New Zealand Classic Car - - International Market Report -

Peb­ble fever!

The Peb­ble Beach Con­cours d’el­e­gance is cer­tainly the high­light of the Mon­terey Car Week that’s held ev­ery year in Au­gust, if not the whole of the in­ter­na­tional clas­sic mo­tor­ing cal­en­dar. Amer­i­cans, it seems, of­ten like to do things on a grand scale, though, at times, the US can be a lit­tle parochial. So, in the same way that the Ma­jor League Base­ball fi­nals are called the ‘World Se­ries’, Peb­ble Beach dubs it­self, “The World’s Con­cours d’el­e­gance”. The Wall Street Jour­nal also says it is, “The world’s best an­nual dis­play of his­toric and beau­ti­ful cars”, although, maybe its jour­nal­ist has not been to the Villa d’este Con­corso d’el­e­ganza. The Fi­nan­cial Times in the UK, per­haps less pa­tri­otic, also gives it a re­sound­ing en­dorse­ment, call­ing it, “The num­ber one event of its type in the world”.

The Con­cours d’el­e­gance is just one part of a whole fes­ti­val of car-re­lated events, in­clud­ing au­to­mo­tive art ex­hi­bi­tions; car gath­er­ings such as Con­corso Ital­iano; fo­rums; re­tail op­por­tu­ni­ties; his­toric mo­tor­ing mem­o­ra­bilia and col­lecta­bles; mo­tor sports; road trips and ral­lies; and, of course, auc­tions. RM Sotheby’s, Good­ing & Co, Russo and Steele, Me­cum, Bon­hams, et al. will all strut their stuff with gar­gan­tuan auc­tions at var­i­ous lo­cales on the Mon­terey Penin­sula in north­ern Cal­i­for­nia. And what a bun fight those auc­tions can be, es­pe­cially when the Peb­ble Beach or Quail Lodge (where Bon­hams holds its bash) ‘ef­fect’ sets in.

At times, Peb­ble Beach fever can take over at these sales, and, with great cars on of­fer and lots of money and lots of egos in the room, prices can fly. In 2015, of the top13 auc­tion sales world­wide — which ranged from the US$18,645,000 paid for a 1961 Fer­rari 250 GT Spy­der Cal­i­for­nia SWB to US$7,975,000 for a 1950 Fer­rari 275/340 Sport, 10 of those prices were achieved dur­ing Mon­terey week. An in­ter­est­ing aside is that, of those 13 sales, 10 were of Fer­raris, with only a Mclaren F1, Jaguar C-type, and Porsche 956 break­ing the Maranello hege­mony, while sales 13 to 19 were also Fer­rari!

If you have a rare Fer­rari, it is prob­a­bly much sought af­ter, and, if you sell it at auc­tion at Peb­ble or Quail, you may well max­i­mize your as­set. A word or two of warn­ing here for sell­ers, though — it will need to be a very spe­cial car, and send­ing your pre­cious baby over­seas can be ac­com­pa­nied with prob­lems. I al­ways re­mem­ber the cau­tion­ary tale of an Aus­tralian who sent his lovely Bent­ley to auc­tion at Villa Erba in Italy. Not only did it fail to sell, but also, due to un­fore­seen cir­cum­stances, while in the care of the auc­tion house, it caught fire and was very badly dam­aged! A dif­fi­cult sit­u­a­tion to han­dle when you are sit­ting on the other side of the world.

From Septem­ber 1, 2014 to Au­gust 31, 2015, the to­tal dol­lar value of the clas­sic cars sold at auc­tion was in the re­gion of US$1229M, and, of this, some US$410M were raised in the one week in Au­gust at Mon­terey — a third of the en­tire an­nual global mar­ket! The Au­gust 2016 re­sults will once again be a barom­e­ter for the clas­sic ve­hi­cle auc­tion in­dus­try.

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