Market and auctions

Unscripted records

Cliff Goodall’s view

Photo credit: Barrett Jackson, CCA Classic Car Auctions, Gooding, RM Sotheby’s, Silverstone

Do you know how many auctions there were between June and July? You’ll probably think about ten… you would be wrong, there were 29. And how many cars changed hands? Here you might think you’re smart and you’ll shoot high, say 600? Well you wouldn’t be even close. The number is actually around 3,000.

Obviously, I have kept you updated on the great facts and the great events but compared to the 40-50 cars I have spoken to you about in this period, I could be forgiven for missing the odd one here and there.

Which brings me to this particular idea: take a look at some lots I haven’t told you about but were “game changers” for the market.

This is my personal list.

McLaren MP4/25 Photoshoot
2010 McLaren-Mercedes MP4-25 Formula 1 sold for €5,541,525 ($6,585,488)

Where shall we start…?

Well, from the elephant in the room. You may have wondered why we didn’t talk about the McLaren MP4-25. The reason was because of the auction structure, only one super-hyped lot. Let’s start from the beginning: for some time, RM has forged a special relationship with Formula 1 without great success (Does Abu Dhabi ring a bell?) but this time, it changed perspectives: only one lot strongly linked to the history of Formula 1 in the temple of British racing, Silverstone. Indeed, this was no ordinary McLaren, as it was the first one driven by Lewis Hamilton, the first Formula 1 he won a GP with, the model he fought Michael Schumacher with, in the season in which the two greats first met. Then the auction, a marketing masterpiece: organized half an hour before the British Grand Prix – the home of Lewis Hamilton – in front of 140,000 potential bidders (let’s face it: probably 10 could have bought it) and finally the timing: Black Lives Matter gave the British driver an unparalleled notoriety (and aura). Yet the mechanism could have easily jammed: F1 cars are a niche market because of the limited use that can be made of them, not to mention the complexity of such a recent example. RM knows the market of collectible cars like the back of its hand but this is on a different level. And finally the estimate: £3.5-5,000,000 (€4.1-5,800,000 or $4.9-7,000,000) was a pretty large number. RM, however, managed to eliminate all the risks and took advantage of the opportunities, with its tried and tested marketing machine catching bidders from all four corners of the globe who fought hard to get their hands on it, and in the end, it was sold for £4,730,000 (€5,541,525 – $6,585,488)! A new record for a Formula 1 car.

1994 Toyota Supra
1994 Toyota Supra – “Fast & Furious” Movie Car sold for €462,811 ($550,000)

From one record to another. On 19th June, Barrett-Jackson brought three legends to the market in a single lot. First, the 1994 Toyota Supra MkIV, the hottest model of the moment. Second: it was used by Paul Walker: perhaps the Steve McQueen of the XXI century, passionate about cars both on the big screen and off (without forgetting that he lost his life in a Porsche). And third, the coup de grace: the Supra that was used on Fast &Furious and the subsequent 2Fast 2Furious. Any piston-head born after 1980 has seen these two films and more than likely their passion was born thanks to Brian O’Conner’s Supra (the character played by Paul Walker). The price? Without estimate, all bets were open but, in the end, it sold for $550,000 (€462,811), a new record for a Japanese car that isn’t the Toyota 2000 GT. What do I think? It could have gone higher and it wouldn’t have surprised me.

1969 Ford GT40
1969 Ford GT40 sold for €2,938,297 ($3,491,839)

And then there was Gooding who organized the Geared On Line sale between 11th and 18th June. Although it took home over £5 million (about €5,850,000 or $7,000,000) it will probably be the last (Covid permitting); only 14 lots were offered and half of the turnover came from a single car: the 1969 Ford GT40. Chassis P1085 was the last example produced, meticulously documented and reviewed in numerous publications. Sold for £2,508,000 (€2,938,297 – $3,491,839). The car itself didn’t tickle my fancy when I saw the price but this lot probably represented the end of an era, and the end of Geared On Line. And this is very important.

1976 Lancia Gamma Berlina 2500
1976 Lancia Gamma Berlina 2500 sold for €24,708 ($29,362)

If you want to talk about lots that left me speechless, then the trophy goes to two Lancia’s sold by CCA on 26th June. If the Gamma Berlina 2500 sold for £21,090 (€24,708 or $29,362) had a laughable mileage, just 79 miles from new, albeit with the engine replaced with a 2000 (but why do it after just 79 miles?) it was the Beta Volumex from 1984 that left me speechless. One of the last examples to leave the factory, with over 42,000 miles on the clock it had nothing special about it but was still sold for £23,865 (€27,959 or $33,226), probably 10 times more than I would have paid for it. The renaissance of Lancia the underdog.

1984 Lancia Beta HPE Volumex
1984 Lancia Beta HPE Volumex sold for €27,959 ($33,226)
2000 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution
2000 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution VI ‘Tommi Makinen Edition’ sold for €171,330 ($203,510)
1991 Audi Ur-Quattro 20V
1991 Audi Ur-Quattro 20V sold for €191,100 ($226,995)