Barn finds are the absinthe of the collector car world right now. They're highly intoxicating and a bit of the 'flavor of the month.' An actual barn isn't necessary, just some form of out-of-the-way long-term storage that involves a car being out of circulation for a long period of time, remaining complete with the time-capsule-like detritus of their slumber-yellowed newspapers, vintage eight-tracks or real pay dirt like a telex printout from Howard Hughes or a receipt from the Playboy Club. RM
It seems like the retro design aesthetic in autos might be petering out, with even a former poster child like the Ford Mustang taking a step in a more modern direction. Sometimes those updates of old-school models really worked well, though. Just take a look above at the Lincoln Continental concept from 2002 that took the extruded shape of the 1960s version and updated it for the new millennium.
Of the 21 multi-million-dollar lots sold over RM Auctions' two-day Monterey event, the top six were Ferraris while the top four were members of the vaunted 275 family. In total, 13 of the 21 seven- and eight-figure entries bore the yellow shield and prancing horse of the Scuderia.
Some of the biggest auto auctions of the year are held during the weekend of the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance. Millionaires gather in hopes of outbidding their contemporaries for incredibly rare cars. As Bonhams' record sale on Thursday of a 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO for $38 million showed, these days the world's most expensive vehicles are found at auctions, often with a prancing horse on the nose.
Think of mid-engined supercars and your mind is bound to gravitate towards Europe, but the United States has been known to make a handful from time to time – exceptional vehicles from the likes of Vector, SSC, Mosler, Hennessey, and Saleen. But long before any of those came around, Ford famously became obsessed with beating Ferrari at its own game, leading to the development of the iconic GT40.
The history books are filled with defunct American automakers, from Duesenberg and Studebaker to Plymouth and Pontiac. But few of them are as missed by vintage automobile enthusiasts as Mercer. The company only operated between 1909 and 1925, but in that short span of time it produced one of the earliest, most successful racing machines: the legendary Type 35R Raceabout.
We know from many, many years of watching classic car auctions, that there are certain qualities that ensure big money. For example, putting tiny silver horses and/or yellow badges on a red car will probably bring in a lot of cash. This is doubly true if said car hails from the 1950s or 1960s, and it's triply true if some dude drove it around in circles or if a celebrity owned it. That, friends, is how you make the serious dosh at auction.
RM Auctions has some very special and expensive Italian sportscars of the 50s and 60s consigned for its auction in Monaco on May 10, but the one that currently carries the highest estimated value at between 4 and 5.5 million euros ($5.5 - $7.5 million) is a 1956 Maserati 450S with some very interesting provenance.
All manner of vehicles change hands at the annual auction extravaganza in Arizona, but never has one sold for as much as the Ferrari you see here. The car in question is an (obviously) eminently desirable 1958 Ferrari 250 GT LWB California Spider, one of only 50 ever made and purring onto the stage in flawless red over black livery with matching numbers of the coveted covered headlights straight from the factory.
Malcolm S. Pray Jr was a known entity in the American automotive scene. He owned the largest Audi and Saab dealership in America, presided over several dealer councils and had a considerable classic car collection. Sadly, Pray passed away this past August, and his family has consigned 17 of his beloved cars to RM Auctions - most notable among them this beautiful Delahaye roadster.
Vintage Ferraris consistently top the list of the most expensive cars ever sold. In private treaty sales, the 250 GTO is king, but even at public auctions, it's the horses that prance the highest. After the Mercedes W196 grand prix racer that set the world record this past July at nearly $30 million, the list of eight-figure sales is populated almost entirely by Ferraris: a 275 GTB/4 NART Spyder for $27.5 million, the pair of '57 Testa Rossas that sold separately a few years ago for $17 and $13
The concept of a televised classic car auction is really a fairly recent phenomenon. Some of the greatest or most significant sales of all time exist only in stills and in the memories of the people who were there. Here are ten for the ages:
By their very nature, rare classic Ferraris draw big headlines when they're about to cross an auction block. Take, for example, the 1964 Ferrari 250 LM that we wrote about last month or the record-shattering 1967 Ferrari 275 GTB/4 NART Spider that sold for $27.5 million at the 2013 RM Auctions at Pebble Beach. But every so often, a car from the good ole' US of A pops up that looks capable of drawing similarly large bids at auction. Cars like this 1961 Chaparral 1.
With the $966,560 sale ($863,000 plus a 12-percent buyer's premium) of the white 1977 Lotus Esprit S1 submarine used in the 1977 James Bond film The Spy Who Loved Me, we now know "the Roger Moore discount."
RM Auctions' two-day event during the Monterey car week is pretty much a matter of appetizer and main course. Friday night's appetizer saw a trio of multi-million-dollar Ferraris, along with a pre-war Mercedes-Benz and a Jaguar D-Type. You can read all about those beauties right here. But as we said in that post, the action would really happen on Saturday night. The prices listed below include RM's ten-percent commission fee, and, as you'll see, the auction house did pretty well for itself.
In the charged atmosphere at day two of RM's Monterey auctions, a record-setting sum of money changed hands in exchange for one of the most exclusive Ferraris of all time. The 1967 Ferrari 275 GTB/4 NART Spider blew away expectations last night, selling for a gavel price of $25 million and a total bill (after RM's 10-percent fee) of $27.5 million. Even in a room filled to bursting with collectors ready to spend millions on rolling sculpture, the sale price caused a major hubbub.
RM Auctions is one of several houses holding auctions during the Monterey weekend, and Friday night's festivities got quite pricey. Seven-figure vehicles were not at all uncommon during the first day of the two-day event, with the 1953 Ferrari 375 MM Spider, seen above, crossing the block for $9,075,000.