8/18/2013 - RM Auctions Tops $125 Million in Sales, Ferrari 275 GTB Sells for $27.5 Million
Reported by Mike Silverman
Photo: 1967 Ferrari 275 GTB/4 NART Spyder; Darin Schnabel ©2013 Courtesy of RM Auctions
Monterey, CA - The collector car auction mania during the Monterey/Pebble Beach auto week here continued to astound and amaze veterans of the marketplace, as the combined results of five major automotive auctions through Saturday night had nearly equalled last year's stunning record $266.4 million in sales, with the tally currently at $244 million, while Gooding & Co.'s Sunday night sale is expected to put the 2013 total over $300 million for the week.
RM Auctions' sale last night of a 1967 Ferrari 275 GTB/4 NART Spyder for the breathtaking sum of $27.5 million left auctiongoers stunned and exhilarated, as the sale is the highest auction price for a Ferrari worldwide to date, and the record for any car purchased at a U.S. public sale. It also cued RM to a new world record for any car auction, as the Toronto-based company's $125 million take bested the previous record-holder, Gooding & Co.'s $113.7 million Monterey sale in August 2012. RM said proceeds from the NART Ferrari's sale will be donated to charity. RM had estimated the car's value at $14-$17 million.
The Ferrari sale at RM was the second-highest price paid for any car at a public auction, coming just weeks on the heels of the current record-holder, the 1954 Mercedes-Benz W196 Grand Prix car driven by Juan Manuel Fangio to two wins that sold for $29.7 million at Bonhams' July 12 sale at Goodwood in the U.K. The previous record paid for any car sold at auction had been Gooding & Co.'s $16.4 million take for a 1957 Ferrari Testa Rossa prototype at its 2011 Monterey sale.
According to a Bloomberg.com report, the buyer of the Ferrari NART convertible is believed to be Canadian fashion entrepreneur Lawrence Stroll, who is well known in the car collector hobby as an experienced vintage racer and owner of the historic Circuit Mont Tremblant (formerly St. Jovite) racetrack north of Montreal. Stroll, who built Tommy Hilfiger in the 1990s as a global clothing brand, was bidding in the Portola Plaza auction room here via an intermediary, according to Bloomberg, which noted it could not confirm Stroll as the buyer of the record-setting car.
Ferrari racers from the 1950s and '60s continue their dominance of the market's top end, both in private and public sales, and this week at Monterey proves no exception, with the next two cars currently on the podium a 1957 Ferrari 250 GT Tour de France Berlinetta sold Saturday night at Gooding & Co. for $9.46 million, and RM's Friday evening sale of a 1953 Ferrari 375 MM Spyder sold for $9.075 million. The remainder of the top 10 cars so far (see list below) included a pair of prewar Mercedes-Benz, a 1997 McLaren F1 coupe, a 1931 Bentley, a 1955 Ferrari Monza, a 1955 Porsche 550 Spyder and a 1955 Jaguar D-Type.
London-based market analysts Historic Automobile Group International's HAGI index of collectible Ferraris has climbed 34.3% through July, according to the Bloomberg report.
At least at last night's RM Auction, even the bottom segment of the vintage car market was apparently not immune to auction fever, as the second-to-last lot of the night, a 1969 Alfa Romeo 1750 Spider Veloce in a unique teal paint job without a reserve price brought in 2-3 times its estimate, with a final price of more than $120,000. Sheer speculation, but perhaps someone didn't want to go home empty-handed.
Through Saturday night, all the auctions had concluded with the exception of Gooding & Co.'s Sunday night Pebble Beach sale, which is expected to net more than $45 million. The cumulative total of $244 million is up 15% vs. last year's Saturday tally, and as a general indicator, the average car price of $366,348 across 666 sold lots of 1,225 available, is up a hefty 31.7%. RM Auctions' average sale across 105 of 121 lots (87% sale rate) was a stunning $1,190,855, up a whopping 38%, a good indicator of the company's impressive jump in consignment quality vs. its 2012 sale, which was no slouch. Gooding & Co.'s $55.8 million first-night take of $55.8 million was off 7.6% on 65 sold lots (96% sale rate), but the Santa Monica-based company is likely to double their take so far later this evening.
Bonhams' one-day Quail Lodge sale on Friday hit it out of the park versus its disappointing 2012 sale here. Helped by the $4.647 million sale of its top car, a 1931 Bentley 4.5-Liter Supercharged Le Mans roadster, the company garnered a total of $30.5 million on 76 of 90 lots, an impressive leap of 227% over its 2012 tally. Their average sale price jumped 251% to $400,986 from last year's $159,723, so clearly their consignment quality was drastically improved. One knowledgable veteran of the sales and consignment process and a major player in the Monterey scene for more than two decades attributed the noticeable jump in Bonhams' consignment quality to its new hire Jakob Greisen, head of West Coast business development.
Volume leader Mecum Auctions' three-day daytime sale at the Del Monte golf course jumped to 718 lots vs. last year's 560-lot consignment total, but their dollar take dropped 19.2% to $26.1 million. However, testament to their boosted consignment quality, Mecum's average sale price jumped a hefty 61% this year to $148,654. Russo and Steele's sale at Monterey's Fisherman's Wharf garnered $6.5 million, down 34% from last year's near $10 million take, but their per-sale average also jumped by 28% to $80,686 and at presstime there was ongoing action in the post-sale lot.
The record price paid for any car continues to be the $35 million in a private sale last June for a 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO built for racer Stirling Moss. However, whispers in the RM auction room last night indicated that one of the three dozen GTOs on the planet was recently sold privately to a new owner for some $52 million, although VM could not confirm what's currently just a rumor.
Overall Top 10 Sales from all auctions through Saturday:
1) 1967 Ferrari 275 GTB/4S NART Spider, $27.5 million (RM)
2) 1957 Ferrari 250 GT TdF Berlinetta, $9.46 million (Gooding)
3) 1953 Ferrari 375 MM Spider, $9.075 million (RM)
4) 1997 McLaren F1 coupe, $8.47 million (Gooding)
5) 1928 Mercedes-Benz 680 S Torpedo roadster, $8.25 million (RM)
6) 1939 Mercedes-Benz 540K Special Roadster, $7.48 million (RM)
7) 1931 Bentley 4.5-Litre Supercharged Le Mans Roadster, $4.647 million (Bonhams(
8) 1955 Ferrari 750 Monza Spider, $4.07 million (RM)
9) 1955 Porsche 550/1500 RS Spyder, $3.975 million (Mecum)
10) 1955 Jaguar D-Type, $3.905 million (RM)
All auction prices include appropriate buyer's premiums.
Special thanks to Hagerty Insurance and P.R. Manager Jonathan Klinger for providing raw auction data.
Look for a final update on totals next week in the next VM Newsletter, or at our website, www.vintagemotorsport.com.