AUBURN — Two months ago the future of Auburn’s annual Labor Day car auction looked questionable.
RM Auctions of Canada had just purchased Kruse Auction Park from Dean Kruse and announced it was going to be managed by a new subsidiary, Auctions America by RM.
The company had to assemble the pieces to one of the world’s largest car auctions in 55 days — a daunting task.
But they did it. With more than $1 million spent, 1,000 cars auctioned and more than 25,000 people in attendance, the Auburn Fall Collector Car Auction was a success, said Kerrey Kerr-Enskat, director of public relations for RM Auctions.
“There’s a shared sentiment across the board that is was very positive,” she said.
This year’s auction hit an unofficial sales mark of $13.3 million with a 51.5 percent sell-through rate, according to a news release.
The top car was a rare 1934 Duesenberg Model JN that sold at auction for $875,000 to an anonymous telephone bidder. Second place went to a 1929 Duesenberg Model J 7-Passenger that sold for about $320,000.
Overall, 17 cars were auctioned for more than $100,000, including the two Duesenbergs.
“They had a very good selection this year for only having two months to put it together,” said Dave Wollman, a car enthusiast from Fort Wayne.
Kerr-Enskat said RM Auctions officials who ran last weekend’s auction will meet this week to discuss changes and improvements for next year. She said the suggestions are more likely to be tweaks or refinements than major changes.
“It’ll be talking about things like adding one more person to a place or how to help other areas run more smoothly,” Kerr-Enskat said.
She added: “Overall, the event this year went very smoothly, both behind the scenes and in front.”
Many patrons couldn’t find much to critique about this year’s auction. Most cited a big improvement to the auction park and an upgrade in professionalism.
Bill Caugherty drove from North Carolina to attend this year’s auction and said he was impressed with what RM has done.
“They’ve really cleaned up the place in about the same amount of time it takes me to clean my garage,” he said.
Kerr-Enskat said a lot of hard work during the last two months paid off.
“There’s always room for improvement, but we’re very pleased with the last two months and what we accomplished,” she said.
Weekend’s top sellers at Auctions America
AUBURN — Auctions America’s top sales for Sunday and Saturday:
1. 1929 Duesenberg Model J 7-Passenger, $357,500
2. 1934 Packard Twelve by LeBaron, $275,000
3. 1938 Lincoln Model K Convertible Victoria by Brunn, $200,750
4. 1933 Rolls-Royce Phantom. II Skiff bodied, $200,000
5. 1932 Packard Deluxe 8 903 Sport Phaeton, $184,250
6. 1929 Rolls-Royce Phantom II Weymann Saloon, $143,000
7. 1931 Packard Standard 8 Convertible, $132,000
8. 1936 Cord Phaeton, $105,600
9. 1935 Rolls-Royce Shooting Brake Woody, $77,000
10. 1996 Bentley Azure, $70,400
1. 1934 Duesenberg Model JN Convertible Sedan by Rollston, $962,500
2. 2005 Ford Thunderbird, $308,000
3. 1934 Ford Roadster (Marmon V-16 Powered), $192,500
4. 1958 DeSoto Firesweep, $157,300
5. 1953 Oldsmobile Fiesta, $148,500
6. 1931 Cadillac V12 Model 370, $130,900
7. 1960 Chrysler 300 F, $121,000
8. 1957 Chrysler 300 C, $121,000
9. 1953 Buick Skylark, $107,250
10. 1963 Chevrolet Corvette Fuel-Injected, $100,100
All prices include the 10 percent buyer’s premium.