Motorious was tipped off by a source close to Leake to watch their inventory.
Recently we received a tip that Leake Auction Company, under the ownership of the Ritchie Bros., is shutting its doors. That tip was something of a contact of a contact situation, and it passed on the word that employees were notified when it would be their last day. While no employees were willing to speak with us on the record, which is completely understandable because of any legal repercussions breaking confidentiality agreements could bring, we were told the site inventory would disappear overnight. Right now, the site has a single vehicle listed.
Whether or not Leake Auction Company is actually closing or will move forward as a brand is murky at this point, but it definitely will not be moving forward as part of the Ritchie Bros. network. At the moment we can't definitively point to a reason for the possible closure, but it's likely linked to the COVID-19 shutdowns and the company lacking the proper structure to rely solely on online auctions to stay open. Countless other companies have closed their doors for similar reasons lately and it's always a sad thing to see.
While it's been rough-going for Leake, other auction houses have seen big success during the shutdowns and afterward. For example, GAA Classic Cars reported an 83-percent sell-through rate during its July 2020 event, with some of the top bids pushing into six digits.
Leake Auctions held an online auction on September 28, 2020 but we don't know what the results were. That information was never posted to the company website. In light of this development, it's likely those results were less than stellar.
Contrast that with Leake Auctions' Scottsdale event in late January, before the shutdowns, where a 1957 Chrysler 300C convertible sold for a record $357,500. When the dust settled after four days of auctions, the company reported total sales of $17 million.
Ritchie Bros., which has been a force in heavy equipment auctions, entered the collector car auction market when it purchased Leake Auction Company in January of 2018. It was called a natural fit since Leake operated primarily in Oklahoma and Texas, plus it was already using IronPlanet bidding software for online auctions, which is part of the Ritchie Bros. organization. Thanks to the 3.9 million registered users through Ritchie Bros., Leake boasted what was potentially the largest bases of shoppers in the collector car industry, so the union was seemingly unstoppable. Nobody could have known back then the challenges everyone has faced in 2020.
Neither Ritchie Bros. nor Leake Auctions has made an official announcement, but we will update this article as more information becomes available.