Sunday, June 3, 2012

Montana Auction and Cleveland Results

Before we get to the Montana Auction, let's talk about the outcome of the Cleveland Auction.  I'm sure you heard about it.  There was a little bit of everything up for bid at that one.  Everything from a Spartan Executive, to a Gee Bee replica, to a Champ and everything in between.
The outcome of this auction was interesting.  As usual, most things went high.  Yet, unlike auctions of past, the planes at this event did not go for the crazy, ego driven, I'll pay twice going market just to prove I can, prices of yesterday.  Nope, this time they only went for "auction high".
A 65 Champ went for $24,000.  The Champ was not in exquisite shape and restored to original condition, so this was anywhere from 2-6 grand high by current going prices.  One fully restored can go this high and higher but it is rare in today's market.
An RV-8 went for something in the range of $80-90 with out of date avionics and an older engine so this was high.
There was an Extra that sold for two-o-five. That's all I have to say about that.
That was an S1S Pitts that went for $38,000.  This was off the charts high unless it was built by Curtis himself, had been flown by Betty Skelton, owne by Bob Hoover, and flown on the Space Shuttle.
An Aerostar went for $80,000.
I am told the Spartan Executive went for $325,000.  If it had been completely restored, and I mean completely, including the upgraded gear of which only five to my knowledge have, then this was either a little high or close to market.
A Ryan "STA" sold for $83,000 to a guy in Missouri who is a friend of Sam Graves.  I mention Sam Graves because that seems to be the thing to do in aviation today.  This price was cheap a few years ago but now it is likely a little high when you consider that old planes no longer have the investment value they once did.  Furthermore, this is either an STA converted to a Ranger engine or it is a very extensive redo of a PT-22 with a Ranger.  In either case, it isn't a pristine STA.  If the person buying this thought they were buying it low, I hope they aren't staking their retirement on it.
A Cabin Waco sold for $155,000.  I can't remember the exact model cabin but this one likely went high because of a recent trend in the vintage world.  What's the trend?  Well, Cabin Wacos are the trend.  Suddenly everybody wants one.  My best guess is that this is the logical trend that matches that of auto sales.  As the aviation group gets older, the slower open cockpit sports car airplanes fall out of favor for faster more comfortable models.  We're pretty much in the middle of this trend so expect some of them to sell high for the next two to three years before everyone realizes they are nothing more than enclosed old airplanes that still require a certain type owner.  If you want one and can wait, in 5-7 years you'll find these for sale at better prices.
The Taperwing Waco sold for $140,000.  Although this is much lower than they sold for five to eight years ago, it is a little on the high side of today's market.  As I mentioned earlier, these planes require a special kind of owner that is rapidly disappearing from the world and I wouldn't expect them to go up in value until America rediscovers its passion for freedom.
A Howard went for $160,000.  This one is beyond belief.  I don't know what parts of this plane were molded from solid gold and encrusted with jewels but wow; someone really liked this airplane.  I have seen good flyers sell in the past few years for 85-90.  I like Howards but wow, someone really wanted this plane.  Maybe there was a secret stash of cash in the headliner?  All joking aside, this price likely has something to do with another trend in vintage aircraft; speed.  The slower vintage birds are going down and those that are fast (er) are doing a better job of holding their values.  On top of that, the Howard also benefits from another trend in vintage aviation; a move away from vintage aircraft with engines that suffer from parts availability.  Combine the characteristics, enclosed, fast, and maintainable engine and you have a recipe for a member of vintage aviation's newest demographic group to overpay for an aircraft that exists in relatively large numbers.
A Gee Bee Y replica sold for $95,000.  It is my understanding the guy who bought this was from Ohio, owns a Corsair, is looking for a Mustang, had attempted to buy this replica before, and there was no way he was going home without it.  If you are the guy who bought this plane, please find a reputable vintage aircraft restoration shop, then get them to restore it and fix the landing gear before you try to fly it.  From what I've heard from several sources, the gear has serious alignment issues.  You don't want to fly it that way.
Now for the Montana Auction.
It's rare for me to see an airplane up for auction that I would love to own.  Yeah sure there are lots of exotics out there that come up for auction that we'd all love to hangar but I'm talking about a plane that is simple to operate and could be a ton of fun at sunrise or sunset.  Oh how I would love to rescue this little bird, give it a nice new cover in the exact same colors, then fly it around the countryside.
Unfortunately for me, the timing is bad on this one.  Therefore maybe one of you, who would love her the same as I, could go out there, take her home, and give her a great new life.  If you do, all I ask is that you let me take the old girl around the pattern once or twice.
What plane am I talking about?  Look below for the wonderful old flying machine in red wine and yellow colors.

Montana Auction

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