The half of August in the world of classic cars is traditionally associated with the prestigious Monterey Car Week event, where world collectors and enthusiasts of classic cars meet and share their passion. And spend their money – in addition to the Concours d´Elegance, several auctions were held during the week to indicate current trends.
This year is record breaking, there is no doubt about that. But most of sales were carried out in the online world, because that was the way the world operated during hard times of pandemic. But the human is social creature and classic car scene is the perfect example: we simply cannot spend all our time infront of the display, we need social interactions and we need to touch the cars, feel them and enjoy the beauty and sound with our own senses. Maybe that is the reason, why this year´s Monterey was so successful.
We all know, how difficult was to reach USA during this summer. But for those lucky enough to be a part of the great event, the reward was sweet. Judge for yourself: five auction houses brought in a total of 343 million USD across three days of sales! That mean up 37 % over the same array of opportunities in 2019 (last year was cancelled).
High sales numbers were even more impressive when we take in account that 25 % fewer cars were offered (compared to 2019). Sell-through rate was 80 % (59 % in 2019) and the offering was simply amazing. Average sale price of a vehicle sold in 2021 was 428.004 USD, compared to 334.114 USD in 2019. Many say that 2021 was the best year ever for auctions and maybe the best ever to be for the traditional auctions, the future is definitely online…
LSo let´s check some interesting cars – it is certainly difficult to choose only a few pieces from the varied mix of amazing cars, but we are happy to do it. For sure it is fair to start with top seller: this year, this honour goes to Gooding & Co. Auction house, which managed to sell 1995 McLaren F1 for 20,5 million USD (including buyer premiums). During the same sale, 1959 Ferrari 250 California LWB Competizione Spider was sold for 10,8 million USD, while a 1962 Aston Martin DB4 GT Zagato rounded out the top three sellers by taking 9,5 million USD at RM Sotheby’s.
Auctomobile.com also watched the auctions with excitement and dared to present several cars that we consider to be great opportunities. Age takes precedence, so let's take it from the beginning.
Our first tip is amazing black 1929 Alfa Romeo 6C 1750 Super Sport, one of just 121 Super Sport examples produced. This unique and desirable racecar from the best era has known history since new, which is as awesome as it sounds. Alfa stays in one hands of Dr. Hugh Gearing in Johannesburg for nearly 60 years! We don´t need to add that it is powered by numbers-matching 1,75-liter straight six-cylinder engine with supercharger and went through complete mechanical restoration by Automotive Restorations of Stratford in Connecticut. Well preserved and documented supercar from 20’s changed owner for 692.500 USD (RM Sotheby´s), meaning this was really great opportunity to buy such amazing machine!
With our next two pick, we are staying in country well known for classic cars and incomparable feeling for beauty: Italy. Classic Ferrari – it is more than just the cliche, it is something that even the layman will recognize. We are talking about 1953 Ferrari 166 MM Spider Series II by Vignale, sold for 3.855.000 USD by RM Sotheby´s. It is fourth of six Vignale Spiders built on the second-series 166 MM and 10th of 13 overall examples. And it is a proper racecar with extensive period competition history, including 1954 Mille Miglia. History is documented in a lengthy history report by Marcel Massini, comprehensive restoration was made in 2009 by DK Engineering from UK. We can write a lot more about this rare and historically significant V-12 Ferrari competition spider ideal for participation in top-tier international motoring events, but we would be probably get stuck right there.
We will rather swich to another beauty from same year: 1953 Siata 208 CS with coachwork by Balbo. It is one of only nine Siata 208s bodied by Balbo a six know extant. Considering Fiat Ottu Vu V8 engine matches the Siata data plate and frame-off restoration to concours standards (with original colour), it was a blast for 1.627.500 USD. The sale was realized by Gooding & Co.
We will move to Germany with our last and absolute TOP pick: classic 911s are always in demand, but the truth is that if you want the best, you have to look a lot. And then, maybe, you can find a true gem – like 1968 Porsche 911 R, sold by RM Sotheby´s for 3.360.000 USD. If you got dizzy from the final price, believe us, that this is the most sought-after and thrilling 911 variant and the lightest production-based Porsche ever built. We are talking about one of just 20 serially built 911 R lightweights, powered by 210-brake horsepower Type 901/22 flat-six racing engine from 906. With the curb weight of just 816 kg! The car was raced and rallied extensively in-period and is presented in its 1967 Tour de Corse livery. It went through restorations by marque experts with careful attention to authenticity and detail, using NOS parts throughout.
During the three auction days, of course, many interesting cars were on display, and if you want to remember and orient yourself, we recommend researching the individual catalogues. It may only be online, but why not enjoy yourself and not dream for a while? It hasn't hurt anyone yet. One thing is for sure, the interest in classic cars is a huge and successful week in California just proved it.
And when we selected the TOP deals in Pebble Beach, we have also looked on our current listings to pick some cars that would be the best deals to put in your garage or portfolio. The order is also chosen with respect to the age of the cars:
1953 Alfa Romeo 1900 C Sprint Pininfarina, 1964 Morgan Plus 4 Plus, 1969 Bizzarrini Europa, 1989 Porsche 911 Carrera Clubsport, 2001 Mitsubishi Lancer EVO VI TME
Text: Frantisek Vahala
Photo: RM Sotheby´s, Gooding & Co, Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance, Steeringmedia