Monterey auction sales suffer embarrassments

Sales down sharply and that Porsche was bid to $17 million, not $70 million

The 2019 Monterey Classic Car Auctions wrapped up Saturday evening with total preliminary sales of only $245.5 million, a reduction of 34 percent compared with the 2018 overall results.

“Whether it’s threat of recession, broad economic volatility or too many cars crammed into too few hours, there’s no denying this year’s Monterey Auction Week results were depressed when you compare the results to recent years,” the Hagerty Insider reported as the auctions ended. 

“Although a few more major sales will likely finalize over the next day or two (as post-block deals are consummated), the preliminary totals fell short of expectations and lagged behind 2018 results of $370 million by $125.4 million (-34 percent). 

“This amount is the lowest tally since 2011’s $197 million,” added Hagerty, which monitors all of the major auction venues, in the case of Monterey Car Week, there were six sales taking place over a three-day span.

Hagerty added at average sales price, media sales price and sell-through rates were all down in 2019 compared with year-ago numbers, as was “performance against estimate,” which tracks high bids. 

Hagerty noted that the sell-through rate on cars valued at $1 million or more was only 42 percent this year in Monterey, compared with a 55 percent figure for the auctions taking place during the previous seven months.

Historic 1939 Porsche Type 64 was the subject of confusion during bidding | Bob Golfen photo

Monterey Auction Week also suffered an embarrassing low point Saturday night when one of the star cars, a 1939 Porsche Type 64, rolled onto the block at RM Sotheby’s. The auctioneer, a native of the Netherlands, seemingly announced the opening bid as $30 million and soon accepted a bid for $70 million, as shown on the big tote board at the front of the room.

The problem was that he actually called out bids of $13 million and $17 million, but apparently everyone in the sales room heard the higher figures, including the people operating the tote board.  The audience at the much-anticipated bidding on the historic “first Porsche” was clearly not pleased by the mix up, and the car ended up being a no sale.

1955 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwing sold for $1.21 million at Russo and Steele auction | Howard Koby photo

The market did show some strength in cars valued at less than $75,000 by the Hagerty Price Guide. 

“In particular,” Hagerty said, “traditional classics from the 1960s and 1970s in this price bracket sold for above their condition-appropriate values more so than vehicles from other eras. Examples include a restored 1970 Triumph TR6 that Bonhams sold for $28,000 (+112 percent above current market value), Mecum’s 1974 Volkswagen Karmann Ghia coupe that won $20,350 (+80 percent above current market value), and a 1961 Chevrolet Impala convertible that sold well above book value for $66,000 (+63 percent above current market value), also at Mecum. 

“This supports the ongoing trend that the entry level remains the healthiest and most active segment in the broader market outside the auctions”

Another bright spot was motorcycles. Mecum sold a 1936 Crocker Small Tank for a record $825,000, the third highest price ever paid at an auction for a vintage motorcycle. 

“Even during a down sale there are cars that smash the ceiling,” Hagerty added. “This week Gooding & Company sold a 1931 Studebaker Indianapolis race car for $1,105,000, far surpassing its $750,000 high estimate, and RM Sotheby’s sold a 1967 Porsche 911 S with Rally package and just over 8,000 miles on the odometer nearly tripled its high estimate at $912,500.”

Results below were compiled by Hagerty and are based on sales on the block. Prices include buyer’s fees.

Overall through from all auction companies

Total sales: $245.5 million

768/1,315 lots sold: 58 percent sell-through rate

Average sale price: $319,610

2018 total sales: $370.9 million

849/1,378 lots sold: 62 percent sell-through rate

Average sale price: $436,849

Overall top 10 sales

1. 1994 McLaren F1 “LM-spec” Coupe sold for $19,805,000 (RM Sotheby’s)

2. 1958 Ferrari 250 California LWB Spider (closed headlight) sold for $9,905,000 (Gooding & Company)

3. 1962 Ferrari 250 GT SWB Coupe sold for $8,145,000 (RM Sotheby’s)

4. 1965 Ford GT40 Prototype Roadster sold for $7,650,000 (RM Sotheby’s)

5. 1958 Ferrari 250 GT Cabriolet SI (closed headlight) sold for $6,800,000 (Gooding & Company)

6. 1965 Aston Martin DB5 Saloon “Bond Car” sold for $6,385,000 (RM Sotheby’s)

7. 1975 Ferrari 312T Formula 1 Race Car sold for $6,000,000 (Gooding & Company)

8. 1960 Porsche 718 RS 60 Werks Race Car sold for $5,120,000 (RM Sotheby’s)

9. 1958 Ferrari 250 GT TdF Coupe sold for $5,100,000 (Gooding & Company)

10. 1951 Ferrari 340 America Berlinetta sold for $3,635,000 (Bonhams)

Results by auction company

RM SOTHEBY’S

Total sales: $104.3 million

133/184 lots sold: 72 percent sell-through rate

Average sale price: $784,107

Overall Top 10 Sales:

1. 1994 McLaren F1 “LM spec” Coupe sold for $19,805,000

2. 1962 Ferrari 250 GT SWB Coupe sold for $8,145,000

3. 1965 Ford GT40 Prototype Roadster sold for $7,650,000

4. 1965 Aston Martin DB5 Saloon “Bond Car” sold for $6,385,000

5. 1960 Porsche 718 RS 60 Werks Race Car sold for $5,120,000

6. 2006 Ferrari FXX Coupe sold for $3,525,000

7. 2014 Ferrari LaFerrari Coupe sold for $2,947,500

8. 1969 Ferrari 365 GTS Spider sold for $2,205,000

9. 2014 Pagani Huayra Tempesta Coupe sold for $2,040,000

10. 1966 Ferrari 275 GTB Long Nose Coupe sold for $1,985,000

2018 total sales: $157.9 million

125/150 lots sold: 83 percent sell-through rate

Average sale price: $1,263,456

GOODING & COMPANY

Total sales: $73.2 million

106/139 lots sold: 76 percent sell-through rate

Average sale price: $690,461

Overall Top 10 Sales:

1. 1958 Ferrari 250 California LWB Spider (closed headlight) sold for $9,905,000

2. 1958 Ferrari 250 GT Cabriolet SI (closed headlight) sold for $6,800,000

3. 1975 Ferrari 312T Formula 1 Race Car sold for $6,000,000

4. 1958 Ferrari 250 GT TdF Coupe sold for $5,100,000

5. 1939 Alfa Romeo Tipo 256 Coupe sold for $2,755,000

6. 1913 Isotta Fraschini Tipo IM Roadster sold for $2,645,000

7. 1930 Duesenberg Model J Murphy sold for $2,040,000

8. 1967 Ferrari 330 GTS Spider sold for $1,765,000

9. 1993 Porsche 911 Carrera RS 3.8 Coupe sold for $1,710,000

10. 1952 Ferrari 212 Inter Coupe sold for $1,600,000

2018 total sales: $116.5 million

122/146 lots sold: 84 percent sell-through rate

Average sale price: $954,939

BONHAMS

Total sales: $29.6 million

161/220 lots sold: 73 percent sell-through rate

Average sale price: $184,050

Overall Top 10 Sales:

1. 1951 Ferrari 340 America Berlinetta sold for $3,635,000

2. 1953 Fiat 8V Ghia Supersonic Coupe sold for $1,765,000

3. 1965 Shelby Cobra 427 (CSX3101 – CSX3200) Roadster sold for $1,380,000

4. 1955 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwing Coupe sold for $1,352,500

5. 2017 Ford GT Coupe sold for $1,050,000

6. 2017 Ferrari F12tdf Coupe sold for $907,000

7. 1930 Bentley Speed Six Le Mans Replica Tourer sold for $874,000

8. 1962 Aston Martin DB4 Vantage Sedan sold for $643,000

9. 1958 Ferrari 250 GT Ellena Coupe sold for $621,000

10. 1934 Duesenberg Model J Brunn Torpedo Phaeton sold for $478,000

2018 total sale: $37.8 million

110/135 lots sold: 81 percent sell-through rate

Average sale price: $343,694

MECUM AUCTIONS

Total sales: $28.4 million

279/589 lots sold: 47 percent sell-through rate

Average sale price: $101,806

Overall Top 10 Sales:

1. 1967 Ferrari 275 GTB/4 Coupe sold for $2,750,000

2. 2014 Ferrari LaFerrari Coupe sold for $2,640,000

3. 2015 Porsche 918 Spyder Weissach Roadster sold for $1,430,000

4. 1966 Ferrari 275 GTS Spider sold for $1,100,000

5. 1965 Shelby Cobra 289 R&P Roadster sold for $1,045,000

6. 1936 Crocker Small Tank Motorcycle sold for $825,000

7. 1935 Auburn 851 Supercharged Speedster sold for $742,500

8. 1937 Crocker Small Tank Motorcycle sold for $715,000

8. 1973 Ferrari 365 GTB/4 Daytona Coupe sold for $715,000

10. 1997 Indy GF01 Arie Luyendyk Race Car sold for $440,000

2018 total sales: $45.9 million

364/692 lots sold: 53 percent sell-through rate

Average sale price: $125,967

RUSSO AND STEELE

Total sales: $7.0 million

64/146 lots sold: 44 percent sell-through rate

Average sale price: $109,270

Overall Top 10 Sales:

1. 1955 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwing Coupe sold for $1,210,000

2. 1965 Shelby Cobra 289 R&P Roadster sold for $962,500

3. 1958 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Roadster sold for $935,000

4. 1965 Shelby GT350 Fastback sold for $412,500

5. 2018 Ferrari 488 GTB Berlinetta sold for $253,000

6. 1956 Porsche 356 Cabriolet sold for $220,000

7. 1952 Tojeiro Barchetta Sports Racer sold for $187,000

8. 1970 Ford Mustang Boss 429 SportsRoof sold for $165,000

9. 1957 Chevrolet Series 3100 Custom Pickup sold for $159,500

10. 2007 Porsche 911 GT3 RS Coupe sold for $145,200

2018 total sales: $7.3 million

95/196 lots sold: 48% sell-through rate

Average sale price: $76,548

WORLDWIDE AUCTIONEERS

Total sales: $3.0 million

25/37 lots sold: 68 percent sell-through rate

Average sale price: $118,228

Overall Top 9 sales:

1. 1931 Cadillac Series 370A Fleetwood Roadster, 2/4-p. sold for $297,000

2. 1958 Porsche 356A 1600 Super Speedster sold for $264,000

3. 1965 Jaguar E-Type SI 4.2 Roadster sold for $242,000

4. 1969 Dodge Charger Daytona Hardtop Coupe sold for $203,500

5. 1930 Cadillac Series 452 Fleetwood Imperial Landau Cabriolet, 5/7-p. sold for $176,000

6. 1966 Jaguar E-Type SI 4.2 Coupe sold for $154,000

7. 1958 Mercedes-Benz 190SL Convertible sold for $110,000

8. 1908 Stevens-Duryea Model X Touring sold for $110,000

9. 1967 Oldsmobile Toronado Mannix Roadster sold for $101,200

2018 total sales: $5.5 million

33/59 lots sold: 56 percent sell-through rate

Average sale price: $167,267

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3 Comments

  • Bruce Wakefield
    August 19, 2019, 2:24 PM

    Could it be that most of this over priced crap doen’t have the documentation to clearly show "what is under the paint" besides lots of bondo?

    REPLY
  • Marc Rettus
    August 22, 2019, 11:11 AM

    I read elsewhere that the AVERAGE high bid was significantly lower than the average LOW estimate. This happened last year, too.

    Sounds like an integrity issue to me. And an insult to the bidders.

    REPLY
  • Rudy Alfonso
    August 26, 2019, 4:09 PM

    Recession rising, lots of exotics out there.

    REPLY