For those looking to Amelia’s second day of auctions to raise energy and produce noteworthy sales, Gooding & Company did not disappoint. Bolstered by a packed house of hungry bidders interested in several blue-chip cars, Gooding delivered their best-selling Amelia auction ever, with $66.5 million worth of cars changing hands. While not quite the frenzy we saw in Scottdale six weeks ago, today’s auction at Amelia gave us plenty to unpack.
The Gooding tent occasionally overflowed with bidders and enthusiasts alike, all drawn to the excellent collection of vehicles on display. A voluptuous 1937 Talbot-Lago T150-C-SS Teardrop Coupe was the star of the show, and the only car of the weekend expected to cross eight-figures. The audience exploded as the bidding crossed $10 million, and then again at $11 million, and again at $12 million, before finally selling for $13,425,000, a new record for a French car at auction.
A diverse group of cars added to the records set today, offering insight into multiple market niches. A 1967 Toyota-Shelby 2000 GT crossed the block for $2,535,000 to become the most expensive Japanese car sold at public auction. It would be enticing to point to this as validation for the Japanese collector market’s trajectory, but given this particular car’s provenance, rarity, racing history, and association with a certain gentleman named Shelby, our team sees this as more of a one-off sale rather than a market indicator.
Shortly thereafter, a Riviera Blue 1998 RUF Turbo R Limited sold for $2,040,000, setting a record for the German automaker. Newer companies like Singer and Gunther Werks have popularized high-dollar, restomodded Porsches in the 21st Century, proving people are no longer reluctant to spend large sums on a 911 that was worked on by someone other than the Porsche factory—as long as that company has a solid reputation. This might be driving demand back to the RUF market.
Each of these cars would be impressive in and of themselves, but they also highlight another trend we’re seeing at in-person auctions. The market strength we’ve noticed in the last year has brought out the million-dollar-plus cars—45 percent more than in 2020—as well as a room full of bidders willing to pay top dollar for them. These factors enabled Gooding to more than triple their 2020 sales this year.
We’ve written recently about renewed interest in the prewar market. A duo of repeat sales this weekend indicate some prewar values remain extremely stable over the last decade. A 1939 Bentley 4.25-Litre sold for $775,000 today, previously selling for $770,000 in 2016 and $769,000 in 2015. The 1911 Winton at Bonhams sold for $224,000 yesterday after selling for $220,000 nine years ago. While they might not keep pace with inflation (especially in today’s world), these are indicators that despite their age, prewar cars are still holding some attention in the collector world.
Despite the record sales, the weekend remains softer and less dramatic than Scottsdale. As noted in yesterday’s report, Amelia tends to be a more reserved atmosphere than other major auction events. Total sales from the first two days stands at $81.5 million, trailing our forecast of $95 million. Average sales prices of $377,183 and a 95% sell-through rate are lower than projected as well. Amelia still has one day left, but it looks as though the collector car market won’t exit the week with the heat it had when it began. Understanding whether this is an isolated scenario or an indicator of the market cooling off will take additional time and perspective.
RM Sotheby’s Saturday auction will wrap up Amelia’s sales, offering 86 vehicles across eleven decades. This broad spectrum is highlighted by a 1934 Packard Twelve, a 1994 Bugatti EB110 GT Prototype, and a trio of modern multi-million-dollar hyper cars. While no eight figure cars are on tomorrow’s list, this wealth of blue-chip cars remains likely drive interest and bidder engagement.