RM Auctions is gearing up for the first of its two annual sales at the historic Auburn Auction Park—Auburn Spring. A spring tradition for collector car enthusiasts across the country, the 2020 sale will see approximately 400 collector cars, ranging from American classics to European sports cars, muscle, hot rods, customs, and modern collectibles, as well as a wide array of memorabilia, go under the hammer. Leading early sale highlights are two significant, single-owner collections, The Bill Akin Collection and The Roadmaster Collection.
Offered entirely without reserve, the collection of noted enthusiast, historian and Indianapolis race car restorer Mr. Bill Akin features 11 automobiles, highlighted by notable Indianapolis 500 roadsters, hot rods, and street machines. While Bill enjoyed automobiles of all kinds, he had a very keen interest in vintage Indy 500 racers. As a teenager, Bill often listened to the Indy 500 on the radio, which inspired him to later find and restore a handful of the cars to their racing glory.
Bill bought his first Indy 500 race car, the 1960 Epperly, nearly 40 years ago. Constructed by Quin Epperly with an Offenhauser four-cylinder engine, the roadster made its debut at the 1961 Indy 500 wearing the #5 Autolite Special livery with American racing champion Lloyd Ruby behind the wheel, taking eighth place overall. The Epperly went on to contest the 1962 500-mile race, piloted by Don Branson and then again in 1963 by Bobby Marshman. Acquired by Bill in the late 1980s, the Epperly was restored to its original #5 Autolite livery, which it wore for several years, before Bill later freshened the car and restored it to the #14 Mid-Continent Securities livery it wore in 1962, the finish it wears today. He presented the racer at the 2013 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, where it was awarded Best In Class for the Post War Indy Roadsters category, as well as the Tony Hulman Preservation Award (Est. $350,000 – $450,000, offered without reserve).
Another standout highlight is the 1953 Kurtis 500 B Indianapolis, built by Frank Kurtis and equipped with a potent 270-cubic inch Offenhauser engine. Racing legend Jimmy Davies qualified the Kurtis 500 B for the 1953 and 1955 Indy 500 races, where he finished 10th and 3rd respectively. The car was entered in in the 1956 race but did not finish and was subsequently retired from racing. After falling into Bill’s hands, the car was meticulously restored and shown at the 2010 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, also achieving Best In Class and the Tony Hulman award, as well as the 2011 Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance, where it was awarded Best In Class (Est. $350,000 – $450,000, offered without reserve).
A 1961 Epperly also joins the Auburn Spring lineup, wearing the #54 Bryant Heating and Cooling Special livery it wore in the 1962 Indy 500, where it was piloted by Bobby Marshman and finished 5th overall. The Epperly was raced in the Indy 500 two additional times in the 1960s, in 1961 wearing the #3 Hoover Motor Express with Don Branson behind the wheel and in 1963 piloted by Bud Tingelstad. The Epperly was presented at the 2018 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance and earned second in the Indy Revolution class and the Tony Hulman trophy (Est. $350,000 – $450,000, offered without reserve). The Bill Atkin Collection also features several thrilling hot rods including a big-block 1940 Ford Coupe that appeared in the Oct. 1980 issue of Hot Rod Magazine and was selected as one of the most influential rods of the past 20 years in the early 1990s (Est. $25,000 – $35,000, offered without reserve).
Building on the success of The Roadmaster Collection at RM Sotheby’s Arizona auction in January, RM Auctions will present the next offering of fine Buicks from the collection without reserve at Auburn Spring. Ranging from 1911 to 1987, The Roadmaster Collection chronicles the evolution of Buick, with the diverse lineup made up of Brass Era motor cars, racers, low-production convertibles and muscle cars.
Leading the pack are two exceptionally rare CCCA Full Classics—a 1931 Buick Series 90 Roadster, one of just 843 examples that led the all-eight cylinder Buick line for 1931 (Est. $70,000 – $90,000, offered without reserve) and a 1937 Roadmaster Limousine, one of just two known Buicks bodied by Brewster (Est. $60,000 – $80,000, offered without reserve). Additional stand out highlights include a first-year 1940 Super Estate Wagon (Est. $70,000 – $90,000, offered without reserve); a trio of Roadmaster convertibles from 1948 to 1950; an iconic 1953 Skylark Convertible, a model first displayed as a General Motors Motorama car that quickly went on to become the most desirable Buick of its decade (Est. $80,000 – $100,000, offered without reserve); and a Radwood-era 1987 Grand National, producing a mighty 245 hp with the help of its turbocharged V-6 engine (Est. $20,000 – $25,000, offered without reserve).
“We’re very excited to return to Auburn for what will be another great Spring auction. Our annual Auburn Spring and Fall events provide the perfect setting for private collection segments and as the market leader in significant single-owner collection sales, this year’s Spring event will once again offer enthusiasts the chance to bid on a variety of unique groups, including these two expertly-curated lineups.” says Gord Duff, Global Head of Auctions, RM Sotheby’s Group. “The Bill Akin Collection pays tribute to the world’s oldest race that still operates today, much like our Auburn events. The Indy 500 roadsters within this collection have all been meticulously restored to the highest level of authenticity, each holding Pebble Beach Class awards to show for it. On the other end of the spectrum, The Roadmaster Collection spans the entire evolution of an important American brand, offered in one of the most significant automotive heartlands in the country.”
Additional information on RM Auctions’ Auburn Spring sale, including an updated list of all entries and event details, is available at rmsothebys.com. To speak with an RM specialist, to register to bid, or to become a VIP at the Auburn Spring sale, please call +1 519 352 4575.
Images courtesy of RM Sotheby’s