I have to admit that part of my decision to cover the Milton Robson Collection auction was purely personal. Several years ago Milton Robson invited my car club (The Dixie Olds Club) to visit his collection. I had no idea what to expect as a parade of vintage Oldsmobiles caravanned to Milton's Gainesville home. What I was rewarded with was one of the finest personal car collections I had ever seen. Imagine a group of guys walking around like a bunch of kids in a toy store. We poured over the cars while Mr. Robson regaled us with stories about each car. What really impressed me was how nicely Mr. Robson treated us. He was a car guy like us and he wanted to share his treasures with others who would appreciate them. That brings us to today as RM Auctions was honored to auction the Milton Robson Collection. I asked Mr. Robson why he was selling his collection and he replied "I had a lot of fun hunting these cars down. The thrill is in the search. Now it is time for me to move on to something else." I appreciate Mr. Robson's approach. He had collected some of the rarest cars on the planet, now it was time for them to spend some time with someone else. Kind of a like a "catch-and-release" program for classic cars. I kind of like that idea.
But on to the auction. RM summed up the sale itself nicely:
Held at the Robson Estate in Gainesville, Georgia on November 13th, this single-day event presented 55 high-performance vehicles and a select range of memorabilia before a standing-room-only crowd, with bidders hailing from across the continent and as far away as England and Brazil. Bidders in the room were joined by those on the phone and via the Internet, sparking multiple instances of fierce and spirited bidding.
The top sale was a coveted 1969 Pontiac GTO Judge Ram Air IV Convertible, one of only five built and the only Starlight Black example, which sparked a lively bidding war, achieving an impressive $682,000 to set a new auction record. Also garnering significant attention was a 1960 Chrysler 300F Four-Speed Convertible, the only factory four-speed, 400-hp convertible in existence, which realized a final sales price of $437,250 to also earn its place in the record books. Both sales generated enthusiastic applause from the crowd.
Other record-setting lots included:
- a top-of-the-line 1957 Desoto Adventurer Convertible, which provided a strong start to the auction, selling for $341,000;
- an outstanding 1970 Shelby GT500 Four-Speed Convertible, which exceeded its pre-sale estimate reaching $368,500;
- a rare 1957 Chevrolet Corvette Factory Airbox Convertible, one of just 43 examples built, bringing $374,000;
- a desirable 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air Fuel-Injected Convertible for $209,000; and
- a 1954 Mercury Monterey Convertible which realized $118,250.
In addition to setting a string of new auction records, the renowned Milton Robson Collection posted over $9.2 million in sales.
So go ahead and look over the photos. Keep in mind that the auction was held at Mr. Robson's own storage building at his home. Part of the story here is the building itself. Check out the gas station mockup at the back, or the western saloon entrance. It is all part of the level of detail that made this a truly unique collection.