What does $400 million buy today? It was enough to take home about 1,200 of the world’s finest collector cars offered at the 2023 Monterey auctions held from August 17-19. That was down from $475M in 2022, and the sell-through rate was lower, too. Just the same, some stellar automobiles traded hands in Monterey at auctions held by Bonhams, Broad Arrow, Gooding & Company, Mecum, and RM Sotheby’s. The top sale was a 1967 Ferrari 412P racecar for $30.2M at Bonhams, while a 1957 Jaguar XKSS, one of just 16 made, was #2 at just over $13M.
Revered by Corvette enthusiasts, the 1963 Sting Ray, especially when equipped with the fuel-injected 327 engine, remains a legend among the car’s 70 years of production so far. The radical new design covered a new, more advanced chassis than the first-generation Corvette had, and both performance and refinement edged closer to the European GTs. Sales soared, and the “fuel-injected Sting Ray” ended up in pop songs. Gooding & Company’s Pebble Beach Concours d’ Elegance® auction is offering a multiple-award winner with a pre-sale estimate of $250K-$300K.
With the added perk of super-rarity, the Bentley Continentals of the Sixties remain among the most sought-after of the marque’s classic cars. Gooding & Company’s 2023 Pebble Beach Concours d’ Elegance® auction is offering a rare left-hand-drive 1961 Bentley S2 two-door saloon with coachwork by H.J. Mulliner that exemplified this model’s divergence from the parent company. It has a pre-sale estimate of $400K-$500K.
What better prelude to the 72nd Pebble Beach Concours d’ Elegance® than to buy a car (or few cars) from the auctions held in conjunction with this pinnacle event? If you’re bidding or selling, the action is at the auctions, of course. We’ve assembled the auction itinerary here and selected some highlights from the Bonhams, Broad Arrow, Gooding & Company, Mecum, and RM Sotheby’s sales.
Giotto Bizzarrini, who died in spring 2023, left a legacy that includes the Ferrari 250 GTO, the first Lamborghini V12 engine, and the car that bore his name, the Bizzarrini 5300 GT. Few of these stunning Italian sports/GT cars were made, all powered by Chevy Corvette V8s for spellbinding performance and easy serviceability. A class win at Le Mans in 1965 established racing pedigree. At its Monterey Auction this month, RM Sotheby’s is offering an impeccably finished 5300 GT with a pre-sale estimate of $880K-$1M.
The spark that launched Porsche’s road racing dynasty began with the “Fuhrman engine” in the landmark 550 Spyder racecar. Bringing that engine to the 356’s option list in 1956 and calling it “Carrera” boosted Porsche’s racing pedigree while also setting the foundation for special high-performance Porsche models to come. The expensive and complex Carrera engine was rarely ordered when new, and cars so-equipped demand a huge premium in the collector car market today. A 1956 Porsche 356A Speedster Carrera offered by Mecum Auctions in Monterey is expected to sell for up to $1.2M, or nearly 400% more than a Speedster without it.
Fourteen years after Enzo Ferrari’s passing, the company he founded honored his memory with a car bearing not only his surname, but also his given name. When introduced in 2002, the Ferrari Enzo represented the culmination of the automaker’s expertise in both high-performance road cars and Formula One racing. F1 tech abounded, including carbon fiber and aluminum construction, carbon-ceramic brakes, and more. At its upcoming auction at Monterey Car Week, Bonhams is offering an Enzo that has been enjoyed as the founder would have liked: being driven.
Auction season is running at full speed going into Monterey Car Week this August 11-20. (Yes, a 10-day week!) Five major auctions will take place there, drawing buyers and sellers from around the world. Plan to be there? Whether you’re looking for your next dream car or planning to sell one from your collection, it pays to be prepared. Premier Financial Services has put together a quick refresher course with insights from auction and sales pros offering advice on finding the car you want and bringing it home.
If you’re heading to Monterey Car Week in August, consider Concorso Italiano a must-see event Saturday, August 19 on the fairways of the Bayonet Golf Course in Seaside, California. This unique show displays nearly 700 cars and motorcycles, covering the gamut of 10 different marques. Alfa Romeo, Ferrari, and Lamborghini dominate in sheer numbers, while other Italian classics, exotics, and obscure models offer many more compelling treats to see. The atmosphere is casual-festival, with an emphasis on fun.