PAPA auction preview moves to concours venue

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Posted 31 Jan 2015 in Events
2015 auc panel                               (L-R) Larry Edsall, John Carlson, Dave Kinney, Tom Cotter (Photo by Randall Bohl)


By Tim Sharp

PAPA’s sixth annual “Arizona Auction Week Preview” took a major step forward this year when it moved to the Arizona Biltmore resort to become one of the Saturday events held in conjunction with the Arizona Concours d’Elegance. Many classic car enthusiasts already were at the Biltmore for the concours and the RM Auction later in the week, so even more car collectors were able to attend and hear words of wisdom from the auction panel experts.

PAPA’s Larry Edsall, himself an esteemed automotive author, was moderators a panel discussion involving concours head judge John Carlson, classic car appraisal expert Dave Kinney and barn-find book author Tom Cotter.

This year’s panelists were serious car guys. Carlson is not only an expert judge of concours pre-war cars, but an avid muscle car collector. Kinney is not only a world renowned classic car appraiser, but the author of The Hagerty Price Guide. Kinney is also has a large Avanti collection. Cotter is not only the author of a fascinating series of barn find books, but an expert on motorsports marketing.

However, serious questions by the moderator Larry Edsall did not always get serious answers. More often than not, they elicited an entertaining and informative story from the panelists. This was what made the event so much fun!

Below are a couple of examples of the Q & A during the panel discussion:

Q. Edsall:   “Tom, six books on barn finds. What’s the big deal?”
A, Cotter:  “Well, I don’t understand how a guy buys an old rusty car and spends a half a million dollars restoring it.” However, Cotter did explain that he does enjoy the thrill of the hunt, the discovery and the satisfaction when you do find that one great preservation car which has been buried in a barn for decades. That Cobra in The Barn.

Q. Edsall:   “John, how do you judge a Preservation car?”
A. Carlson:! “Preservation means basically untouched. It varies by concours, but a 10 percent maximum amount of repainting will be allowed at most venues, less at others.”

[I guess this means the damage inflicted on my 2006 Chrysler 300C by snow birds in the Bash’s parking lot will disqualify it for future consideration in a Preservation class.]

Q. Edsall:   “Dave, are there bargains at auction?”
A. Kinney:    “Yes, one example is a 1969 Corvair I bought at auction for $16,000. Well worth it because it had only 161 miles on it!” (Not a misprint: 161 original miles and Dave Kinney would be the man that would know if the clock had been turned back). “I would also say, don’t look for a specific car. Look for a fish out of water” (like an old Packard at a muscle car auction).

Q. Edsall: “Tom, what is happening in vintage racing?” (Tom also races vintage cars).
A. Cotter: “SVRA (Sportscar Vintage Racing Association) has gone national. Sonoma and Coronado are now with SVRA.” (They also have Indy and Circuit of The America’s F1 track). “Old race cars were once junk, now they are gold!”

[Let’s hope so, I have three vintage race cars I may want to sell some day.]

Q. Edsall:  “What is the next hot car at auctions?”
A. Carlson: “Acura NSX, I bought one here last year, a Zinardi Edition.”
A. Cotter:   “240Z, MGB and obscure British cars.”
A. Kinney:  “Avantis of course! Or, Ferrari Testrossa or rare Fox-body Mustangs (like the first Ford SVT Cobras or other limited models).

Want more expert advice on what to buy at auction? Attend the “PAPA Arizona Auction Preview” next year in early January and be prepared for Arizona Auction Week.