As the publisher of the Hagerty Price Guide, part of my job is to look at cars. I'll bet on the average day I'll spend more time cruising the for-sale websites than the night watchman at the eBay main office, and when I'm on the road, it's pretty much non-stop cars shows, auctions and Concours.
Each year there are two North American events that bring more exceptional cars to the marketplace than any others. Each January, the sales in Scottsdale and Phoenix never fail to impress, with great cars, a wonderful gathering of gearheads and, as always, a few suspense-filled moments with a few hundred cars on the block.
Even bigger are the August sales in Monterey, Calif. It's pretty much non-stop car events all week, leading up to the granddaddy of all Concours events, the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, held on the eighteenth green of one of the most famous golf courses, as well as one of the most beautiful few acres of real estate known to man.
Each year there is a bit of a contest between the auction companies to pull in the highest dollar amount from each event. It's a bragging rights thing, and, even if they don't admit to doing it, they all do. The press releases fired out the day after the sale say it all -- "most cars sold," "largest dollar volume," "new world record" or whatever.
The overall economy is weak, and, in early August, there is talk of a double-dip recession. The Dow is in turmoil, gold prices are up. Jobs reports come out with worse news each time they are released.
The January 2011 Scottsdale results came in at about $160,000,000, just a few million off of the all-time high.
Last year’s Monterey? It was an all-time record at $172,000,000.
The flight to collectibles is on, and my prediction for Monterey 2011 is a jaw-dropping $230,000,000. That a full $58 Million above the best year ever.
Just 10 or 12 years ago, $58,000,000 would have been a darn good result for a total.
It's a prediction, and I could be wrong. But I'm putting it in print so we will all know in just two weeks if the trends we have been watching all year will play out in a tiny, beautiful peninsula in California.