By Andrew Ganz
Friday, Jan 13th, 2012 @ 1:00 pm
 
Each collector car auction scheduled for next week's massive sales in Arizona has its own flavor, but it is RM Auctions that caters to the most distinguished crowd.

RM has carved out a niche at the top end of the market, where its auctions look more like a gathering of fine cars than a sales event.

We scoured RM's catalog for its auction - January 19-20 at the Arizona Biltmore in Scottsdale - to pick out what we consider to be the 10 most interesting cars set to cross the auction block.

This was hardly an easy task, since RM's catalog is positively captivating thanks to its generous use of professional photography and compelling writing. In the name of research, we finally whittled down to 10 cars we can't wait to see cross the block. To make it easy for you to check out the catalog, we've placed the cars in order by their lot numbers.

Have a look, but don't forget to check back here next week for our live coverage from Scottsdale!

10 "Can't miss" cars headed to RM's Scottsdale auction

1. Lot 128 BMW 507 Estimate: $900,000-1.2 million
BMW's 507 might be the most beautiful car to never catch on with the buying public. In fact, the knee-quiveringly beautiful Count Albrecht Goertz-penned 507 nearly bankrupted the company. So just about any 507 that comes up for sale is intriguing, but this one is fresh off a restoration by RM's in-house shop, the same team that rehabbed the stunning roadster owned by Edsel Ford that we recently saw at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit (a photo is still on our Facebook page, if you're curious).

2. Lot 132 1938 Cadillac V16 Presidential Convertible Parade Limo Estimate: $300-400,000
Prior to a disastrous day in 1963, American heads of state were typically motored around in convertibles, and few are as famous as "The Queen Mary," a gigantic V16 Cadillac that served Presidents FDR, Truman and Eisenhower. This gargantuan beast lacks its original V16 since GM retrofitted it with an updated V8 under Eisenhower, but its presence is remarkable. If you're going to buy an ex-presidential limo (something you can't do any longer), this is one of the greats.


3. Lot 135 1930 Duesenberg Model J LWB Dual Cowl Phaeton Estimate: $900,000-1.2 million.
What's an auction without an enormous Duesenberg? These Doozies were a dime a dozen (well, maybe a billion a dozen) before the depression, but it took real financial might to buy one as ornate as this Phaeton in 1930. In this case, the buyer was a Chicago broker about whom little is known but much is assumed. Draw your own judgement.

4. Lot 146 1915 Brewster-Knight Model 41 Landaulet Estimate: $60-80,000
Looking like an extra from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, this delicate yet robust Landaulet is remarkably inexpensive. Brewster became a quietly respected American coachbuilder, but its own products have languished in obscurity. This rolling piece of art was owned new by the scion of a printing press empire and it was a part of the gigantic John O'Quinn collection until his untimely death. "Good value" isn't something we normally associate with auctions, but this Brewster-Knight is a bargain for its combination of design and age.

5. Lot 152 2001 Ford F-150 Lightning Rod Concept Estimate: $40-60,000
Ever wanted a concept car? Here's your chance. This Ford concept clearly previewed the 2004 Ford F-150 (which is closely related to the current car) when it debuted all the way back in 2001. For the price of a well-equipped 2012 F-150, a new owner might be able to take home this one-off concept. Just don't expect to license it since it is being sold on a bill of sale and it can't be titled or registered.

6. Lot 215 1934 DeSoto Airflow Coupe Estimate: $50-75,000
Chrysler bet the whole house on its Airflow streamlined designs in the mid-1930s, and it nearly lost it all by converting the entire DeSoto (think sub-Chrysler) lineup to look and feel just like this Coupe. While we look back on these classics today with admiration and awe, the public had little interest in them back in the 1930s despite the major technological breakthroughs. A Chrysler Airflow will run you far more today, but it doesn't bring with it much more technology than this exceedingly rare DeSoto Coupe.

7. Lot 232 1957 Ferrari 410 Superamerica Coupe Estimate: $1.75-2.25 million.
Some cars get all the glory; this dramatic bespoke Ferrari is certainly one of them. As the headliner of the auction, it's bound to get plenty of attention - and for good reason. It looks like no other Ferrari thanks to its stainless steel roof and fins. While it will hardly be the most valuable Ferrari to ever cross the auction block, it is definitely one of the most eye-catching. Want a showpiece to impress just about anyone? Here's your car.

8. Lot 269 1927 Isotta-Fraschini Tipo 8A Boat-Tail Tourer Estimate: $400-500,000
Isotta-Fraschinis were the must-have vehicles of the pre-war Hollywood set back in the day, but just about anyone who was someone had a 7.3-liter Tipo 8A. This one's history isn't as intriguing as most, but what it lacks in pedigree it more than makes up for in panache. Just check out that grille work, not to mention the outlandish paint scheme. Can you imagine who was driving this one down Hollywood Boulevard in 1927?

9. Lot 274 1920 Pierce-Arrow Model 48 2/3 Passenger Coupe Estimate: $185-225,000
Would you expect a salt baron from central Kansas to order such an exotic car back in 1920? You'd better believe it. this Pierce-Arrow's gold-plated aluminum body exudes wealth, if not necessarily taste. But its nickel and silver trim works well with its time-worn patina to deliver an appearance right out of a fairy tale book. It almost looks like a 1920s interpretation of steampunk, doesn't it?

10. Lot 276 1903 Cadillac Rear-Entry Tonneau Estimate: $150-250,000
Cadillac was well on its way to being the standard of the world by middle part of the first decade of the 20th century, but this bright red car precedes nearly every other Cadillac known today. In fact, it was just the 13th such vehicle to bear the brand's name and it was the first to make its way to California (ironically, a market Cadillac covets today). Interestingly, this car was also displayed across the country at the 1903 New York auto show.