27 Porsche 911s to be auctioned in online sale

A 1974 Porsche 911 Carrera, black with a black-leather interior, is the earliest car in the auction | LiveAuctioneers.com
A 1974 Porsche 911 Carrera, black with a black-leather interior, is the earliest car in the auction | LiveAuctioneers.com

The rapid rise of values for Porsche 911s has brought many of them out of hiding and onto the auction stage, with the earlier model-year cars still commanding unheard-of prices.

The latest Porsche collection to hit the bidding circuit is being offered in an online auction with 27 cars from a private enthusiast ranging from a 1974 911 Carrera coupe to several low-mileage 2013 911s. Pre-auction value estimates range from the low $30,000s to $166,000, with all the cars carrying reserve prices. Continue reading

Analysis: Amelia Island auctions show collector car market is strong when expectations are realistic

The 1960 Maserati 3500 GT Spyder at Bonhamst sold for a strong $880,000 | Bonhams
The 1960 Maserati 3500 GT Spyder at Bonhams sold for a strong $880,000 | Bonhams

I heard from a lot of people about the weak classic car market after the Arizona auctions. I contended that the market is not weak but has just slowed down a bit.

If the sales at Amelia Island last week told us anything, it is that great cars are still selling for very strong money. Sure, we are not seeing the huge monthly increases that we have seen over the past few years, but the market, in my opinion, is still very strong indeed. Continue reading

Amelia Island auctions top $134 million as high-end sales soar

A 1961 Ferrari 250 GT California SWB Spider at Gooding was the highest seller, at more than 17,160,000 | Bob Golfen
A 1961 Ferrari 250 GT California SWB Spider at Gooding was the highest seller, at more than 17,160,000, for the Amelia Island auctions | Bob Golfen

A collective sigh of relief rose across Amelia Island on Saturday as the last hammer fell on the five classic car auctions that crowd the three days running up to the concours d’elegance on Sunday.

After the fairly flat sales results that came out of Scottsdale in January, the Amelia Island sales rang up strong numbers that assuaged fears about the health of the marketplace while also establishing the annual Florida automotive festival as a leading venue for selling high-end collector cars. Continue reading

Hagerty charts differences between Arizona, Paris auction sales

Hagerty
Hagerty

The Arizona classic car auctions in Scottsdale and Phoenix were pushed back a week in January, resulting in the Retromobile sales in Paris following immediately thereafter. The differences between the two world-class collector car events are striking, according to the Hagerty insurance and valuation company, which compiled a pair of graphs to compare the results. Continue reading

Will Porsche 911 overabundance ding prices in Arizona?

A long lineup of Porsche 911s are parked at Bonhams' auction in Scottsdale | Bob Golfen
A long lineup of Porsche 911s are parked at Bonhams’ auction in Scottsdale | Bob Golfen

The Porsche 911 seems to have it all – evocative styling, sparkling performance, competition history, a remarkably long-lived heritage – and there are plenty of them to go around. Since they hit the ground running in 1963, 911s have occupied a special space in the hearts of millions of enthusiasts of every stripe.

Porsches seem to be everywhere at the Arizona auctions this week, especially the 911 and its variants that have seen such a run up in values in the past few years. Bonhams has 21 Porsches out of its total of 115 collector cars being offered at auction today in Scottsdale. Sixteen of those cars are 911s, most of them lined up in a row that repeats the iconic form like an arcade mirror. Continue reading

Mecum readies Dallas auction with prime big-block muscle

The 1970 Ford Mustang Boss 429 has been restored to perfection, Mecum says | Mecum photos
The 1970 Ford Mustang Boss 429 has been restored to perfection, Mecum says | Mecum photos

More than 1,000 collector cars are rolling in for Mecum’s fifth annual Dallas auction from September 16-19, featuring a big-block selection that includes a 1970 Ford Mustang Boss 429, a 1970 Chevrolet Chevelle LS6 454 and a 1969 Dodge Daytona 440.

Continue reading

Arizona auctions showed Porsche 911s’ rapid rise

A 1973 Porsche 911S crosses the block at Gooding & Company | Bob Golfen photos
A 1973 Porsche 911S crosses the block at Gooding & Company | Bob Golfen photos

I walked into the Gooding & Company auction in Scottsdale last Saturday just in time to witness a 1966 Porsche 912 being hammered sold for $75,000. No, not a proper six-cylinder 911 but a mild-mannered four-cylinder 912. With auction fee, the sale price was $82,500.

I don’t mean to be disparaging, but this seems like a heap of money for what is essentially the 911’s weak sister. However, with prices of early 911s going through the roof, this seems to be the new reality as 912s are dragged up from the value cellar where they have existed for so long.

The 1966 912 at Gooding was restored in 1990
The 1966 912 at Gooding was restored in 1990

The entry-level 912 has essentially the same iconic styling as the 911, so that apparently goes a long way in this overheated 911 market. The landmark shape of the original 911, which has held up so well through its generations to the present day, appeals to classic car enthusiasts of all ages, so the prices should hold up as younger collectors and hobbyists enter the market.

Values for 911s have spiked so fast that they were termed “explosive” and “meteoric” by the expert panelists at the Sports Car Market seminar last week. While Porsche prices pale compared with the run up in Ferrari values, they have been climbing rapidly, with 911s and their ancestor 356s hitting surprising numbers in just the past few years.

“Porsches are still on fire,” said Jonathon Klinger, a spokesman for Hagerty classic car insurance and Hagerty Price Guide.

Full disclosure: I am the owner of a 1962 356B T-6 Super coupe, not one of the great models but still a car that has risen in worth during the relatively short time I have owned it, according to various price guides. No matter, though, since I have no plans to sell.

The correct way to examine a 911
The correct way to examine a 911

The strong six-figure sales of 911s are getting lots of attention. Arizona Auction Week was packed with Porsches, mostly 911s, concentrated primarily in the higher-end sales at Gooding, RM and Bonhams as owners attempted to cash in on the new enthusiasm for the classic rear-engine sports cars. As expected, they did quite well with most of them going a good distance into six figures.

This is a fairly recent phenomenon. In 2011, the sale of a rare first-year 1964 911 coupe in great condition was an absolute shocker when it reached a record $222,500, including auction fee, at RM Auctions’ Amelia Island sale. Now, according to the latest Hagerty Price Guide, that ’64 911 in good to excellent condition would go for $242,000 to $303,000, not including the customary 10 percent auction fee. And nobody would raise an eyebrow.

Although 911s have always been popular collector cars and vintage racers, the boom in interest and prices for early 911s – the so-called “long hoods” from the 1964 through 1973 model years (before the advent of DOT bumpers) – started to climb after two things happened:

A 1969 911T heads toward the RM block
A 1969 911T heads toward the RM block

• Porsche 911 turned 50 in 2013 – The birthday was marked from when 911 debuted with much acclaim at the Frankfurt Motor Show in 1963. While such anniversaries are celebrated regularly for many car models, the 911 anniversary seemed to resonate with old-car enthusiasts everywhere, maybe because Porsche AG did such an excellent job of getting them out before the public eye where everyone could rediscover how totally cool they are.

• The sale of the Steve McQueen 911S from the movie Le Mans – Of course, the $1.375 million sale in 2011 of the 911S driven by McQueen in the opening sequences of Le Mans is a total outlier, far and away from any logical value of a non-ultra-celebrity 911S, but it did serve to focus attention on these cars.

I remember first seeing Le Mans years ago, and those loving shots of the car rambling through the French countryside made me long so much for a 911. Before that car came up for sale at RM’s 2011 Monterey auction, the film sequence was shown endlessly on numerous websites and blogs, and I’m sure those feelings of 911 longing were renewed for many of the people who saw it.

Plus, 911s are known for being sturdy, reliable cars.

“Unlike a lot of other collector cars, they do work every day,” longtime classic car expert Simon Kidston said during the SCM seminar. He also noted that the cars have excellent parts and service support from Porsche and a host of private concerns.

The 356 models are still holding their value
The 356 models are still holding their value

In Arizona, the Gooding auction was packed with Porsches, with 20 of them on the docket out of a total of 130 cars. Before its sale, Gooding had estimated the 912’s value at $60,000 to $80,000, so the result was right in there. Guess those guys know what they’re doing. Although that seems very pricey when the Hagerty Price Guide has the 1966 912 listed in good to excellent condition from $29,400 to $39,000.

Gooding had the deck stacked with all manner of Porsches – 356s coupes and cabriolets, including an appealing “barn find” 1958 Speedster and a high-performance Carrera 2 coupe; a wide variety of 911s ranging from the valuable early models to a powerful 2011 997 GT3 RS; a 1988 version of the rare and hotly desired 959, the all-wheel drive supercar of the 1980s based on the 911, which sold for $1.7 million; and one of the stars of the auction, a 1966 906 Carrera 6 race car that sold for $1.98 million.

The early 911 prices were solid at Gooding, most of them more than double what these cars were worth just two or three years ago. But Gooding’s pre-auction estimates were even more aggressive, and most of the cars sold for less than the auction company expected. Still, these are serious numbers for the cars that sold:

1965 911 coupe, $253,000
1966 911 coupe, $170,500
1967 911 2.0 S coupe, $253,000
1972 911 2.4 S Targa, $132,000
1973 911T coupe, $115,000
1973 911S coupe, $145,750
1973 911S coupe, $187,000

RM Auctions had 12 Porsches cross the block at the Arizona Biltmore Resort in Phoenix, including three pre-1974 911s. Again, big prices compared with the very recent past:

1965 911 coupe, $297,000
1969 911T coupe, $121,000
1969 911S Targa soft-rear-window, $286,000

At Bonhams, the 911 results seemed a bit softer but still healthy:

1967 911S coupe, $137,500
1970 911T coupe, $93,500
1972 911T coupe, $71,500
1973 911E Targa, $104,500

And it wasn’t just the high-end auctions where good results were posted for 911s. One of the top-selling cars at Silver Auctions’ laid-back sale was a 1975 911T coupe that sold for $59,940, which may not be as-big money but still shows the strength of the brand in a less-elite auction environment.

Later 911s, such as this 1976 Turbo, are moving up
Later 911s, such as this 1976 Turbo, are moving up

Later-model 911s are starting to follow the “long hoods” up the value scale, with formerly cheap coupes and convertibles from the late-’70s, ’80s and ’90s getting due notice, notably the desirable performance models.

Klinger said “1980s 911S prices continue to go through the roof,” pointing out the strong sales of several of the later cars at Bonhams, all of them achieving the top-dollar No. 1 values listed in the Hagerty Price Guide.

Some of the experts at the SCM seminar expressed concern that the rapid rise of 911 values might constitute a bubble that could burst with an unpleasant financial aftertaste. But given the dramatic upturn in today’s collector-car marketplace, especially for European sports cars, Porsches seem to be right where they should be. And still moving up.

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Experts assess rising tide of collector-car values in ‘Sports Car Market’ seminar

Values for top Ferraris, such as this 1959 250 GT LWB Spider at Gooding, continue to soar | Bob Golfen photos
Values for top Ferraris, such as this 1959 250 GT LWB Spider at Gooding, continue to soar | Bob Golfen photos

Rising values, worth vs. drivability, and the fact that high-value collector cars are too-often seen today as precious commodities rather than classic automobiles meant to be enjoyed – these were the overarching themes of Thursday’s second annual Sports Car Market Scottsdale Insider’s Seminar.

“As you heard, we are all slightly saddened that collector cars are being looked at primarily as investments,” moderator Donald Osborne said in summing up the panel discussion held at the Gooding & Company auction tent in Scottsdale.

Osborne, a well-know collector-car expert, writer, appraiser and commentator, both emceed and took part in the seminar, which provided a look at some of the leading trends of the classic car market during Arizona’s  famous auction week. Plus, the witty banter between the panelists drew lots of laughs from the crowd of several hundred.

The panelists consider the trends for Jaguar E-Type Series 1 roadsters
The panelists consider the trends for Jaguar E-Type Series 1 roadsters

Osborne was joined onstage by four of the top collector-car experts in the business, all of them regular contributors to Sports Car Market magazine: Carl Bomstead, writer, collector and concours judge; Colin Comer, classic car dealer, author, editor and prolific commentator; Simon Kidston, top-tier auction expert, car-collecting consultant and concours host; and Steve Serio, Aston Martin dealer and unflagging aficionado of European sports cars.

The rapid rise over the past few years of auction results for classic cars, especially for Ferraris, Porsches and other key vintage rides, is both exhilarating and worrying, Serio said.

“This is a like when the stock market first started,” he said. “This is relatively new. It really has become an asset-based marketplace.”

The discussion was wide-ranging but focused on eight European sports cars that represent various aspects of the collector-car market:

1960-63 Ferrari 250 GTE – “This is the runt of the litter,” Kidston said in dismissing the desirability of the four-seater that has been dragged up in value by more important Ferraris. “They are a ‘poor man’s Ferrari’ worth $400,000 to $450,000 today.”

1960-61 Jaguar E-type Series 1 convertible – “The devil’s in the details with these cars,” Bomstead said, noting that they are expensive to restore and become considerably less valuable with just minor flaws. They have seen a strong surge in overall value, he added, which will most likely continue.

Kidston called it, “The iconic supercar of the ’60s.”

1964-64 Porsche 356C and 356SC coupe – The $80,000 to $100,000 value estimate for 2015 by the SCM price guide is “wildly outdated,” Serio said. “For a great driving ’65, it would take $150,000 to $175,000 to get into one now.”

1968-76 Triumph TR6 – Values for these have stayed flat, in the $20,000 to $25,000 range, the panelists observed. “They are not an investment,” Kidston said. “They don’t have that ‘wow’ factor.”

But Comer took a more positive stance on the TR6, that they are fun cars that most people can still buy without breaking the bank.

“Not bad to have a British sports car that people can still afford and then have fun with them,” Comer said.

1965-68 Porsche 911 – “The explosion in value of 911s is quite incredible,” Kidston said. “I do find it troubling and somewhat baffling.”

But values for 911s are expected to remain strong, Serio added. “It’s a shape that appeals to all generations.”

1955-58 Lancia Aurelia convertible – “They have had a fairly solid run up, but these cars have arguably fallen back a bit,” Kidston said of the value. “This is a nice car to drive and to go on events, but it’s not the best (Lancia).”

1954-57 Mercedes-Benz 300SL gullwing coupe – “They continue to be the gold standard,” Bomstead said as he noted the expected 2015 value range of $1.1 million to $1.5 million.

“The gullwing is one of those cars that have a worldwide market,” Kidston added. “It is also one of the most usable of classic cars.”

1960-62 Ferrari 250 GT SWB coupe (steel-bodied) – Noting that the SCM estimated value for the short-wheelbase 250 GT has risen sharply to a very exclusive $9 million to $10 million, Comer said, “As for the values (for top Ferraris), when will they stop? They seem to be endless, but we all know better than that.”

Donald Osborne reveals his arcane, Lancia-dominated choices
Donald Osborne reveals his arcane, Lancia-dominated choices

After that discussion, the five experts engaged in a competition of choices called The Perfect Pair, in which they picked two collector cars that could both be purchased in three price ranges: under $50,000, under $500,000 and under $5 million. Each also picked a “wild card” of whatever they wanted.

The choices were revealing. Bomstead’s were all pre-war classics, Kidston’s were somewhat add Europeans (including a Fiat 600 Multiplia, a model that he said most often were seen in Italy driven by Catholic nuns), Comer’s were quirky and clever, Osborne’s were essentially all Lancias, and Serio’s were a thoughtful group of exotic sports cars and drivable classics.

Osborne took a vote based on a hand-held volume gauge to measure applause, and Serio’s range of picks was the winner hands down, although Bomstead, Kidston and Comer each received respectable applause.

Not so for Donald Osborne. By far the biggest laugh of the morning happened when Osborne’s turn for applause came around for his choices.

And absolutely nobody clapped.

What I’d like to take home from Gooding

NIce Porsches, such as this 356 cabriolet, are plentiful at Gooding | Bob Golfen
NIce Porsches, such as this 1961 356 cabriolet, are plentiful at Gooding | Bob Golfen photos

Let’s pretend that money is no object. That’s what I did as I strolled around Gooding & Company’s upscale auction in Scottsdale picking out my favorite classic cars, the ones I’d like to take home. I didn’t worry about being able to afford them, just whether they caught my eye.

And boy did they ever. I had to work hard to hone this fantasy-car list down to a reasonable size because the candy-store aspect of Gooding’s auction preview had me picking out everything in sight. Porsches were a huge draw, especially since there are no fewer than 20 of them on site, ranging from an ultra-exotic 1988 959 Sport to a rather tatty but very desirable 1958 356 Speedster coupe that’s begging to be turned into a showpiece. I chose just two for this list.

There are also a few so-called “barn find” cars, the rough and ratty remains of incredible sports cars from Aston Martin, Maserati, Alfa-Romeo and Shelby. For whatever reason, such classics coming out of long-term neglectful storage have soared in value in recent years, and have become unabashedly common at auctions. Look below to see which one made my list.

The cars I’ve ended up with are not all in the multi-million-dollar range, like the star Ferraris that are parked under Gooding’s tent, which I passed up as too obvious. But grab your wallet and consider:

1962 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL roadster
There are plenty of 300 SLs around here this week. Gooding has four of them, three roadsters and a gullwing coupe, but this is the one that gets me because of its European headlights and four-wheel disc brakes. But those whitewalls have got to go. Estimated value is right up there at $1.75 million to $2.25 million.
1988 Porsche 959 Sport
Arguably the most-exotic sports car of its era, the all-wheel-drive 959 was originally designed to battle the dunes of North Africa in the Paris-Dakar Rally. They are powered by a twin-turbo, 540-horsepower flat-6 engine, and they look fantastic with that extreme back-end treatment. All that for $1.5 million to $2 million.
1963 Porsche 356 Carrera 2 coupe
OK, so I’m a sucker for a 356. Here we have the holy grail of late-model 356s, powered by the legendary four-cam flat-four engine that produced 152 horsepower, which doesn’t sound like much until you consider that the car weighs basically nothing. I want it, even if it is valued at $550,000-$650,000.
1964 Shelby 289 Cobra
This is the “barn find” I was talking about, the one I picked out from that distressed group. It’s a highly original small-block Cobra that was put up on jacks in a barn, where it remained for 40 years. It looks pretty awful, but it’s all there and very deserving of a sympathetic restoration that will cost plenty, and it’s already valued by Gooding at more than a million dollars.
1968 Chevrolet Sportvan
This is a prime piece of Arizona motorsports history, reputedly the safety-crew van used at the Beeline Dragway during the ’70s in the heyday of drag racing. The truck is festooned with painted-on lettering and “moon eyes” up front. Inexpensive, but what a collector’s item for a drag-racing fan.
1963 Chevrolet Corvette coupe
Here’s an all-time favorite, the split-window Corvette coupe sold for just one year then changed to full rear glass for ’64. Equipped with a 327 cid, 340-horsepower L76 V8 and four-speed manual transmission, which has to be fun, even if you can’t see what’s behind you. Gooding says it’s worth $180,000 to $200,000.
1966 Shelby GT350H
It’s hard to believe nowadays that Hertz actually rented out Shelby GT350 coupes to its customers. The cars were painted this distinctive black with gold striping and designated GT350H. You’d think that rental-car provenance would ding the value, but beautiful, restored survivors such as this one are highly sought after. The estimated value is $140,000 to $160,000.
1961 Jaguar E-Type roadster
Gooding actually has consigned two 1961 E-Type roadsters, which are early production models of what Enzo Ferrari called “The most beautiful car ever made.” Lot 123 is the one I love, mainly because of its luscious blue paint job. The value is estimated at $275,000 to $350,000.