We’re live from Monterey

David Zenlea

Hagerty Insider will be on the ground during Monterey Car Week, following the auctions in realtime. Come back to this page for live updates—and to see just how accurate our forecast was.

August 20, 7:15 AM: As several more aftersales trickle in, the sales total is now up to $351M, which is a 40 percent improvement over 2019. A couple of six and seven-figure cars sold, which reinforces how Monterey is the place to go for buying and selling big cars. Of the 121 $1M+ vehicles offered in Monterey this year, the sell-through rate increased from 48 percent in 2019 to 68 percent this year.

August 14, 11:30 PM: That’s a wrap on the 2021 Monterey auctions. The preliminary sales total is $343M over three days. That’s really good—37 percent higher than 2019. It seems the ultra wealthy are in the mood to spend and enjoy life, just like everyone else. Full recap, here. Scroll down for our blow-by-blow coverage.

7:45 PM: While the 1968 Porsche 911R didn’t sell near its low estimate of $4.5M, its final price of $3,360,000 makes it the third most expensive 911 to ever sell at auction. — John Wiley

7:10 PM: There were 7 Ferrari halo cars this weekend – three F40s, one F50, an Enzo, and two LaFerraris. All of them sold on average 30% above #1 condition values. — Adam Wilcox

7:05 PM: In a packed but quiet ballroom at the Portola, bidding opened at $13M on RM’s much-anticipated 1970 Gulf Porsche 917K, then slowly crawled to $15M and stayed there. Despite a smattering of applause at the hammer, one of the week’s star cars did not go to a new home tonight. — Andrew Newton

6:20 PM: New world record set for a Japanese roadcar. Quickly becoming one of our best Bull Market picks, the 2012 Lexus LFA Nürburgring at RM Sotheby’s just sold for $1,600,000 – 45.5 percent above high estimate and 72 percent above Hagerty concours condition value. — Adam Wilcox

4:02 PM: While the bidding wasn’t as much of a frenzy as yesterday, Gooding & Company finished strong today with 13 cars sold for over $1M. The last lot of the day, an immaculately restored 1986 FJ62 Toyota Land Cruiser, sold for a record $134,000 (over $40,000 over its high estimate and nearly twice its condition #1 value in the Hagerty Price Guide. — Andrew Newton

3:07 PM: Mecum finished its three-day sale strong this afternoon with an energetic crowd all the way until the end. They really know how to hold the audience and maintain energy in the room, which isn’t something you always see with the catalogue sales. We also chatted with the seller of the 2004 Ford Shelby Cobra prototype, which brought $2.64M today. The car completely blew past his expectations, and he seems like the happiest guy on the peninsula. — Greg Ingold

1:28 PM: If you like modern exotic cars, Mecum is the place to be on Saturday with modern greats from Porsche, Lamborghini, Ferrari, Saleen, and Ford crossing the block today. Although several have gone unsold, a 2004 Carrera GT brought $1.21M ($160,000 more than its condition #1 value in the Hagerty Price Guide), and Mecum also sold the very first of 350 2022 Acura NSX Type Ss for $1.1M, with proceeds going to charity. — Greg Ingold

1:07 PM: Continuing the trend we witnessed in May at the Amelia Island auctions, prewar cars are performing well. Gooding & Company sold a 1910 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost for a near-high-estimate $2.53M, then sold a terrific 1929 Bugatti Type 35B Grand Prix car for an estimate-beating and Type 35 record-setting $5.615M. Special cars, special prices. — Brian Rabold

12:50 PM: The first major miss of the day at Gooding was the 1956 Maserati A6G/54 by Frua, bidding for which halted at $2.3M. Several years ago, the same car was famously discovered in the French countryside as part of the headline-making Roger Baillon barn find collection. Probably the most famous photo out of that discovery shows the Maserati alongside a Ferrari 250 GT California Spider, covered in old magazines and peeking out from behind a shed. The Maserati sold in 2015 for $2.2M, but even though it has since been put back to running and driving condition, it didn’t attract any money this time across the block. Sometimes, cars can make big news and bring big prices once, but just aren’t able to garner that same excitement again. — Andrew Newton

11:50 AM: Back at Gooding & Company today, and seven cars from Neil Peart’s collection just crossed the block. There was indeed a (pardon the joke here) Rush for several of the legendary late drummer’s cars, but not for all of them. His 1963 Corvette Split Window Coupe brought $368,000, over double its high estimate and nearly three times its condition-appropriate value in the Hagerty Price Guide. Peart’s 1964 Jaguar E-Type also brought $318,500, nearly twice its high estimate and over twice its condition-appropriate value. His 1964 Aston Martin DB5, on the other hand, stalled at a $560,000 high bid (less than its condition-appropriate value) and the rest of the Peart cars brought unsurprising results. — Andrew Newton

Friday August 13, 11:30 PM: Day 2 of the 2021 Monterey auctions was the busiest, with all auction companies on the peninsula this year conducting a sale. Overall, most numbers are up from the last time we gathered here in 2019. You can find our full Friday report here. Tomorrow is the final auction day but the action is far from over as the potential top sale of the week – a 1970 Gulf Porsche 917K – crosses the block.

8:57 PM: It looks like the Paul Walker premium extends beyond Supras, Skylines, and movie cars. The 2005 Ford GT40 out of the actor’s collection just sold for $478,000 at RM Sotheby’s. The car’s condition #1 value in the Hagerty Price Guide is $337,000. — Andrew Newton

8:47 PM: Gooding & Company was the place to be today for 1990s hypercar royalty, with both a McLaren F1 and a Mercedes-Benz CLK GTR crossing the block. But while the McLaren F1 brought over $20M, the CLK GTR hammered not sold at $7M against an $8.5M low estimate. Bidding opened at $5M, then ground to a halt shortly after. But even though it didn’t sell, it’s clear that the market has moved for these cars. The last time we saw a CLK GTR sell publicly was $4,515,000 back in 2018. — Greg Ingold

8:29 PM: Gooding & Company’s first major miss of the day was the 1966 Ford GT40 Alan Mann Lightweight, which hammered not sold at a $5.1M high bid, well short of its $7M low estimate. The room cleared out a bit after and there isn’t as much of a frenzy as before. But cars are still selling, bidders are still bidding, and auctioneer Charlie Ross is as witty and charming as ever. — Greg Ingold

8:12 PM: RM Sotheby’s just sold five late model manual shift Ferraris in a row – a 2007 F430 Spider, a 2001 550 Barchetta, a 2005 Superamerica, a 2005 612 Scaglietti, and a 2009 599 GTB. We know that the third pedal can add a huge premium to modern Ferraris but these cars still surprised, with all but the 612 Scaglietti exceeding their high estimates. The 599 GTB inspired a heated bidding war, with the final price coming in at $709,000. — Andrew Newton

7:37 PM: We just saw what may very well be the high sale of the week: Gooding & Company’s much-anticipated 1995 McLaren F1 brought $20,465,000. Looking back to 2019, the high sale in Monterey that year was an LM-spec McLaren F1 that brought $19.8M. — Greg Ingold

7:34 PM: The most expensive cars at RM Sotheby’s today are both Ferrari race cars from the 1960s, and they both sold for $7,705,000. The 1962 268 SP by Fantuzzi was a factory entry at Le Mans and is the only original example remaining out of the six built. The 1966 275 GTB Competizione, meanwhile, was raced by the famous Scuderia Filipinetti team and won its class at Le Mans (1967), at Spa (1969), and at Imola (1969). Now, $7.7M is clearly serious money, and bidders step up for serious cars that so rarely come to market, but it is worth noting that both Ferraris fell short of their $8M low estimates, and that the GTB also sold for $9,405,000 in Scottsdale six years ago (a $1.7M difference). — Andrew Newton

7:06 PM: The first seven-figure miss of the day at RM was for the 1955 Porsche 550 Spyder, which went unsold at a $2.9M high bid. While the car has good period SCCA race history, it suffered some body damage in the 1960s, wears an older restoration (we rated it in #3 condition), and does not have its original engine. Bidders proved wary of those details, and it fell well short of its $3.8M low estimate. Other 550s have sold for over $4M at auction in recent years. — Andrew Newton

6:55 PM: We’re 23 lots in at Gooding & Company and so far just two lots haven’t exceeded their high estimates. People are bidding like they mean it, and the term “feeding frenzy” comes to mind. — Greg Ingold

6:30 PM: Four cars from RM’s Elkhart sale of October 2020 made an appearance at Monterey less than a year later. As the Elkhart sale was known for high prices from excited bidders, these cars were in a bad position for a successful flip. Only one managed to make a profit – a 1970 Triumph GT6 which sold at Mecum for $41,800 after selling for $25,760 at Elkhart. The biggest disappointment of the group was a 1963 Jaguar E-Type Lightweight Continuation which sold for $1,050,000 at RM after a $1,710,000 Elkhart sale – a 39 percent drop. The 1993 Jaguar XJ220 broke even, selling for $472,000 at RM after a $483,000 sale a year prior. The 1959 Austin-Healey Bugeye Sprite went unsold at Mecum with a high bid of $30,000, just below the Elkhart sale of $33,600. — Adam Wilcox

Friday August 13, 5:52 PM: RM Sotheby’s is off to a strong start with the first several lots selling well over high estimates. — John Wiley

4:25 PM: Bonhams’ lot 103, a 1959 Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz convertible with bucket seats sold for $313,000, 18% above the condition #1 value (w/ +10% for bucket seats), and double the condition appropriate value. Finished in black with a white top and described as having an older restoration, the high-as-its-fins price shows iconic American cars of the 1950s have enduring appeal. — John Wiley

3:05 PM: Bonhams’ Ford GT40 Mk IV went unsold at a $2.5M high bid. Quite low considering the Hagerty Price Guide values even fair (condition #4) GT40s at $3.25M, and this example is actually in good (#3+) condition. But as auctions editor Andrew Newton explained in his preview of the car, GT40 prices rise and fall on competition history, and this later chassis doesn’t have much to speak of, coming into existence after Le Mans outlawed its 7.0-liter V-8. It’ll be up to Gooding’s car to defend the GT40’s honor here in Monterey. — David Zenlea

I figured it would fall under condition rating. No racing history and it has had substantial body work done bringing it back from Can Am spec.— Greg Ingold

2:04 PM: Some mostly strong but mixed results at Mecum so far, exemplified by two very different British cars. A Lotus Europa IMSA race car with period history at Daytona attracted few bids and hammered not sold at $22,000, which is less than standard road cars bring. A nice but unremarkable 1974 Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow, meanwhile, sold for a whopping $77,000, which is over 50 percent higher than its estimate and over twice as much as its condition #2 value in the Hagerty Price Guide. — Andrew Newton

12:58 PM: Big sale at Bonhams—$5.395M for a 1928 Mercedes-Benz 26/120/180-S-Type Supercharged Sports Tourer. That beat the high estimate by more than a million and had the room buzzing.

12:25 PM: Waiting for several big cars from Bonhams, including a 1967 Ford GT40 (est. $3M–$3.5M). Meantime, an Airstream owned by Tom Hanks and described by him in the catalogue as “cozy” just brought $235,200. One without that ownership would likely be worth $70k–$100k.

Tom Hanks owned airstream trailer side

11:00 AM: Back at Mecum this morning to kick off Friday’s auctions. Classic American land yachts are in a good place after this 1949 Cadillac Series 61 Club Coupe just sold for $220,000 – well over three times the Hagerty #1 condition value and setting a new record for a Series 61. — Adam Wilcox

Thursday August 12, 11:30 PM: The 2021 Monterey auctions got off to a strong start with money changing hands at Mecum, Russo and Steele, and RM Sotheby’s on Thursday. High-quality consignments powered $38.8M in sales on a 73 percent sell-through rate, compared with $16.9M and 49 percent sell-through the last time we all gathered here, in 2019. You can find our full Thursday report here. Tomorrow things really heat up, with several potential eight-figure cars—including the McLaren F1 pictured above—crossing the block.

8:52 PM: Sotheby’s closed out the Andrews Collection strong with a stunning LHD 1965 Aston Martin DB5 convertible. The car earned a round of applause with an all-in price of $3.195M, which was nearly a million dollars above the car’s high estimate. — Brian Rabold

8:31 PM: RM Sotheby’s sold a Jaguar E-Type Lightweight continuation car for $1.71M last winter at the Elkhart sale, where bidding on just about everything was over the moon. That very car came back to earth tonight, reselling for $1.05M.

8:25 PM: A 1929 Duesenberg Model J ‘Butterfly’ Dual-Cowl Phaeton by Murphy quietly sold for $3,305,000, which belies its #3 position on the all-time highest auction price list for Model J Duesenbergs. — John Wiley

8:16 PM: The marquee car of the night, a 1962 Aston Martin DB4 GT Zagato, sold for $9.52M after the reserve was lifted to someone in the room (or at least someone’s representative), although there was plenty of online competition. And now the room is emptying out. Bidding tonight has been strong, but not over-the-top.

2021 Monterey auctions RM Sotheby's
Evan Klein

7:55 PM: 1964 Aston Martin DB5 just sold for $912,500 (slightly below condition-appropriate value) to an online bidder. Notable since most of the action so far seems to be taking place in the room. — John Wiley

7:41 PM PST: ….And the first seven-figure miss. Bidding on RM’s 1955 Jaguar D-Type stalled at $4.2M, failing to meet reserve. However, that money is already above our condition #3 value for the car (we rated this example a 3+). It sold in Monterey eight years ago for $3,905,000, and in Amelia Island six years ago for $3,765,000. — David Zenlea and Andrew Newton

7:28 PM PST: We just saw our first seven-figure sale of the week—$2,755,000 for a 1961 Aston Martin DB4GT Sanction II Zagato. That may sound like quite a bit of cash for what is, in impolite terms, a replica, but as we explained last year, the limited-build Astons are among the most desirable for the lot for their limited production, 1960s serial numbers, and painstaking accuracy. — DZ

Thursday August 12, 6 AM PST: The auctions are set to begin today with Mecum and RM Sotheby’s. We’ve already crunched the numbers to come up with a forecast (see below), but on the ground, we’ve been more interested in the harder-to-quantify emotional aspects of the market. Monterey Car Week auctions have always been all about the vibes—because otherwise, there are far more convenient and less expensive places to sell cars. Going by what we’re seeing and hearing on the ground, the vibes this year are overwhelmingly positive. Auction previews have been crowded, both with people and high-quality consignments. A few high-profile Europeans are conspicuously absent, but not enough, it seems, to make parking any easier. Save for the face masks and omnipresent hand-sanitizer stations, you might think it’s 2019.

2021 Monterey auctions Bonhams
The crowds and the people are back at Monterey auction previews. David Zenlea

Going by the confidence from dealers and sellers, you might think it’s 2016. Business has been good this year, and there’s a general optimism that it will stay that way through this week and beyond. Mind you, that optimism does not come from any assumptions about the broader economy or the pandemic—everyone has been through too much over the last 18 months to think they can predict anything about that—but rather, a pervasive sense that come what may, people will want to play with cool expensive cars. A far cry from when we gathered here in 2019 and many were fretting about yield-spread inversions and housing prices.

The first real test of the good vibes comes tonight, when RM Sotheby’s auctions several top-tier cars from the Paul Andrews estate, including a 1962 Aston Martin DB4GT Zagato estimated to sell for $11M–$14M. — David Zenlea

Thursday, August 5: The resumption of Monterey Car Week, the crown jewel of the international concours scene, is an important milestone in the return to normalcy for the classic car world. Sales at the in-person auctions happening next week should reflect that: We predict they’ll exceed $320 million.

Before we dig into that forecast, it’s essential to acknowledge that “return to normalcy” is a relative term. If we’re going by the standards we became accustomed to at Monterey auctions in the previous decade, normalcy went out the window in 2019, when total sales dipped to $255 million, a 31 percent drop from the year prior and down more than 29 percent from the $360 million average for 2014–2018. Last year, of course, was a completely different story, with a hodgepodge of Monterey-branded online events amassing $57.3M.

Since then the auction world has recovered and then some but it looks very different than it did before the pandemic, when the sale or no sale of a few eight-figure cars on the Peninsula could make or break an entire year. The key drivers of auction gains in 2021 have been $50k–$250k cars, which are appreciating largely due to interest from younger collectors, who don’t have enormous car-buying budgets yet. These cars have been most visible on online auctions, where total sales are quickly approaching that of live auctions. In other words, Monterey now finds itself swimming in a larger pond of auctions than before.

That said, it’s still a big fish. Monterey is typically the place where auction records are set. An auction on the peninsula sets the highest price of the year about every other year. It also remains our best barometer for the upper echelon of the classic car market.

The in-person sales that have already taken place this year, like those at Amelia Island, have sold fewer cars than in years past but have brought a higher average sale price at many of the auctions this year. We expect that theme to continue in Monterey, to a certain extent. Consignments of cars estimated between $250k and $1 million—a segment that struggled mightily at Monterey in 2019—are down by about a third, while the number of million-dollar-plus consignments are up by about a fifth. All told, we predict the average sale price to be $407k, compared to $329,101 in 2019.

The auction market for eight-figure collector cars is no doubt quieter than it was in 2018, when we saw a 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO sell for $48.4 million. Perhaps sellers are reticent to expose their top-tier cars to the whims of an auction room, particularly one where buyers may not be present due to COVID travel restrictions. That said, there are several valuable cars with impressive provenance on offer. Here are some standouts we’ll be watching:

1970 Porsche 917K at RM Sotheby’s estimate of $16,000,000 to $18,500,000

We’ve written about this car before, but it has Le Mans racing history and Le Mans movie history too. The combination of those two features could help it set a record for the most expensive Porsche sold at auction.

1967 Chevrolet Camaro Z/28 Trans Am at Gooding & Company estimate of $1,400,000 to $2,000,000

This Camaro is the car raced by Mark Donohue for Roger Penske. That combination has rarely been bettered in all of motorsports. If this car sells in the estimated range, it will set a record for the most expensive Camaro sold at auction. Read more about it here.

1967 Ford GT40 Mk IV at Bonhams estimate of $3,000,000 to $3,500,000

Shelby cars have been hot since the Ford vs. Ferrari movie came out, and the GT40 Mk IV fits into that group with its Phil Remington (Shelby’s master fabricator) connection. As with many competition cars, including the 917 at RM Sotheby’s, this car was modified to remain competitive but is now offered in its original condition.

1965 Shelby GT350R at Mecum estimate of $1,250,000 to $1,500,000

Described as the winningest Shelby ever, this GT350R scored 17 straight wins for the 1968 and 1969 seasons. With that record, the winning bid will likely be greater than the condition #1 value of $1,050,000 for the GT350R.

— John Wiley




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