The distance between Harrisburg (Pennsylvania) and Las Vegas (Nevada) is almost 4,000 km but if you take a look at the sales of Barrett-Jackson and Mecum, that distance appears to be a lot less.
The first of the two organized their auction in “Sin City”, bringing 613 cars, as per tradition all without reserve, and managed to bring home a total of $47,851,990 (€46,746,375).
For Mecum, the trip to Harrisburg yielded $58,330,975 (€56,983,240) from 801 cars sold out of the 999 on offer, a very healthy 80.18%.
Average car prices were also very similar: Barrett-Jackson $78,062 (€76,258) while Mecum just 6.71% less: $72,823 (€71,140).
Many average cars and equally average results but six cars struck me, and I think it might be useful to share them with you too.
The most expensive lot at Barrett-Jackson was the 1970 Plymouth Hemi Superbird, one of 135 examples produced and one of the rare ones in the High Impact EV2 TorRed colour combination. But the $1,650,000 (€1,612,850) price at which it was sold is incredibly high. The previous record was $990,000 (€967,700), set as recently as January for a 6,000-mile example, none of which had ever gone beyond one million dollars. This one was in perfect condition too but with unspecified mileage, therefore more than 6,000 miles. Is it possible that the value has risen by 65% in just six months? We have seen many “flames” that go out overnight, Even if the trend of the model is on the rise, we will definitely keep our eyes wide open to understand how things play out.
Ever since a DeLorean DMC-12 was sold for $123,200 (€120,425) in Arizona this year, it has entered my list of cars to follow. Just one month ago, Bonhams sold one for $75,800 or €74,050 (almost double the estimate and European record). Today, the market for this model is bubbling and Barrett-Jackson managed to set a new record, even if everything still needs to be verified. In fact, it was not a normal example but a replica of the “Mr. Fusion” Time Machine, the one used in the film Back to the Future. Certainly it was an expensive conversion but $170,500 (€166,650) is a very high price indeed. Add the DeLorean to the list of cars worth following.
My secret dream for this sale, however, was the Chrysler New Yorker Town & Country wagon. Produced in 1954, the design and colour match the period to perfection as do the rear seats that fold down to show the original Mahogany cargo decking. Magnificent. It was hidden among the many lots of the first day – the least frequented of the three – and the price was $29,700 (€29,015). As the Americans would say, that’s quite a “big bang for the buck”.
Jumping over to the East Coast and we find Mecum and its top lot, a Mercedes-Benz AMG GT Black Series from 2021 with just 46 miles on the clock, sold for $473,000 (€462,100), slightly below the new list price, which is consistent with the settling-down period of the model.
We come to my favourite car, a 1985 Lamborghini Countach LP5000 S. This model is very special: the Countach LP5000 S was produced with both carburettors and fuel injection. The former goes for 30% more than the latter. This example, however, originally sold with carburettors, was retrofitted with Bosch fuel injection to pass the strict California emissions regulations of the time. The current record for this model is $720,000 (€703,400) for one with just 5,800 km on the clock, while this spring, an example with 14,400 km to its credit changed hands for $632,500 (€617,900). At Mecum, the hammer dropped at $467,500 (€456,700), but the fuel injection, the 18,500 km, and the American bumpers explain the price.
With the market growing in almost every sector, even the much-neglected Ferrari Mondial T Cabriolet is benefiting. Last year, the price of this model was between $40,000 and $70,000. Now it’s worth double. Until last week, the record was held by an example with 5,027 miles on the clock, sold for $100,100. But prices are growing vertically, and at Mecum a 1991 model with 5,208 miles to its credit changed hands for $132,000 (€ 128,950).