Not to downplay the importance of the collector car auction market in Europe and the UK, but we’re reporting that Hagerty Automotive Intelligence reports total sales of £310.8 million ($422.55 million) in all of 2021.
To put that figure in some sort of perspective, just the auctions taking place in 2021 during Monterey Car Week did $343 million in sales. Or consider that Mecum Auctions by itself reported $578 million in sales for calendar-year 2021.
Or consider this: In Europe and the UK last year, 14 cars sold at auction for more than £1m ($1.35 million). RM Sotheby’s sold 44 cars for $1 million or more just at its Monterey auction, where Gooding reported 24 such sales, Mecum a dozen and Bonhams 7 — all in the same week.
But back to the other side of the pond, where Hagerty reports 2021 sales were double what they had been in 2020 and where it credited the increase to “continued confidence in the market after the brief pause in early 2020.”
“The specialist vehicle market seems to be moving onwards at a rate almost entirely unconnected to the pandemic,” Hagerty added.
Highlights of the European and UK sales year 2021 reported by Hagerty include:
- In a single-lot sale conducted by RM Sotheby’s at the Turkish Grand Prix, a Formula 1 race-winning car driven by Lewis Hamilton sold for an impressive £4.73 million ($6.4 million).
- Someone paid $71,570 for a 1981 Ford Escort 1.6 Ghia, albeit not just any ’81 Escort. This one had been driven 83,000 miles and was considered to be “tired,” yet still sold for multiples of its high estimate because back when it was brand new, it was an engagement present from Prince Charles to Lady Diana Spencer.
- At Artcurial Motorcars auction at Paris, a 1988 Group B Audi Sport quattro rally car sold for €2.017 million ($2.28 million), about double its pre-sale estimated value.
- A wrecked 1960 Jaguar XK150 S drophead that spun off the road in 1996 and took “a huge impact to the front and sustained damage all along the right-hand side,” with the driver suffering broken bones and having his hair embedded into the broken windshield glass, was judged to still be restorable and someone paid £90,000 ($122,365) for the car in the late spring at a Bonhams MPH auction.
- Another car that many considered to be a basket case was a 1982 Lamborghini Countach LP500S that figured to bring around £180,000 ($244,725) at a British auction in September but sold for £257,600 ($350,230).Why? Because it had been an original “poster” model, was one of only 37 produced with right-hand drive, and already had been stripped down and was ready for restoration.
- For the first time, a 1993 Jaguar XJ220 sold for more than the top value listed in the Hagerty Price Guide, bringing an auction record £460,000 ($254,410) at Bonhams Goodwood Revival auction (the guide book’s top value at the time was £445,000. To show the price was no fluke, another XJ220 sold at RM Sotheby’s London auction a few weeks later for £432,500.
- Yet another sale labeled as a “landmark” by Hagerty was that of a 1989 Ferrari F40 for £1,000,500 ($1.36 million) at an online auction based in the UK in 2021, marking the first time a car sold at such a venue for more than£1m. Four bidders were after the car even though it had been painted in Porsche Aqua Blue rather than a Ferrari color.