From Paris to the States
The top seller in the first of four auctions during Retromobile week in Paris was a 1962 Ferrari 400 Superamerica Aerodinamico, the Earls Court and Chicago Motors Show-exhibited Series II LWB, that had been in the Matsuda portfolio in Japan in the late 1990s. It sold immediately afterwards for €2,950,000 (£2,271,500) to head a €19.03m (£14.65m) grossing RM Sotheby’s sale Wednesday evening in Place Vauban.
In total 48 of the 61 cars on the carpet did change keepers and a 79% sale rate was achieved One of the few rolling assets that exceeded its guide price band was a major retrospective event eligible Porsche 550 with Wendler Spyder body, the 1955 Frankfurt Show car that was raced at the 1956 Sebring 12 Hours and which cost the next owner-driver €2,744,000 (£2,112,880). A mid-estimate €2,016,000 (£1,552,320) was forthcoming for a 1957 BMW 507 Series II Roadster on Rudge wheels with hardtop.
The 2004 ‘Malibu Enzo’ of internet search fame, which had been totalled in 2006 but then totally built-up with factory new and supplied components plus upgrades to satisfy Ferrari Classiche certification, fetched €1,568,000 (£1,207,360), just over the lower estimate with premium. That it had also been dash-signed by Ferrari old boy and FIA chef Jean Todt probably had some bearing on the hammer price.
Other barometer readings for the Prancing Horse market were a 1997 F50, the 266th of 340, with matching numbers and Classiche pass number, sold for €1,275,000 (£981,750), and a 4000k-fromnew 1989 F40 for €1,036,000 (£797,720). Once again, both these stallions only just cleared their lower estimate figures. A 1955 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwing, a Mille Miglia Storica regular, flapped away more easily, attracting a well-withinestimate 1,176,000 euros (£905,520).
The very first production Aston Martin DB5 lefthooker from 1963 (briefly owned by the seriously acquisitive Nicholas Cage between takes) failed to find the minimum €1,100,000 (£847,000) being sought, but a right- to left-hand drive converted and restored 1966 DB6 manual did scrape home at €392,000 (£301,840). €112,000 euros (£86,240) bought a 1956 left-hand drive example of the 640 Austin-Healey factory-built 100Ms, rather than one with a ‘Le Mans’ kit of bolt-on goodies.
After all the Paris auctions are over, market watchers will have a much clearer overview of where we really are, what the prices are actually doing, and we can gauge where sentiment and fashion may lead us next.
Discounting Russo & Steel results, which are still being finalised, circa $250m was spent on oldtimers in the recent US 2016 season-opening auctions, the sale totals down by almost 15% from the same fixtures one year ago. The average price per classic bought at the auctions in Phoenix and Scottsdale was 13% less, too, than it was in 2015.
By contrast at Kissimee, US market leader by volume Mecum report a $92m sale total (£64.17m), 30% more than last year with a similar percentage increase on the average spend too, and with a 78% success rate. This means therefore that virtually eight out of every classics being auctioned by them sold and did so for higher prices.
‘After the Paris auctions are over, we can gauge where sentiment and fashion may lead us’