Part of our routine involves interviewing owners after their cars cross the block, which means that I was at Gooding from the first car offered to the last one sold. Gooding moved its start time up to 11 am from 3pm last year, partly to avoid interference with the RM gala reception at the Ritz. It worked. The room was full from start to finish, leading to the final total of more than $36m, among 70 lots sold out of 77, more than double the $17.9m earned last year among 70 lots sold out of 85. (For more on Gooding, click here. For more on the RM sale, click here.)
Saturday was my day off, and as Wendie had joined me, we took a nice run on the beach, and then both spent the afternoon meeting current and future business partners and friends, including Tim and Marjorie Suddard of Grassroots Motorsports and Classic Motorsports. If you’re not familiar with those titles, hop over to their websites and take advantage of the free sample issues. The magazines are just chock-full of how-to information, invaluable if you want your classic to go faster and handle better. I’ve been a subscriber for a long time, and I still learn something new in every issue.
Sunday at 8am, I was on the concours field, judging factory-team MGAs that appeared at Sebring. Jonathan Stein of Hagerty Collector Car Insurance was the lead judge. As he said, “Twin-Cam MGAs are the sandbox I play in,” and the depth of his knowledge was formidable.
The display of GTOs was of course stunning; when a representative of Chubb Collector Car Insurance was told that ten GTOs were put on a vintage ferry, his first thought was, “One leaky ferry and we’ve got a $300 million claim on our hands!” Luckily, all the GTOs went home in the same shape they arrived. (For more on the concours, click here.)
We wrapped up the evening with a tasty dinner at Le Clos, visting with Donald and his friend Frank Garafolo.
Why put Amelia on your list for next year? Because nearly everything fun about the collector car world happens in just a few days, in just two locations. The Gooding auction is about three miles from the Ritz, and everything else takes place at the Ritz. My favorite events are those where you can give your car to the valet when you arrive and not see it again until the day you leave. As nice as the new ML350 that Mercedes graciously provided me with was, even better was the fact that I didn’t need to use it very much during the course of the weekend.
Reservations on the island become difficult as the event approaches, and it’s not inexpensive to get there if you’re from the west coast. Nonetheless, if you’ve never been, I strongly urge you to reserve rooms now, and I promise I’ll see you there next year.