Back in August, we saw a 2004 Porsche Carrera GT with 2660 miles at Mecum’s Monterey auction. We’d seen it before, way back in 2016 when it sold for $649,000. But in 2021 it brought $1.21M. That made it the most expensive Carrera GT ever sold at auction, breaking the two-year-old $1.193M record price from Monterey 2019. Since Monterey is the highest concentration of million-dollar auction cars all year, and since 2021 saw collectors clamoring for analog exotics of all types, we expected this record to last at least a little while.
Nope. Exactly one month later, on September 14, another 2004 Carrera GT sold for $1.315M on Bring a Trailer.
The differences between these two high-selling V-10 Porsche hypercars are minimal. The Bring a Trailer Carrera GT is finished in the same color (GT Silver), but has a brown interior rather than the Mecum car’s black cockpit and it came with the matching brown luggage set, something not present or represented with the Mecum car. The Bring a Trailer car also showed 2660 miles, but that’s only 910 fewer ticks on the odometer than Mecum’s Carrera GT. A little napkin math, and the $105,000 difference in final price comes out to $115.38 per mile.
So what’s the lesson here? Well, the main one is that driver-focused analog exotic cars are in higher than ever demand everywhere, not just on the Monterey Peninsula in August. The Monterey auctions don’t exist in a bubble, and even though it’s the unofficial home of seven-figure auctions, the big online auction platforms have shown they can sell top-shelf cars, too, and those platforms are here to stay.
We also can’t talk about auction cars in this price range without talking about fees. Mecum charges a 10 percent buyer’s fee on top of the hammer price. Bring a Trailer charges 5 percent, but caps its buyer’s premium at $5000. The Monterey car, then, hammered at $1.1M but the buyer had to pony up an extra 110 grand to take the car home. The bidding timer on the Bring a Trailer car, meanwhile, reached 0:00 $1.31M, but the winning bidder only had to throw in 5 grand. If the same car brought the same bid at a live auction, he or she would have been on the hook for another $131,000 in fees. Just something to keep in mind the next time the next time you’re bidding in record price territory.
Don’t forget that Mecum and others also charge the seller a hefty listing fee. 10% of the hammer price is standard, so the seller paid as much as $130,000 here. With BAT, the listing fee is tiny, so virtually every penny of that hammer price went into the seller’s pocket.