Auctions Commentary from CCFS Market Analyst Richard Hudson-Evans
More than £36m was spent on classics at Goodwood and Battersea, where world shattering prices were paid for Porsches
“Genuinely never raced or rallied”, the 1956 Porsche 550/1500 4-Cam Rennsport chassis 0090 with 2-Seater Sports-Race Spyder coachwork by Wendler, an unmolested time machine never offered publicly for sale, fetched a model world record £4,593,500 with premium in the Bonhams auction tent during a 70% sold £14.5m Saturday afternoon session at the Goodwood Revival. An ultra-rare civilian Porsche 4x4 meanwhile, one of only 71 Type 597 Jagdwagen made in 1957, came to market all the way from Japan to pick up £175,100 beside the historic Sussex racing circuit.
Although parked right alongside the seats, the ex-Sir Max Aitken 1965 Ferrari 275GT, restored in the 1990s and with Classiche certification, had ‘withdrawn’ on the screen, having been sold just before the auction for £1,500,000 and, before the speakers had cooled down and the Doom Bar Tent was rocking outside, £603,333.33 was paid for the 1950 Frazer-Nash Le Mans Rep raced round Goodwood by owner-driver Roy Salvadori in 1952.
The ex-Margaret King (widow of Scottish racing motorcyclist Alistair King) 1964 Aston Martin DB5 and a freshly restored 1967 DB6 Vantage upgraded to 4.2 cost new owners £455,100 apiece, the lower estimate for the 5 and £105k more than the top estimate for the 6. Nearly £100,000 more than forecast was forthcoming for a 1971 Ferrari Dino 246GT in right-hand drive that had been driven only 25,253 miles since new in 1971 and which sold for 299,420. The more than guide price £253,500 paid for an XK Engineering restored 1962 Jaguar E Type S1 ‘Flat Floor’ 3.8 Roadster was another milestone result in the current market.
A much travelled 1985 MG Metro 6R4 Group B in Rothmans colours, which had been rolled at Prescott long, long ago and, in later life, had scored a class win on the 1998 Targa Tasmania, made a within estimate £113,500. While I cannot recall a 1972 Lotus Elite Series 2 Climax - not a race car with some period event history, but one of 23 Super 95 standard road cars that is believed to have been the 1962 Earls Court Motor Show stand car – selling for £103,420 with premium.
Earlier in the week, although a 1960 Aston Martin DB4GT sold for a results topping £2,408,000 during the RM Sotheby’s Wednesday evening sale at London’s Battersea Evolution, where although 65 or 76% of the 85 cars that crossed the stage did sell for £21.65m, Porsches again wrote the headlines with some way, way, way over high estimate sums bid for a pack of 911s.
For entirely due to ‘a need to outbid a nearly as determined rival’ by one winning contestant with apparently unlimited resources, one of about 57 road-going 993 GT2s driven 12,730k by one vendor owner made a more than double estimate £1,848,000. Just as remarkable was the £974,400 with premium that was required to win the keys of a 1993 911 Turbo S Lightweight, one of 86 made with 6303k under-wheel, that had been guided at £210,000-250,000. And how about the £716,800 result of a 1993 Carrera RS 3.8, one of 55 with 16,652k exposure to wear and tear?
UK or even Global Porsche market-defining? I think not. More likely, these mega-Porsche prices will be mere blips on the trading screens, albeit extremely large ones, and not, I suspect, turbocharged price lines now heading steeply upwards into we know not where. We shall see.
Meanwhile, all the deals on wheels have been done and the final sums can now be computed for the annual Californian sales in the Dis-US. For my steam-driven abacas maths indicate that of the 1250 or so classic automobiles to cross the block in 5 auctions within 4 days, circa 720 of them will have eventually changed hands, that’s an overall sale rate of 57.5%. For although RM Sotheby’s, Gooding and Bonhams sold 82, 83 and 88% of the contents of their respective catalogues, due to the much lower hit rates achieved at Mecum and Rosso & Steele, the overall trading stat that matters fell this year.
While the rather Rio Grand looking sales total of $344.24m with premium was actually less than the $394m spent on the Monterey Peninsula in 2015, and considerably below the $454m record gross invested in the same bull pens at the same gigs in 2014, many of the individual prices paid this August and the charted appreciation for some of the rolling assets were nonetheless stellar.
Take the Le Mans winning Ecurie Ecosse D Type Jaguar, for instance, for which $21.78m (£16.55m) was handed over at RM Sotheby’, and which last sold at auction at Christies in London in 1999 for £1.71m ($2.81m). The latest auction buyer’s valuation was £14,846,300 more than the last one and the average annual growth over the last 17 years has been £873,312pa!
And then there was the 1904 and London to Brighton Run eligible Mercedes-Simplex, which went for $2.81m (£2.13m) under the Bonhams gavel at The Quail, but which previously changed guardians at a Brooks London in 1999 for £265k ($427k). That’s £1.87m more than the same Veteran fetched 16 years with annual growth of £116,675. Money, in any currency, is worth much less than it used to be, of course. But, even so (and so far), the at times bumpy ride for those who have had the nerve to hang on has been hugely rewarding.
More recently still, 1 August – 4 September, Auctions American attracted 85,000 enthusiasts (considerably more than for any flawed Presidential Candidate Rally) to their Auburn Fall Collector Car Weekend, during which bidders from 45 of the States and 12 overseas countries bought 578 or 69% of the 843 largely US automobiles for $20.7m (£15.73).
Local produced Duesenbergs took the top steps of the AA podium with a 1931 Model J Convertible Sedan selling for $880,000 (£669k) and a 1933 Model J Sunroof Berline by Franay for $715,000 (£543k). A 1931 Cadillac V12 Convertible Coupe by Fleetwood was hammered away for $368,500 (£280k) and a Mechanimals ‘Wendell’ The Mechanical Elephant strutted across the arena flaw during primetime Saturday to collect $275,000 (£209k) to buy books for hospitalised kids in North East Indiana.
Overall this year, and on both sides of the Atlantic Pond and the slightly more English Channel, transacted prices of the high valued classics has risen by 3.71%, say Historic Automobile Group International, whose number crunchers have recorded an advance of 1.46% in their HAGI Top Index advance in August trades and an increase in values established by buyers of 11.97% over the last twelve months.
The top performing marque in 2016 so far has been Ferrari with a gain of 1.30% in prices paid for Ferraris in August and 6.15% growth in the HAGI F this year so far. By contrast, the most recent and wild bidding for some Porsche models in Battersea Park has as yet to influence the HAGI P, which went up a modest 1.13% in August, but has declined for the year to date by 1.51%. Whereas though Merc prices slipped back ‘statistically’, by 0.05% last month, the HAGI MBCI has recorded a collector M-B price rise of 5.83% in 2016 to the end of August.