Article Contributed by Steve Burns
Each January the collector car world descends on sunny Arizona while much of the rest of the country stays huddled indoors to avoid the cold winter weather. RM Auctions’ 2011 season kicks off with their 12th annual Arizona event on January 20th and 21st at the Arizona Biltmore Resort & Spa in Phoenix. As usual, the docket is full of hundreds of highly desirable collector cars and the 2011 edition will feature 10 very distinct early corvettes.
The C2 fans will have a chance at their choice of 4 very nice cars. The quartet consists of three 1967 roadsters and a 1963 big tank Z06. Two of the ‘67’s are owned by baseball Hall of Famer Reggie Jackson. Followers of the straight axle cars will see two 1954’s, one 1955, two 1956’s and one 1957 cross the auction block en route to new homes. Interesting to note here is that 8 of the 10 Corvettes are being offered at no reserve. Only the 2 Reggie Jackson cars have the potential to remain with their current owner.
Today we preview 5 of the 10 Corvettes for sale at RM Arizona. We’ll take a look at the remaining 5 vettes, including Reggie Jackson’s 67’s, a little later in the week.
Lot 301: 1954 Corvette Roadster One of just 100 ‘54’s painted Sportsman Red, this example has the standard-issue Blue Flame Six engine, 2 speed powerglide transmission, and AM radio. This lot features an after market bubble top that is reported be 1 of only 2 still known to exist. RM previously sold this car back in 2002 for $39,500 and the current owner states that he’s got $100k invested in the car. While we don’t know if it’s been in the same hands since 2002, it’s not likely that the seller will recoup his six figure investment on this one.
Lot 273: 1954 Corvette Roadster In 1954 you had just 4 color choices for your new Corvette: Polo White, Sportsman Red, Black, or Pennant Blue. Of the 3,640 cars produced that year, just 300 were shod in striking Pennant Blue like the example featured here. Lot 273 was the recipient of a body off restoration some time ago and still appears to be very nice condition. A nice contrast to the Sportsman Red ’54 (Lot 301), this later model year car features the late production air-cleaner design, chrome valve cover and chrome header tank.
Lot 274: 1955 Corvette Roadster Corvette production dropped to a paltry 700 units for 1955. The color pallet grew by 2 that year and now included fantastic Harvest Gold. A Dark Green interior compliments the exterior shade very nicely. The example offered here is claimed to be a NCRS Second Flight Award winner. Power from the new-for-1955 195hp V8 engine gets to the rear wheels via a 3 speed manual transmission.
Lot 275: 1956 Chevrolet Corvette Convertible The 1956 model gave us more evolution in the Corvette. The addition of a 2nd V8 to the engine lineup, new roll up windows, and exterior “coves” were just a few of the updates that year. This example here feature a stunning color combination of Arctic Blue exterior, silver coves, and a bright red interior. It would be nearly impossible to determine exactly how many cars came with this color pallet, but we can safely assume it’s not very many. Although this color combo isn’t for everyone, still expect several bidders to take a shot at owning this beauty.
Lot 283: 1963 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 Coupe Just 199 cars received the Z06 option in 1963. Total usage for the 36 gallon fuel tank was even less with just 63 coupes leaving St. Louis with RPO NO3. The ZO6 seen here was sold by RM in 2009 at their Amelia Island event for $192,500. Corvette Market’s wrap up of that sale made mention of some skepticism regarding the authenticity of this car which ended up selling below its pre-auction estimate. Apparently the 98% NCRS National Top Flight Award wasn’t enough to convince potential buyers whether or not this was a real deal Z06. It will be interesting to see if there’s still a shadow of doubt surrounding this car when it crosses the block in Arizona. If there still is some doubt, expect it to sell for roughly the same amount, or maybe even slightly less.
The RM Arizona Auction will take place on January 20th and 21st, 2011 at the Arizona Biltmore Resort & Spa. For more information checkout RM’s website.