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US classics make strong money at RM Sotheby’s Motor City sale

American brands topped their estimates by more than the Europeans at RM Sotheby’s 25 July sale, with the most outstanding performances made by pre-war vehicles. 

The car that outstripped expectations by the most was a 1933 Packard Twelve Individual Custom Sport Phaeton with detailed recreation LeBaron coachwork by Fran Roxas. It sold for just over £370,000, exceeding its upper estimate by £85,000. Like many cars restored by Roxas, the Packard had previously won Best in Class at the Pebble Beach concours.

An immaculately restored, competition-winning Auburn Twelve Salon Speedster also sold for more than expected. Formerly owned by Harrah’s Automobile Collection, the 1934 car sold for £324,000, exceeding its estimate by £35,000.

Neither of these was the highest achiever in terms of total price though, that accolade went to a 135 Duesenberg Model J that was first owned by Lucius Manning, the president of the car company. Recently rebuilt using the original chassis and engine on a recreation of its original body, the car’s engine had been upgraded to SJ spec. It sold for just over £550,000, which was only just the lower estimate.

More modern classics were the best performers of the European brands. Top achiever overall was a 2001 BMW Z8 with less than 15,000 miles on the clock; it sold for just over £120,000.

Two others exceeded their estimates: a 1989 Porsche 911 (930) Turbo coupe, with single family ownership and 55,000 kilometres from new, sold for just over £110,000, outstripping its upper estimate by £23,000. And an outlandish-looking Lamborghini LM002 sports utility vehicle went for just over £122,000, around £8,000 more than estimate.

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By Claire Evans

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