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American marques shine in Amelia Island auctions

Gorgeous pre-World War II examples from defunct luxury American automakers dominated the $55 million auctions.

By Clifford Atiyeh Mar 11, 2013 2:53PM
A cool $55 million in classic cars changed hands at Amelia Island last weekend, ranging from a rare Duesenberg roadster to a pack of children's pedal cars.

The annual auctions and Concours d'Elegance on Florida's northernmost coast may be a fraction of those seen at Pebble Beach and Scottsdale, yet it attracts a considerable -- and wealthy -- international following. Lamborghini flew its one and only 1968 Miura Roadster from Switzerland for display.

Many of the impressive lots from Gooding & Co. and RM Auctions were storied American marques. A cranberry 1935 Duesenberg Model SJ Walker-LaGrande, one of only three made, sold for $4.51 million.

More famous American cars were on display, such as a 1933 Stutz DV32 Convertible Victoria (pictured above) which sold for a record $1.51 million and a trio of Cord L-29s, plus three more 810 and 812 models, which featured some of the earliest pop-up headlight designs. A maroon 1948 Tucker 48 -- one of just 51 and once owned by filmmaker George Lucas -- saw a high bid of $1.47 million but didn't reach its reserve.

1948 Tucker 48 (c) RM AuctionsThis 1948 Tucker 48, one of 51 ever made, was too ahead of its time. (RM Auctions)

Two 1970s muscle cars saw six-figure price tags: a 1971 Oldsmobile 442 W-30 Convertible sold for nearly $190,000 and a 1973 Pontiac Firebird Super Duty 455 went for $165,000.

Four pristine pedal cars, including one modeled after a 1949 Austin and three more based on 1932 Fords, sold for a combined $24,725. A 108-year-old electric car from Switzerland, the Tribelhorn Electric Brougham, sold for $77,000. A dark green Le Mans-spec 1928 Bentley 4 1/2 liter, perhaps the mightiest of all European cars from the 1920s, went off the floor for $2.75 million.

Austin pedal car (RM Auctions)This children's toy sold for more than $12,000 -- without an engine. Take that, Power Wheels. (RM Auctions)

A few modern cars, such as a 1995 Ferrari F50 -- a predecessor to the LaFerrari unveiled in Geneva -- went for $1.37 million, more than double its original price. Five more Ferraris sold for more than $1 million each, an unsurprising occurrence like that at Scottsdale in January.

On the lawn, judges awarded a 1968 Ford GT40 in full Gulf racing livery that beat Ferrari in the 1968 and 1969 24 Hours of Le Mans as "Best in Show Concours de Sport." A 1936 Duesenberg SJN took the "Best in Show Concours d'Elegance."

The next great classic car show, the Villa d'Este Concorso d'Eleganza, runs in Italy from May 24-26.

See the full list of auction sales, with photos, in the links below.

[Source: Gooding & Co., RM Auctions]
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