The third Scottsdale event, Russo and Steele, also appeared to draw buyers who were focused on the merits of the cars over the thrill of the auction environment. Russo events tend to be a good blend of car-show kitsch on the outside and razzle-dazzle showmanship in the bidding ring. The core audience consists of the younger segment of the Baby Boomer generation, many of whom have firsthand memories of the muscle-car era. As such, you’re likely to see more second- and third-generation Corvettes than at RM, and more stock-appearing vehicles than typically show up at Barrett-Jackson.
While Russo didn’t attract a ’67 427 Tri-Power Sting Ray this year, a 427/390 car did roll into the round during prime bidding time. The description of Lot 9486 offered a general recap of the model’s history and few details on this particular example. No show-judged pedigree was cited, leaving the prospective buyer to make up his own mind about how correct the car was. The $72,600 final settlement price reflected the relatively weak presentation. The owner was likely left scratching his head, wondering why his convertible only earned coupe money.
Other Corvettes at Russo earned more modestly still, in sharp contrast to the $100,000 paid for customized flights of fancy at Barrett-Jackson. A Corvette Rayzr Restorod (Lot 9430) was similar in concept and quality to the Karl Kustom car (though a good bit older), yet it earned a mere $35,200.
While not the icon that the C2 is, the third-generation “shark” retains a loyal following. A ’68 427/435 coupe (Lot 9204) strutted all the right stuff at Russo, with a recent restoration, a numbers-matching drivetrain, and original documentation. The California “black plate” car sold for a buyer-pleasing $48,400. In contrast, a ’68 custom that spent its life as an ISCA show car only earned a shade over $17,000. The car was no more outlandish than a 30-foot cactus, and it likely would have done better on the B-J stage.
As you can see, knowing the distinctions between the auction houses can help you use the environment—and the resulting Vette values—to your advantage, whether as a buyer or a seller.
1967 Chevrolet Corvette 427/435 (Lot 1320), SOLD - $154,000
1967 Chevrolet Corvette 427/435 Restamp (Lot 1289), SOLD - $209,000
1958 Chevrolet Corvette EFI Roadster (Lot 1264.2), SOLD - $121,000
2009 Karl Kustom Corvette (Lot 1246.1), SOLD - $148,500
1967 Corvette 427/435 Roadster (Lot 267), SOLD - $165K
1956 Corvette Roadster Dual-Quad Carbs (Lot 269), SOLD - $115,500
1957 Corvette Roadster FI (Lot 267), SOLD (NO RESERVE) - $115,500
1956 Corvette Roadster (Lot 275), SOLD - $71,500
1967 Corvette 427/400 Roadster (Lot 298), SOLD - $126,500
Russo and Steele
1958 Corvette 283/270 Roadster (Lot 9052), SOLD - $107, 250
1967 Corvette 427/390 Roadster (Lot 9486), SOLD - $72,600
1993 Corvette Rayzr Restorod (Lot 9430), SOLD - $35,200
1968 Corvette 427/435 (Lot 9204), SOLD - $48,400
1968 Corvette ’70s Show Car (Lot 9469), SOLD - $17,050