The Full Monterey: Is The Party Over?

By: Andy Enright

Presented by

1955 Jaguar D Type Roadster 1955 Jaguar D-Type roadster sold for $21,780,000 1955 Jaguar D Type Roadster
1962 Shelby Cobra CSX2000 sold for $13.75m 1962 Shelby Cobra CSX2000 sold for $13.75m 1962 Shelby Cobra CSX2000 sold for $13.75m
1939 Alfa Romeo 8C 2900B Lungo Spider sold for $19,800,000 1939 Alfa Romeo 8C 2900B Lungo Spider sold for $19,800,000 1939 Alfa Romeo 8C 2900B Lungo Spider sold for $19,800,000
1960 Ferrari 250 GT SWB Competizione Coupe, $13,500,000 1960 Ferrari 250 GT SWB Competizione Coupe, $13,500,000 1960 Ferrari 250 GT SWB Competizione Coupe, $13,500,000
1959 Ferrari 250 GT California LWB Alloy Spider sold for $18,150,000 1959 Ferrari 250 GT California LWB Alloy Spider sold for $18,150,000 1959 Ferrari 250 GT California LWB Alloy Spider sold for $18,150,000

If there’s one week in the year that yields the big headlines, it’s Car Week at Monterey.

Bonhams, RM and Gooding all had big auctions this week, with some standout cars grabbing the headlines. RM Sotheby’s set world records both for a British car (Le Mans-winning 1954 Jaguar D-Type XKD501 at $21.78m) and an American car (1962 Shelby Cobra CSX2000 at $13.75m). Bonhams’ star 1931 Bugatti Type 51 Grand Prix car missed at $4.2m on the block, but was later sold for $4.5m. Look behind the glamour metal however, and the figures told a different story. Traders were slightly nervy.

COBRA-SHELBY-CSX2000

Year on year, total sales dropped by more than 18 percent, from $325m in 2015 to $264.7m this year. Likewise, the number of cars that made more than a million US dollars was on the wane, dropping from 89 in 204 to 72 last year and just 53 making a seven figure sum this year. The auctioneers were forced to backfill with fewer blue-bloods, cars over $1m representing one in six cars this years against one in four in 2014.

Sell-through also took a dive, with an 56 percent clearance rate across all auction houses. According to Hagerty, the sell-through rate for cars priced above $100,000 fell from 72 percent to 57 percent.  More than fifty percent of all cars sold came in under their pre-auction estimates, with all the major auction houses affected. Compared to last year, Bonhams’ numbers were down from $44.4m to $34.5m (-22 percent) while RM tailed off from $159.1m to $114.7m, a 28 percent decline. Gooding remained most resistant, its $121.6m figure in 2015 only shrinking by five percent to $115.4m this year.

Hagerty reported both Mecum and Russo and Steele making good numbers on newer cars and there was also the factor of last year’s Pinnacle Portfolio sale skewing the numbers somewhat, so while numbers might be down, there was still value to be had at the lower end of the market, with strong trading on sub-$100k cars.

Here’s a list of the biggest sales of the week. Hats off to Carroll Shelby for preventing a Euro clean sweep.


1.    1955 Jaguar D-Type roadster, $21,780,000 (RM Sotheby’s)

2.    1939 Alfa Romeo 8C 2900B Lungo Spider, $19,800,000 (RM Sotheby’s)

3.    1959 Ferrari 250 GT California LWB Alloy Spider, $18,150,000 (Gooding & Co.)

4.    1962 Shelby Cobra 260 roadster, $13,750,000 (RM Sotheby’s)

5.    1960 Ferrari 250 GT SWB Competizione Coupe, $13,500,000 (Gooding & Co.)

6.    1933 Alfa Romeo 8C 2300 Monza roadster, $11,900,000 (Gooding & Co.)

7.    1932 Bugatti Type 55 roadster, $10,400,000 (Gooding & Co.)

8.    1956 Ferrari 250 GT TdF coupe, $5,720,000 (RM Sotheby’s)

9.    1950 Ferrari 166 MM Berlinetta, $5,445,000 (Gooding & Co.)

10.    1955 Ferrari 750 Monza Spider, $5,225,000 (RM Sotheby’s)

Sign up to our free weekly newsletter for more unique car reviews and features plus see the latest unique and classic cars for sale.

Subscribe to Unique Cars magazine
- Print edition
- Digital edition