A collection of rare muscle cars drew pricey bids at a U.S. Marshals Service auction in New Jersey today. The nine American classics netted close to $2.5 million in less than an hour of fierce bidding.
U.S. Marshal Juan Mattos said the vintage beauties were unprecedented for a Federal auction.
"We have sold properties, we have sold cars, we have sold jewelry, we have even sold horses, but never in the history of the U.S. Marshals Service have we ever had this much horsepower being sold in one event," Juan said.
The cars were seized from convicted felon David Nicoll, who amassed close to $33 million in a scheme that involved bribing physicians to order unnecessary blood tests and other lab work for their patients from Nicoll's former company, Biodiagnostic Laboratory Services. More than $5 million of the ill-gotten cash was spent on cars including the ones sold today, which the classic car world dubbed "The Blood Money Collection."
Co-auctioneer Harry Byrnes of A.J. Willner Auctions says the unique grouping of such rare muscle cars drew surprising attention explaining, "we got guys coming in from all over the country."
Over 150 bidders flocked to the warehouse in Lodi, N.J., and over three dozen more participated online. The highest bidders spared no expense.
Rich Buzby paid $347,500 for a 1971 Plymouth Hemi Cuda, partially restored. The primer-painted coupe was displayed with the disassembled parts strewn on the warehouse floor around it. He said the fact that the car was in pieces didn't take away from its value.
"It's one of 48 ever made, there is a lot less than that that still exist, and in 1971 in the 'Cuda world it's the top of the market," Buzby added, "we see it as an investment."
Along with the ‘Cuda a 1970 Boss Mustang went for $265,000, a 1969 Yenko Camaro drew $315,000, and a 1970 Plymouth Hemi Superbird fetched $575,000.
The money from the auction will go toward a victims compensation fund. Nicoll’s sentencing date is in December and he is expected to spend the next 15 to 20 years in prison.