Hagerty Spring 2009 Collector Car Market Update

Hagerty Spring 2009 Collector Car Market Update

I’m McKeel Hagerty and welcome to the Spring 2009 Collector Car Update.

Wells Fargo recently pronounced the banking crisis over and wants to pay back its bail out money as quickly as possible and get back to business as usual. The day after a 1957 Ferrari Testarossa sold in Maranello Italy for a record breaking $12.4 Million. The DOW closed up 235 points overall. The DOW is up, by the way, 2,000 points from its 2009 low set in March. A coincidence? Well, no doubt the DOW and the Ferrari, but there is at least feeling that the worst is over in both the collector car world and the financial markets. Instead of speculating as to how far things will continue to fall more are starting to question how long it will take for the post September 2008 losses to be made back up. Through it all collector cars weather the storm pretty well.

Blue Chip cars in number one or number two condition with airtight provenance and no stories were down very little, particularly those cars that appeal to both European and US collectors. Cars with stories, or number three and number four cars, were down in some cases as much as a third. Mopars, clones, and tribute cars were hit the hardest, but the correction in those areas was widely predicted and by now is really old news. It’s the rest of 2009 that interests us and the most recent post Scottsdale sales reason to believe Monterey is going to be exciting indeed.

Here’s the rundown on the major post Scottsdale sales. RM’s Fort Lauderdale and Amelia Island auctions held in February and March of 2009 with the first post Scottsdale sales and both posted strong results. In Fort Lauderdale RM partner Donnie Gould always does a wonderful job of rounding up a varied group of consignments and the bidders responded with a 66% sell through rate and $11.5 Million in total sales. The high sale was a 1936 Packard 12 Coupe Roadster which sold for $220,000. A 1954 Buick Skylark Convertible brought $187,000. Neither price would have looked out of place three years ago.

RMs sale at the luxurious Ritz Carlton on Amelia Island Florida saw 89 out of 107 sell for an 83% sell through rate. Amelia was RMs first catalog sale since Arizona and in general presale estimates in the catalog seemed to be a little bit more conservative. The million dollar sale that eluded RM in their Phoenix sale arrived in the form of a 1930 Duesenberg Model J Coupe which hammered just below $1 Million, but with buyers premium got a little bit over that magic million dollar mark.

Pre-war cars, a market that people had given up for dead not long ago, were in fact consistently strong. With a 1935 Auburn 851SC Boat Tail Speedster, who’s a beautiful car, bring a $566,500. And even a 1932 Ford Coupe doing six figures, the multiple award winning Model 18 Deluxe Three Window Coupe more than doubled its presale estimate selling for $165,000. 1960’s sports cars in ready to enjoy condition also proved to be strong sellers in Amelia with a vary nicely restored Jaguar E-type Convertible in great colors bettering the high estimate of $140,000 by several thousand. At $41,000 a 1964 Porsche 356C, one of the last of the 356s, was a solid buy and a great car.

Dana Mecum held his Spring Classic Sale May 13-17 in Indianapolis. It would be a shame if the sale was remembered primarily as the event where the 1965 Shelby Cobra Daytona Coupe failed to sell despite a high bid of $6.8 Million, because in all other respects it was a blockbuster of a sale. It took Mecum Auctions to an entirely different level. The Indiana State Fairgrounds were an ideal venue for a large 1,200 car auction and the quality of the cars was uniformly high. Bidders responded by showing up in large numbers and opening their wallets. 70% of the lot sold for an impressive total of nearly $40 Million and although the big car didn’t sell two other Shelbys, a pair of 427SC Roadsters, brought over a million dollars each. Prices for other significant muscle cars were strong with a 1970 Chevelle LS6 4-speed Convertible bringing $375,000 and 1970 Plymouth Hemi Superbird bringing $300,000 not far off a price that would have brought in early 2007. Both cars were multiple award winners and were immaculately presented

Maybe the biggest surprise of the Mecum Sale was how well the Jack Safro collection of Toyotas did in such a muscle heavy environment. Safro was a Milwaukee Toyota dealer, one of the first in the Midwest, and his collection of vintage Toyotas was being liquidated by his estate. A very nicely restored 1966 FJ40 Land Cruiser sold for $47,000; while a plain Jane four-door Corona with just 8,700 miles on it brought an amazing $36,000.

The biggest story of the weekend of May 15, and maybe the year, was the RM Maranello sale; which for the second year in a row saw an all time world record sale. The 1957 Ferrari Testarossa was one of just 21 pontoon fendered Ferraris built. And with an impressive race history it had no questions in its provenance.

The hammer price was $11,275,000, but with the buyers premium it brought the total sale price $12,402,500. The overall sell through rate at the sale was 75% and the total sales were 21 Million Euros and that’s $28.5 Million today.

There are two schools of thought as to what all of this means for Monterey in August. The more cautious predict that we will see more of what we’ve recently seen. Solid, maybe unspectacular, prices for excellent examples of cars with conservative presale estimates and realistic reserves on them of course. The more optimistic believe that the solid May auction results coupled with more signs the economy will rebound in 2010 will coax people off the sidelines and that the increased demand will result in noticeably higher prices. Both sides seem to agree, however, that the market has changed permanently in one respect. The irrational exuberance of 2007 and before is absolutely over, so the gap between great cars and questionable examples will continue to grow.

That’s it for the spring 2009 collector car update. If you want to research the value of your collector cars visit Carsthatmatter.com to access Hagerty’s cars that matter price guides. Your best resource for accurate and up to date collector car values.

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