Just in time for summer fun, Auctions America by RM will offer an array of open-air collector cars during its June 1-3 Auburn Spring auction,including a one-of-a-kind concept car that cost Ford Motor Co. more than a half-million dollars to produce. During the three-day event, more than 600 American muscle cars, Classics, foreign sports cars and hot rods will cross the block at the historic Auburn Auction Park, the company’s national headquarters in Auburn, Indiana.
“It’s that time of year when people want to drive with the top down,” said Auctions America by RM’s President Donnie Gould. “We’ve made a special effort to bring in open-air cars of every kind, whether it’s a convertible, roadster, retractable hardtop, T-roof, or targa top. Currently, more than 40 percent of our Auburn Spring offerings are open-air cars.”
For fans of unique, historic rides, the 2002 Mercury Marauder factory concept car (estimate available upon request) will draw a lot of attention. Ford Motor Co. created the one-and-only convertible to gauge the market’s response to a full-size, rear-drive droptop, and it debuted at that year’s Chicago Auto Show. Built at a cost of $500,000 by NASCAR team owner Jack Roush, the black Mercury is powered by a supercharged 4.6-liter, 335-hp V-8 engine and shows only 155 miles on the odometer. Unlike many of Detroit’s prototype vehicles, the Marauder is fully functional.
Simpler times are recalled by the tall grilles, stand-alone headlamps and wide-whitewall tires of cars like the 1930 Auburn 125 Cabriolet (est. $60,000 – $80,000) and 1932 Nash Convertible Victoria (est. $75,000 – $85,000) coming to the auction. The ’30 Auburn, which has traveled as far away as Australia, where it won a concours competition, belonged to legendary collector/driving enthusiast/engineer Tom Lester; his widow Janie is selling it as the final car from his collection. Lester transformed the car’s transmission into a five-speed gearbox, giving it modern performance. The two-tone green ’32 Nash has enjoyed a full restoration, and it features such iconic 1930s details as dual sidemount spare tires, body-colored trunk and Art Deco instrument panel.
Convertibles from the 1950s will be well represented by a 1953 Buick Skylark (est. $125,000 – $150,000) and a 1958 Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz (est. $110,000 – $125,000). The Skylark has been driven fewer than 50 miles since its 2008 restoration and is one of only 1,690 such cars built to celebrate Buick’s 50th anniversary in 1953. A low, curved windshield; round fender openings and Kelsey-Hayes wire wheels were all part of the black-on-red factory custom’s eye appeal. Rarer still is the Eldorado – one of only 815 such convertibles Cadillac built in 1958. The Biarritz features a 365-cid, 335-hp V-8 with Tri-Power carburetion and is considered one of the luxury car producer’s sportiest cars of the era.
While Americans have always loved big, plush convertibles, the British get credit for exposing World War II GIs to the joys of small, simple roadsters. The tiny 1934 MG PA (est. $30,000 – $40,000) coming to Auburn with an 847-cc four-cylinder engine, four-speed transmission and right-hand drive personifies the fun to be had from elemental motoring. For enthusiasts requiring more speed, the 1959 Jaguar XK150 S roadster (est. $100,000 – $125,000) has a 210-cid, 210-hp double-overhead camshaft six-cylinder and four-speed; Jaguar only built 888 of the special high-performance S models in ’59. General Motors’ interpretation of the roadster lifestyle will be represented at the auction by such cars as a 1957 Chevrolet Corvette (est. $80,000 – $100,000) that features a 283-cid, 245-hp V-8 with a pair of four-barrel carburetors and a NationalCorvette Restorers Society “Top Flight” award badge for excellence.
“It’s the right time of year to enjoy a convertible,” said Gould, “and Auburn Spring will have enough open-air cars and enough variety for everyone’s taste and budget.”
Tickets to the auction are $10 for a daily pass or $25 for a full event pass, and admission is free for preview day on Thursday, May 31. The auction runs Friday, June 1, through Sunday, June 3. Internet, absentee and telephone bidding options are available for those unable to attend the event in person. Full event details and a list of auction offerings are available online at www.auctionsamerica.com or by calling toll free 877-906-2437 (or +1 260-927-9797 outside North America). The auction will stream live online at www.auctionsamerica.com to provide real-time coverage of the event.