16 January 2014

2014 Scottsdale Auction Preview: $1 million-plus cars

Nearly one-fifth of all the classic cars that will sell at auction in 2014 will do so in January, and the Arizona auctions represent roughly half of that figure. It is difficult to pore through more than 2,000 cars and winnow it down to the “most important” or “most interesting,” or “most” anything. So, instead, we have picked five cars in three price categories that caught our eye. We will keenly be watching these cars sell this week, in addition to the remaining 1,500.

The million-dollar mark is the threshold for our final look at the cars of Arizona. This round number has always been a natural benchmark, but it certainly doesn’t have the purchasing power it did even five years ago. Of course, if you had $1 million to spend in 2009, chances are your budget has grown for 2014. Here are some of the most interesting top-end cars we will be following this week.

1958 Ferrari 250 GT California LWB Spyder
RM Auctions
Presale estimate: $7,000,000-$9,000,000
Hagerty Price Guide: $6,400,000-$8,600,000
A Cal Spyder was the top seller in Arizona last year, and it looks like the same will be true in 2014. This LWB version, which many feel is a prettier configuration than the later SWB models, has covered headlights and classic Rosso Rubino paint, guaranteeing that no matter where it appears, it will get undivided attention. The car of the week.

1997 McLaren F1 GTR Longtail
Gooding & Company
Presale estimate: $5,000,000-$7,000,000
Hagerty Price Guide: N/A
Gooding sold an F1 in Pebble Beach for more than $8M. Conventional opinion is that the street car is more desirable than a longtail — even given the longtail’s racing pedigree — mainly because of usability. This car’s sale price will illustrate how far this market has moved in five months.

1931 Alfa Romeo 6C 1750 Supercharged Gran Sport Zagato Spider
Presale estimate: $2,400,000-$2,700,000
Hagerty Price Guide: N/A
This might be the year of Alfa Romeo in Scottsdale, as more are on offer this year (20 at last count) than any time before. This particular example is the best of them all, and looks to be a worthy buy at the presale estimate. Pre-war Alfas have been especially strong of late, and we wouldn’t be surprised if the final price ticked past $3M.

1967 Ferrari 330 GTS
Gooding & Company
Presale estimate: $1,800,000
Hagerty Price Guide: $1,500,000-$2,100,000
What’s the price of originality? We will soon find out, at least in the case of this 330 GTS. One of Ferrari’s finest creations, the 330 GTS combines the increased performance of Ferrari’s 4.0-liter V-12 engine with the good looks of the 275 GTS. A scant 99 were manufactured, of which this is probably the last left in such an original state. Where some see just dirt and decay, others see a diamond. If two of the latter are paying attention, we will witness a record.

1967 Chevrolet Corvette L88 Coupe
Estimate not listed
Hagerty Price Guide: $877,000-$2,450,000
Mecum sold a 1968 Corvette L88 convertible in August for $856,000, then sold a 1967 in September for a fantastic $3.424M. While eye-popping, this latter sale is consistent with activity among private buyers, so it’s no surprise that Barrett-Jackson has three L88 Corvettes on offer this year (a 1967 coupe, a 1968 convertible, and the 1969 L88 “Rebel” convertible). Meanwhile, another three will cross the block in Kissimmee at the end of January, meaning that six of the 216 cars will be publically available in a single month. The example offered here is billed as one of the best of the bunch. We expect another “Barrett-Jackson moment.”

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