While there were records set at the Arizona auctions, they were individual benchmarks.
The overall auctions’ results, reduced to a combined bottom line for Barrett-Jackson, Russo and Steele, RM Auctions, Gooding and Bonhams, were modestly better, $245.3 million in 2014 up from $226.2 million in 2013, an 8.4% increase in the sales’ total, but achieved by selling slightly fewer lots, 1,837 in 2014 against 2,029, a 9.5% decline. The total of cars offered was similarly down, to 2,139 in 2014 from 2,374 in 2013, a 9.9% decrease.
The top sales, not surprisingly, were dominated by Ferraris, particularly the two drop-tops which set individual marque/model records. The Series 1 Cabriolet at Gooding dropped every onlooker’s jaw when it sold for $5.6 million hammer, 12% over Gooding’s high estimate. Barrett-Jackson scored big time with the two L88 Corvettes, particularly the lovely and rare 1967. Bonhams’ Alfa 6C 1750 Gran Sport Zagato Spider brought a handsome price appropriate to the work that had been done on it since the last time it crossed the auction block at Gooding’s Pebble Beach auction in 2007 where it sold for $946,000.
These are the ten top transactions:
1. 1958 Ferrari 250 GT California LWB Pinin Farina Spider sold for $8,800,000 (RM)
2. 1958 Ferrari 250 GT Pinin Farina Cabriolet Series 1 sold for $6,160,000 (Gooding)
3. 1997 McLaren F1 GTR Longtail Coupe sold for $5,280,000 (Gooding)
4. 1967 Chevrolet Corvette L88 Coupe sold for $3,850,000 (Barrett-Jackson)
5. 1956 Ferrari 410 Superamerica SI Coupe sold for $3,300,000 (Gooding)
6. 1951 Ferrari 212 Export Coupe sold for $3,190,000 (Bonhams)
7. 1931 Alfa Romeo 6C 1750 Gran Sport Spider sold for $3,080,000 (Bonhams)
8. 1969 Chevrolet Corvette #57 Rebel L88 Convertible sold for $2,860,000 (Barrett-Jackson)
9. 1961 Porsche 718 RS 61 Spyder sold for $2,750,000 (RM)
10. 1966 Ferrari 275 GTB/6C Coupe sold for $2,640,000 (Bonhams)
Excellent sales at Bonhams, a quantum leap from its first Scottsdale auction two years ago, up by a factor of three, and a healthy increase at RM more than made up for the 14% decline in Gooding’s sale total and brought the week’s total for these five auctions to $245.3 million, up 8.4% from 2013 and 34.5% from 2012.
Arizona auction week again showed that the market still is extremely strong at the top, but even middle market and inexpensive cars are attracting eager bidders willing to pay retail prices at auction. With the exception of 7+ figure cars there’s little evidence of speculative buying, just enthusiasts willing to pay reasonably for quality cars with solid histories and desirable equipment.
The one questionable area might be the huge prices paid for derelict, dirty, unrestored projects, like $1.9 million for a Gullwing and $2.1 million for a 275 GTS, both at Gooding. Each will swallow at least $200K before being drivable, and half a million to reach concours quality, acquisitions of questionable economic justification but labors of love for their new owners.