The Recession? That's So Yesterday

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SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Judging by the number of consignments and the turnout of buyers, the annual winter classic car auctions that began here on Tuesday with Barrett-Jackson's sale seem to have been immunized against every strain of economic flu. It's almost as though the lean recession years of 2009-10 never happened.

Here are some of the particularly interesting high-end collectibles available this weekend:

• 1971 Plymouth Hemi 'Cuda (Barrett-Jackson) One of 11 426-powered 'Cuda convertibles built that year, it was a tremendously expensive engine option for the day -- nearly $1,300 -- which explains its scarcity. Were this car to break $2 million here, it would be a sign that the market is close to being back to its peak of 2007.

• 1934 Cadillac V-16 Convertible Sedan (RM Auctions). In the 1930s, there was a race for engine size and number of cylinders. Only Marmon matched Cadillac in introducing an expensive V-16 in the depths of the Depression. This car is expected to bring up to $750,000.

• 1958 Ferrari 250 GT LWB California Spider (Gooding & Company) The California Spider is the market leader of collectible road Ferraris. There's a definite pecking order, with the short-wheelbase, enclosed-headlight models capable of bringing $10 million or more. This is the slightly less desirable long-wheelbase model, but it may possibly be the weekend's high sale with an estimate of $5.5 million to $7 million.

• 1960 Ferrari 250 GT SWB Berlinetta (RM Auctions) This car is likely to go wheel-to-wheel with the California Spider at Gooding for the weekend's top sale. RM declined to publish a presale estimate.

• 1957 Maserati 150 GT Spider (Gooding & Company) Maserati was once a credible rival to Ferrari on the road and the racetrack. In terms of collectibility, the same cannot be said; this car illustrates that point. A factory prototype for a 4-cylinder sports car, the 150 GT was based on the chassis of a retired competition car. It has a $3 million to $4 million presale estimate.


This article originally appeared in The New York Times.


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