Another blockbuster Scottsdale Auction Week is in the books, and big surprise: Vintage Ferraris still rule the roost. It seems like anything with a prancing horse badge built before the moon landing is worth more than its weight in gold, and at this year’s auction it was more of the same. But the collector car market has been spiraling out of control for years now, and sooner or later, it’s got to come back to earth, right?
According to Hagerty, the classic car insurance company and industry tracker, 2016 could finally be the year the collector market comes to its senses. From its official Scottsdale post-mortem:
2016 fell well short of the record-breaking high-water mark of last year’s Scottsdale auctions. Despite more offerings this year than last, total sales were down over $40 million, average sale price was down over $15,000, and sell-through rate was down six percent. Fewer cars sold for over $1 million this year compared to 2015, 25 as opposed to 34. Only Russo and Steele and Silver Auctions improved over last year, with all the rest except for RM Sotheby’s seeing a sizable drop. The overall tone of the week’s bidding could be described as cautious.
But if you’re waiting for the market to crash so you can go out and buy that Porsche 911 RS with pocket change, you’re out of luck. Between the big six auction houses (RM Sotheby’s, Barrett-Jackson, Russo and Steele, Bonhams, Gooding & Company, and Silver Auctions), 2,491 cars were sold. Average sale price was $100,588, and $250.6 million was spent on vintage iron. The end may be in sight for the boom days, but for now, you’d better keep saving your pennies.
With 25 cars still fetching over $1 million, there are plenty of highlights from this year’s auctions. But for brevity’s sake (and, come on, many of them were already famous Ferrari models anyway), we’ll stick to the top five.
5. 2003 Ferrari Enzo
This is no ordinary Enzo (if there can be such a thing) – it’s the car that Ferrari of North America chose to represent the model for its 60th anniversary Concours in 2007. With just 2,700 miles on the clock, this is one of the finest examples of the carbon fiber V12-powered hypercar in the world. Given enough road, the Enzo’s 651 horsepower mill and Formula One-inspired aero can top over 220 miles per hour. But with its new owner spending $2,860,000 on it at the Gooding & Company auction, we doubt it’ll see many more track days.
4. 1929 Duesenberg Model J Disappearing Top Torpedo Convertible
No matter how many newcomers enter attain blue-chip status, no one will ever be able to knock Duesenberg out of the top tier. Of all the Deuseys, the Model J is arguably the most desirable. One of 25 made, this car is one of just four to retain its original coachwork. Originally the car of choice for Golden Age Hollywood stars and captains of industry, this car crossed the block at RM Sotheby’s for a cool $3 million.
3. 1967 Ferrari 330 GTC Speciale
For years, Ferrari’s ’60s-era GT cars were largely overlooked by collectors in favor of the race-bred 250 cars, but those days are long gone. This 330 GTC Speciale shares its Columbo V12 with the other period Ferraris, but unlike the factory-built 330s it’s based on, this car is one of just four that were hand built by Pininfarina with a unique design. It found a new owner through Gooding & Company for a cool $3,410,000.
2. 1950 Ferrari 166 MM/195 S Berlinetta Le Mans
As one of the first road-going coupes ever built by the company, the 166 MM occupies a lofty place in Ferrari history. With its Touring-built body and 2.0 liter Columbo V12 engine under the hood, it created the template that nearly every great Ferrari would follow for the next 20 years. As special as any 166 MM is, this one is even more so; it was a factory racer before being bought by racing legend Briggs Cunningham, mechanically upgraded to more modern 195 S specs, then heavily campaigned in the U.S. With a fully-documented history, this incredible Ferrari was sold by Gooding & Company for $6,490,000.
1.1937 Mercedes-Benz 540K Special Roadster by Sindelfingen
It was only appropriate that during Mercedes’s 130th birthday week, top billing went to a vintage Merc. And what a Merc – this gorgeous 1937 540K Special Roadster has been in the U.S. since new and has a fully-documented history. Selling for over $14,000 (Over $230,000 today) at the tail end of the Depression and in the build up to World War II, few 540Ks made it Stateside the first time around. And of 419 cars built, it’s believed that just six survive in this desirable long-tail configuration. Sold by RM Sotheby’s, its $9.9 million final bid set a record for the most expensive car ever sold at Scottsdale.
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