Vintage French car takes top prize at auto auction

The auction at the Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance luxury car show netted more than $66 million. The Fla. auction was comprised of 167 vintage luxury vehicles, the most expensive of which, a 1937 Delahaye 135 Competition Torpedo roadster, sold for $6.6 million. The car was made by French producers Figoni & Falaschi and is one of only two surviving models. The receipts from the auction, where lots sold for an average of $400,000, show that luxury car collectors are still spending.

The Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance automotive auction
The luxury resort community of Amelia Island holds its very own car show each year. The event has grown over the years to include dinners, galas, book signings and an auction. The auto show portion of the evening gave top prize to a 1937 Horch 853 and a 1958 Scarab racecar. However, the auction winners were the1937 Delahaye along with a 1968 Porsche longtail coupe – which sold for $3.6 million – and a 1955 Ferrari 250 Europa GT coupe – which sold for $2.5 million. All together, the top 10 selling vehicles at the auction each sold for more than $1.5 million.

The "French mistress"
The top-selling car at the auction was previously owned by famed automotive collector Malcolm Pray. A businessman and philanthropist from Greenwich, Conn., Pray owned several car dealerships in the Greenwich area before selling them to focus on his childrens foundation. Over the years he was able to amass a large collection of luxury vehicles. He was perhaps most fond, however, of the 1937 Delahaye, so much so that his wife came to nickname the vehicle his "French mistress." The vehicle was auctioned off by Pray's estate after his passing last summer.

New collectibles
While the auction was dominated by the expected assortment of Porsches and Ferraris, these luxury standbys were unexpectedly joined by a VW Beetle and a Datsun. Despite being immaculately restored, these cars are not typically associated with the luxury car collecting market. However, their appearance at this auction suggests that collectors expect finely tuned examples of these models to significantly increase in value over time. As a result, it may be worth investing substantial funds in restoring that 1969 Volkswagen Beetle that has been rusting in the garage. 

Collectors are encouraged to visit iCollector to find lots from national and international auctions related to the auto industry.