RM Auctions at St. John (Plymouth, Michigan), 2012

RM Auctions' St. John's sale was held on July 28, 2012, in Plymouth, Michigan. The show included collector-class Chryslers from affordable to stratospheric, along with two headliners: a supercharged 1930 Duesenberg which sold for $957,000, and the well-documented Al Capone Cadillac, which sold for $341,000. The Cadillac was painted (at Capone’s behest) like a police car, with police lights, siren, and the first known police-band radio receiver to be put into a private car. It was bulletproofed, with firing ports and a rear window that could be dropped for extra firepower. Two Ahrens-Fox Fire Trucks from 1925 and 1930 were sold as well, for $198,000 and $93,500.

1941 Chrysler Airflow

RM’s St. John’s sale is as a prelude to the Concours d’Elegance of America at St. John’s. Full event details, including the digital catalogue, are available online at www.rmauctions.com. The sale will take place on July 28, 2012 at 12:00 p.m. Eastern time. The preview will be July 27, 10 am to 8 pm. Both preview and event will be at The Inn at St. John’s, 44045 Five Mile Road, Plymouth, Michigan, 48170; and are limited to registered bidders. Bidder registration is $200 and includes an official auction catalog and admission for two to the preview, reception, and auction.

Admission to the preview is free of charge. For those unable to attend the event in person, Internet, absentee, and telephone bidding options are available, and the auction will stream live online at www.rmauctions.com to provide real-time coverage of the event.  

Mopars of the RM Auction at St. John

1948 Town & Country

Possibly the most distinguished Chrysler being sold is a low mileage 1948 Chrysler Town & Country “woody” Sedan, coming out of 40 years of single ownership; it reached $105,000 in bidding, and the owner did not accept the bid. This car has wooden bodywork and the “Spitfire” inline six-cylinder engine, with the optional Fluid Drive semi-automatic transmission. Rare and expensive when new, the ’48 Town and Country is one of Chrysler’s most sought-after automobiles from the immediate postwar era.

This particular car has been owned by one person for 40 years; has virtually flawless, and reported to be unrestored original woodwork; and has travelled around 61,000 miles since new. It has a heater/defroster, pushbutton radio, dual spotlights, and a wooden cargo rack.

1931 Imperial

This car, the top of the line for Chrysler, was long and low, with a 125 horsepower L-head eight-cylinder engine, four-speed synchronized transmission, and four-wheel hyraulic brakes. This model was only built from July 1930 to December 1931. The car underwent a body-off restoration in 1995; the interior was restored using new upholstery and leather. The car has won numerous AACA honors, and was expected to sell for over $110,000; it came in close to that, selling for $101,750.

1931 Imperial

seats and dash

Imperial gauges

1911 Overland 38 Torpedo Roadster

Charles Minshall and Claude Cox created a winning car in 1903 with the original Overland, but could not manage the company well; John Willys took care of their cash flow problems and got their factory humming, taking part of the company in return, and later acquiring the rest. This car was made when Overland was the third best selling car in America; it has been restored, albeit not recently, and has a correct, clean engine bay housing a 25-horsepower L-head four-cylinder engine connected to a two-speed transmission, with two-wheel mechanical brakes. RM estimated that this car would sell for around $25,000; it actually came in at $35,200.

1911 Overland

1935 Airstream Eight

This Airstream was the result of the public reaction to the Airflow. Whether one credits a whisper campaign from GM or Ford, just the looks, Airflow did not sell well, regardless of being far more comfortable and agile than other cars in its class. The Airstream pictured here is largely original, with an original interior, well preserved. The steel-bodied car is powered by a 105 horsepower L-head eight-cylinder engine, with a three-speed synchronized manual transmission, and four wheel hydraulic brakes. The Airstream was designed by Raymond Bel Geddes and Ray Dietrich; it shared many body panels with Plymouth and Dodge. The car was a hit, but even so, only 9,297 Airstream Eights were made. This Airstream has been used on tours. It was practically a steal at $27,500, selling at somewhat below RM’s estimate.

airstream eight


1917 Chalmers Model 9

For a time, Maxwell and Chalmers were joined; this Chalmers Model 9, with a 30 hp four-cylinder engine, was kept in a private museum until 1928. It was restored by Emil Pospisil. The car sold for $57,750.

1917 Chalmers

1932 Nash 980 Victoria

1932 Nash

1932 Nash dashboard

This twin-ignition straight-eight Nash sold for $63,250, somewhat below RM’s estimate. Nash later joined with Hudson to form AMC, which was acquired by Chrysler in 1987.

1963 Alfa Romeo Spider 2600 Spider

1963 Alfa Romeo 2600 Spider

Alfa Romeo’s flagship during much of the 1960s was the 2600, which succeeded the 2000 series. The 2600 was the last Alfa Romeo car to be powered by a DOHC inline six-cylinder engine. It has a synchromesh five-speed manual transmission, with independent front and live rear axles, and front disc brakes. The car was available as a four-door Berlina, a Bertone-bodied Sprint Coupe, and a 2 + 2 Spider by Carrozzeria Touring (2,255 Spiders were built during the full model run).

Restored some years ago by Hyannis Restoration, of Massachusetts, and used sparingly thereafter, the pictured car was recent refreshed with an original-color repainting and new convertible top. This 2600 Spider has been given an upgrade from the stock Solex carburetors to three Weber units, boosting it to 165 hp. It sold for $39,600.

1941 Chrysler Royal Six Business Coupe

This Chrysler Royal Six Business Coupe (also pictured at the top of the page) has an in-line six with a three-speed Fluid Drive transmission, and comes from the last full year of car. Fewer than 7,000 were made in 1941; this car’s chrome and paint are in good shape, with an apparently original interior. RM felt it would come in at around $80,000; surprisngly, though, it did not reach a reasonable price in bidding, and remains unsold.

1941 Chrysler interior

1941 chrylser six engine

To join the auction or for more details, visit RM Auctions.

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