The example on offer, chassis no. 130894, is one of the earliest of the breed, and one of very few built in the
most desirable configuration of high doors, long tail and factory left-hand drive. An original U.S.-delivery car
with known history from new, the first owner of 130894 has long been believed as Reginald Sinclaire of
Larkspur, Colorado, heir of Henry Purdon Sinclaire, one of the founders of Corning Glass. Sinclaire was no
stranger to luxury automobiles, with the 540 K joining an impressive stable of vehicles he owned and
remaining in his possession through the mid-50s. Over the ensuing years, the Special Roadster on offer was
the centerpiece of some of the world’s most prominent collections, including previous ownership by E.W.
Price and later, Axel Wars, before making its way to its current custodian in 1989.
Presented in wonderful, restored condition and with a mere 10,277 miles on its odometer, 130894 is offered in
Arizona following 26 years in single ownership. Eligible for the world’s most prestigious events, it is estimated
to bring more than $10 million when it crosses the RM Sotheby’s stage later this month, making it among the
most valuable automobiles on offer during this year’s Arizona auctions, and indeed, ever presented in Arizona
auction week history**.
“In the world of luxury automobiles, the 540 K is a car with few peers and effortlessly checks all the boxes
when it comes to collectability, namely extreme beauty, power and rarity,” says Ian Kelleher, Managing
Director, RM Sotheby’s West Coast Division. “Very few Special Roadsters were built in this most desirable
configuration of high doors, long tail, and factory left-hand drive, of which only six are believed to exist today.
These cars are held in esteemed collections and rarely come to public market— when they do, few rival the
provenance of the Sinclaire 540 K. The fact that it is coming to market for the first time in decades makes its
offering all the more special and sets the scene for a very exciting auction at the Biltmore.”
In addition to the Sinclaire 540 K, another feature attraction of RM Sotheby’s Arizona sale is the presentation
of 12 motor cars from the esteemed Craig McCaw Collection, some of which will be sold to support the REVS
Institute, Stanford University and other charities, including The Nature Conservancy. The selection is wide and
varied, both historically and in terms of significance, highlighted most notably by a stunning 1911 Lozier
Model 51 Seven-Passenger Touring, chassis no. 3574. Formerly part of the Henry Ford Museum and Ken
Pearson Collection, 3574 boasts just four owners in its 105 years. A reliable and well-maintained veteran of no
fewer than 77 tours, it is among the finest Loziers and greatest Brass Era touring cars in existence (Est.
$900,000 - $1,100,000). The group also includes an exceptionally original 1949 Jaguar XK 120 Alloy Roadster,
chassis no. 670047, reportedly the third XK120 sold in the United States, purchased new and owned for 46
years by legendary designer and enthusiast, Brooks Stevens (Est, $350,000 - $450,000). Additional notable
entries from the collection include a very rare, aluminum-skinned 1913 Pierce-Arrow Model 48-B-1
Five-Passenger Touring, chassis no. 10431 (Est. $400,000 - $600,000); a well-optioned and flawlessly
restored 1967 Porsche 911 S Coupe, chassis no. 307557 (Est. $250,000 - $300,000); and a 1959
Austin-Healey Sprite Mk 1 “Think Pink”, chassis no. AN5L/16468, the 1963 SCCA H/Production Champion,
driven by the famed Donna Mae Mims (Est. $40,000 - $60,000).
In total, RM Sotheby’s will present some 149 blue-chip automobiles at its two-day Arizona sale, with auction
vehicles available for advance preview at the Biltmore from January 27. Among a long list of additional feature
attractions are a 1929 Duesenberg Model J Disappearing Top Torpedo Convertible Coupe, J-414, one of just
six original examples built and featuring a one-off tail design and numerous unique features (Est. $3,000,000 -
$3,500,000); and a 1962 Maserati 5000 GT Coupe, chassis no. AM103 040, one of just 20 Allemano-bodied
5000 GTs and widely considered as one of the most significant and glamorous road-going Maseratis (Est.
$1,500,000 - $2,000,000).
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