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April Newsletter

2019 Amelia Island Auctions Surprises!

The Amelia Island auctions typically bring in huge crowds and huge bucks for many of the cars that cross the block. This year, RM Sotheby’s, Gooding and Co and Bonham’s once again delivered some amazing cars that covered a wide range of tastes and budgets. Sell-through rates hit record numbers this weekend. Russo and Steele, in their inaugural auction, showed some promise for the years ahead. There were a few surprises over the weekend that makes the classic car market more enticing for those new to the game.

Along with the million dollar Ferrari’s and Bugatti’s, every auction had their share of cars that could be described as ‘non-traditional’ in the lineup. For example, Gooding garnered a lot of activity around a 1974 Ford LTD Country Squire Station Wagon. Those of us of a certain again remember well family trips in these cars. Perhaps it was the nostalgia of this particular vehicle that propelled the final sale price of $41,000 above the high estimate. A 2015 Ford Shelby GT500 Convertible sold for $52,000. For those interested in a pre-War classic, a 1915 Packard Twin Six Touring vehicle sold for $29,000. In need of a complete restoration, but an amazing chance to own a serious piece of motoring history. A nicely turned out 1929 Packard Model 640 Custom Eight Touring sold at Bonham’s for $23,000 while a 1971 Mercedes-Benz 280SE 3.5 Coupe went for a modest $29,000. Many of the vehicles at the auctions this weekend were without reserve, making the chance to purchase within the grasp of many.

As the Hagerty Insider report said about the Amelia Island auctions, “they are reaching an equilibrium for the current market. Total sales reached $80.1 million, nearly equaling the 2018 total, while the sell-through rate and average sales price both improved compared with year-ago figures.” 1965 Shelby 427 Competition Cobra was bid to $1.8 million but not hammered sold. The reason, the Hagerty Insider suggested, “likely in part reflects the generational shift occurring in the market as younger — but not as wealthy — collectors enter the hobby in increasing numbers.”

British cars were in fair number and continued to display a strong market. At RM Sotheby’s, a 1965 Sunbeam Tiger went for an amazing $135,000 (against a high estimate of $100,000) while a 1962 Jaguar Etype Series I 3.8 Fixed Head Couple sold for $160,000. A no-reserve 1951 MG, red over tan sold for $13,000.

RM Sotheby’s concluded its two-day auction Saturday and posted the two highest-dollar sales of the weekend, a 1965 Ferrari 275 GTB coupe bringing more than $2.2 million and a 1967 Shelby Cobra 427 roadster going for nearly $1.8 million (prices include buyer’s fee). For the weekend, RM Sotheby’s had seven of the top-10 sales. However, neither of the auction’s two Saturday star cars — a 1937 Bugatti Type 57SC Tourer by Corscia nor a 1965 Shelby 427 Competition Cobra (CSX 3006) — were hammered sold despite multi-million-dollar bids. The Bugatti, estimated to sell for $6 million to $7 million, was bid to $5.7 million. The Cobra, expected to go for $3 million to $4 million, reached $2.8 in bidding. During its auction, RM Sotheby’s had five other cars bid to $1 million or more without being sold, and that auction house wasn’t alone.

The highly anticipated Gooding auction did not disappoint. In a jam-packed tent, bidding was fierce and exciting. One of the most unlikely bidding wars occurred over a 1973 Volkswagen Thing. After a lively fight, the Thing hammered sold at $48,000, a full $13,000 over the high estimate for this beach vehicle. A 1979 Porsche 935 reach a high bid of $ 2 million with a no sale. A 1955 Lancia Aurelia B24S Spider America reached high bid of $1.1 million, again with a no sale.

Amelia Island 2019 results in a nutshell:

· Total sales: $80.1 million

· 321/452 lots sold, 71 percent sell-through rate

· Average sale price: $249,646

Overall top-10 sales:

· 1965 Ferrari 275 GTB coupe, $2,205,000 (RM Sotheby’s)

· 1967 Shelby Cobra 427 roadster, $1,7923,500 (RM Sotheby’s)

· 1930 Packard Speedster Series 734 boattail roadster, $1,765,000 (Gooding & Co.)

· 1930 Duesenberg Model J LeBaron dual-cowl phaeton, $1,650,000 (RM Sotheby’s)

· 2010 Bugatti Veyron 16.4 Sang Noir coupe, $1,500,000 (RM Sotheby’s)

· 2015 McLaren P1 coupe, $1,490,000 (RM Sotheby’s)

· 2015 Porsche 918 Spyder Weissach roadster, $1,490,000 (Gooding & Co.)

· 1926 Hispano-Suiza H6B Chapron cabriolet Le Dandy, $1,352,500 (RM Sotheby’s)

· 1965 Ferrari 275 GTS Spider, $1,325,000 (Gooding & Co.)

· 1934 Packard Twelve-Series 1108 Dietrich convertible sedan, $1,325,000 (RM Sotheby’s)

While there always seems to be a strong market for those cars that will likely end up on the show field of Amelia or Pebble Beach, it’s great to see that for many, classic cars are now approachable and within reach for a new generation of enthusiasts. This was definitely evidenced this weekend.

Look for our coverage of the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance next month!

Close to home, the Gold Coast British Car Club held their 26th Annual All-British Classic Car Show in West Palm Beach. Now spearheaded by Bill Gerhart, a record number of British beauties gathered to show their stuff and catch up with old friends. Jaguar was featured this year and there were no less than 25 Jags on the field this year (congratulations to George Hervert for his class win)! And congratulations to Bill and the entire Gold Coast team for a job well done!

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