Very interesting observation in the Hagerty newsletter’s wrap-up of Arizona Auction Week:
“Looking at the numbers from a different angle, many unsold cars were bid to amounts that would have purchased them six months ago.”
Think about that for a second. Prices that would have bought a car six months ago — say at Monterey — weren’t enough to seal the deal in January in Arizona. That’s certainly an indicator of the strength of the marketplace. (We’ll get to others in a few minutes.)
The insurance company/car-value-guide publisher’s newsletter also shared the unsold-vehicle statistics: At the Arizona auctions in 2015, 408 cars did not sell even though bidders were willing to pay a combined $69.5 million for them. In 2014, 494 cars went unsold at the Arizona auctions after being bid to $40.8 million.
Basically, those figures indicate the difference between the consignors’ reserve prices on those vehicles and the fact that bidders didn’t think the cars were worth quite as much as those who already owned them. The folks at Hagerty did the math, figuring the average high bid on all of those unsold vehicles. Add… divide… and they discovered that figure had more than doubled when compared with 2014.
So what does it mean?
For one thing, it does not mean that all of that nearly $70 million was left on the table at the Arizona auctions. Presumably, in very, very many cases, the person whose bid wasn’t enough to buy Car A simply waited a lot or two or a few and bought Car B.
“All this suggests,” the newsletter reports, “that sellers are continuing to expect their cars to maintain stratospheric appreciation while buyers aren’t as bullish.
“The next few months should lend a sharper focus to which direction the collector-car market is headed, but until then suffice to say that those who were able to enjoy all of the activity in Arizona were treated to a monumental week.”
Indeed, it was a monumental week:
- Total sales pushed to some $293 million, easily an Arizona auction record and a surge of more than $44 million compared with the same sales in 2014;
- The record for the most-expensive vehicle ever sold at an Arizona classic car was broken — twice;
- At least 30 world auction records were set for specific makes and models;
- The record for the largest automobilia auction was shattered, and by nearly threefold;
- The $40.44 million paid for the various pieces of the Ron Pratte collection likely is a record amount for a single collection sold at public auction.
Until last Thursday, the most anyone had paid for a vehicle at an Arizona auction (including auction fees) was the $8.8 million that bought a 1958 Ferrari 250 GT California Spider at RM in 2014.
On Thursday, a 1966 Ferrari 275 GTB Competitizione brought $9.405 million at Bonhams. But that car held the record for only a day. The following evening, a 1964 Ferrari 250 LM sold at RM for $9.625 million.
Even though more than 400 cars were left unsold at the Arizona auctions, Bonhams (87), RM (89), Gooding (91) and Barrett-Jackson (99) each reported very strong sell-through rates.
Following are details on each of those four auctions, all of which have reported their sales figures to the news media:
“This year’s Scottsdale auction was on a scale unlike anything in our 44-year history,” Craig Jackson said in his company’s post-auction news release. “From sales and consignments to our ratings on Discovery and Velocity, we smashed records at every level… with our largest vehicle consignment in history, including the sale of the Ron Pratte Collection.”
Pratte’s collection of automobilia and some 150 vehicles forced Barrett-Jackson to add days to its sale, which posted sales of more than $131 million in vehicles and an additional $6.55 million in automobilia. Barrett-Jackson said its 2015 automobilia sale at Scottsdale was a world record by nearly three times over.
Of the $131 million in vehicle sales, more than $8.1 million was earmarked for charities, with another $600,000 also being donated by Barrett-Jackson bidders.
The top three prices paid for vehicles at Barrett-Jackson all went to vehicles from Pratte’s collection: $5.1 million for the one-of-a-kind 1966 Shelby Cobra 427 Super Snake, $4 million for the 1950 GM Futurliner (a charity sale benefiting the Armed Forces Foundation), and $3.3 million for the 1954 Pontiac Bonneville Special Motorama concept car.
Here is Barrett-Jackson’s official top 10 sales at Scottsdale 2015:
- 1966 Shelby Cobra 427 Super Snake (Lot 2509) – $5.1 million
- 1950 GM Futurliner Parade of Progress Tour Bus (Lot 2501) – $4 million
- 1954 Pontiac Bonneville Special Motorama Concept Car (Lot 2500) – $3.3 million
- 1949 Talbot-Lago T-26 Grand Sport Franay (Lot 5087) – $1.65 million
- 1965 Shelby Cobra 427 Roadster (Lot 5090) – $1.595 million
- 1955 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwing (Lot 5075) – $1.1 million
- 1937 Mercedes-Benz 320B Cabriolet (Lot 5086) – $1.045 million
- 1936 Delahaye “Whatthehaye” Street-Rod (Lot 2515) – $671,000
- 1991 Ferrari F40 (Lot 5071) – $643,500
- 1953 Mercedes-Benz 300S Cabriolet (Lot 5076) – $643,500
“Year on year, our auction here in Scottsdale has grown in both reputation and results,” James Knight, Bonhams group motoring director, said in a news release.
Indeed, after its inaugural sale in Scottsdale sold only 40 cars in 2012 for less than $6 million, its numbers grew to 92 sales and $13 million in 2013 and to 85 sales for $23.5 million last year. This year, its 84-car Scottsdale catalog resulted in $25 million in sales.
Bonhams news release did not include a top-10 listing, but it did confirm that a 1966 Ferrari 275 GTB Competition sold for $9.405 million to top a sale is a nearly 90 percent sell-through.
Gooding & Company
“With nearly a quarter of our lots setting new world auction records and 11 cars selling over $1 million, this year’s Scottsdale auction proved to be a very strong sale all around,” said David Gooding, founder of the company that bears his name. “We are proud of the 90 percent sales rate achieved as it exemplifies our company’s ability to meet the market’s ever-shifting demands and trends while also maintaining our mission to present the highest quality examples to buyers around the world.”
Gooding & Company reported $51.1 million in sales of 114 of 126 lots and claimed 25 world-auction price records for various makes and models.
It also pointed proudly to the sale of Jay Leon’s 2008 Dodge Challenger SRT8 that raised more than $565,000 for the USO ($360,000 for the car and another $200,000 in donations from bidders and others in attendance).
Instead of a top-10 sales list, Gooding’s news release included all 11 of its million-dollar sales:
- 1959 Ferrari 250 GT LWB California Spider (Lot 46) — $7.7 million
- 1962 Ferrari 400 Superamerica Series I Coupe Aerodinamico (Lot 132) — $4.07 million
- 1968 Ferrari 330 GTS (Lot 109) — $2.420 million
- 138: 1966 Porsche 906 Carrera 6 (Lot 138) — $1.98 million
- 1963 Ferrari 250 GT Lusso (Lot 25) — $1.925 million
- 1959 BMW 507 Series II (Lot 51) — $1.815 million
- 1988 Porsche 959 Sport (Lot 142) — $1.705 million
- 1965 Ferrari 275 GTS, (Lot 10) — $1.595 million
- 1960 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Roadster (Lot 149) — $1.567 million
- 1964 Shelby 289 Cobra (Lot 30) — $1.155 million
- 1970 Lamborghini Miura P400 S (Lot 113) $1.155 million
“Carefully curated by our specialists, our offering was defined by its quality and uniqueness, with fantastic prices recorded across the board,” Ian Kelleher, managing director of RM’s West Coast division said in a news release after the company’s Arizona auction. “Arizona provided a terrific start to our new collector-car auction calendar.”
Led by the Arizona record-setting Ferrari 250 LM, RM posted $63.7 million while selling 90 vehicles. Total sales were more than $18 million above those at the company’s 2014 Arizona auction.
Also led by the 250 LM, Ferraris accounted for the top six sales at RM and for eight of the top 10:
- 1964 Ferrari 250 LM (Lot 0) — $9.625 million
- 1967 Ferrari 275 GTB/4 (Lot 241) $3.658 million
- 1973 Ferrari 365 GTB/4 Daytona Spider (Lot 235) — $3.3 million
- 1966 Ferrari 275 GTB (Lot 115) — $2.75 million
- 1984 Ferrari 288 GTO (Lot 158) — $2.75 million
- 1966 Ferrari 275 GTS (Lot 151) — $2.365 million
- 1971 Lamborghini Miura SVJ (Lot 119) — $1.898 million
- 1962 Ferrari 250 GT Cabriolet Series II (Lot 136) — $1.705 million
- 1965 Porsche 904 Carrera GTS (Lot 143) — $1.65 million
- 2005 Ferrari FXX Evoluzione (Lot 253) — $1.622 million
Russo and Steele
“Our 15th anniversary auction event was really everything we here at Russo and Steele could have hoped it would be,” said auction house founder Drew Alcazar. “We experienced record crowds this year, which spilled over into an amazing energy on the block and produced incredible results.
“European sports continued to be the hottest segment this year, and we led the way across Arizona Car Week on “early” Mercedes-Benz 300SL roadsters with a result of $1,430,000.00 on an example from 1957 and with the very hot Porsche 911 market, we achieved the week;s highest result on a very special 1974 911 2.7 RS, which crossed our block at $302,500.00.
“All in all, it was an absolutely fantastic week, and it was yet another example of our patented cars and camaraderie at work.”
Russo and Steele reported $19,633,820 in total sales with a 69 percent sell-through with 451 vehicles going to new owners. It’s top 10 sales were:
- 1957 Merceds-Benz 300SL (Lot 2565), $1,43 milion
- 1966 Shelby Cobra (Lot 2260), $440,000
- 1969 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 (Lot 2235), $335,500
- 1970 Ford Mustang Boss 429 (Lot 2074), $330,000
- 1974 Porsche 911 (Lot 2275), $302,500
- 1957 Porsche 356 (Lot 2080), $286,000
- 1970 Plymouth Hemi ‘Cuda (Lot 2525), $247,500
- 1967 Ford Mustang (Lot 2189), $228,250
- 2001 Prevost XL 45 Vanfare motor home (Lot 2268), $206,250
- 1959 Echidna Chassis 2 (Lot 2071), $162,800
“In light of the Arizona auctions, the market is fit enough to run a marathon!” said Mitch Silver. “We had buyers for every car that was priced within the realm of reason.”
Silver pointed out that once reserves were met, “Prices accelerated by thousands and the bidding took off.”
Silver posted sales of $3.59 million on a very strong 69.5 sell-through rate. The company’s final report noted that unsold cars were bid to $1.9 million, including the high bid of the auction — $100,000 for a 1957 Dodge D-500 convertible that did not meet reserve.
“We are anticipating a 50 percent increase in revenue going in to our spring Arizona auction on March 13-14, just from the momentum from the success of the last sale,” Silver added.
Top 10 sales at Silver’s January Auction in Arizona (the Spokane, Washington-bassed company also staged an auction in Arizona in November and has another scheduled in mid-March):
- 1956 DeSoto Firedome convertible (Lot 477), $85,320
- 1966 Chevrolet Corvette 427 coupe (Lot 513), $82,080
- 1997 Lamborghini Diablo (Lot 524), $71,280
- 1931 Packard Standard 8 convertible (Lot 460), $64,800
- 1969 Chevrolet Corvette convertible (Lot 516), $60,480
- 1975 Porsche 911 (Lot 482), $59,940
- 1932 Ford Hi-Boy street rod (Lot 385), $56,160
- 1967 Chevrolet Chevelle 396/325 hardtop coupe, $52,380
- 1969 Chevrolet Camaro Z/28 coupe, $48,640
- 1956 Chevrolet Bel Air hardtop coupe, $42,660