Bradley R. Farrell and his new The Finest Automobile Auctions stage their first sale Saturday. This inaugural event is an online-only auction featuring some 15 collector vehicles and a variety of automobilia, all available through the Proxibid online portal.
Farrell, who was chief operating officer for the inaugural Keno Brothers automobile auction in 2015, also has The Finest sales scheduled June 11 at Hershey, Pennsylvania, and September 17 at Aspen/Snowmass, Colorado, and already is working on another online-only sale for July.
He sees such online sales as an opportunity yet to be owned by the major classic car auction houses.
“They may not see the necessity for it yet,” he told Classic Car News. “They’re trying to make the younger, Internet generation adapt to their methodology rather than adapting to the younger generation’s way of buying. That’s the space I want to be in.”
But Farrell sees his company’s future success in a mixture of live and online sales.
“I need live auctions to build the credibility and the trust factor,” he said, explaining that he knows it will take time for buyers and sellers to feel confident in Farrell and his team, and the auction’s sales format.
That format will be different, Farrell said, adding that he has been turned off by the “grinding” he sees at many auctions, when as a car is on the block and bidding has yet to reach the seller’s reserve price, the auction staff will pressure the seller to lower that price so the car will sell right now.
Farrell’s answer is to remove that pressure by extending the buying and selling opportunity. For example, a car that doesn’t reach its reserve during the bidding Saturday will be available for higher bids for at least 24 hours. Then it will be assigned a buy-it-now price. If still not sold after an additional 24 hours, it will go into a make-an-offer queue for another 24 hours.
Bidding at Hershey and Aspen will be available in person or online, and Farrell plans to have a second online-based sale in July, though with the likelihood of also having some bidders in his company’s 48,000-square-foot facility near a private airport in Connecticut, where a bidder might fly in, do a test drive and then bid on a vehicle.
But it’s not only those with private aircraft to whom Farrell hopes to include among clients.
“It doesn’t have to be a $200,000 car,” he said, explaining that he also hopes to offer high-quality, low-mileage cars with known history in the $20,000 to $50,000 heart of the collector car marketplace.
Among the featured vehicles for The Finest’s inaugural sale are:
- 1971 Nissan Skyline 2000GT-R “Hakosuka,” a Japanese Domestic Market vehicle with right-hand drive in original condition and still wears its wrinkled GTROC decal on the rear window, “an indication of long-term enthusiast ownership, like seeing an old ‘PCA’ badge on an early Porsche 911,” according to the description in the online catalog. The description includes a “market trends” section that quotes recent transaction prices. The Finest expects this car to sell for between $125,000 and $175,000.
- 1981 Ferrari 512BBi with only 1,600 miles on its odometer and believed to be owned by the original family until 2003. The pre-auction estimated price is $400,000 to $500,000.
- 2001 BMW Z8 with only 1,940 miles driven from the showroom and a one-owner car until it was traded in on a new car in February. One of 2,543 Z8s for the U.S., the car has a pre-sale estimate of $215,000 to $235,000.
Also on the docket are three additional Ferraris, a 1970 Mazda Cosmo L10B, a 1973 Ferrari Dino 246 GTS, a 1959 Alfa-Romeo Giulietta Sprint Veloce, and a 1985 Fiat Campagnola 4×4 convertible 1107A.