Monterey Peninsula’s feeding frenzy is over for another year: five auctions, 750 cars sold and more than $300m spent.
Did it go well? There is no straightforward answer to this question.
The following considerations are based on the three main actual auction houses, i.e. Gooding, RM/Sotheby’s and Bonhams, which are responsible for over 90% of the sales, and do not include the post-sale deals (which may add marginal information) or the smaller Mecum and Russo & Steele sales.
This year, total sales added up to $325,060,100, almost 9% down from last year. This, in itself, shouldn’t really ring any alarm bells, if it weren’t for the fact that the 33% increase of 2014 over 2013 puts today’s loss into a different context.
The percentage of vehicles sold over those offered (84.58% vs 89.59% in 2014) was also down, for only the third time in the last ten years (2008 and 2009 being the other two occasions).
In 2014, 84 cars were sold over the $1m threshold, against 72 vehicles in 2015 (-14.29%). The number of cars sold, however, was higher in 2015 (329 vs 327), which means that whilst one out of four cars was worth $1m+ before, now the number is down to almost one out of five.
Do we need more signs that things are slowing down? In 2014 an equal number of cars were sold below as over estimate. This year, twice as many cars were sold below estimate as those sold above it. Only four doubled the minimum estimate in price achieved – against 14 in 2014.
However, seven lots were sold over $10m in 2015, against five, last year.
Of course, one can argue that the dollar is very strong against the euro, so the above-mentioned 9% loss is, in fact, an 8.71% increase in relative terms. Yet there is a school of thought (to which the writer subscribes) according to which auction results ought to be analysed on a constant exchange rate; moreover, it is very possible that fewer and fewer European buyers and more and more American ones are active at European auctions.
Those who may remember that the Violati collection sold last year for $65.4m will also probably consider that to be a salient factor; in reality, this year there was also an important collection, the Pinnacle Portfolio, which sold for an even higher amount, at $67.6m (by RM Auctions, on the third day).
Interesting purchases across the auctions:
Fiat Eden Roc (one-family-owned), one of two – the other belonged to Gianni Agnelli) started at $200k and was sold for $660k.
The 1964 Ferrari 250LM, the most expensive car sold over the weekend, passed hands for a record $17.6m (the previous record is $14.3m).
The 1961 Ferrari California SWB sold for $16,830,000 was not a record sale, whilst the Ferrari 410 SuperAmerica (Pininfarina-bodied) ex-princess Soraya was, as it sold for $5,087,500.
The Ferrari 250 GT SWB, with one-off Bertone body, was sold over the top estimate, for $16.5m, though the others were not as popular: an aluminium competition version remained unsold, whilst the one which got third place at the 1959 Tour de France (Ferrari Classiche-certified) sold for ‘only’ $8,525,000 – a real bargain, all considered.
A real record was achieved by a 1961 Ferrari 250 GTE Serie 1, sold for $797,500 (almost double the previous record). Long gone are the times when these cars were being cannibalised to create replicas.
An absolute record for any British car, the 1998 McLaren F1 (LM) sold for $13,750,000; the 1952 Jaguar C-Type Lightweight which participated in that year’s Le Mans, securing fourth place, sold for $13.2m.
Porsche record goes to the 956 which won the 24-hours in 1983 (sold for $10.12m).
Seeking more world records singles out two: the 1955 Lancia Aurelia B24S Spyder America, sold for $1,952,500 (though the model which used to belong to the Pininfarina collection was offered – and refused – $950k); the Maserati Ghibli 4.7 Spyder prototype was sold for $880k.
The Ferrari 365 GTB/4 Daytona prototype got a new top price for the American market, at $1,045,000. Yet, Daytonas didn’t fare as well as one would have hoped: in 2014, four Daytonas passed hands with a price tag over $800k; this year, none did (apart from the prototype already mentioned).
There were models which disappointed their sellers: the Mercedes 300SL, both Gullwing and Roadster, for example. Last year, the former achieved $1.16-2.53m (lowest and highest price). This year, the range was $1.16-1.65m.
The topless versions got between $1.13m and $1.81m last year. This year, three models were sold and three remained unsold. The average price for the Roadsters was around £1.17m, i.e. a little higher than the lowest price in 2014.
Of course, when the top models start to lose value, the smaller versions feel the repercussions: the 190SLs on offer had price tags between $105,840 and $341,000 in 2014. This year, they were $97,200 and $198,000 respectively.
Probably the most interesting downward market trend affects the Porsche 911 2.7 Carrera RS: average prices have gone down from $818,500 to $660,000. For $950,000 one can purchase the competition, lightened version; in 2014, the asking price was around $1.2m.
Another casualty is the Ferrari 275 GTB/4: in 2014 they were worth $3.75m/$4.62m – excluding Steve McQueen’s, which was sold for $10,175,000). Now? A more sensible $3.3m/$3.96m. There was even one which remained unsold at $2.2m.
The end of an era? We are on standby.
Please note that this is NOT to be reproduced or copied in any way without TIGOSE’s permission, but it’s shared to help everybody with an interest in the classic car industry. Source: AV PR and Cliff Goodall