Market and auctions

RM Miami: Youngtimer Bonanza

Cliff Goodall’s view

Photo credit: RM Sotheby’s

There are two very interesting things worthy of attention in this very successful auction organized by RM Sotheby’s on 10th December in Miami: the considerable interest in Youngtimer cars and the significant change in the price hierarchy, with Youngtimers surpassing established models from an older past. The numbers generated by this event are of particular interest: of the 58 lots on offer, only one went unsold (98.27%) and the optimistic $37,965,000 (€35,994,615) pre-sale estimate was literally pulverized by the final takings of $39,512,700 (€37,461,990): 104.7% of the original offer value. Was it the considerable amount (62%) of cars without reserve? Perhaps, but an average price of $693,205 (€657,225) isn’t exactly a number you achieve with luck alone…

Just like being behind the wheel: everything you need to know to fully understand the situation

The change in the price hierarchy comes from a simple historical analysis: even before the final list of the cars entered into the auction was completed, RM published the lots by decreasing value, from the most expensive to the cheapest. Scrolling through the lots for sale in Miami, I couldn’t help but notice an F40 positioned “above” a Ferrari Daytona Spider. Goodness gracious: just a couple of years ago, you could have bought two F40s for the price of a Daytona Spider. An example? In January 2020, a Daytona changed hands for $1.9 million at Amelia Island, while an F40 reached a maximum bid of one million.

Just like being behind the wheel: everything you need to know to fully understand the situation

On 10th December in Miami, the coolest American city of the moment, the red with black interior 1973 Ferrari 365 GTS/4 Daytona Spider, which the current owner paid $880,000 for in 2011, arrived in the hall with an estimate of $2.2m-$2.4m, changing hands for $2,205,000 (€2,090,560). Not bad.

1973 Ferrari 365 GTS/4 Daytona Spider sold for $2,205,000 (€2,090,560)

The Ferrari F40, on the other hand, had been delivered new to Paul Allen, not only the co-founder of Microsoft (Microsoft must have been teeming with petrolheads back in the day: Paul Allen, Jon Shirley who won at Pebble Beach, Greg Whittaker with a Ferrari 250 GTO… ) but also a well-known philanthropist, came to the auction with 2,736 miles on the clock, Ferrari Classiche certification and all the accessories you could possibly wish for (Schedoni suitcases, tools, booklets, original invoice). For sale with an estimate of $3m-$3.5m, its new owner paid $3,250,000 (€3,081,325) for it, which equates to roughly 47% more than a Daytona Spider. By no means a negligible amount.

1990 Ferrari F40 sold for $3,250,000 (€3,081,325)

Neither of them managed to worry the top lot of the sale: a 1995 Ferrari F50 with just 625 miles to its credit. Also in the typical red livery with black/red interior, originally sold in Singapore, Ferrari Classiche certification and with all the delicacies a collector can ask for from this model, it was optimistically estimated at $5.5m-$6.5m, but it still reached an excellent $5,395,000 (€5,115,000). 

1995 Ferrari F50 sold for $5,395,000 (€5,115,000)

What amazed everyone in the room were three Mercedes-Benz lots in full RADWood style. To set the stage for those unfamiliar with this name, RADWood is that event that combines “the best of the worst” of the 80s: fluorescent colours, embarrassing spoilers, fake gold watches and large hair-dos. 

1987 Mercedes-Benz 560 SEC AMG 6.0 “Wide-Body” sold for $720,000 (€682,630)

The 1987 Mercedes-Benz 560SEC AMG 6.0 Wide body was ready for this super-kitschy rally. Originally a peaceful 560SEC, it had been pumped up with a 6.0 engine producing 385 hp and a new body with very wide fenders, black rims, showy side skirts. The estimate of $225,000-$275,000 sounded very optimistic but, after a veritable storm of bids and counter bids, the car was sold for $720,000 (€682,630)!

1989 Mercedes-Benz 560 SEL AMG 6.0 sold for $257,600 (€244,230)

Another Mercedes 560SEL AMG 6.0 sedan of the 560SEC assembled by AMG’s Japan office, estimated at $90,000-$120,000 sparked yet another bidding war, and ended up changing hands for $257,600 (€244,230). Finally, the 1982 Mercedes-Benz 500SL AMG 5.0 also made its current owner happy: estimated at $150,000-$200,000, sold for $291,000 (€275,900).

1982 Mercedes-Benz 500 SL AMG 5.0 sold for $291,000 (€275,900)

The Porsches also did well, with 10 of the 13 on offer selling above their estimates.

A new record by almost a million dollars higher for the 959: a “reimagined” example by Bruce Canepa – the top expert on the model – changed hands for $2,920,000 (€2,768,450). What a magnificent colour.

1988 Porsche 959SC Reimagined by Canepa sold for $2,920,000 (€2,768,450)

Another Porsche, another record: a 1997 Porsche 911 Turbo S (993 series) with just under 20,000 miles from new. The previous record of $610,000 was smashed: $643,000 (€609,625).

1997 Porsche 911 Turbo S sold for $643,000 (€609,625)

Finally, the 928 proved pretty lively too: a GTS with a manual gearbox and 14,300 miles on the clock, estimated $175,000-$200,000, changed hands for $263,200 (€249,540).

1995 Porsche 928 GTS sold for $263,200 (€249,540)

A very special mention for the Ford Fiesta GYM3 used by Ken Block in Gymkhana Three, the first video in which he uses a Ford that has clocked up over 69 million views on YouTube, reached $252,000 (€238,920). This gem sold for less than its estimate: apparently the life of a YouTuber wasn’t such a big deal in the room…

2011 Ford Fiesta GYM3 Driven by Ken Block in Gymkhana Three sold for $252,000 (€238,920)