Perhaps since the first newspaper starting putting its classified advertisements on the worldwide web, and certainly since eBay Motors was established, collector cars have been available for purchase by clicking a few keys.
And collector car auctions have accepted online bidding for a while now. But a new phenomenon really began to blossom in 2019 — the online only collector car auction.
Like eBay Motors, Bring a Trailer has offered such a method of commerce. But it was just about a year ago that British auction company H&H Classics began a series of online-only sales starting in 2019. And then just a few months ago, in April 2019, RM Sotheby parent Sotheby’s staged an online auction of the Berluti Collection, a 14-lot offering that included a Triumph motorcycle and a 1973 Porsche 911 Targa S customized with Berluti’s leather surfaces.
Soon, the RM Sotheby’s imprint was put on an online-only auction of a one-off Rolls-Royce Phantom. Another single-lot sale followed, and the early results were so encouraging that, as the year comes to a close, RM Sotheby’s had an online-only sale with a 7-vehicle docket.
Look for online-only sales to proliferate in 2020 and beyond. However, don’t expect the traditional cars-across-the-block auctions to go away. In addition to being a place to buy and sell, they have become social and networking events, even bucket-list events for car enthusiasts of all ages and digital dexterity.