This is an intense piece, so let’s not get lost in idle chatter and get straight to the point.
To get a feel for the current atmosphere we move to Florida: two auctions, one by RM and the other by Barrett-Jackson, the former in Fort Lauderdale, the latter in Palm Beach, over a total of 5 days. RM, on 25th and 26th March brought 263 cars worth $24,363,000 (€22,377,171) and sold 175 of them for $18,438,750 (€16,935,805). Barrett-Jackson just a couple of weeks later, from 7th to 9th April, offered some 656 lots, all sold for a total value of $58,672,350 (€53,889,965) twice as much as the previous edition in 2019.
The average price wasn’t that different between the two, $105,365 (€96,776) at RM, and $89,440 (€82,150) at Barrett-Jackson; the considerable difference can only be measured in the number of cars without reserve: at RM there were only 27 of them, a little over 10%, while Barrett-Jackson confirmed its title of the home of “everything without reserve”. And it’s a formula the market responds well to.
What did we notice?
Let’s start with Barrett-Jackson. The top lot was a model we’ve been following closely: the Ford GT, a 2020 Carbon Series with just 242 miles on the clock from new. The price of $1,540,000 (€1,414,845) is perfectly in line with the market, considering that another example in January, also from Barrett-Jackson, but with just 20 miles on the clock, had fetched $1,650,000 (€1,515,905). The same applies to the second-most expensive lot of the sale, a Ford GT Heritage Edition with 295 miles on the clock, sold for $1,430,000 (€1,313,785).
More interesting was the 1991 Chevrolet Silverado Dale Earnhardt Pickup. A one-off example with a foggy description: a customization or a one-off made by the marque itself. What is certain is that in 1997, it was signed by Dale Earnhardt himself so the modification is not recent, it has won numerous awards and has covered just 2,804 miles: $165,000 (€151,590) compared to the highest price of a regular version: $63,800 (€58,615).
Another Chevrolet only this time a Yenko Super Camaro, one that fans of the model drool over. A 1968 example, 427/450hp that at the time made it the undisputed “traffic light burner”. Only 70 were produced, a rarity that changed hands for $533,500 (€490,140) which, if you consider that in 2019 this same model was quoted between $220,000 and $260,000 (€200,000-€240,000), the revaluation is remarkable.
Also worth following is the Dodge Viper GTS. I haven’t talked about it for a while but I’ve always kept it on my radar. In January 2021, for the first time an example of this model changed hands for over $100,000, precisely $122,080 but it was practically new. The one from Barrett-Jackson, a 1996 model and one of 2,100 produced, went for an impressive $110,000 (€101,060), making it the second-most expensive Viper GTS ever sold at a physical auction. Buy yours in blue with white stripes and you will not regret it. A final note: this model is the queen at Bring a Trailer. They sold 6 online more expensive than these two.
RM also brought some important results (to be discovered wearing the “right glasses”).
For example: the Ferrari 512 BBi from 1984, red with beige interior and 11,700 km from new, one of the 144 examples from the final year of production, with a good restoration carried out in 2015 but without the Ferrari Classiche certification. The estimate was $350,000-$400,000, the room was primed to set a new record. The number to beat was $423,000 (€388,620) paid for an example with just 955 km on the clock from new. Improbable. And yet… $462,000 (€424,455)! And the collectors rub their hands with glee…
A new world record was also set for a 2005 Ford GT. Purchased new by the singer Kid Rock, it remained in his possession all this time. He didn’t use it much either, as it had just 3,096 miles to its credit, but that was more than the 69 miles covered by the current record holder of $555,000 (€509,895). The $500,000-$575,000 estimate looked challenging. Won! Sold for $638,000 (€586,150). How much did Kid Rock influence that price? I don’t know, but I wouldn’t say too much.
I’d like to end this overview with two interesting cars for opposite reasons.
In auctions, marketing is very often everything. So the choice to offer the 1980 Mercedes-Benz 450 SLC 5.0 that once belonged to Diego Armando Maradona at an American auction was decidedly disappointing. Moreover, the car was not registered in America, meaning there would be customs duties to pay. It changed hands for a “measly” $37,400 (€34,360), a fraction of what it could have gone for in Europe!
I will close with the top lot of the sale. What was it? Only the “usual” Porsche Carrera GT from 2005, of course silver with grey leather interior and 1,315 miles to its credit, estimated at $1,975,000-$2,200,000. Every time I talk about this car, it’s because I have to update the previous record, but this time there was a twist. Offers stopped at $1,625,000, and it was sold after the auction at $1,850,000 (€1,699,650), again below January’s level of $1.98 million. What happened? A coincidence or the first chink in the armour? Will I follow up on this? Rest assured I will.