The collector-car auctions in and around Monterey, CA this past week racked up a stunning $260.3 million in total sales, eclipsing the previous record set last year of $197 million and reaching some significant individual sales records.
The huge sales results came via a combination of top collectors consigning significant cars and wealthy buyers opening their wallets to invest in a climbing market that puts Wall Street to shame. Some of the greatest sales were for historic race cars, testament to the growing popularity of vintage racing at the highest level.
All of the auctions beat their results from the 2011 Monterey sales, particularly Gooding & Company.
There were an impressive number of multi-million-dollar car sales, with some surprisingly high results.
The top-10 sales were:
1. 1936 Mercedes-Benz 540K Special Roadster, $11.77 million, a record for a Mercedes-Benz sold at auction. (Gooding)
2. 1960 Ferrari 250 GT California LWB Competizione Spyder, $11.275 million. (Gooding)
3. 1968 Ford GT40 Gulf/Mirage Coupe, $11 million, most ever for an American car sold at auction. (RM)
4. 1957 Ferrari 250 California GT SWB Spyder, $8.58 million. (RM)
5. 1955 Ferrari 410 S Berlinetta, $8.250 million. (RM)
6. 1956 Ferrari 250 GT TdF Coupe, $6.71 million. (RM)
7. 1957 Ferrari 250 GT California LWB Prototype Spyder, $6.6 million. (Gooding)
8. 1955 Ferrari 857 Sport, $6.27 million. (Gooding)
9. 1928 Bentley Le Mans 4 1/2 Liter, $6.05 million. (Gooding)
10. 1972 Porsche 917/10 Spyder, $5.83 million. (Mecum)
Gooding & Company was the sales champ this year, beating previous leader RM Auctions, with a total of $113.6 million in two days of sales, with 108 of 122 cars sold, and handily besting last year’s $78.2 million total.
Its top sale was for the 1936 von Krieger Mercedes-Benz 540K roadster with special custom features and a fascinating history, which hit $11.77 million (all results include buyer fees) for the week’s highest sale from all the auctions. A towering number no doubt, though auction officials had earlier estimated that it would roar past the standing auction record of $16.4 million.
The highly anticipated sale of a custom 1935 Duesenberg JN roadster originally owned by screen idol Clark Gable was a no-sale when it failed to reach reserve.
Gooding’s Saturday sale was highlighted by the appearance of TV host and car-guy Jay Leno, who was joined by U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta and the Army Chief of Staff, Gen. Raymond Odierno, to help sell Leno’s 2012 Fiat 500 to benefit the Fisher House Foundation armed-forces charity. The car sold for $350,000, with the audience making individual donations that brought the total above $600,000.
RM Auctions had a best-ever sale, reaching $95 million in its two-day event, with 107 of 122 cars sold. The top car was the 1968 Ford GT40 Gulf/Mirage race car that went for a surprising $11 million, the highest price on record for an American car sold at auction.
Three of RM’s top sellers were Ferraris, followed by the magnificent 1938 Horch 853A roadster, the 2009 Pebble Beach Best of Show, that went for $5.17 million. A super-cool 1955 Aston Martin DB3S sports racer sold for $3.685 million.
Mecum Auctions broke into the top-10 overall sales results with its 1972 Porsche 917/10 Spyder, which reached a record $5.83 million, and sold 318 of its 554 cars during its three-day auction for a total of $30.7 million. A great antique race car, the 1908 Simplex 50 Speedcar Roadster, was Mecum’s second-highest sale at $2.014 million.
Bonhams reached $12.8 million in its collector-car and motorcycle sale, with 78 of 153 lots solds. A 1997 McLaren F1 GTR Longtail FIA GT Endurance Racing Coupe managed $3.85 million in a post-block sale and a 1966 Ford GT40 race car hit $2.2 million. In its motorcycle auction, three 1937-1940 Crockers led the pack, each bringing around $300,000.
Russo and Steele, operating its auction from a new location at Fishermen’s Wharf in Monterey, had a sales total of $8.6 million, and sold 143 of its 266 lots. Top sale was for a 1965 Shelby Cobra 289 Roadster at $781,000, followed by a 1972 Ferrari 365 GTB/4 Daytona Coupe for $379,500.