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Auction action with a feel-good story from Pebble Beach

1962 Ferrari 250 GTO
1962 Ferrari 250 GTO
Bonhams

Stories from the Pebble Beach classic car weekend were pretty much dominated by accounts of millions of dollars spent on rare Ferraris and a Ford GT-40 roadster. Auction houses set new sales records in almost every category. A 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO hammered sold for $34,650,000 at day one of Bonhams' Quail Lodge sale. Including the 10% buyer's premium, the GTO was $38,115,000. Bonhams also sold the ten Ferraris from the Maranello Rosso Collection for a combined $65,945,000.

The star of the RM Auction was the 1964 Ferrari 275 GTB/C Speciale by Scaglietti that sold for $26,400,000. The Steve McQueen factor was working again at RM when a 1967 Ferrari 275 GTB/4 originally owned by the King of Cool sold for $9,225,000. The standing-room-only crowd cheered as the McQueen Ferrari rolled on stage after a short video, which noted that the V12-powered car was delivered to the late actor and auto enthusiast during the filming of the movie Bullitt, further adding to its celebrity allure. RM also had the honor of selling the 1965 Ford GT40 Prototype Roadster for $6,930,000.

Over at the Gooding & Company auction, BMW was celebrating the U.S. arrival of the revolutionary BMW i8. Jay Leno and Ludwig Willisch, President and CEO, BMW of North America, presented a one-of-a-kind 2014 BMW i8 Concours d’Elegance Edition, which was then auctioned off for $825,000.

The feel-good story of the weekend came from the Gooding & Company auction. There was a 1957 Buick Caballero Estate Wagon (a pillar-less hardtop station wagon) on offer at Gooding that carried a pre-auction estimate of $100,000-$125,000. As the car rolled up to the block, David Gooding introduced Jay Leno, whose Big Dog Garage restored the car at no cost to benefit The George W. Bush Military Service Initiative, which honors post 9-11 veterans and works to help them transition back to civilian life.

The Buick, signed by President Bush, sold for a staggering $300,000. Then something magical happened. The new owner walked up to the stage—a highly unusual occurrence at an auction—and donated the car back to David Gooding. The auditorium erupted in a two-minute standing ovation. With Leno still up there, the car was auctioned off a second time and sold to the original runner-up bidder for $280,000. Another standing ovation followed. This classic Buick becomes what is probably the highest-selling postwar American station wagon of all time, at $580,000.