Pebble Beach Classic Car Auctions

All images copyright and courtesy of Gooding & Company.Photos byJensen Sutta.

Led by a record-breaking 1970 Porsche 917 K racer, Gooding & Company accelerated to a two-day auction total of $91.5 million at Pebble Beach.

One hundred and nine of the 135 cars offered on August 18th and 19th sold for a crisp sale through rate of 81 percent and averaged a wallet tugging $831,135 per classic vehicle.

Of those cars that sold, 22 sold for over a million dollars.

The cover lot Porsche, fueled by a 12 cylinder, air-cooled, 580 horsepower engine and sheathed in a sleek fiberglass body, was used extensively in the production of Steve McQueen’s 1971 film “Le Mans,” a fictionalized version of the famed 24 racing event, was one of just 25 sports racers manufactured by Porsche. It carried a pre-sale estimate of $13-16 million.

Provenance wise, famed Swiss race driver Jo Siffert was the first owner of the vaunted car.

The price eclipsed the mark set at Gooding in 2015 when a 1982 Porsche 956 fetched $10,120,000.

1966 Ferrari 275 GTB-C, Image copyright and courtesy of Marcel Massini

Not far behind, a sleek, silver colored, aluminum bodied 1966 Ferrari 275 GTB/C, one of only twelve models built and retaining its original chassis, body and engine, attributes unusual for a race proven and winning Italian car, sold for $14,52,000, midway between pre-sale expectations of $12-16 million.

The car, still bearing its number 98 racing decal on its nose and side door participated in ten races in 1966.

Incredibly, the seller who acquired the car in 2004, invested another $800,000 in restoration costs, according to the catalogue.

2015 Ferrari LaFerrari, Images copyright and courtesy of Gooding & Company. Photos by Brian Henniker.

Not surprisingly, other Ferrari models captured top ten spots, including a 1959 Ferrari 250 GT Series 1 Cabriolet, bodied by Pinin Farina and the last of just 40 manufactured in this configuration, went for $4,840,000 (est. $5-7 million) and a 2015 “La Ferrari,” liveried in yellow (Giallo Modena) and kitted out with Formula 1 race technology and an 800 horsepower V-12 engine, sold for $3,520,000 (est. $3.3-3.9 million).

The La Ferrari falls in the elite category of a “supercar.” Only 499 cars were manufactured, a production run that sold out almost as soon as the project was announced, according to the catalogue entry. The car came to market with only 200 miles on the odometer.

Gooding offered 25 Ferrari cars over the two day, back-to-back auctions, indicating the unmatched market power of the marque, equivalent, say, to a Picasso or Warhol in the art at auction world.

Beyond Ferrari, a stunning gran turismo machine, a 1956 Maserati A6G/54 Berlinetta, one of only 21 Zagato Berlinettas built, sold for a record $4.4 million (est. $4-5 million).

Based on a light-weight tube-frame chassis and powered by a race-proven, all-aluminum twin-cam six-cylinder engine with three, gas sucking Weber carburetors, the Zagato was one of the evening’s most beautifully designed and rarified entries.

It was priced at $8,900 as advertised in a May 1957 issue of Motor Trend magazine and reproduced in the Gooding & Company catalogue.

1958 BMW 507 Series II, Images copyright and courtesy of Gooding & Company. Photos by Mathieu Heurtault.

Back to sought after German made marques, a handsomely sleek 1958 BMW 507 Series II, powered by a alloy V-8 engine and sporting knock-off wheels bearing the BMW logo, brought a record $2.75 million (est. $2-2.5 million) and an iconic 1955 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Gullwing with just 16,300 miles recorded and owned by the same family since new, sold for $1,677,500 (est. $1-1.3 million).

The original typewritten invoice from March 31, 1955 that accompanied the lot was priced at $7,667.

The recrod breaking 1956 Aston Martin DBR1, credit – Tim Scott © 2017 Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

Though full results were not available at press time, RM Sotheby’s two-day auction marathon at the Portola Hotel & Spa in Monterey generated $133 million with an 88% sell through rate and elicited the highest price for any classic car sold this season as the race proven and ultra rare Aston Martin DBR1/1, arguably the most important car Aston Martin ever produced, sold for a record shattering $22,550,000 against pre-sale expectations in excess of $20 million.

Two bidders fought for the car in a pitched, seven minute auction see-saw.

The price represents the highest for any British automobile at auction, eclipsing the $21.8 million price set for the 1955 Jaguar D-Type that sold here in 2016.

The remarkably preserved, sensuously designed sports racer, the first of five produced by Aston Martin owner David Brown, won the prestigious and grueling 1959 Nurburgring 1000 KM race and was raced by such track legends as Roy Salvadori, Stirling Moss, Jack Brabham and Carroll Shelby.

That same evening, which tallied in excess of $60 million, a race proven 1959 Aston Martin DB6 Aston Martin DBR9, offered without reserve (meaning the owner set no minimum for the car to sell), hit $616,000 (est. $275-325,000).

RM Sotheby’s second evening auction on the 19th included a diverse group of thirteen Ferrari cars from a single owner collection that tallied $16.5 million.

Half of that total was garnered by the pristine and gorgeous, V-12 powered 1961 250 GT SWB Berlinetta with coachwork by Scaglietti, and restored, according to the catalogue to “concours level” condition, made $8,305,000 (est. $8.5-10 million).

Additional results from RM Sotheby’s and Bonhams Quail Lodge classic car auctions will appear in a forthcoming report.

While solid and sometimes spectacular results were recorded in these prestigious and heavily attended California sales, it is equally evident the classic car market, akin to its distantly related modern and contemporary art market, is weaker by value this season.

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