Monterey 2011 — The Numbers Speak
September 2011

Monterey 2011 — The Numbers Speak

By Rick Carey

Monterey 2011 was a game of big numbers.

1,143
cars crossed the four auction blocks at Bonhams, Gooding, Mecum and RM (Russo and Steele hasn’t released its final numbers yet.)

736 of them sold, a 64.4% sale rate, a sell-through that reflects in a small way the disappointing 48.1% sell-through at Bonhams and an expected 59.8% sale rate at Mecum Auctions’ second Monterey auction (nearly two-thirds of the cars offered in Monterey, 712, crossed Mecum’s busy auction block at the Hyatt.)

That’s a lot of clutter on the radar screen, but the focus was at the top, where 25 cars sold for $1 million hammer or more and accounted for $91,027,500 of the four auctions’ total of $188,783,187. That’s 48.2% of the four-day weekend’s total from just 25 lots.

Gooding & Company headed the charts with its Saturday sale of Ferrari 250 Testa Rossa s/n 0666 for $14,900,000 hammer, $16,390,000 (€11,375,600) with commission, an eye-opening, world record result for a collector car at auction accompanied by one of the best performances of “auction theater” seen in recent years.

From a few hundred bucks in the '60s to over $16 million in 2011- Warren Buffett would be envious From a few hundred bucks in the '60s to over $16 million in 2011- Warren Buffett would be envious

Bidding opened at $10 million, jumped to $11 million, $11.5 million and $11.8 million. Two $100,000 bids took it to $12 million where Charlie Ross announced the reserve had been met and the car was for sale. More small (in relative terms) bids followed, bringing the bid to $12.7 million when Gooding Specialist Jakob Greisen appeared from behind the food service crew’s tent flap and raised the bid another $100,000. Bidding settled down to a two-bidder contest between Jakob, representing the Wizard of Oz (“Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain” didn’t apply Saturday night) and Fiona Spence with a telephone bidder in mostly $100K increments until the phone bidder was successful at $14.9 million.

A great sigh of relief went through the tent and a few onlookers fled, but most stayed.

It was apparent great sums of money were present and being deployed to satisfy long-sought dreams.

RM demonstrated the same phenomenon Friday when the ex-Steve McQueen Porsche 911S crossed the block in a similar bidding contest between a lady bidder in the Convention Center and a phone bidder ultimately culminating in a breathtaking price of $1,250,000 hammer, $1,375,000 (€954,300) for a (very nice) car that might have been worth $200,000 without Steve McQueen’s bun-prints in the seats (except the leather had been replaced) and its supporting role in the title sequence for “Le Mans”.

The world's first million dollar Porsche 911: $1.375 million to be exact... The world's first million dollar Porsche 911: $1.375 million to be exact...

Counting down from the Testa Rossa at the pinnacle of the Monterey charts were:

• Gooding’s Duesenberg long wheelbase Model J (chassis 2478, engine J-460) built by Walter M. Murphy Company for Captain George Whittell which overtopped its pre-sale estimate at a successful bid of $9.4 million, $10,340,000 (€7,176,600) with commission;

• RM’s Amelia Island-winning Mercedes-Benz 540 K Special Roadster (chassis 154140) at $8,800,000 hammer, $9,680,000 (€6,718,500) with commission;

$10.3m for Duesenberg 'Whittell Coupe', another record, this time for an American car $10.3m for Duesenberg 'Whittell Coupe', another record, this time for an American car
Dramatic '37 Mercedes 540K Special Roadster: a new auction record for the marque Dramatic '37 Mercedes 540K Special Roadster: a new auction record for the marque

• RM’s Ferrari 250 GT SWB Competition Berlinetta (s/n 2209GT) at $4,800,000 ($5,280,000, €3,664,600 with commission), a car RM sold half-restored at Maranello in 2007 for $2,563,860 hammer, $2,820,246 with commission (€1,900,000 at the time, €2,090,000 with commission);

• Gooding’s 1927 Mercedes-Benz 26/180 S-type Sportwagen (chassis 35218), a post-block sale at $4,581,818, $5,040,000 (€3,489,100) with commission; and

340 Mexico (left) and reconstructed SWB (right) both went to 73 year old newcomer to the market 340 Mexico (left) and reconstructed SWB (right) both went to 73 year old newcomer to the market
Supercharged Merc S type looked slightly out of place but still drew over $5m Supercharged Merc S type looked slightly out of place but still drew over $5m

• RM’s 1939 Mercedes-Benz 540K Special Roadster (chassis 408383) for $4.2 million hammer, $4,620,000 (€3,206,000) with commission.
 

It's all in the details: later '39 Merc 540K Special Roadster doesn't have same 'wow' factor so was half price of '37 version It's all in the details: later '39 Merc 540K Special Roadster doesn't have same 'wow' factor so was half price of '37 version

It wasn’t all sweetness and light.

Gooding sold the long wheelbase 250 GT California Spider (s/n 1215GT) at Scottsdale in 2008 for $3,300,000 (€2,246,000 at the time); here three years later the same car went for $3,050,000 hammer, $3,355,000 (€2,328,600) with commission.

Details from the four Monterey auctions reporting results so far follow. They are subject to refinement, but the gist is clear.

LWB California Spyder price was flat compared to 2008- at least yellow seat piping has since disappeared... LWB California Spyder price was flat compared to 2008- at least yellow seat piping has since disappeared...

Photo courtesy www.classicdriver.com/ Massimo Delbo'/ Gooding & Co/ www.ultimatecarpage.com  

 

Auction

Location

Cars Offered

Cars Sold

Sale %

% < Low Est

% > High Est

Average Sale

Median Sale

Total $

RM Auctions

Monterey, CA, August 19-20, 2011

144

123

85.4%

61.3%

7.6%

$635,713

$214,500

[33.7%]

$78,192,700

RM Auctions

Monterey, CA, August 12-14, 2010

224

204

91.1%

54.4%

10.9%

$313,564

$101,750

[31.5%]

$66,077,100

Gooding & Company

Pebble Beach, CA, August 20-21, 2011

127

107

84.3%

44.9%

12.2%

$730,672

$192,500

[26.4%]

$78,181,900

Gooding & Company

Pebble Beach, CA, August 14-15, 2010

135

106

78.5%

59.4%

8.9%

$609,361

$181,500

[29.8%]

$64,592,300

Mecum Auctions

Monterey, CA, August 18-20, 2011

743

444

59.8%

--

--

$49,993

$27,560

[55.2%]

$22,196,822

Mecum Auctions

Monterey, CA, August 12-14, 2010

428

208

48.6%

--

--

$75,013

$36,040

[48.1%]

$15,602,627

Bonhams & Butterfields

Quail Lodge, CA, August18-19, 2011 

129

62

48.1%

59.7%

14.5%

$164,706

$64,350

[39.1%]

$10,211,765

Bonhams & Butterfields

Quail Lodge, CA, August 12-13, 2010

102

79

77.5%

55.2%

16.7%

$228,224

$62,010

[27.2%]

$18,029,690