August 2017

August is a time of great anticipation in the collectors car world, with much of it centered around the Pebble Beach Concours and the big three auctions staged by Bonhams, Gooding & Co. and RM Sotheby’s during ‘Monterey Week’ in California.

With 111 cars on offer and 47% of them at no reserve, Bonhams had slightly fewer cars than its rivals by a small margin, but starting at 10am on the Friday it had the advantage of being first, and with some tempting hardware for its pre-event promotional activities. Topping the bill was a famous, ex Le Mans Lightweight E-Type along with a one-owner McLaren F1 road car – the first F1 exported to the US and the first to come to auction for two years. Both were listed as ‘estimate on request’, but pre-sale guesstimates were around $10 million for the former and perhaps upward of $13 million (£10m) for the latter.

Headquartered in Santa Monica and the official Pebble Beach Concours auction house, Gooding & Co’s sale was also spread over two days (6pm on the Friday and 11am on the Saturday) with 136 cars, 36% of them at no reserve. Star lots were a 1970 Porsche 917K racer with a $13-16 million estimate and a very rare ’66 Ferrari 275 GTB/C estimated at $12-16 million.

RM Sotheby’s sale was also a two-parter – part 1 coinciding with Gooding & Co’s 10am Friday kick-off, followed by part 2 at 6pm the following day – and 115 cars went under the hammer with 42% at no reserve. The spotlight here was on a 1956 Aston DBR1 sports racer for which the catalogue said, “ESTIMATE: IN EXCESS OF $20,000,000”. Another big gun Aston was a ’61 DB4 GT prototype with a $6-8 million estimate, while a ’61 Ferrari 250 GT SWB was estimated at $8.5-10 million.

All in all some 403 cars were offered in 2015, of which 88% were sold. Last year there were 357 cars, with 84% sold. Among the 360 or so catalogued by the three firms this year were one Pagani, two Lotus, three Bugattis, four McLarens, five Lamborghinis, six Chevrolets, seven Cadillacs, eight BMWs, 10 Fords, 11 Astons, 12 Alfas, 13 Jaguars, 14 Maseratis, 29 Mercedes, 52 Porsches and 76 Ferraris.

This year some 94 cars were valued at $1 million or more, down from 104 last year, with five valued at over $10 million, half last year’s number. However, this was seen as welcome evidence that the speculator-fuelled frenzy of 2014 had readjusted to earlier, more sustainable collector/enthusiast-driven levels.

To quote Charlie Ross, Gooding & Co’s regular auctioneer, “The great thing about auctions is that so long as you don’t stop bidding you’ll always buy the car!” Here’s a taste of how things went… 

All sale figures are inclusive of buyers’ premiums.



Following a slow start the pace soon picked up with an alloy-bodied long nose ‘65 Ferrari 275 GTB, selling for $3.08m, or $80k above its high estimate. It transpired that the ’63 lightweight E-Type had a $9m reserve figure which the bidding failed to meet on the day, but the car did find a new owner following an $8m deal agreed soon after. As expected, the McLaren F1 was Bonhams’ star performer, and following a tense 4-way bidding battle it sold for an eye-watering $15.62m, or £12,128,111.


Here’s a selection of the more recent and affordable cars (by Monterey standards) which also found new owners:


Lot 32001 BMW Z8$198,000
Lot 71966 Lotus Cortina Mk. 1$57,200
Lot 181986 Ford RS200 Evolution$550,000
Lot 201986 Ferrari Testarossa$117,700
Lot 231985 Audi Quattro Sport S1$484,000
Lot 341998 Ferrari F355 Berlinetta$66,000
Lot 401992 Nissan Skyline R32 GT-R$86,900
Lot 441985 Peugeot 205 Turbo 16$198,000
Lot 461985 Lancia Delta S4 Stradale$440,000
Lot 961990 Lamborghini Countach 25th Anniversary$266,000
Lot 1031978 Maserati Khamsin$148,500


The lightweight E-Type’s failure to sell during the sale had a something of a negative knock-on effect, possibly one reason why 73% of Bonhams’ lots sold this year compared with 88% last year. However, despite having a few fewer cars this year, and with significant help from the McLaren F1, the $43,647,000 gross figure was almost $9m up on last year (excluding the $8m post-sale E-Type).



August's Auctions Update 2017
August's Auctions Update 2017

RM SOTHEBY’S at MONTEREY, 18th-19th August

With part 1 clashing with Gooding & Co’s Friday evening sale, attendance was slighly down, but this didn’t affect the bidding for what was expected to be Monterey week’s star lot – the ’56 Aston Martin DBR1, chassis no 1. With an impeccable racing history it was driven by the likes of Brabham, Shelby, Salvadori and Moss, and after a two-way, seven-minute bidding battle it sold over the phone for $22,550,000 (c.£17.5m), thus surpassing the $21.8m for the ’55 Jaguar D-Type sold by RM Sotheby’s last year, so setting a new world record for any British car sold at auction.

Other RMS highlights included the prototype ‘59 Aston Martin DB4GT which sold for $6,765,000 after a three-way contest, while a straight, steel-bodied ’61 Ferrari 250 GT SWB with an $8.5-10m estimate went for $8,305,000.

Coming slightly closer to earth (again by Monterey standards) here are some of the more recent models which also found new owners (NB. Lot 144!):

Lot 1151969 Porsche 911S Targa$137,500
Lot 1191989 Porsche 911 Speedster$214,500
Lot 1251993 Jaguar XJ220$418,000
Lot 1312006 Ford GT$379,500
Lot 1441964 Peel P50 microcar$140,250
Lot 1452006 Aston Martin DBR9$616,000
Lot 1531997 Porsche 911 Turbo S$360,250
Lot 1641997 Porsche 911 Cup 3.8 RSR$357,500
Lot 2142009 Ferrari 430 Scuderia$231,000
Lot 2172011 Ferrari 599 GTO$737,000
Lot 2192005 Ferrari 575 Superamerica$423,500
Lot 2232009 Ferrari 16M Scuderia Spider$368,500
Lot 2272015 Ferrari LaFerrari$3,410,000
Lot 2292014 Pagani Huayra Tempesta$2,420,000
Lot 2302015 Porsche 918 Spyder$1,824,000
Lot 2352011 Porsche 911 GT3 RS 4.0$418,000
Lot 2551995 Porsche 911 Carrera RS Clubsport$407,000
Lot 2611976 Lamborghini Countach LP400$1,034,000


By the end of part 2 of RM’s sale on the Saturday evening, 87% of cars offered had been sold (5% up on last year) grossing $131,537,450 (a little over $13.6m up on last year) – this year’s gross figure getting a significant boost from the cars in the sizeable Ferrari Performance Collection which all became ‘no reserve’ at short notice.


August's Auctions Update 2017
August's Auctions Update 2017


August's Auctions Update 2017

The star of Gooding & Co’s Friday sale, the 1970 Gulf-liveried Porsche 917K (est. $13-16m), sold for $14,080,000 (almost £11m) and so became the most valuable Porsche ever sold at auction. This broke the previous Porsche record (held by Gooding & Co) for an ‘82 956 which sold for $10,120,000 in 2015. The star lot of Saturday’s sale, the ‘66 Ferrari 275 GTB/C (one of just 12 built, est. $12-16m), also set a new world auction record for the model by achieving $14,520,000 – the highest price for any Ferrari by any of the three auction houses over the two days.

A few of the more recent cars which caught our eye and which sold:

Lot 11976 Alfa Alfetta GT 2000$24,200
Lot 101995 Ferrari 512M$478,500
Lot 112006 Ford GT$286,000
Lot 231994 Porsche 911 964 3.6S flatnose$715,000
Lot 392011 Porsche 911 997 GT3 RS 4.0$407,000
Lot 401971 Mercedes 280SL ‘Pagoda’$203,000
Lot 461988 Porsche 959 Comfort$1,056,000
Lot 492013 Ford Mustang Boss 302 Laguna Seca$44,000
Lot 531974 BMW 2002 Turbo$143,000
Lot 542015 Ferrari LaFerrari$3,520,000
Lot 1381997 Porsche 911 993 Turbo S$385,000
Lot 1421998 Ferrari 550 Maranello$148,000

After the hammer had fallen on the final car Gooding & Co had found new homes for 81% of those offered (same percentage as last year) and achieved a gross sales figure of almost $90.6 million. Despite selling 22 cars for $1m or more, this gross figure is a little over £39m down from last year’s, but last year’s sale included an $18.2 million Ferrari among other big buck cars which were missing this year. Plus both the Gooding sales coincided with other big-draw Monterey week events.

August's Auctions Update 2017
August's Auctions Update 2017


Across the three auction houses and all 359 cars, 41% were offered at no reserve and a healthy 81% sold (84% last year). Interesting and perhaps surprising to note that, of the three 1973 Porsche 911 RS 2.7s offered, none sold, while seven of the eight 1950s Mercedes 300SL Gullwings and Roadsters did sell. And while Bonhams achieved a world record McLaren price for the 1995 F1, Gooding’s 2015 P1 (est. $2-2.2m) failed to sell. It’s a funny old game where about the only thing that’s predictable is the unpredictability.

In the end the three sales achieved a gross figure of $265,998,150 (circa £206m), which is $16,359,600 down on 2016 despite Bonhams and RM Sotheby’s being up by $22.6m combined – evidence perhaps that the top end of the market is still calming from previous, crazier years.

We’re passionate about classic cars, from Ferrari to Frazer-Nash, at JBR Capital and we can quickly build a bespoke finance package to suit your needs. So if you’re interested in acquiring the car of your dreams then please call one of our experts today on 020 3355 0035 to explore your finance options.

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