This $80K S2000 shows that rare, perfect-condition cars are still commanding big bucks
There is a lot of uncertainty in the world right now. We’ve touched on what the coronavirus pandemic means for the global car market, but the situation for many auction companies is sink or swim. Live auctions that were planned for spring or summer have been postponed until the fall or moved to online-only, as is the case with RM’s Palm Beach auction in late March and its upcoming Essen auction in June.
Meanwhile, over at Bring a Trailer, little appears to have changed. Last week, a 2008 Honda S2000 CR sold for $80,325 including buyer’s premium. That car set a record, beating a never-driven, never-registered AP1 that sold for more than $70,000 last year. Why did this S2000 sell for 34 percent above the average #1-condition (Concours) value and for more than twice the car’s $37,000 MSRP?
It was clear from the listing that this car was special. For one, this CR had only been driven 1300 miles. On top of that, the car was originally owned by Honda’s American arm, then sold to an employee.
Fewer than 700 S2000 CRs were produced between the 2008 and 2009 model years. To reduce weight and lower the center of gravity, the S2000 CR did without the base car’s spare tire and only offered air conditioning and radio as options. This CR has those options, making it less rare but more livable. (Fewer than 10 percent of CRs were optioned with the dual delete.) Neither is this car the rarest color—that honor belongs to Grand Prix White, with only 90 made. Like all CRs, it wears a two-tone, yellow-and-black interior with Alcantara trim.
This S2000 is flawless. The only blemish visible in the photos is a series of toothpick-sized scratches on the plastic air dam under the front fenders. The car doesn’t appear to have been driven 13 miles, let alone 1300.
Many people watching the auction and commenting on Bring a Trailer were upset this car wasn’t driven. I don’t subscribe to that opinion. Most S2000 CRs were driven hard, like the engineers intended. At a certain moment in its history, this car became one of the few museum-quality CR in existence. At that point, it would have been a shame to take it out of the wrapper. I’m going to go with Indiana Jones on this: “It belongs in a museum!”
If this sale is evidence of anything, it’s that—even now—desirable cars in perfect condition continue to command big results. That’s not true solely on Bring a Trailer, either. A 1950 Jaguar XK120 featured in RM’s online-only Palm Beach sale sold for $143,000, which is four grand north of the $139,000 average in Concours condition. A lot of buyers are understandably wary about wading into the market right now, but some are evidently still willing to shell out for the right car when it comes along.