Market and auctions

Gooding: a step back to move forward

Well positioned with the right cars for sale, Gooding’s online auction was a resounding success.
Cliff Goodall’s view

Photo credit: Gooding

The “Geared Online” auction, which this year was held from 26th to 30th October, could become a fixed event even after Covid-19 has abated. First of all, it’s online so doesn’t need any other events connected to it. Second, it’s more than capable of expanding Gooding’s offer – perhaps with cheaper cars, attracting a livelier and much younger market – and allows potential sellers to take advantage of the professionalism and network of a large auction house even if they’re not selling million-dollar cars.

What about the results? Very good in normal times but considering the current period of uncertainty (the sale ended 3 days before the American elections) and, not to be ignored, the recent proliferation of online platforms that are more or less specialized in classic car auctions, it was of the very highest order.

How else can you define 65.3% of lots sold (32 cars out of 49 on offer) and 75.4% in takings with $8,915,500 sold against estimates of $11,830,000? What’s more, all three top lots were sold which is something we haven’t seen in a while.

The most interesting lots of the sale? I’ve listed them below, along with the reasons why I chose them.

Place of honour of the auction goes to the 1956 Maserati A6G/54 Spider built by Frua. The first of ten models produced, this A6G/54 was sold by the Parisian dealer to a customer who resided in Venezuela and the car was lost until the early 1970s when it was imported into the United States. In 1999, it was purchased by its current owner who commissioned a meticulous restoration during which the correct engine was found and both the bodywork and the interior were returned to their original splendour. After nine years of work this car was shown at Villa d’Este where it won its class award before being exhibited at the Enzo Ferrari Museum in Modena. Estimated at $2-2.75 million this jewel found a new lucky owner for $1,892,000.

1956 Maserati A6G/54 Spider Coachwork by Frua sold for $1,892,000

The 914/6 is a wolf in sheep’s clothing. It looks like the typical 914 Blue Gemini, a colour that suits this model particularly well, but it comes equipped with the six-cylinder engine from the 911. This one in particular was one of the 23 M471 models with wider wheel arches but in this case it offered even more as this model mounted the legendary (but not original) 911/83 engine, better known as the 2.7 Carrera RS 210 hp. What a blast it would be to “burn” boring owners of a 911 2.2 S or 2.4 S with this little demon! All it took was $159,500 to tick this off the bucket list and I would have spent every penny…

1972 Porsche 914/6 M471 sold for $159,500

I don’t think anyone would be shocked if I said that the most intriguing car at the auction was a 1975 Lancia Stratos. Although originally delivered in Dark Blue, the change into the classic Azzurro was probably completed in the late 1970s, when it still resided in Milan. After taking a “trip” to Japan, in 1982 it ended up in the garage of a Californian enthusiast who hibernated it to this day. This “erotic dream” had an estimate of $350-450,000 (low but remember it hadn’t moved since 1993) but in the end they sold it for slightly above the maximum estimate at $451,000. Heart or investment? It was bought with the former and only then was the second revealed.

1975 Lancia Stratos HF sold for $451,000

The best deal of the auction? That depends on what you were looking for. If you were after classic sedan to take to some meeting then my proposal would be the 1937 Rolls Royce 25/30hp Razor Edge Saloon with coachwork by Thrupp & Maberly. This example featured advanced Razor Edge bodywork that made it decidedly contemporary. The estimate was $25-45,000 but someone took it home for $14,850.

1937 Rolls-Royce 25/30 Razor Edge Saloon sold for $14,850

If I mentioned the name… BMW M3 Coupé E36 US version? A reflex reaction I would expect is S50B30US engine, 3 litres, 240hp. It’s one of the milestones of youngtimers and so I expected the estimated $25-35,000 to be reached if not easily beaten but instead it wasn’t even close. Sold for $11,550 (less than half) it was not only the best deal of the auction but probably one of the best this entire season.

1995 BMW M3 sold for $11,550