HomeNews and EventsRear view: 4 -- Pent-up demand greets Monterey Car Week return

Rear view: 4 — Pent-up demand greets Monterey Car Week return

Strong bidding at the auctions, strong attendance at the shows and concours


After a year in which is felt as though nothing really happened  after the 2020 Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance, the collector car community welcomed the return to events in 2021, and especially that of Monterey Car Week.

Yes, there were fewer events, and overseas participants largely were absent because of coronavirus pandemic restrictions, but  attendance was good and everyone seemed happy to back on the Monterey Peninsula again.

1970 Lamborghini Miura P400 S on the block at Gooding & Company’s 2021 Monterey auction | Howard Koby photo

The pent-up demand was especially felt at the major auctions taking place as RM Sotheby’s Gooding & Company, Mecum and Bonhams also experienced strong sales. 

Overall sales total for the week was around $343 million, a whopping 37 percent increase compared to 2019 figures. 

Also impressive were the jump in sell-through rate, from 59 percent in 2019 to 80 percent in 2021, and in the average price paid, going from a little more than $334,000 in 2019 to slightly more than $428,000 in 2021.

The high-dollar sale of the week was the $20.465 million paid a Gooding & Company for a 1995 McLaren F1. Gooding also had the other 8-fight sale of the week, $10.84 million for a 1959 Ferrari 250 California LWB Competizione Spider. 

Gooding posted more than $107 million in sales, with an 87 percent sell-through and with 24 vehicles bringing more than $1 million.

RM Sotheby’s topped the sales charge with $148.5 million, a 90 percent sell-through and 44 cars going for $1 million or more.

Mecum Auctions did $57.4 million in sales with an 80 percent sell-through and a dozen $1 million sales. Bonhams’ figures were just shy of $37.88 million in sales, an 89 percent sell through and 7 million-dollar or more transactions.

Pebble Beach Best of Show
Nearly 40 of the 70 former Best of Show winners were arrayed along the coastline on the 18th Fairway of the Pebble Beach Links golf course at the recent Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance | Larry Edsall photos

On Monterey’s concours/car show calendar, The Quail was a sell-out, Legends of the Autobahn put on a great event after having to change venues at the last minute, and Pebble Beach, which featured a reunion of former Best of Show winners, was packed.

All of this despite the fact that with the pandemic continuing to be a threat, as few as 45 days before the events were scheduled to take place, no one was absolutely certain the Monterey events would actually take place.

But they did, and the strong bidding and large crowds demonstrated that the collector car hobby remains strong.

Andy Reid
Andy Reid
Andy Reid's first car, purchased at age 15, was a 1968 Fiat 124 coupe. His second, obtained by spending his college savings fund, was a 1966 Ferrari 330 GT 2+2. Since then, he has owned more than 150 cars—none of them normal or reasonable—as well as numerous classic motorcycles and scooters. A veteran of film, television, advertising and helping to launch a few Internet-based companies, Reid was a columnist for Classic Motorsports magazine for 12 years and has written for several other publications. He is considered an expert in European sports and luxury cars and is a respected concours judge. He lives in Canton, Connecticut.


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