Sun Valley

My Labor Day weekend was spent working in Sun Valley, Idaho. I headed up to Idaho to help my old friend Mitch Silver with his 32nd annual Labor Day auction. Situated on the grounds of the Sun Valley Lodge over 125 vehicles crossed the block over the two day sale.

It had been over a decade since I had last worked this auction, it was great to see some of my old friends from the car business, and laugh about the old days when we were much younger. The weather was perfect and the crowds filled the tent on Saturday to look at and bid on a wide range of collector cars. I’m looking forward to going back next year.

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This beautiful Rolls Royce sold for $54,000.

The rare supercharged Studebaker sold for $34,000.

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The super sized motor home sold for $125,000.

The rusty Indian

Most of my friends are always on the outlook for old and interesting cars or motorcycles. They usually send me a text message with a couple of pics and the question, “what do you think its worth?”. When I started in the auction business, I worked as an appraiser. I’d help the auction consignors establish a value, so they could get an idea of what their car might be worth before putting them in the auction.

I thought I was pretty good at that job.

But in today’s vintage car/bike market I can’t even come to understanding the market. This 1944 Indian Chief showed up on a local tow company website for their weekly auction. It was hard to get a good look at the old Indian with the posted pictures, so I went out to look at for myself. The Indian Cheif has been neglected for the past 60 years, it was rusty and had been disassembled. It was loaded with what is referred to as patina today.

It was an ex military bike bought in 1950, and by 1953 was put away. Needing a complete restoration, I thought it was worth $5-8,000 in present condition. On Ebay you can find fully restored ones priced from $15-40,000. It sold for $14,600 rust wins again.

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More Miles

Work and travel never keep me from clocking more miles on my old GPZ. I jump on my bike as often as I can. A spare minute always means another mile.

I have already managed to get a couple of really good rides in this summer. Last month; I made the trip back to my hometown of Spokane to help out my old friend, Jay with his annual car show in neighboring Rosalia. He had invited me back again to be one of the judges for his annual car show. It’s a tough job when there are so many great cars! Besides the old cars, I got to visit and chat with some of my old college friends who also made the trip to Rosalia for the day. 

My old 1983 GPZ ran like a top for the 800-mile round-trip. Even more surprising was how well I held up on the ride! When I rode the exact route last year, the 90-degree heat took it out of me. The much cooler temperature this year made for a much more comfortable ride.

This weekend, I did a couple of my favorite rides. First one had my heading east out of Portland onto Highway 84 towards The Dalles. From there I rode south on the 197 to Tygh Valley, then east onto Highway 216, which took me along the Deschutes River and up Shears Bridge Canyon. It’s a great twisty ride but you have to be careful because not all of the corners have guardrails. If you go off the road, it’s a hell of a long ways down to the bottom of the canyon! I continued on by connecting through Grass Valley onto Highway 97, then hooking onto Highway 84 westbound back to Portland. It’s a great 300-mile ride that I would highly recommend.

The next day, I took a quick spin to Mount Hood with a quick visit to Timberline Lodge. The road around the backside of the mountain takes you through the wineries and fruit tree farms of Hood River. It really was a perfect weekend of riding.

Did I do the speed limit?

Did I do the speed limit?

Sherars Bridge Canyon - a fun and fast series of twists and turns

Sherars Bridge Canyon - a fun and fast series of twists and turns

In the background is Oregon’s tallest mountain, Mount Hood

In the background is Oregon’s tallest mountain, Mount Hood

Taking a selfie break along the Columbia Gorge Highway

Taking a selfie break along the Columbia Gorge Highway

Oktoberfest

October kicks off the fall fundraising season here at srdorsey auctioneering! Instead of the bevy of beer and bratwurst that defines Oktoberfest, our month is chockerblock full of benefits and galas, special appeals and fundraising auctions.

This year, we are back at the World of Speed Museum. We are working again with Chad Brown and his Soul River Foundation in Portland, then onto San Francisco for the Wild Salmon Center 25th anniversary celebration at the end of the month. We will likely raise over a million dollars at these three auctions alone. Very exciting stuff.

On the car side of things; I worked a collector car auction with my old boss Mitch Silver, over the weekend. We'll be meeting up again in Southern California and Las Vegas. Check back in with us at the end of the month to see how we made out!

Traveling Man

Last week was my busiest travel so far this year. I covered a lot of miles in a very short amount of time.

It started here in Portland after my weekly Wednesday Crosspoint auction gig. From there, I headed to the airport for my 3pm flight to California; a quick stop in Oakland and by 930pm, I had landed in Ontario. An early get-up Thursday morning to catch my shuttle ride to Riverside got me to the Highline Sale. From there, I caught a ride with my friend Rod for the four-hour drive to Vegas. I happened to be staying at the same hotel where the Mecum Motorcycle Auction was held, so I caught a glimpse of that. As luck would have it; three of the best professional motorcycle racers from the 70's and 80's, Gene Romero, Jay Springsteen, and Don Castroon were all on-hand for a VIP Q&A session. It. Was. Awesome!

I was up early again Friday morning to work the Manheim Nevada auction. My lane started at 9am sharp. I had 150 Kia's to sell. I sold 100% of them. By 1045am, I was jumping back on the airport shuttle to McCarran Airport, where I caught the 1230pm departure back to Portland. My plane touched down at 230pm; from there, I headed home to do a quick repack. My next stop was Rosalia, Washington; where I am a judge for my long-time friend, Jay's annual hot rod bash. So I took off from Portland again and did the six-hour drive up to Spokane, Washington. I made it to my parents' house at 10pm and pretty much, went straight to bed. An early get-up Saturday morning, so I could join my parents for their weekly breakfast meet-up at Denny's. I took the long way around Spokane to Rosalia, driving the old highway which winds through the Palouse. Once in Rosalia, I judged 70 cars to come up with the best in the bunch. It sure was hard to pick a winner. After the show and a quick bit of socializing, I headed back to Spokane to have a visit with my parents and to spend the night. I was up very early Sunday morning for my six-hour drive back to Portland.

What a whirlwind of a week - 4 states in 72 hours!

Arizona Bound

Last week marked my first return to Arizona for collector car week in over a decade. I went to work for my old boss, Mitch Silver, to help him sell some of the six hundred plus cars he was offering over his four day auction. It had been thirteen years since I had last worked at the Silver Auctions annual collector car auction in Fountain Hills, Arizona. It sure felt good to be back amongst old friends and on familiar ground.

If you're not familiar with what auction week is in Arizona, it's basically when the whole of the Scottsdale area gets turned into a huge week of collector car auctions. There were seven different auction companies in Scottsdale this year offering over two thousand collector cars for sale! It started on Monday, January 16th and continued the entire week right through to Sunday, January 22nd.

Our days would start at 10am. Each day would go on for about ten hours. That's what it would take to run two hundred collector cars across the auction block. I worked with three other auctioneers each day. We worked in shifts, each selling ten to fifteen cars before rotating out. When we weren't on the auction block, we would work in the auction ring to spot bids and to assist the auctioneer who was onstage selling. By the end of the three days, my feet and legs were killing me. I must be getting old!

The collector car business is forever changing. Cars go in and out of favor, depending on market conditions. But as always; the best quality, most rare and uniquely interesting ones, never have a problem finding a new owner.

Everyone has an opinion of the health of the collector car market. From my perspective, it looks pretty darn healthy. It was really great to work with my old mentor, Mitch, and to see all of my old friends who have been some of my best supporters throughout my career as an auctioneer.

This impressive 1960 Chevrolet Bubble Top, sold for $50,000.

This impressive 1960 Chevrolet Bubble Top, sold for $50,000.

This nice 1934 Ford Roadster sold for $34,500.

This nice 1934 Ford Roadster sold for $34,500.

Who doesn't love an E-Type Jaguar?

Who doesn't love an E-Type Jaguar?

Back On the Run

Within the first week of January, I have already been to Canada, California, and Las Vegas. It's good to be busy!

While the fundraising part of the auction business doesn't get rolling until February, January is chock-a-block full of collector car and vintage motorcycle auctions.

First up is Scottsdale, where a week-long collector car feast made up of seven auction companies competing for the business of car enthusiasts world-wide. It also happens to be a multi-million dollar week! Barrett-Jackson alone, is expecting to sell in excess of $100 million in cars; with the rest of the auction houses coming close to match that same amount too. You're playing with the big boys here.

Next up in the week immediately following, the focus shifts from cars to motorcycles in Las Vegas; where hundreds of motorcycles will cross the combined auction blocks of Mecum and Bonhams auction companies. At Bonhams (www.bonhams.com), a rare Crocker motorcycle is expected to go for $500 to $600 thousand. Over at Mecum (www.mecum.com), it is offering a fantastic selection of motorcycles at no-reserve. It's sure to be an excitement-filled week. I'll be there, so I hope to run into some of you. Drop me a line on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter; or just swing by to say hello.

Happy New Year everyone and happy bidding and browsing to those of you heading down to Arizona and Nevada!

Back to Where It All Began

This past weekend I had the opportunity to help my old friend and former employer, Mitch Silver. He was just an hour and a half away; up in Shelton, Washington for a small collector car auction held at the Little Creek Casino. We offered up 75 cars and easily sold a third of them.

Working with Mitch on Saturday brought me right back to the days where Mitch and I, along with the rest of our auction crew, traveled around the Western United States every weekend doing small regional auctions just like this. Before the time that television cameras starting showing up at collector car auctions and the age of the internet, these auctions were the mainstay of the collector car business. Oftentimes, these smaller car auctions offered the smart buyer a good deal on a car. A savvy seller could also benefit from the limited inventory at these smaller shows; making his car more special, therefore a standout at the auction.

Back at the Track

I've had a busy summer full of trips to visit old friends and to work car auctions. So with a weekend at home, I headed out to the Portland International Raceway to watch the Sportscar Vintage Racing Association Vintage Car Races this past Saturday. It had been a few years since I'd made my way out there and this year did not disappoint. There was a great mix of cars and a couple even had a local connection to Portland.

If you've never been to Portland, the PIR is actually managed by the Portland Parks Department and is located 10 minutes from downtown Portland. It's also connected to the MAX, Portland's public light rail system. With the exception of temporary road courses built for one-off events, it is the closest racetrack located in or to any major city in the USA.

Along with Porsches, Corvettes, stock cars, MGs and other British racing cars; there were lots of open-wheel cars and a couple of vintage Indy cars. The one that I was most interested in was the car that Jim Clark last raced here in the States. The race was at Riverside in the Rex May 300.  It was 1967. Two months later, he would die in an accident in Europe. This particular car was built here in Portland, Oregon by the legendary car-builder, Rolla Vollstedt. Rolla built many of the cars which competed in the Indy 500 races of the '60s.

I also got the chance to meet two of my childhood racing heroes. Both Al Unser Sr. and Al Unser Jr. acted as grand marshals for the weekend's races. I have always been a fan of them both, throughout their storied racing careers. They were gracious enough to let me grab a photo with them. I got their autographs too.

Wide Open Wyoming

This past Fourth of July weekend; I had the chance to help my old friend, Mitch Silver, at his annual Jackson Hole collector car auction. Mitch was the one who introduced me to the collector car business and helped to start my career as an auctioneer.

If you have never visited Jackson Hole, Wyoming; you should definitely put it on your bucket list. Where the twisting Snake River wraps around the Teton Mountain Range, there you will find and experience one of our country's most scenic areas.

For twenty six years, Mitch has held his annual Fourth of July sale at Teton Village. This year, the auction did not disappoint; delivering another excellent assortment of cars and western memorabilia.  We sold a wide variety of cars, with everything from a 1932 Oldsmobile to a 1966 Dodge Cornet Hemi. There were late-model classics and even a handful of vintage motorcycles

It was really great to return to the old stomping grounds and to reconnect with my old friends and to enjoy some of that Wyoming hospitality.

A Week in Monterey

I just finished up a big week in Monterey, California. For those of you who are are not familiar with Monterey Car Week; it is what would be considered the Superbowl of car auctions. Not only are there six separate car auctions happening simultaneously throughout the week; there are the vintage races at Laguna Seca on the weekend, and then on the Sunday, the granddaddy of all car shows - the Concours d'Elegance on the grounds at Pebble Beach.

This year, I had the opportunity to be involved with a start-up auction with the JR Auctions team. We conducted our back-to-back auctions for 4 days in a row between 1 and 4pm; in a format that had not been tried before in Monterey till now. Our auctions took place on the grounds of the Monterey Plaza Hotel and Spa. The auction block offered our spectators a stunning and complete view of Monterey Bay. It was truly the most spectacular auction block I have ever worked. With the sun beaming down on hoods and hubcaps, clear blue skies above us and the ocean breeze on our backs... You get and appreciate the picture, even if you're not a car buff.

It was exciting to be involved with Jeff and Robert on this new venture. We offered over a hundred cars, of all varieties, old and new, priced from only a few thousand dollars to well over a million. We thought we might and came so close to selling the Porsche 918 Spyder. When it came down to it; this car was worth holding onto because with its high demand, they are hard to come by.

We got business done and we had fun. We learned a lot and got too much sun! I'm already looking forward to see what's in-store next year.