Graph of the Week: Million-Dollar Auction Sales 2012-16

The classic car market has clearly grown over the past several years. The most visible part of that growth has been in collector car auctions, as more sales take place and more cars achieve seven- or eight-figure results. Not so long ago, a car hammering at anything over a million dollars would bring a burst of applause from the room. These days, auction-goers aren’t so easily impressed.

As far as what kind of million-dollar cars are most common at auction, it’s mostly – and predictably – Ferraris, but other common models include Mercedes-Benz 300SLs and 540Ks, Porsche 911 Carrera RS 2.7s and 959s, Shelby Cobras and Lamborghini Miuras.  This is a bit different from only four years ago.

Now, there are more Lamborghinis as Miura values have crept up and more Porsches as their values have sharply increased for the most desirable models and as several historically significant cars have been auctioned off. Conversely, there are fewer Duesenbergs and Bentleys among the million-dollar auction cars than there were in 2012 as much of the growth in the collector car auction market has been limited to more modern vehicles.

While the number of million-dollar cars at auction has generally trended upward since 2012, the graph does show a leveling off in the beginning of 2016 and reflects the lack of huge sales in Scottsdale this year. That said, including the several big cars in Amelia Island this year there have been 64 cars to have sold for over a million dollars so far in 2016. That puts this year on the same pace as last and, for the foreseeable future, the number of million-dollar results seems likely to remain much higher than it was just a few short years ago.

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