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Report by Rick Carey, Auction Editor

1968 Ford GT40 crosses the block at the RM Auctions sale (photo: RM Auctions)
1968 Ford GT40 sold for $11,000,000 at the RM Auctions Monterey sale (photo: RM Auctions)

It’s been a week since Monterey wound down.

It is, by any measure, the best car-week in the world.

The Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance leads the way, closely followed by the Reunion and a whole litany of events – Gordon and Molly McCall’s Airport Party, Concorso Italiano, the Carmel Concours on the Avenue, innumerable marque events and – the focus of this observer – five auctions over a span of just four days.

Wandering around among such a prolific scene requires selective focus.

The Thursday Pebble Beach Tour d’Elegance lineup is where the real fans gather. It’s the first look at the cars that will be on Pebble Beach’s 18th fairway Sunday and where it’s possible to get up really close and personal, as we did with Scott George from the Collier Collection who explained how they’d worked to make their restoration as close to accurately as it was raced as possible.

Sunday on the Lawn the judges get that tutorial, but on Thursday it’s the early-riser’s privilege.

The whole panoply of the automobile’s history is rendered upon a few square miles of the Monterey Peninsula.

Chrysler put me behind the wheel of a Challenger SRT8, a marvelous car that made a mockery of the few passing zones along California 1 between San Simeon and Carmel (both ways) with its thunderous 392 Hemi and magnificent Brembo brakes.

John Bothwell gave me a taste of the vintage experience with a 20+ mile drive in the Pur Sang Type 35C. It’s like driving the best, most precise, door latch you’ve ever touched: every mechanical linkage is short, precise and devoid of slack, a snick, snick feeling through every control. We smiled when drivers of new Ferrari Californias gave us thumbs-ups…and we were in the replica.

But…to the auctions.

It was momentous.

$263.3 million — a quarter billion dollars — changed hands among five auctions in eleven [automobile] auction sessions over just four days from Thursday through Sunday.

Forty-four cars sold for hammer bids of $1 million or more. They brought a total of $159,111,500 million, 74.8% of the overall total for the 777 cars sold at Monterey.

We thought it was a big deal when the Whittell Coupe sold for over $10 million last year. In 2012 three cars sold for hammer bids over $10 million. Breathtaking.

This is the latest summary of the Monterey auction results. Most are supplied by the auction companies themselves, with some input from independent observers to fill in gaps.

But really, if you’ve never done Monterey, you need to do it. It’s just the best, and that’s from someone who’s been coming here for long enough to vote.

And it gets better every year.

Monterey Auction Summary Report 2012

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[Source: Rick Carey; photo: RM Auctions]