The late Otis Chandler's collection of vintage autos and motorcycles was auctioned off over the weekend and the final numbers were record-breaking. A total of $36 million of art, cars and bikes went across the block, setting a record for a single collection. The previous record was for a 1990 Sotheby's sale that netted $22 million. The star of the show, a 1931 Duesenberg Model J Special Phaeton sold for $2.4 million, while a mere $2.05 million bought one lucky bidder the 1904 Mercedes Sport Touring. That was before the 10 percent commission charged by auctioneer Gooding & Company. 89 rare motorcycles and cars were sold during the former Los Angeles Times publisher's 5-hour-long auction.
As a student at Stanford University in the late 1940s, Otis rode a Harley-Davidson Knucklehead to school, and his passion for collecting began soon after. Over the years, the wealth from his family's ties to publishing allowed his collection to grow. Of particular interest to Chandler were one-of-a-kind cars and motorcycles form the '20s and '30s.
"Ladies and gentlemen, start your engines," was how Chandler's widow, Bettina Chandler, got the crowd going at the start of the auction. Standing at a podium inside the enormous Vintage Museum of Transportation and Wildlife in Oxnard, California, Bettina related her late husband's love for collecting vintage automobiles and motorcycles, as well as record-sized trophy game animals. Chandler "loved the hunt," his widow told the assembled bidders. "This very special event is a celebration of Otis," she said.
Also included in the auction were posters, sculptures and paintings depicting Chandler's love for cars and racing. One of the first items to be sold was a tapestry depicting two Porsche 959s that measured 11 x 16 feet. It sold for $10,000. A 12-foot-long wooden sculpture of a Ferrari and Porsche racing sold for $22,000. Things really took off when the cars started to reach the stage. The first auto up was a 1973 Porsche Carrera RS Touring that fetched $165,000. In fact, nine separate lots brought more than $1 million apiece.
Full results are available by clicking here. Thanks for the help on this, Duane.
[Sources: Ventura County Star, sub req., Gooding & Co.]