Results are in from Maranello and Indianapolis
May 17th 2009 | 1:30 P.M.
Yesterday, we called it "groundhog day" with a 1965 Shelby Cobra Daytona coupe and a 1957 Ferrari 250 Testa Rossa crossing the block the same weekend on two different continents. The Ferrari sold for a world record $11,275,000 and the Cobra was bid to $6.8 million but a no-sale. While the importance of the two sales on the collector car market as a whole is somewhat ambiguous, one thing is clear—The Cobra humbled Ferrari in the 1965 FIA GT world championship, but this weekend, Ferrari was the winner.
Overall, both RM in Maranello and Mecum in Indianapolis reported strong results that defied still gloomy reports about the economy. As is often the case in a recession tangible assets begin to look more attractive and the collector car market seems to be bearing this out. Quality cars that are very much for sale with realistic reserves are moving quite well on both continents.
Cobra Daytona Bid to $6.8 Million - Still For Sale
May 15th 2009 | 9:03 P.M.
In a "mission accomplished" moment, Wells Fargo has pronounced the banking crisis over, the stock market is up around 20% from its 6,800 point nadir and the collector car market was set to pile on with news of a near $10 million sale. It was billed by some as Groundhog Day in Indianapolis—standing in for the large rodent was a 1965 Shelby Cobra Daytona coupe.
Widely expected to bring a low eight figure price, the car stalled on the block at a still staggering $6.8 million and some are already predicting a few months more of winter for a market that is down perhaps as much as 25% from its late 2006 peak.
Other insiders caution against reading too much in to the results of the sale. David Gooding of Gooding & Company observed several days before the sale that the car might have a difficult time over the block since it was widely known that the Cobra was owned by the auction company. In any event, as this is being written, the Mecum Auctions is attempting to close a post-block deal on the car. Act II takes place tomorrow in Maranello, Italy when RM Auctions offers a 1957 Ferrari 250 Testa Rossa.
The Mecum Spring Classic Begins
The majority of buzz surrounding the Mecum Spring Classic Auction taking place this weekend in Indianapolis naturally surrounds the Shelby Cobra Daytona Coupe. The ultra-rare race car with a storied past is expected to set a North American record for a car sold at auction. But lost in all the speculation about the Cobra is the fact that the supporting cast of cars is quite special in its own right. Certainly, the majority of cars that ran on Thursday would have been prime time cars at nearly any other auction.
Dana Mecum has consigned his personal collection of Chevelles, the Ellis collection of drag cars is extraordinary and there are more Shelby Mustangs and Cobras present under one roof than has been seen at any venue recently. Perhaps the most interesting collection at the sale is the Jack Safro Estate.
Safro was one of the first Toyota dealers in the Midwest. In 1966, he was a Milwaukee used car dealer and stumbled on his first Toyota by happenstance during a winter vacation in California. Among the cars the estate is selling are several ultra-low mileage 1966 Corona sedans. For anyone who has never seen an early Japanese car before, it gives an immediate sense of understanding as to why Toyota became the success that it is. The materials, panel fit and finish on these early Coronas were excellent, especially considering the fact that they originally sold for just over $2,000.
Finally, the venue should be singled out for praise. The Indiana State Fair Grounds—in addition to being expansive and providing excellent facilities and parking—are architecturally significant. Nearly all the buildings were built in the Art Deco style, date to the 1930s and were WPA projects. The period surroundings seem to suit the vintage cars well.