Though bidders and sellers alike went into this year’s Arizona Auction Week bracing themselves for a repeat of Monterey 2019, things remained relatively calm if you step back and look at the big picture. However, while many vehicles did perform as expected, there were a handful of transactions we would categorize as “breakout sales”—results that signal possible, significant trend changes for that particular model, or the market at large.
While it takes more than just one sale—or five, for that matter—to sway a market, these five sales smashed the status quo, and we’ll be keeping a close eye on any emerging developments.
While the top of the market seems to be having a rough go of it since Monterey, the truck market continues to assert its dominance. Many excellent trucks at Scottsdale brought strong prices, but this 5600-mile 1991 Chevrolet K1500 Stepside with tons of rad 1990s-era upgrades. This truck was reportedly sent to Ground Effects Co. right after production to have the aluminum brush guard, step bars and roll bar installed, maximizing its ’90s style points in the process.
This truck’s condition was near-perfect inside and out, even down to the alloy wheels, which always have a substantial amount of corrosion no matter what you do. The focus on trucks has been solidly rooted in the 1960s, ’70s and ’80s, but this example could be the first hint of increase in popularity of ’90s trucks.
While most have been living the life of used-up farm trucks and wood haulers, perhaps now is the beginning of a shift to a later generation of pickups. One thing is for sure—we will be scouring the market for more gems like this one.
We recently featured the 1996–2002 Viper GTS in our 2020 Bull Market list, so naturally we were keen to see how this GTS ACR performed at the RM Sotheby’s sale. This was a 101-mile, single-owner car that was essentially new in the box. For the ACR, Dodge took the hardtop GTS, stripped it of creature comforts, and boosted the output by an 10 horsepower via a tweaked air intake. This hardcore pedigree, along with this car’s status as a Final Edition, makes ACRs more desirable than the standard hardtop Viper GTS. Even weighing that desirability, however, not even RM Sotheby’s (who initially estimated the car at $60,000–$80,000) expected this ACR to sell as well as it did. Second-generation Vipers have brought six-figure price tags before, but those have been the track-exclusive GTS-Rs constructed in partnership with French racing firm Oreca.
We will be watching second-generation Vipers closely following this sale; this ACR is unlikely to be a one-off deal.
The Supra is no newcomer to our lists of hot cars. The Mk IV has been the poster car for the current hot streak that Japanese sports cars have enjoyed. After all, the ’93–98 cars set the benchmark for the current Supra.
This time around though, it’s the Mk III market that exceeded our expectations. Barrett-Jackson consigned a pair of ultra-low Mk III Turbos which appeared as if they just left the assembly line. The first one, a 1987 with 117 miles on the odometer, sold for $71,500 on Thursday, which is not a prime television day. This result held the title of most expensive Mk III Supra sold at auction for exactly one day, when the 91-mile example arrived on the block.
This second car did not receive dealer prep, so it still had bags on the seats, sun visors, and floor mats. Finding a car any closer to factory-fresh condition is likely impossible, and bidders recognized that with a final price of $88,000—more than double this Supra’s #1 (Concours) value. These two cars tested the top end of the Mk III Supra market and revealed that there is strong interest in this generation as well.
While these ’86–92 cars may never exceed the values that Mk IVs carry, we can safely say the Mk III is receiving some well-deserved attention; we may see some very nice examples come out of hiding because of these sales.
Like the Supra mentioned above, the 1993 Mustang Cobra R is no stranger to market-leading values. This isn’t the first time a Cobra R has broken the six-figure mark, but it is certainly the first time one has done it multiple times at the same event. What makes these cars so special?
The Cobra R is the Ford factory’s ultimate Fox-body Mustang. Ford’s Special Vehicle Team (SVT) took the already-hot Mustang Cobra, removed any unnecessary weight, and upgraded the suspension and braking for enhanced on-track performance. The production run totaled only 107 cars, which makes these highly coveted today by Mustang collectors. A few owners saw how special the Cobra R was right out of the gate and a number have come up for sale with few to no miles at all; some have been offered even pre-dealer prep. Barrett-Jackson offered two such cars, one with 320 miles which sold for $121,000, and this 33-mile car which sold for $143,000.
It’s safe to say that the Cobra R is a six-figure car now. Our next question: how high will the values go? There seem to be a fair amount of like-new examples out there, so the potential is high for these potent Fox-bodies.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock in 2019, it’s no secret that the Ferrari market has transitioned into a buyer’s market. This is great news for enthusiasts who just want a good Ferrari without paying through the nose. That is, unless you’re in Scottsdale looking for a 400i.
Granted, there’s no great number of passionate 400i customers flooding the market, since the 400i isn’t typically at the top of Ferrari buyers’ lists. Because of that, Gooding’s $80,000–$100,000 estimate seemed ambitious prior to the sale—imagine everyone’s surprise when it sold for $131,600 including buyer’s premium. True, values for the 400i have been creeping up, but we haven’t seen anything noteworthy until now. For now, the 400i seems to be one of only a handful of Ferraris showing their owners a return on investment. We’ll be following this trend to see where it goes.