RM Auctions has long been a part of the annual Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance. The company holds a one-day premier auction on the grounds of the Ritz Carlton hotel in Amelia Island, which serves as the site of the concours. The six-hour event typically features a number of very significant cars, and this year was no exception. Four historic and classic Corvettes were part of an impressive array of the world's finest automobiles.
The most talked about offering was the late Oscar-winning actor Paul Newman's '02 Trans-Am Corvette, which sold for $275,000. Newman was 83 years old when he last drove this car, just one year prior to his death in September 2008. Newman was a passionate racing driver and won numerous sports-car championships in many different vehicles and series.
Riley & Scott built this particular car in 2002 for a race team owned by Tom Gloy. Originally driven by Butch Leitzinger, it secured three Trans-Am victories, five poles, eight Top 5s, and nine Top 10 finishes in the 2002 season. Newman bought it in 2003 and drove it in the SCCA GT-1 category. He won his last race--in Lime Rock, Connecticut--behind the wheel in 2007. The tube-frame racer is powered by a 346ci, 700hp small-block.
Another significant Corvette offered at the Amelia auction was a beautiful '57 Cascade Green example with beige coves. This car has won numerous awards, including Bloomington Gold, NCRS Top Flight, six Best of Shows, and three concours d'elegance victories; it also once served as a VETTE cover car. The powertrain comprises a 250hp fuel-injected 283 paired with a rare two-speed Powerglide automatic. A new owner took it home for $110,000.
The next Vette in line was a '62 Almond Beige roadster with a black top--a color combo applied to only 820 cars that year. It's powered by a 327/250 engine coupled with a four-speed manual and equipped with many premium features. These include a Wonderbar radio, an aluminized exhaust, a courtesy light, heater, sun visors, and windshield washers. This car is also a multiple award winner, including Bloomington Gold and NCRS regional Top Flight Certification. It sold for $101,750.
The final Corvette to cross the block was a '69 race car. It was originally a black, big-block, four-speed street car, but GM stylist and racing driver Randy Wittine converted it into a formidable road-course machine in 1972. Wittine, who was inducted into the NCM Hall of Fame in 2005, added FIA-style wide fender flares, an L88-style hood, and huge racing wheels, along with other track-oriented modifications.
During the car's lengthy racing career, it was driven by the legendary Don Yenko and former Owen Corning Corvette pilot Jerry Thompson. It competed at the Daytona 24-hour and Sebring 12-hour endurance races. The well-preserved racer sold for a disappointing $37,400, well below its expected $75,000-$125,000 selling price. Someone got an excellent bargain.
RM always puts on a professional and well-managed auction. If one is scheduled near you, it would be worth your while to visit and take in the glory of automotive history-- including our favorite, the Corvette.