We at Hagerty Insider are looking toward Monterey’s auctions with great anticipation. For car nuts and market enthusiasts like us, it might be easy to say that every year, but there are some truly exceptional cars crossing the block this time around. Also of note are some themes that have emerged as the auction lists have finalized—certain segments seem poised to dominate the results, while others are conspicuously absent.
First, the cars that aren’t headed to Monterey in droves: analog supercars. The McLaren F1, Ferrari F40 and F50, Porsche 959 and Carrera GT lead the way for a raw experience that includes a manual transmission, but few (if any) driver aids. We’ve noted their accelerating popularity and appreciation in the market over the past couple of years. However, in the upcoming auctions at Monterey, the analog supercar selection is rather sparse. Only three Ferrari F40s have been consigned. No McLaren F1s are on the docket, and only one F50 is available. One Porsche 959 is up for auction and there is also only one Porsche Carrera GT. After an appreciation of 103 percent for those five vehicles in the past five years, perhaps it is just as well that analog supercars don’t oversupply the Monterey auctions this year.
Filling that void somewhat are a dozen past Le Mans entrants. With the 24 Hours of Le Mans celebrating the 100th anniversary of the race earlier in June, and doing so in notable fashion with the first Ferrari victory since 1965, enthusiasts are primed for cars associated with the famous race. Past entrants to the 24-hour event crossing the auction block (perhaps with less time on the auction block than what it took for them to complete one lap) range from a front-wheel drive 1928 Alvis at Bonhams to a 2001 Ferrari 550 by Prodrive at RM Sotheby’s. The median low estimate for the 12 cars is $3M.
The prewar segment remain a big part of the Monterey auctions, with nearly one fifth of this year's consignments being built before World War II. The group's total sales will likely exceed $100M, and values (based on low estimates) range from $30,000 for a 1922 Lincoln Model L at Bonhams to $8M for a 1933 Bugatti Type 55 Roadster at Gooding.
The share of prewar consignments with no reserve is 39 percent, less than 1% above the no reserve ratio for all vehicles consigned. However, as shown in the chart below, no-reserve prewar consignments have generally been on the rise, which suggests motivated sellers or auction company worries.
Despite that trend, six of the seven Duesenbergs offered have a reserve, and with an average low estimate of $1.8M, they remain one of the most valuable marques.
A Ferrari has set the annual auction record nearly every other year since 1987, and Monterey is the venue for the annual auction record about half the time, too. While that doesn’t mean that a Ferrari sets the record in Monterey every other year, it occurs frequently enough to say that the two go together like biscotti and espresso. We’ll see plenty of Ferraris at the auctions on the peninsula this year (more than 130), and all told they will likely sell in greater numbers than any other marque. The total Ferrari sales count also approaches a third of the total sales from all the auctions. The two top offerings at the auctions this year are Ferraris, with Bonhams offering a 1967 Ferrari 412 P and RM Sotheby’s offering a 1964 Ferrari 250 LM. Both cars have Le Mans history.
The second most popular marque at the Monterey auctions is Porsche. Even though Amelia Island tends to be the place to buy and sell exceptional Porsches, there will be many desirable Porsches on the peninsula. With the Porsche Rennsport Reunion just one month later at nearby Laguna Seca, the auctions are a good place to find something new to take to the upcoming race. Just over 100 Porsches are consigned to the auctions, with offerings ranging from a 2017 Porsche Cayenne S at Mecum to a 1956 Porsche 550A Prototype Le Mans Werks Coupe at RM Sotheby’s.
Finally, keep an eye on the Japanese vehicles consigned—specifically the Japanese Domestic Market (JDM) vehicles that weren’t sold in the U.S. when new. There will be two 1967 Toyota 2000GTs (at Broad Arrow and Gooding), but there will also be that model’s successor – the 2012 Lexus LFA (at RM Sotheby’s). Even though the 2000GTs have a higher estimate, the LFA market appears strong and it may sell for more than its predecessor. Two Subaru Impreza 22Bs will be offered—a prototype at Bonhams and a car with a privateer race history at Mecum. We’ll also keep an eye on Broad Arrow’s 1995 Honda NSX Type R and their 1992 Autozam AZ-1—both mid-engine, both white, but on very different areas of the value spectrum. The one with half the cylinders (the AZ-1) may go for around 1/20th the price of the NSX.
As you can see, there’s lots to look forward to at the auctions this year. Keep an eye out for additional auction previews in the coming weeks and our regular live blog coverage of the auctions as they take place.