Market Analysis

Market Commentary - which classics are selling, by whom and for how much

Sales rates remain strong in Arizona, Norfolk and Dorset season-openers.
Healthy 77% sale rate only 4% down in Arizona, where just over $244m (£185.5m) was still spent on 2294 collector cars. 1995 Ferrari F50 sold for over $3.2m (£2.45m) and 1970 Porsche 914/6 GT set $995,000 (£756,200) record at Gooding who dominated Arizona Top Ten. In UK season-opening auctions meanwhile, ACA attracted their largest ever attendance to King’s Lynn and only 3 classics were unsold at SWVA in Poole

JANUARY SALES REVIEWED by Richard Hudson-Evans

In the by far the largest petrolhead market on our warming planet, a total of 2994 changes of ownership were confirmed in Arizona, 77% of the 3867 cars catalogued for the 8 January auctions, compared to the 81% overall sale rate at the same sales in 2019. While the $244.1m (£185.52m) spent in ten days was only 3% shy of the $251m (£190.76m) 2019 sales total.

With 574 or 17% more cars consigned this year, the average spent per car at these US and global collector vehicle auction season-openers was $81,534 (£61,966), down from the $94,374 (£71,724) one year ago. Significantly, too, 25% fewer $1m+ top cars were offered this year and, for the first time since 2012, no lot broke the $5m (£3.8m) barrier in Arizona this year.
For the record, the 2020 AZ top ten -
1.1995 Ferrari F50 Coupe (Gooding) $3,222,500 (£2,449,100)
2.2020 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray Coupe (Barrett-Jackson) $3,000,000 (£2,280,000) to benefit Detroit Children’s Fund
3.1932 Hispano-Suiza J12 Dual Cowl Phaeton (Gooding) $2,425,000 (£1,843,000)
4.2018 Pagani Huayra Roadster (RM Sotheby’s) $2,370,000 (£1,801,200)
5.1948 Tucker 48 Sedan (Gooding) $2,040,000 (£1,550,400)
6.2021 Lexus LC 500 Convertible (Barrett-Jackson) $2,000,000 (£1,520,000)
7.1967 Ferrari GTS Spider (Gooding) $1,985,000 (£1,508,600)
81972 Ferrari 365 GTS/4 Daytona Spider (Gooding) $1,930,000 (£1,466,800)
81951 Ferrari 212 Inter Cabriolet (Bonhams) $1,930,000 (£1,466,800)
10.1967 Ferrari 330GTS Spider (RM Sotheby’s) $1,710,000 (£1,299,600)

2020 Arizona sales stats per house
Barrett-Jackson declared 1908 cars sold, 99.9% of the 1909 offered for $137.1m (£104.2m), an average of $71,833 (£54,393). Two 2017 Ford GT Coupes sold for $1,485,000 (£1,128,600) and $1,182,500 (£898,700), 1969 Chevrolet Camaro COPO Sport Coupe $1,094,500 (£831,820) and 2019 McLaren Senna Coupe $946,000 (£718,960).

Gooding sold 122 cars, 89% of 137 offered for $35.8m (£27.21m), average of $293,501 (£223,061). Sales included 1960 Ferrari 250GT S2 Cabrio $1,462,500 (£1,111,500), 1968 Lamborghini Mira P400S Coupe $1,242,500 (£944,300), 2014 McLaren P1 Coupe $995,000 (£756,200), 1970 Porsche 914/6 GT Targa $995,000 (£756,200) and 1958 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Roadster $940,000 (£714,200).

RM Sotheby’s sold 128 cars, 90% of 143 offered $30.3m (£23.03m), average of $462,360 (£351,394).  Sales included 1971 Lamborghini Miura P400 SV Coupe $1,391,000 (£1,057,160), 1955 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwing Coupe $1,270,000 (£965,200), 1930 Cadillac Se452 Fleetwood Sport Phaeton 5-speed $1,105,000 (£839,800) and 2008 Bugatti Veyron 16.4 Coupe $1,105,000 (£839,800), 1937 Mercedes-Benz 540L Hebmuller Coupe $995,000 (£756,200) and 1957 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Roadster $973,000 (£739,480).

Leake sold 357 cars, 53% of 674 offered for $16.6m (£12.62m), average of $46,574 (£35,396). Prices were headed by a 2012 Lexus LFA Coupe $429,000 (£326,040) and a 1957 Chrysler 300C Convertible $357,500 (£271,700).
Bonhams sold 88 cars, 81% of 108 offered $8.4m (£6.38m), average of $95,872 (£72,863). Sales included 1955 Lancia Aurelia B24 Spider America $810,000 (£615,600) and 1924 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost Piccadilly Special Roadster $368,000 (£279,680).

Russo & Steele sold 251 cars, 49% of 513 offered for $8.0m (£6.08m), average of $31,998 (£24,318). The top sellers were 1956 Porsche 356A Speedster $258,500 (£196,460) and 1989 Mercedes-Benz 560SEC Wide Body Coupe $253,000 (£192,280).

Worldwide sold 42 cars, 76% of 55 offered for $6.1m (£4.64m), average of $144,264 (£109,641). Results were leaded by 1936 Auburn 852 Supercharged Speedster $880,000 (£668,800) and 1930 Duesenberg Model J Willoughby Berline $605,000 (£459,800).

MAG sold 98 cars, 30% of 328 offered for $1.7m (£1.29m), average of $17,846 (£13,563). On pole was 1968 Shelby GT500 KR Fastback sold for $167,400 (£127,224) from 1970 Ford Mustang Boss 302 SportsRoof at $64,800 (£49,248).

Only 5232 miles away by missile, a dry weather window briefly opened in East Anglia for the largest crowd ever to attend a classics ‘drive-through’ at King’s Lynn, where ACA catalogues had sold out during the morning and nearly £2m was spent on 182 cars on a Saturday afternoon in pre-Brexit Britain.

An unprecedented 40 classics, 22% of the cars that sold, were auctioned ‘Without Reserve’, including a much viewed 1988 BMW M3 Evo 2 that migrated from Belgium in 2012. Well transformed into a podium car, the now most collectible E30 most deservedly realised £68,900 with premium. £79,600 meanwhile was also forthcoming for a No Reserve 1966 Alfa Romeo 1600 Giulia Spider that had been freshly restored to a high standard.

A 1961 Jaguar E Type S1 3.8 ‘Flat Floor’ Roadster, with numbers still matching, just achieved a lower estimate £95,400. Whilst a further 51 cars, 28% of those sold, achieved more than their top estimates. Among them, a right-hand drive Porsche 911 Type 930 Turbo from 1983 came to auction following from 18 years storage to make a more than top estimate £66,780.
The winning bidder had to pay a more than forecast £30,740 to secure a 2000 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution VI with upgraded suspenders and 15,872 warranted mileage, and an Audi WR-Quattro 10v Turbo, driven 76,726 miles by seven owners since new in 1986, cost the next one £28,620, again top estimate money. For while 64 or 35% of cars sold went for forecast sums, 51 more cars, 28% of those sold, made more than their estimates.

A small herd of Land Rovers found new keepers here led by a £45,580 2015 Defender Landmark that had never been near a cow pat in 80 miles. While VW Audi of Milton Keynes out-bid the competition to buy back a 54 year old Auto Union badged DKW F11, paying £5936 with premium to do so. But then the front-wheel drive, 3-cylinder, 2-door had only been driven 713 miles from new in 1966 and had been dry-preserved for 36 years, one of 181 of the 220 consigned cars to sell for an average of £10,145. ACA’s 82% sale rate was in marked contrast to the pre-election depression that sapped buying power from many of the end of 2019 season sales in the UK.

The following Friday morning just outside Poole, most of another 58 for the most part affordable classics were driven past the SWVA rostrum into new owners hands. Again, 20 No Reserve lots boosted both buzz and stats and, before the lunchtime moderns had their turn, 55 oldtimers had been re-homed and, in what was a UK sale rate topping 95% sold sale, only 3 higher priced cars were unsold. For the average price paid per accessible classic sold by ‘South West Vehicle Auctioneers’ amounted to £5,350.

In the much bigger picture however, what will happen around the next corner, nobody knows, and that includes the new majority-blessed PM and his yes cabinet as well as the outgoing Remainer Governor of the Bank of England. All bets are off.