Carburetors and Chocolate: The RM Sotheby's Hershey Auction.

For over 50 years, the Antique Automobile Club of America has taken over the parking lot and surrounding area of Hershey Park in Hershey Pennsylvania. For the last almost 10 years RM Sotheby's Auction House has been supplying buyers hungry for classic cars some of the best offerings through their annual auction. 2016 marked my first attendance of the RM Sotheby's sale in my 10+ years attending the fall Hershey meet. Of particular interest to me was seeing the barn find 1957 Porsche 356 Speedster being sold this year. Speedsters have always been a hot Porsche but they have picked up really strong in the last few years, especially for un-restored examples. Jerry Seinfeld proved this in 2015 with his astound purchase of an un-restored 1958 speedster for $605,000.

The Hershey speedster was an incredible find. Having come from dry garage storage in Texas. It had last been registered in 1981and showed a repaint to red from its original white. Also of interest was the fiberglass hardtop. While I have seen pictures of speedsters with them, I personally had never seen one in the flesh. While the paint was not original and certainly not without its flaws. The car showed that it was used for what it was meant for, driving. It had been loved by the couple that owned it and used as much as it could be and cared for as needed. The leather seats while worn, looked as comfortable as your favorite leather chair in a library. This particular speedster was recently uncovered by noted "barn find" hunter Tom Cotter. What he found was a speedster that is like many, but also like no other. Having been parked and covered in a garage for nearly 40 years by the wife of the second owner, the car was not without needs. The interior was heavily worn and the car as certainly due for a much needed mechanical overhaul. The car had been subject to home restoration decades ago and it showed. It had a color change from its original white to red. Though it showed many years of neglect, underneath it all was a solid starting point for a restoration with a lot of upside.  Bidding was lively before the hammer fell at $341,000. In the grand scheme of where unrestored speedsters have fallen in recent years, this car was on the lower end, and well bought in my opinion.

Another car that caught my eye was the 1963 Sunbeam Rapier Series IIIA convertible. I was drawn to it as I had never seen one before and for a small car i thought it was quite good looking in medium blue. It also caught my attention as there was not much prep for the sale done to the car. Someone had definitely loved the car at one time and certainly enjoyed driving it as evidenced by the aftermarket shifter and Formuling steering wheel. A sore point was the portawall white walls which clearly did not fit the car as evidenced by their wrinkled appearance. The car did sell for a bargain though. Hammering for a mere $8,250. the buyer evidently felt the cars till had more value in it as it was parked in the car corral at Hershey Park the following morning.

If you were in the market for a budget family cruiser. Look no further than this 1969 Mercedes Benz 280SE. One of my personal favorites at the sale, this was the one I would have most liked to bring home with me. The car presented well in gold on tan and despite a few minor bits missing was a buy at only $9,900. This one even had been retrofitted from fuel injection to dual carbs.

What may very well have been the star of the auction in my eyes was lot #150. A 1931 Ford Model A coupe and trailer. This combo was just oozing with cool factor and nostalgia. The combo was built when new for owner J.M. Keely's marine and fishing business. The Model A was largely stock with the exception of the necessary addition of Model AA truck axles, hubs, brakes and wheels. Inside, the trailer was literally a step back in time. It had everything you would expect from sleeping quarters to kitchen facilities. However it also came packed with much of the same period gear you would have found in the 1930s. From outboards to fishing reels, it was all here. Bidding was light on this one. However at $82,500 this combo failed to sell. Check out the photos below!

One of most beautiful vehicles up for sale was lot #144. The 1932 Lincoln Model KB boattail speedster. This was actually the first car that caught my eyes as I was approaching the auction tent. Speaking briefly with the owner revealed the nature of this machine. While not built in period as a coachbuilt; it was built with that era in mind as a "What if" Edsel Ford had commissioned this. It was designed by retired GM designer David Holls in the 1990s. That name should strike cord with any auto design enthusiast as Mr. Holls penned cars like the 1966 Buick Riviera and the legendary 1959 Cadillac. 

The car was constructed using an original 1932 Lincoln as its base. And was built in the same traditional ways that coachbuilt cars were built in period by hand. The design incorporates many design cues from both sides of the Atlantic ocean including much inspiration from Paris' Hibbard & Darrin. The car had been shown at numerous concours events including Pebble Beach, and also has been driven on several tours. When the hammer fell, for an astounding $605,000. Looking at the workmanship put in to this Lincoln it was certainly worth every penny for a literal 1 of none car.

Lot #118, a 1928 Ford Model A tow truck had a lot going for it. I don't know if it was a real tow truck built in period or if it was built as a fantasy piece. Either way it had a fantastic restoration with all the proper period equipment, including hand painted Sunoco lettering. Hopefully the buyers name was Mike as you might have some additional costs to have the name changed on the side. Model As are a good bargain antique car right now as you can get a really nice one for under $30k. This 28 pick up was no exception and you certainly won't see another like it at the next cruise in. It sold for only a little over $25,000. You certainly couldn't restore this one for that much. Very well bought.

Another car I would have loved to bring home with me was the 1911 Marmon Wasp recreation. Built in the 1980s, this car is an exact replica of the winner of the first Indianapolis 500. With a 1917 Nash frame as the base. The owner spent over 19,000 man hours recreating this historical race car. A huge plus is that it is also street legal. So it can serve a dual purpose for both vintage racing and street touring.  Sold for $71,500.

Lot #146. 1946 Delahaye 135 M Coach by Guillore. $77,000.

Lot #237. 1935 Auburn Eight Super Charged Speedster. $880,000.

Lot #225. 1934 Packard Super Eight Hunting Car. $55,000

Lot #220. 1925 White Model 15-14 Yellowstone Tourbus $88,000