HomeThe MarketBreaking news: Completion of pending sales would supercharge Cole's already-successful Monterey return

Breaking news: Completion of pending sales would supercharge Cole’s already-successful Monterey return


Cars on display at Rick Cole Auctions' Monterey return | Rick Cole Auctions photos
Cars on display at Rick Cole Auctions’ Monterey return | Rick Cole Auctions photos

Not only did Rick Cole introduce new bidding technology to the classic car auction world with his bid-by-smart-phone sale on the Monterey Peninsula, he’s also changing the way results are reported.

Here it is, more than a week after bidding ended and we still are unable to report final numbers from the sale.

According to Cole’s website, 24 of the three dozen cars available have sold, and for more than $23.2 million, led by a 1965 Ferrari 275 GTB Competizione Clienti that sold for $12 million. Those numbers boost the overall Monterey auction totals to more than $427 million.

However, and this is a big however, Cole is telling his public relations person that he’s confident all four cars listed as “sales pending” soon will become sales completed. The closure of those four sales would add $34.5 million to the auction’s sales total.

Some of the Cole cars at the Marriott
Some of the Cole cars at the Marriott

Apparently, we’ll have to watch Cole’s website to learn when those sales close because he told his publicist that the negotiations between the car owners, the high bidders and Cole’s staff will not play out in public.

The four cars are a 1955 Ferrari 410 Sport, currently bid to $22.111 million; a 1962 Ferrari 250 short-wheelbase GT, now at $9.65 million; and a pair of Mercedes-Benz 300SLs — a 1956 gullwing coupe at $1.595 million and a 1962 roadster at $1.155 million. Each of those bids has increased since the midnight Sunday close of the auction.

It is typical in the classic car auction world for cars which don’t meet the owner’s reserve price during live bidding to move from the block to “still for sale” status. Such after-the-bidding sales can be very important to an auction house’s bottom line.

For example, among the other auction companies with sales this year on the Monterey Peninsula, at least two enjoyed significant post-block sales: The preliminary figure of $106.5 million at Bonhams turned into $108 million in the final accounting while Russo and Steele’s auction total grew from $9.6 million to more than $12 million.

Cole was the first to conduct a classic and collector car auction on the Monterey Peninsula. That was back in 1986 (he sold rights to that original sale to RM in 1997). Cole returned this year, but with the new auction format. Only some three dozen cars were included in Cole’s new sales format, and bidding on them didn’t take place across a traditional auction block but via smart-phone technology.

A somewhat similar format has been used with success recently for some contemporary art auctions. With the very busy schedule of events — including five live auctions — during Monterey Classic Car Week, Cole thought bidders might like the opportunity not only to see the cars at their leisure — the cars were on display during the week at the Marriott hotel — but also to bid the same way, without having to be present in the room, or even live via phone or internet.

Under the format, bidding was to extend until midnight on the Sunday of the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance. Soon thereafter, Cole’s website indicated that 18 cars had sold, and for more than $20 million, led by the ’65 Ferrari 275 GTB Competizione Cienti and with four other Ferraris going to new owners in transactions priced between $1.05 and $2.2 million each.

Cole reported that his new auction format attracted 330 bidders.

Through his publicist, Cole said there is a positive public perception. According to an email to ClassicCars.com, “The system was easy to use, fun to use, no hassles, no time limits, time to think and mull things over. We didn’t charge hundreds of dollars to bid, and the room was a great place to network as anybody who was anyone was there including many great international collectors.”

The email reports “that the biggest compliment to all of this is the affirmation that there is a future for this type of auction, as evidenced by rumors that other major auction companies are already planning similar events.”

Even with four sales pending, Cole’s sales-so-far total of more than $23 million, plus the updated figures from Bonhams and the Russo and Steele sales, pushes the Monterey auctions total sales to more than $427.5 million, easily a record for the week and nearly $100 million more than the $352 million figure compiled in 2013. Completion of those four pending sales by Rick Cole Auctions, even for the current bid amounts, would boost that figure to a stunning $461.5 million.

Of course, those pending sales are, well, pending, so we present the following reports of the top-10 sales (so far) at Rick Cole’s Monterey auction and also the top-10 for all of the Monterey auctions. (All figures include buyer’s fees.)

Rick Cole Auctions Monterey top 10:
1965 Ferrari 275 GTB Competizione Clienti, $12,000,000
1962 Ferrari 250 PF cabriolet, $2,200,000
1965 Ferrari 275 GTB, $2,200,000
1966 Ferrari 275 GTS, $1,980,000
1973 Ferrari 375 GTB/4, $1,155,000
1970 Maserati Ghibli Spyder, $715,000
1973 Ferrari 376 GTB/4 Daytona, $688,600
1974 Ferrai 365 BB, $550,000
1974 Ferrari 246 GTS, $447,000
1990 Lamborghini Countach 25th anniversary edition, $346,500

Overall 2014 Monterey top 10:
1962 Ferrari 250 GTO coupe, $38,115,000 (Bonhams)
1964 Ferrari 275 GTB/C Speciale coupe, $26,400,000 (RM)
1961 Ferrari 250 GT California SWB Spyder, $15,180,000 (Gooding)
1965 Ferrari 275 GTB competition Clienti, $12,000,000 (Cole)
1964 Ferrari 250 LM coupe, $11,550,000 (RM)
1967 Ferrari 275 GTB/4 coupe, $10,175,000 (RM)
1953 Ferrari 250 MM coupe, $7,260,000 (Bonhams)
1965 Ford GT40 prototype roadster, $6,930,000 (RM)
1962 Ferrari 250 GT SWB Speciale Aerodinamica coupe, $6,875,000 (Bonhams)
1958 Ferrari 250 SI cabriolet, $6,820,000 (Bonhams)


Larry Edsall
Larry Edsall
A former daily newspaper sports editor, Larry Edsall spent a dozen years as an editor at AutoWeek magazine before making the transition to writing for the web and becoming the author of more than 15 automotive books. In addition to being founding editor at ClassicCars.com, Larry has written for The New York Times and The Detroit News and was an adjunct honors professor at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.


  1. Great concept that Cole has initiated. What are the Buyer fees per car and what are the Seller fees per car?

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