Market and auctions

On the pitch with the B team, RM wins anyway.

90% of the cars at Scottsdale sold with many lessons to learn. - Cliff Goodall’s view.

Photo credit © RM Sotheby’s

RM Sotheby’s (and RM Auctions beforehand) is a time-honoured auction house in Scottsdale that’s been around for almost 20 years and, as such, has seen and participated in every stage of the market, from the moment when historic cars were a niche – and cost just a few tens of thousands of dollars – the era in which cars began being conceived as an investment – and their subsequent price boom – until the more recent settling that we are examining today.

In absence of any significant lots, RM failed to match its 2018 results: whereas last year they registered total sales of $36.9m, this year they stopped just short of $30m ($29,901,210 to be exact), dropping by almost 20%. Having said that, they sold 90% of the lots on offer (up from 85% in 2018) even if 73% of the cars were for sale without reserve. While just 6 cars passed the million-dollar barrier, that number was 6 less than the previous edition (12). It should be noted that auctions are like fruit and vegetable markets: sales are a reflection of the harvests and in this case, RM had only one blue chip for sale: a 1958 Ferrari 250 GT Cabriolet S1, presented in an unattractive (as well as not original) Rosso Ferrari and without the fundamental Ferrari Classic certificate. Optimistically estimated at $6-7,000.00, it stalled at $5,500,000 and the seller decided to take her home. Maybe he’ll certify it now?

1958 Ferrari 250 GT Cabriolet Series I by Pininfarina

After the excellent result of a Pagani in Abu Dhabi, the auction house once again managed to place one at the top of the ranking of the world’s most expensive cars: a 2018 Huayra Roadster, sold for $2,370,000. The example was number 42 of the 100 produced with just 200 miles from new. What can we say? Objectively it was more of a freshly used car than a historical car. So let’s move on.

2018 Pagani Huayra Roadster

In second place was a “red-not-red”, the 1967 Ferrari 330 GTS presented in a beautiful Grigio Fumo livery with black interior. It had everything you could ask for, Ferrari Classiche certification, documented by Marcel Massini but above all a triplet of Cavallino Platinum Awards in 2017, 2018 and 2019. Estimated to be worth between $1.8-2.2 million, it had a “laborious” ascent until it finally went for $1,710,000 ($1.55m + commissions). This also affected the price of the yellow example offered by Gooding. Because, understandably, even if each car makes its own history, in a certain sense, each successful sell influences the ones that follow.

1967 Ferrari 330 GTS by Pininfarina

From one that struggled to a modern supercar that went very well. That’s right, a Dodge Viper, this time a red GTS model with white bands, which was quite a surprise even for the RM experts. This time, one of the 360 ACR Final Editions from 2002, 101 miles on the clock and only one owner. Estimated to go for $60-80,000 without reserve, it was sold for $114,800, almost double. Once again I’m going to recommend keeping an eye on this car because the market is starting to appreciate it.

2002 Dodge Viper GTS ACR Final Edition

The other success at RM was a (much rarer) 1991 Vector W8 Twin Turbo. If you’ve never heard of it don’t fret because they only produced 17 although as soon as you see one, it’ll stay in your head because it looks like a spaceship. This particular example was also in a decidedly understated purple with just 2,268 miles on the clock and just one owner, similar to the Viper GTS. Once again, the seller walked away extremely satisfied because, against an estimate of $300-450,000 (without reserve), RM managed to sell it for $720,000.

1991 Vector W8 Twin Turbo

But every coin has two sides to it: in the same collection as the Viper and The Vector, there was what could be considered the deal of the day: a 1967 Maserati Mistral 4.0 Spider. One of the 37 models built with the most powerful 4-litre engine and with the very rare (albeit ugly) hardtop. The car was in an elegant black-over-tan although probably not up to concourse standards. Estimated to be worth $450-550,000, it went for just $302,000. Surprises? Interesting, times change.

1967 Maserati Mistral 4.0 Spyder