (£85,690) and a 1953 Sunbeam Talbot Alpine Roadster by Thrupp & Maberly for $88,000 (£72,160).
New Group Motoring Director, the New York based Brit Rupert Banner, one of the auctioneers at this, Bonhams’ third annual Amelia Island sale, summarised their day’s trading in Florida in the current climate: “The offering of premium automobiles across a broad spectrum premium automobiles was strong and the results were very positive. What we saw was increased interest and movement in the middle of the market, and we feel that this is a healthy indicator for our industry and for enthusiasts worldwide.”
The 87% sell-through rate at the Fernandina Club – where a dinky-sized 1959 Berkeley SE 492 Sports from Bedfordshire was the least expensive bauble on the Island when picked up for $16,500 (£13,350) - certainly looked mighty healthy from an even more uncertain side off the Atlantic pond, where absolutely anything could happen next!