14 May 2009

Dave Kinneys blog from the RM Maranello sale

It has been another weekend with a lack of sleep, this time made more dramatic with so many happenings in such a short period of time. The RM sale is over for another year, and, once again, the market continues to confound. Conventional wisdom had many of the cars that did not sell as easy sales, while many cars the "experts" picked as going unsold found new homes. The automobila sale was quite strong, leading into a strong start for the first dozen cars. Things slowed down -- and hit a headwind -- when a series of over one million euro cars failed on the block. There was even some talk of a weak sale from some of those who were not paying close attention. In actuality, the sale was quite strong, and we can expect to see a few passed lots show up on the sold side of the column before official results are posted.

The big new story of the day was the sale of the final lot, a 250 Testa Rossa that sold for $11,275,000, an astounding $12,302,500 after the 10% comission is added. A new world record for a car at auction is a pretty nice thing for those who have been woried that our car market is suffering at the high end.

An amazing weekend topped off by an astonishing result. It's been a fun, and rewarding experience here in the land where food, Ferraris and friendship are all celebrated. Ciao from Italy!


Maranello Italy | May 16th 2009

It would be hard to describe how a day could be much better. Early out after a quick breakfast, we were the first to arrive on site at the Ferrari Logistica building where the RM auction is to be held tomorrow. driving through the gates at the famed racetrack, we walked the short distance and commenced work looking at selections of the (now) 40 Ferraris and 2 Maseratis to be auctioned tomorrow. As the crowd grew, our access for photos diminished. No worries, as we had an 11:30 appointment to go on to the racetrack grounds and view some of the worlds most beautiful -- and expensive -- Ferraris being driven at speed on a track they had not, for many of them, visited in tens of years. The sounds, the smells and the sensory delights were otherworldly.

A quick meeting with RM officials and Piero Ferrari, who said a few words to our group, and lunch was served. Fully two hours later, our senses refreshed, we left for a tour of the Ferrari factory grounds.

Our first stop after reception was Ferrari Classiche, the large shop where, for Ferrari, the "problems" of old age and misuse are erased. From a straightforward repair to a full overhaul, they stand ready to do the job. With over 20 cars of most Ferrari eras in various states of dissembly or reassembly, its a shop where some of the most expensive Ferraris return for a second life. A tour of the Ferrari foundry found us in a startlingly modern building where workers -- and the occasional robot -- do their jobs.

On to where new Ferraris are born, a factory tour of the now three separate lines for production. On one side of a massive building sits the 12 clyinder assembly line while the 8 cylinder line is on the opposite side. The new third line is in a new building immediately adjacent, this is the line where the new 8 cylinder California is built. As a group we were running a bit behind, so our visit to the newest section of the Ferrari factory was a bit hurried.

Our accelerated pace was for good reason, however, as we were scheduled to see all the entrants on the Mille Miglia come through the Ferrari grounds. As hundreds of invited guests waited, many of the most delightful and robust cars of our automotive past came through the factory grounds. Over 300 cars in all, too many to list -- but plenty to dream about.

It's off to bed, as its well after midnight and tomorrow one of the most important auctions in the world happens. RM has done themselves proud with the selection as well as the venue. It truly is a kid-in-a-candystore experience, and one I will never forget.


Maranello Italy | May 15th 2009

The Ferrari sale is being held in a large and bulbous building at Ferrari, next to the famous test track and with a distinct lack of effective air conditioning, at least on preview day one. Bright lights and even brighter cars abound, the total count of Ferraris increased by one with the addition of lot 221A, a brand new 2010 F430 that will be the final car off the production line towards the end of this year. The F430 is being sold with proceeds to benefit earthquake victims in Abruzzo, central Italy.

The lineup is truly a festival of all things Ferrari. Early cars mixed with later examples, Ferraris from the super exotic to the desirable vie for your attention and, eventually your Dollars, Euros or Pounds.

More than one question remains, but can this rather small building with limited facilities handle the expected crowd? RM officials say it can, and only Sunday's event will be the final test.

The overall quality of cars on offer is excellent, but not all cars are in perfect, recently restored condition. Tomorrow will be a telling day, but early bidders have already arrived and started inspecting each car they are interested in. The overall feel is one of optimism.


My flight to Milan leaves in two hours, from there it's a road trip to Modena and then on to Maranello. For car guys, those just could be the three most exciting Italian towns that start with the letter "M" as each city has a history rich with an automotive past, and perhaps, future. It's the Maranello part I want to concentrate on however, as this will be this car guy's first trip to the legendary town where Ferraris are born.

Listen to Dave Kinney's pre-auction audio report from Maranello Italy (5/15/09)

The occasion is the RM Ferrari Leggenda E Passione auction held in conjunction with Sotheby's.
Last year's lineup was great, and they held a spectacular event. This year looks like it could raise that already high bar. Early news is that pre-registration is up, and that it will be a crowded house bidding for the less than 40 cars. All but one on offer is a Ferrari, the standalone car is a Maserati. Too many bidders for too few cars is an auctioneers dream, as money has been known to chase money when beautiful and desirable cars meet purchasers with fat wallets. Every auction seems to be a "test of the market" these days; I'm sure some nervous days -- and nights -- have been had by every auction company in the past year.

A tour of the Ferrari factory is but one of the orders of business I'm looking forward to. Track time with a vintage Ferrari? Lunch at the Cavallino restaurant? Late night bench racing sessions with a legendary Ferrari Formula 1 driver? One can only dream....

Heading to Italy, I'm ready to give some predictions. Some cars will sell for more than they are expected to, perhaps a few won't sell at all and maybe some will sell for under their predicted amount. It's an auction, and that, in a nutshell, is what usually happens.

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