16 June 2009

Bonhams Greenwich Sale Highlights

The Greenwich Concours is a regular stop on the east-coast car show circuit, a well attended event held in a compact space with perhaps the best on and off access of any known car event - you can actually hear the roar of cars and trucks from I-95 just a few hundred yards from the entrance.

Held on Saturday June 6 and Sunday June 7, the two days are roughly divided between American classics and older cars on Saturday and sportier cars taking the stage on Sunday. From one-offs to superb examples of production autos and motorcycles, hundreds of vehicles were on display.

Bonhams held its annual Greenwich Concours auction on June 7. In general , the sale followed the trend of late with buyers being particularly choosey-lots with questions or those with unrealistic reserves failed to find new homes. Overall sales numbers were $4.4 million with a sell-through rate of 49%.

There were cars in all price ranges and conditions on offer - a few quasi barn finds were on offer including a 1949 MG TC better described as "ridden hard and put away wet" than "actually preserved" that sold for $18,135.

The Euro has rebounded somewhat against the dollar and European buyers were certainly present in Greenwich with the high sale, a 1934 Bugatti Type 37 Stelvio going back to Europe for $419,500. An NCRS award-winning 1966 Corvette 427/425 convertible was a flat-out steal at $111,000 - perhaps a case of the car being a fish out of water at a Bonhams sale in Greenwich.

Other notable sales included a 1938 Packard Convertible 8 Victoria formerly owned by Clark Gable which sold for $238,000 and a 1974 DeTomaso Pantera with just 100 miles from new; it sold for $84,000. The Pantera was last seen at RM's Monterey sale in 2008 where it sold for $88,000, before that, it was a no-sale at Kruse in 2005 for $54,000. It illustrates the conundrum of an ultra low miles car-what do you do with it? Drive it, and each click of the odometer represents $2-3 in devaluation. Still, at this price, why not just treat it like a new Corvette and drive it, depreciation be damned. This car deserves better than to become the automotive equivalent of The Flying Dutchman.

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