Arizona 2018 Commentary


Well, it’s that time of year again and it was my first real outing after that year long vacation and all I can say is not much has changed with the exception of “The Speculators have left the building!”

As I’ve been saying the collector car market hit its peak of speculation in 2016 and has been on a glide path down ever since. When in a glider you’ll get up drafts and down drafts but for the most part it will be a steady, slow ride down to a soft landing. Lets take a look at the results and try to figure out where this market is heading other than down.

Bonham’s auction started the week for us on Thursday with their big car being a 550A Spyder with a stunning provenance. The auction started well with a lively auctioneer and went a little flat when they changed it up. The cars were bringing good money for good examples and crap money for the crap examples. Porsche-wise, the majority offered were average drivers at best and the prices reflected that. In all I thought Bonham’s did very well with what they represented selling $25.2 million and leaving another $7.35 million unsold meaning they left 31% more revenue behind.

RM/Sotheby’s was next with their Thursday evening kick off. About all I can say is “same old same old.” I’ve been to wakes with more excitement in the room. The cars were what you see at all the auctions lately. The freshly restored 1967 911S we owned for a brief time. It was sold to us as an original paint, rust-free car; unfortunately in transit it somehow rusted and the original paint feel off? The seller gave us a refund and passed it on to the slaughterhouse were they put some lipstick on that pig. Pre war cars, with few exceptions, were the deal if you want one because no one else seems to want them. Overall it was the same; just nothing compelling. Their headline Jaguar D Type had a great early history until it was crashed so hard it went back to the factory where they couldn’t even fix it so it was a total re-do! Of course, it no sale’d. RM/Sotheby’s sucked selling $36.5 million and leaving another $20 million unsold meaning they left 55% more revenue behind. Somebody in a front office was looking for a head or two on Monday!

Gooding’s and Company was much the same as RM, no real excitement in the room. Their auctioneer made it entertaining at least! Like Bonhams they sold one of the big cars, a Ferrari 500 Mondial for $4.05 million against a low estimate of 5 million, Huh? A million under low estimate, Id like to see how that math works or are they just pulling numbers out of their ass when they give the estimates? You decide, but there might be some shenanigans going on here? Any way the other 2 headline cars failed to find buyers. Any way you slice it they sold $49 million and leaving another $26.5 million unsold means 58% more revenue left behind.

Barrett Jackson was again the “Greatest Show on Earth” and the best circus I’ve been to since I was 8! The vast majority of the cars are run with no reserve so it gets sold! A few cars were deals because of the run time during the week or people just don’t understand what it takes to build it. Muscle cars were lagging a little as resto-mods pushed them out of the way. A resto-mod is an old Camaro (for example) with a modern drivetrain, wheels, tires, brakes, paint, and interior. These things are killing it! When a 1969 Z/28 brings $75,000 a Resto-mod ‘69 brings $150,000! Styles change folks and a few years from now the ass-beatings will begin! Barrett had a sell through rate of 99.1 %, the room was exciting, crowd’s cheering, booze flowing, corn dogs and turkey legs as far as the eye can see with everything selling! Barrett left absolutely nothing on the table and swept up every penny in Scottsdale with 106 million sold!


Cars with great Documentation and Provenance “Sold” for great money as they should! Cars with No Documentation or Provenance are getting killed. You can’t get into any real events or rallies without it. So unless your local cars and coffee is as far as you want to go, buy the best!

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