With over 5,300 cars auctioned between August and December, dedicating myself to the digests I prefer, those of models that should not be forgotten, the ones that managed to escape our weekly roundups, is by no means an easy task.
To avoid any favouritism, I have presented them chronological order. So, without further ado:
In August, the French auction house Aguttes organized a sale with only a few lots but of the absolute highest quality. The first vehicle of the sale was a Citroen 2CV Charleston from 1990 with only 9 km from new which had never been registered. A truly exceptional example with an equally exceptional estimate: €50,000-€70,000, equal to the value of a dozen normal examples. But the offers came flooding in and it was sold for €141,960 ($159,922), a record. And it didn’t end there: one month later, Aguttes offered another with just 18 km on the clock which went for €120,300 ($136,085). At the end of November, during the online auction of Artcurial (we analysed it here), a 2CV 6 Special from 1988 with 57,000 km on the clock eclipsed its estimate of €12,000-€18,000 by changing hands for €39,680 ($44,885). New youth for an old lady.
Among the many blue-chip cars without reserve at Barrett-Jackson’s Houston auction in September, was the 1979 Porsche 928 used by Tom Cruise in the film “Risky Business”. In addition, the star of the film enhances it even further by turning to the camera and saying: “Porsche. There is no substitute”! With normal examples going for somewhere in the order of €13,250 it took everyone by surprise when the hammer dropped at €1,757,610 ($1,980,000). It’s a risky business…
On 7th October at Bonhams in Zoute, Belgium (you don’t remember it? You can find it here) there was another example that shook the market. A Fiat 500 D Convertible from 1964 – not even a very rare “sliding glass” example produced for just three months – yet it came with an estimate of €24,000-€30,000. An ambitious number that was quite literally obliterated: €57,500 ($64,775). A new record, and almost double the previous one of €33,000 ($37,330).
Friday, 15th October is a date to remember for all JDM fans because in Tennessee, Mecum set a new world record for a Japanese pickup. In America, pick-ups are heavily contended by collectors and the Toyota SR5 are among the Japanese favourites. Usually, you can find examples around the €13,000-€18,000 mark with concours-level examples going for €35,000. But 1985 was a transitional year and any examples from that period are considered unicorns. This model, which simulated the one dreamed of by Marty McFly in Back to the Future, changed hands for €97,650 ($110,000).
November was an extremely generous month with exceptional results.
On the 17th during an H&H auction, the sale of a Mercedes-Benz 190SL Roadster went almost unnoticed. The car was built in 1957, making it potentially eligible for the Mille Miglia, and it was fresh from a concours-level restoration that lasted over 3 and a half years: the estimate of €175,000-€235,000 was more than justified. But the market was feeling generous and its changed hands for €257,852 ($290,478). Again, another record.
One week later, Silverstone in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Among the various modern supercars, one with a “retro flavour” stood out: the first example of the 2020 Aston Martin DB5 Goldfinger continuation. Apparently, a normal DB5 but hiding all the gadgets that the famous spy used in the film. An authentic dream for grown up children. A real price list does not exist, but we are talking of a price point somewhere in the region of €3m-€3.5m. The example offered in Saudi Arabia was estimated at €3.9m-€4.25m but the bids stopped at around €3.5m ($4m) and the car went unsold. A reflection: if an example that actually appeared in the film was sold a couple of years ago for €5,645,000 ($6,385,000), four million for a replica makes you wonder.
The Mona Lisa of Australian cars went up for auction on 30th November. In fact, there is only one car that can compete, for quotations, with the most famous European cars, and that is the Ford Falcon XY GT-HO Phase III Sedan. We haven’t seen one of these models come up for sale at auction for at least five years. The 1971 example that once belonged to Alan Moffat was estimated at €565,000-€695,000 but whether it was sold or not was still decisive for the entire market for the model. In the end, bids stopped at €585,000 ($665,000) and it went unsold, but after the auction they agreed on a deal. The Falcon is confirmed, therefore.
At the same auction, a 1987 Ferrari Testarossa monospecchio that once belonged to the king of pop, Sir Elton John (with 10,700 miles on the clock from new) changed hands for €266,085 ($236,198), well beyond its estimate. This figure was just 10% less than the one sold only a few days earlier at the sale of the Jean Guikas collection by RM, which is the current world record. Perhaps one result isn’t decisive but two are never coincidences…
We end the year with a Porsche. The 997 Sport Classic, harshly criticized at the time by the media for not being extreme like a GT3 or GT2, nor having any substantial commercial pluses going for it, considering its decidedly increased asking price. With 250 examples made and that “duck tail” rear wing (an undeniable reference), it seemed more like a marketing operation than a real new model. But the sale at Bonhams on 4th December finally rewarded her patience. With just one owner from new and 182 km on the clock, it was without question an extraordinary example and the estimate of €175,000-€235,000 was artificially low. The bait paid off and the sale price exceeded all expectations as it went for €392,040 ($441,644) which, once customs duties have been added along with a necessary service after so many years of inactivity, ends up very close to the current world record for the model of €580,000 ($655,000).