Random thoughts on cars auctioned by Bonhams, Coys and RM Sotheby's at the weekend - the Alfa Romeo Tipo 33 Stradale continuation pictured & offered by Coys was gorgeous...
Some strong prices reached by Bonhams, RM and Coys in Monaco over the weekend - but quality is key - usual "jump on the bandwagon" inferior cars attracted no interest at strong reserves and in some instances the unsuccessful "bids" in any case may well have come from active "chandeliers" in the Monaco sale rooms....You can only spin the results as mixed really and acknowledge there are two entirely separate markets in classic cars - cars to be stored or spanked:
1 - Garage Queens - to park in your mausoleum
Impossibly low mileage cars which you cannot believe are ever going to be driven without screwing their values - demand for these seems to be limitless - as does the supply - where are they all coming from?! It's hard to believe that these are anything than pure storages of wealth by investors - and why not - it's their money? Garage queens are often not bought by keen driving enthusiasts anyway - and they probably have a drip feed effect that result in lesser cars get restoration work/maintenance chasing the hype - which preserves the classic car stock as a whole for those of us who want "drivers".
2 - Driving cars - to exercise thoroughly on road and track
Where mileage and fanatically well documented history are not as important as having a presentable car which does not need loads of money spending - and is a good example of the model in question to drive. You are not going to win a concours with this type of car or own a guaranteed cast iron investment - but if you weighed in with your hard earned money with a view to actually owning and driving the car you love - this is surely is the main point of messing about with old cars?
All the noise is about the Jaguar C type which deservedly reached a big price - £5.7m - partly it's a well known car that's just come out of 53 year's private ownership - but mainly because the true gorgeous Le Mans provenance of the car was unearthed after much research - proof that good research on a car's history and presentation pays dividends. Think Doug Nye did this for Bonhams? If it was him - whatever he was paid - it was money well spent.
The 288 GTO - at £1.4m was a good price - because at 50k kms - this is probably the highest mileage GTO offered for some time - other examples available on the market are all purporting to be MUCH lower mileage - which will have rightly or wrongly a significant impact on perceived values. At this mileage the new buyer has got a car which has probably been properly maintained and at 50k kms - he can actually drive this exquisite little jewel without fear of doing a big some of money. Love these cars - with rarity, iconic reputation and driveability on it's side I doubt this buyer will have cause to regret his new acquisition.
The Bugatti type 35 with great history did really well at £834,656 - proof that vintage old racecars with really great history and eligibility for a number of events are potential great buys to a selective and educated market.
Meanwhile on a more contemporary note the F1 car raced by two Formula 1 World Champions, Michael Schumacher and Nelson Piquet - the 1991-1992 Benetton-Ford B191/191B Formula 1 Racing Single Seater sold for £834,656. F1 cars are a limited market - but here indsputed big provenance meant this car reached one of the highest prices ever recorded for a comparatively modern F1 car.
Modern Supercars like the Carrera GT and Mclaren SLR did not do badly - reflecting sustained interest in these modern and usuable cars - probably new buyer demographic based?
Best deal? - A Porsche 959 Komfort for £386k! But lets qualify this - Add 20% VAT to stay in Europe & 158k kms - huge in collector terms - but might suggest it has had good regular maintenance. When you are behind the wheel - will you know the difference?
A load of stuff like a Lusso & One-77, 037, Boxer and Testarossa did not sell - but with the exception of the 037 prototype - you can find these elsewhere anyway
RM AUCTIONS HIGHLIGHTS
New auctioneer Maarten Ten Holder from Sotheby's brought in to replace the departing RM Talisman Max Girardo - not sure if this makes any real difference when your hosing your hard earned? - but Mr Girardo's departure was a major event for RM.
Some very good prices achieved - but some of the reserves were ambitious(!) - which meant a number of cars did not sell - and the no reserve Quattroruote collection will have bolstered sales figures - but some of the prices below illustrate there is still an appetite for the right cars - see below:
1951 Ferrari 340 America Barchetta by Touring - £5.74m
1961 Austin-Healey 3000 Mk I Works - £315k
2006 Porsche Carrera GT - £561k
1982 Renault 5 Turbo Group 4 - £375k!
1997 Porsche 911 GT1 Evolution - £2.185m
1968 Ferrari Dino 206 GT - £441K
1995 Lamborghini Diablo SE30 Jota - £530k!
Let's get it out the way - the NART 275 GTB Spyder did not sell getting a high bid of £13.4m against an estimate of £15.7m +. 1 of 10 made. The hefty reserve was driven by the huge price (£19.14m!) that billionaire Lawrence Stroll paid for the Eddie Smith car - where the proceeds went to charity anyway. Stroll paid over the odds - but he can afford to - and the car he bought had the nicest history of the lot and came from 1 owner 47 year ownership history. Additionally another NART sold soon after privately for similar money - so this car represents the 3rd NART spyder to come to the market in 3 years - which is a lot of activity in this narrow market of only 10 cars made - which traditionally have enjoyed long term ownership tenures.
Subjectively whilst it is a cool very desirable car - it is valued based on the last few transactions at thoroughbred Ferrari competition car money - I know what I would buy instead if I had the first world problem of dropping 8 figures into an old Ferrari...
The NART at Monaco was nice if you discount the non-original paint and interior colours - but if it was a real bid - not one from the chandeliers in the room.... - the consignor should have sold it. Equally when you are spending that much money - do you want the world to know what you paid for the car? I am not so sure. In any case compared to what the car owes the consignor - £13.4m sale price would have represented a profit(!) - but if he does not need to sell...
They brought some interesting cars to the table for an enthusiast - from low mileage collector stuff to some exciting competition cars.
For me it's all about the fabulous Alfa Romeo Tipo 33 Stradale continuation car. The racecar logo is derived from the Alfa Romeo Museum twin headlight car - prices of the few originals left would range from what £5m - £7m?? - either way of the handful left - 18 were made and 5 were made into concept cars. Some are squirreled away and will never reach the open market - so as a replica with a degree of authenticity - this was a rare opportunity - possibly the best potential of the 5 or 6 Giordanengo replicas made?
This car used magnesium front and rear chassis subframes from #002 and has other genuine components such as 6 speed box and crankcases etc. Giordanengo had access to the Alfa Museum car to perfect the body - with every manufacturer following Ferrari's lead in protecting the heritage of their brand - I doubt the museum car will ever be available for a similar activity in the future?
Anyway this ball achingly exciting project of a lifetime fetched £353.5k - say you need to spend another £100k? to finish the car - for the price of a 911 2.7 RS Touring you have got something mouthwateringly pretty - and with a flat plane V8 screamer...do you need any more convincing?
Here are some highlights:
1981 Porsche 924 Carrera GTR - 109 kms! more or less £500k its gonna stay a garage queen isn't it? However a 924 with balls appeals
1937 Delahaye 135 Le Mans Tourer £177.5k - well bought?
1991 Lancia Delta Evo HF ex-works Abarth authenticated - £197.5k - history not stellar - but a genuine car nonetheless and eligible for lots of things
1965 Alfa Romeo TZ2 Tribute - £124k - well a real one is 7 figures - am sure this would be a riot to drive and your unlikely to suffer the continual stigma of too many people asking if it is a "real one" - as most won't know what it is.
1936 Bentley-Royce v12 supercharged - £117k - been offered earlier in the year and did not sell but this time around it seemed like this was enough money. This beast must have sold at a fraction of it's build cost - what a lovely thrilling car to own?
Still worth messing about with Classic Cars then?
YES - most of us have pissed away money on old cars - it's just that it is now fashionable to call it "investing". Accept that classic ownership is about driving the cars, getting pride of ownership and whisper it - occasionally NOT losing money! Many wistfully remember when you could buy a Porsche 911 2.7 RS for bugger all - but the same people who drone on today about the "good old days" - did not/could not or simply did not have the balls - to spend the asking price 10 years ago - so what's new?!
There's no question we are in the midst of a correction - but that was needed - the no-sales hopefully have injected some realism and credibility to old cars as a sensible place to drop money. Good cars are still fetching money - and sales are taking place off grid - not everyone wants the high profile acquisition process associated with an auction. From an auction house perspective - no sales should assist them in convincing consignors to be more realistic about reserves.
Anyway - if you bought a "classic" years ago and are in the challenging position that your car is now so valuable that you don't want to drive it in the way the maker intended - remember it is not "that" valuable untill you cash in - so carry on driving it in the way you did when you paid a lot less for it. Don't worry about it's value - apart from on your insurance renewal agreed value - in case you prang it and need to replace it.
Buy what you want - drive it - expect to hose money on it - and if you don't lose vast amounts of money - you have had a result.
The recent times of indiscrimanate old car price appreciation are over - we all need another justification to explain to our other halves that our old cars should not be cashed in - this correction time is maybe not the best time to sell - but simply enjoy what we have got!