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August Mid-Month Guest Commentator

by | August 2015

The 1987 New York Autoshow 930 Flatnose brought $134,750 at Bonhams.

The 1987 New York Autoshow 930 Flatnose brought $134,750 at Bonhams.

Well folks, it’s over. The Monterey-Peninsula-ultimate-car-guy-week has come to a close. I was most interested in the auction results and they proved very thought provoking.

Overall, the auction houses sold some $390 million in cars this year, compared to $410 million last year. Some will say the bubble has burst, but I will tend to disagree.

The reason I disagree relates to the quality of the cars that were offered. The great quality cars sold for big numbers, very close or over estimates. The lesser cars either didn’t sell or were below estimates (with a few exceptions as always). The great cars were the hardest to find – as usual – and in Porsches they were nearly impossible to find.

I can honestly say there were only a handful of great Porsches on the peninsula, starting with the Rothmans 956. We saw plenty of bad 1973 RS’s, but the auction houses did try to warn you if you were paying attention. I’ll use the RS LWT’s at Gooding & Company as examples. A year or so ago a 1973 RS LWT sold at auction for more than $1.5 Million, yet the two offered here had estimates from $800,000 dollars.

So why the half-price sale? It the market crashing? No. The simple answer is the cars were horrible examples of the model and had received poor restorations. Both cars had glaring flaws and there were many incorrect trim items that could not easily be sourced or corrected.

The auction houses warned bidders with the realistic estimates – if you were paying any attention – but unfortunately the allure of shiny paint and testosterone undoubtedly will result in a bad hangover. Overall the market remains strong for great cars with the average cars falling off substantially. It seems to me buyers are figuring out how much it takes to make an average car great and are saving money by buying a great car upfront!

Gooding & Company sold this great 1960 RS60 for $5.4M including fees, one of three exceptional Porsche racers they auctioned.

Gooding & Company sold this great 1960 RS60 for $5.4M including fees, one of three exceptional Porsche racers they auctioned.

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