2011 Palm Springs Exotic Car Auction

By Mitchell Sussman

Now in its 25th year and 50th auction, the Palm Springs Exotic Car Auction has like a fine cream risen to the top of the list of annual exotic car auctions held across the country.

The Palm Springs Exotic Car Auction features classic and "one of a kind" cars, which today have emerged as one of the most popular investments rivaling investments in gold and art. The most recent Palm Springs event was held this past March in sunny Palm Springs, California the so - called "Playground of the Stars." Beginning with an early Friday night reception celebrated with Mumms Champagne for sellers and VIP bidders alike, what followed over the course of the next three days was a one of kind event for a life - long classic car enthusiast like myself.

In these times of collapsing real estate prices, a cottage industry has emerged of investment portfolios and investment funds focused exclusively on classic automobiles. Cars with an underlying intrinsic value are "packaged" the way other securities are. Investors in the funds will not be able to use or even drive the cars but can view and "stroke" the investments at featured events around the world. Two of today's hottest and priciest examples are the Aston Martin DB4GT from the 60's and the Ferrari GTO. Selling prices can reach the millions. A GTO, one of only 36 ever made recently sold for 26 million dollars.

The Palm Springs event is one to remembered was the sheer number of cars and bidders attending. Like owners who are cashing in their gold, exotic car owners have opened up their garages in these difficult economic times resulting in some absolutely amazing deals. One of the not to be believed steals of the show was a 1972 Thunderbird, which sold for only $1,260. Granted it need work, but the body was in good shape and the part alone had to be worth five that amount. In contrast a 1952 Schwinn bicycle went for over $3,000.

Sold at the auction was everything from Rolls Royce and Bentley to vintage muscle cars, roadsters, motorcycles and other classics. One of the most interesting cars offered at this March's event was a 1976 Batmobile that was used in the television series starring Adam West.

A 1966 Rolls Royce owned by singer/songwriter Trini Lopez and nearly identical, save for the color, to the one used in the award winning film "Blow Up" starring David Hemmings and Vanessa Redgrave was one of the featured vehicles. The bidding for Trini's car goat as high as $125,000.00, but Trini, who is a Palm Springs resident and who was also on hand for the event, had a reserve that was somewhat higher. So he'll have to wait until next auction to see if there is a bidder out there who will pay Trini's price, which I'm told was $200,000.00 The highest priced sale at this year was $131,250 which was for a Shelby GT500 KR from 1968.

An important aspect in the selling of car at auctions like these is the documentation of the auto's history and maintenance. A fully restored 1957 Buick, with papers authenticating restoration expenses went for $76,650.

This year was the most successful event in the history of the event according to the founder Keith McCormick whose son Jason is now one of the driving forces behind the success of the event. Keith and his son have now hosted over fifty auctions in twenty-five years in the Palm Springs area dating back to 1985, the inaugural event. Keith a successful entrepreneur in the British Isles yearned for the beauty of the desert and came to Palm Springs in 1981.

Over the years the Palm Springs Exotic Car Auction has become recognized as one of the leading shows of its kind in the world.

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