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BBC Autos

The Roundabout Blog

Batmobile caps auction fever

About the author

Deputy editor of BBC Autos, Jonathan was formerly the editor of The New York Times' Wheels blog. His automotive writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times Magazine, Details, Surface, Intersection and Design Observer. He has an affinity for the Citroën DS and Toyota pickup trucks of the early 1990s.

(Barrett-Jackson)

(Barrett-Jackson)

The brashness and optimism on display at the Detroit auto show shifted to the Arizona desert over the weekend.

Collectors came to buy during the annual winter collector-car auctions based in and around Scottsdale, Arizona. And buy they did, leading to record hauls by the major houses.

A totem of comic-book culture, the original Batmobile used in the Batman TV series of the 1960s sold at the Barrett-Jackson auction for a gavel price of $4.2m – or $4.62m with buyer’s commission. It was made available by George Barris, the car customiser who transformed the 1955 Ford Futura concept car into the one-off Batmobile for the series. According to BBC News, the buyer was Richard Champagne, a collector based in the state’s capital city of Phoenix.

For the purists, RM Auctions offered a 1960 Ferrari 250 GT SWB Berlinetta Competizione, which garnered a winning bid of $8.14m, an auction record for a short-wheelbase version of the car. RM logged other significant results, including more than $2m for a 1967 Shelby 427 S/C Cobra.

The 1960 Ferrari Berlinetta had company at the sale conducted by Gooding & Company, where a long-wheelbase 1958 Ferrari 250 GT California Spider received a winning bid of $8.25m, a record not only for a steel-bodied LWB California Spider but for any single car in the four-decade history of the winter auctions. The final price demolished the pre-sale estimate, which was capped at $7m. Gooding reported that six other consigned vehicles sold for more than $2m, a performance that fed the house’s final haul of $52.5m, a 31% improvement in total sales over the 2012 event.

North American collectors will have further diversions this winter. RM has consigned the Bruce Weiner microcar collection, which goes up for auction in Madison, Georgia, in mid-February, followed by the house’s annual event at Amelia Island, in northern Florida, in March.

1958 Ferrari 250 GT California Spider, sold by Gooding for $8.25m. (Gooding & Company)

1958 Ferrari 250 GT California Spider, sold by Gooding for $8.25m. (Gooding & Company)

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