8/28/2013 - Final Monterey Auction Tally Hits $311.3 Million; Race Cars Take Disproportionate Share of Total
Photo: Top-selling car you could vintage race at Monterey, Gooding & Co.'s 1957 Ferrari 250 GT 14-Louver Berlinetta
"Tour de France," sold for a record $9.46 million at the Pebble Beach auction (photo: courtesy Gooding & Co.)
- Reported by Mike Silverman
Monterey, CA - The final post-sale tallies are in, and contrary to other lower reports elsewhere, the Monterey auctions garnered a record $311.3 million, up 17% over the 2012 take of $265 million. While that's certainly cause for celebration amongst the auction houses, the increase is half of the 34% gain in sales from 2011 to 2012. So while the market and average sale prices continue chugging upward, the overall velocity of price increases is slowing. Nevertheless, for owners of rare and historic cars, the news is still predominantly positive.
Vintage race cars continue to extract a disproportionate share of the marketplace dollars, as just 50 race-ready (and some dual-purpose road/race examples) combined for $91.18 million in sales at Monterey, representing 29% of total dollars, but just 4% of the lots sold. See the chart below for a complete list. As has been the trend for many years, dual-purpose or race-prepared cars with racing provenance, high performance, top condition and very limited production numbers command a premium, as they guarantee entry to the world's premier automotive events, be it historic races, rallies, tours or concours.
The numbers back RM Auctions chairman Rob Myers' summation of the week as "...a lot of money chasing too few automobiles." There were 69 lots that sold for more than $1 million compared with 47 last year, with some 50 auction world records for make or model set along the way. Average sale price has ratcheted up by about $100,000 per year since 2011's $224,000, and this year it exceeded $420,000 per car sold. Approximately 735 lots of 1280 found new owners, a sales rate of 58%, down noticeably from 2012's 66% sales rate across 810 lots sold.
RM Auctions' over-the-top $27.5 million sale of a 1967 Ferrari 275 GTB/4S NART Spider helped it to set a new record for a collector car auction at $127.2 million, surpassing the previous record set by Gooding's $113.7 million Pebble Beach sale in 2012. RM's tally this year was up $31.4 million over last year, with an average sale price of $1,190,855. It set 14 new auction records and had 26 lots at $1 million or more. Adding some frosting to Myers' cake was the Pebble Beach Concours best in show award to a '34 Packard that just finished a 6,000-hour restoration at RM's facility, its fifth such win in the past dozen years.
Myers told VM the NART Ferrari making nearly double its $14 million low estimate surprised him, but also validated his contention that dealers and brokers are wrong in saying a public auction isn't the place to sell a "big car." He noted that the Ferrari's owners, the Eddie Smith family, "would counter that," as they'd received broker offers for $13 million on the car, "so they're really, really happy." Proceeds from the sale are funding a Smith family charitable foundation, Myers noted.
Runner-up Gooding & Co. was just $1 million shy of last year's record, at $112.7 million on 116 of 127 lots, a 91% sale rate. The two-day sale at the Pebble Beach Equestrian Center set 27 world records, with 30 cars at $1 million or more, and an average sale price of $965,675. Its $8.745 million sale of a Bugatti Type 57C Atalante was the 2nd-highest auction price paid for a Bugatti to date, and Gooding specialist David Brynan likened the whopper $8.47 million sale of a 1997 McLaren F1 coupe to "buying into the (Ferrari) GTO club," with more buyers than cars eager to enjoy use of the supercar which had low miles and had already had the expensive ($250-$500,000) U.S. DOT modifications completed. "Those are rare opportunities to acquire singular cars," he noted.
Brynan also conceded that at these frothy levels of $300 million totals, the Monterey results may face a ceiling of resistance. "It's not easy to build a $100 million sale, and you're not likely to see as big a jump in the overall sales," perhaps 5-10% per year going forward, depending, of course, on the cars consigned to the auctions. He remarked that "across the board, (buyers) were really market-sensitive on pricing," especially Ferraris, Porsches and Mercedes-Benz. "Porsches have become a much stronger marque than they were 10 years ago," Brynan pointed out. "There's a huge interest in 356 models and air-cooled 911s." He also opined that Series 1 Jaguar E-Types were increasingly fancied, evidenced by the huge $269,500 paid for Gooding's mostly original 1965 roadster late Sunday night. "E-Types were undervalued, and the market's recognizing their utility and looks; it's just a great-looking car," Brynan told VM.
Third on the podium was Bonhams' Quail Lodge sale on Friday, with a glaring improvement in its consignments this year resulting in a huge 244% increase over its 2012 tally, to $32.7 million, way up from $13.4 million last year, when its two-day sale included vintage motorcycles on Thursday. Some 80 lots of 90 sold, with a nearly 90% sale rate, and its average sale price of $401,000 represented a 251% jump over 2012's $159,723. Ten lots sold for more than $1 million, with several world records set, including the top sale, a 1931 Bentley 4.5-Liter Supercharged Le Mans Racer that snagged $4.647 million from a private European buyer. Another record-setter was the $2.068 million for a "time-warp" 260cid 1963 Shelby AC Cobra from the Stan Hallinan collection, which also set a record for its untouched 1958 Lister-Chevy (albeit briefly) at $1.43 million; a Cunningham Lister-Jaguar eclipsed it later Friday night at RM with a final price of $1.98 million.
Bonhams specialist David Swig told VM the "very impressive group of cars" resulted in the biggest U.S. result to date of any of Bonhams' 50 different auction departments. (Swig, incidentally, was the envy of the race paddock over the weekend, as he turned a guest drive in the Lance Reventlow 1958 Scarab Mk 1 into a convincing victory at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca). The big sale surprise, he noted, was the 260cid AC Cobra, estimated at just $850,000-$1 million. The $2 million result, was the result of "half a dozen people who just had to have the car." Coming on the heels of its world-record $30 million sale of Juan Manuel Fangio's Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix racer at its July Goodwood sale, Bonhams "has a lot of momentum going into 2014, he opined. Next up is its Sept. 14 sale at the Goodwood Revival in the U.K., and its Oct. 7 sale at the Simeone Foundation in Philadelphia.
Coming in just a tick behind Bonhams was Mecum Auctions' $31.7 million total for its three-day daytime sale at the Del Monte golf resort. A number of significant post-sales are still pending, including Nigel Mansell's 1984 Lotus 95T F1 racer, and a 1954 Ferrari 750 Monza Spider that could push Mecum into 3rd place. As he did last year, Dana Mecum's top car was a Porsche racer, a 1955 Porsche 550/1500 RS Spyder that copped a world-record $4.012 million from its new owner. Last year's $5.8 million biggie was the ex-George Follmer Porsche 917/10 Can-Am champion. Also adding to the rising total this year was the post-sale of a 1961 Corvette Gulf race car for just shy of $1.5 million.
Volume leader Mecum used the Del Monte golf course's grassy expanse to his advantage, bumping up to 727 lots, a 30% jump over last year's 560, but the expansion resulted in a drop in the sale rate to about 50% from 63% in 2012, along with an average price down 17% to $77,382. Nevertheless, Mecum's total revenue was down just 2% from last year's $32.3 million. According to the company's marketing director Sam Murtaugh, a hefty collection of vintage midgets and sprint cars moved 19 of 25 cars at prices ranging from the low teens to the mid-$20s. Murtaugh noted, "The site...allows us to have more selection because we have the real estate to do it ...it helps to showcase the variety and diversity expected at a Mecum auction, both in value and selection." Murtaugh said Mecum will return in the daytime again next year, as "it seems to be working."
Value leader Russo and Steele managed to jump its average sale price by 25% this year to $79,011 while its total take dropped 28% to $7.111 million across 90 lots sold of 215 total, a 42% sales rate. Ferraris and Shelbys dominated the auctioneer's top 10, with the top sale a 1949 Ferrari 166 Inter Berlinetta at $1.05 million. Company principal Drew Alcazar noted that car allows the buyer "to go anywhere, any rally or concours...the world is your oyster." The surprise to him was the no sale-of a 1952 Tojeiro Barchetta sports racer bid to $187,000 that offers the same event entr as the Ferrari, plus vintage racing capability.
Of the frenzied auction week, Alcazar noted that "this is not a rising tide rising all boats," explaining that a '65 Ferrari 275 GTB N.A.R.T. Spider conversion with an alloy body was bid to $1.67 million, but the owner held firm on his reserve, no doubt assuming that the $27.5 million RM sale of a real McCoy was indicative of the market. "Monterey still has some of the giddy wildfire enthusiasm, and there's people who can take advantage of their wallets and indulge themselves."
Indulgence was clearly apparent on the Peninsula during the auto festival, and it appears it may continue in Scottsdale next January.
Top Vintage Race Car Sales at 2013 Monterey Auctions
1957 Ferrari 250 GT TdF 14-Louver Berlinetta $9.46 million Gooding
1953 Ferrari 375 MM Spider by Pinin Farina $9.075 million RM
1955 Ferrari 250 GT Berlinetta Competizione $7.15 million Gooding
1948 Alfa Romeo 6C 2500 Competizione $4.84 million Gooding
1931 Bentley 4-1/2 Liter Supercharged Le Mans $4.647 million Bonhams
1955 Ferrari 750 Monza Spider by Scaglietti $4.07 million RM
1955 Porsche 550/1500 RS Spyder $4.0125 million Mecum
1955 Jaguar D-Type $3.905 million RM
1966 AAR Gurney-Weslake Eagle Mk 1 $3.74 million Gooding
1954 Ferrari 500 Mondial Spider Series 1 $3.52 million RM
1974 McLaren M16C Indy Car $3.52 million RM
1957 Ferrari 500 TRC $3.08 million Gooding
1950 Ferrari 166 MM Barchetta $3.08 million RM
2002 Ferrar F2002 Formula 1 racer $2.255 million Gooding
1953 Maserati A6GCS/53 Spider by Fantuzzi $2.2 million RM high bid, not sold
1960 Maserati Tip 61 "Birdcage" $2.09 million RM
1990 Ferrari F40 LM $2.09 million Gooding
1958 Lister-Jaguar "Knobbly" prototype $1.98 million RM
1964 Porsche 904 Carrera GTS $1.595 million Gooding
1961 Chevrolet Corvette Gulf race car $1.498 million Mecum
1964 Shelby 289 Competition roadster $1.485 million Gooding
1958 Lister-Chevrolet "Knobbly" $1.43 million Bonhams
1996 Ferrari 333 SP Evoluzione $1.375 million RM
1949 Ferrari 166 Inter Berlinetta $1.05 million Russo & Steele
1952 Frazer-Nash Le Mans Replica Mk II Comp. $1.001 million Bonhams
1964 Shelby 289 Indep. Competition Cobra $989,750 Mecum
1976 Chevy Corvette IMSA "Spirit of Le Mans" $875,000 RM high bid, not sold
1962 Shelby Cobra Independent Comp. rdstr. $850,000 Russo & Steele
1966 Porsche 906 Carrera Competition coupe $836,000 Bonhams
1974 Porsche 911 Carrera 3.0 RSR $742,500 Gooding
1956 Porsche 356 A 1500 GS Carrera coupe $715,000 Gooding
1986 Porsche 962 $650,000 RM high bid, not sold
1968 Porsche 911 L $583,000 Gooding
1977 Porsche 934-1/2 IMSA Trans-Am $550,000 RM
1976 Porsche 935 IMSA "El Salvador" $525,000 RM high bid, not sold
1996 Porsche 993 GT2 $506,000 Gooding
2005 Aston Martin DBR9 $440,000 Gooding
1963 Porsche 356B Carrera 2 coupe $411,950 Mecum
1948 Cisitalia 202 SC coupe $385,000 Gooding
1964 Austin-Healey 3000 MkII Lightweight $352,000 Bonhams
1950s Ferrari 625 LM 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine $326,500 Bonhams
1963 Corvette Coupe "7 11" Race Car $325,000 RM high bid, not sold
1961 Fiat-Abarth 1000 Bialbero GT Comp. $302,500 Gooding
1951 Aston Martin DB2 coupe $292,600 Bonhams
1967 Holman Moody Ford Honker II Can-Am $200,000 Gooding
1978 Jaguar XJS Group 44 Trans-Am Racer $154,000 RM
1962 Lotus 22 Formula Junior $115,500 Bonhams
1966 Shelby GT350H Race Car $104,500 RM
1970 Ford Boss 302 competition vintage racer $93,500 Russo & Steele
1966 Shelby GT350 vintage race car $84,700 Russo & Steele
1971 Bizzarrini 128 Sport Barchetta $77,000 Russo & Steele
1984 Huffaker Pontiac Fiero IMSA/Trans-Am $60,500 Russo & Steele
1950 Crosley Gardner Special $30,800 Gooding
1964 Alfa Romeo Giulietta coupe $30,800 Russo & Steele
(All prices include buyer's premium, except for "high bid, not sold" figures)
* Special thanks to Hagerty Insurance and its p.r. manager Jonathan Klinger for providing raw auction data and previous year results.