Classic cars up for auction in Monterey, California, this week are expected to shatter records.
Auction sales at the Monterey Car Week are expected to total between $300 million and $490 million, according to Hagerty Automotive Intelligence, the classic-car insurance and collector-lifestyle company. Experts say sales are likely to top the all-time record at the showing of $395 million in 2015. Last year’s total was $351 million.
A total of 956 cars will be up for auction this year across the five auctions houses, according to Classic.com. Porsche and Ferrari lead the pack, with 100 Porsches and 93 Ferraris up for sale. A record 149 cars will be offered for $1 million or more this year, with at least a half-dozen expected to fetch eight figures, according to Hagerty.
Collectors and auction houses say the return of international buyers to Pebble Beach this year will only add fuel to the continued strong demand among U.S. collectors. Demand, sales and prices are soaring both online and at in-person auctions.
“The classic car auction market is showing significant strength from both an online and live perspective,” said McKeel Hagerty, CEO of Hagerty. “By all measures 2022 has been a banner year so far.”
Live auction sales figures are up 53% over 2021, according to Hagerty, and online auctions are up 69% over last year. Nearly $2 billion in cars have sold so far at auction this year, between live and online auctions.
Concerns about inflation, recession and a volatile stock market don’t seem to be denting demand for classic cars, at any price point, auction houses say. Massive wealth accumulated during the pandemic, coupled with a new, younger wave of collectors who bought in over the past two years, is driving demand.
Plus, a scarcity of used and new cars has lifted prices for classic cars, sending auctions to records.
This spring an ultra-rare 1955 Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR sold for $143 million – becoming the most expensive car ever sold and redefining “expensive” in the classic-car market.
CEO Hagerty said he expects bidding to be strong across most categories and eras.
“Thinking about the auctions in Monterey this weekend, we expect strong bidding for the ‘bookends’ – from pre-war cars, think Bugatti Type 57s and Mercedes-Benz 540Ks, to the modern, yet-still-analog supercars such as Ferrari F40s, F50s and Porsche Carrera GTs,” he said. “The fil rouge here being cars that have a high degree of innovation among their contemporaries. They can be driven, toured and enjoyed on modern roads, no questions asked.”
This year’s show will feature the first live-auction from Broad Arrow Group, the classic-car sales company founded last year and just acquired by Hagerty. Its top lots include a 1957 Ferrari 250 GT LWB Berlinetta Scaglietti “Tour de France,” estimated to be worth as much as $7 million, and a 1939 Mercedes-Benz 540 K Sindelfingen Spezial Roadster, estimated at up to $8 million.
“It’s part of our vision to build an ecosystem for all car lovers,” Hagerty said.
Here are the top five cars, by estimated value, expected to sell this week in Monterey:
5. 1958 Maserati 450S by Fantuzzi,
Estimated price: $9 million to $11 million
This racing Maserati, auctioned by RM Sotheby’s, is part of the Oscar Davis collection and was one of 10 examples built. It won three SCCA regional events in 1958 and was restored in the late 1990s but maintains much of its original mechanical equipment.
4. 1938 Talbot-Lago T150-C SS Teardrop Coupe by Figoni et Falaschi
Estimated price: $9 million to $11 million
One of just 11 built, and the only known example commissioned specifically for racing, this Talbot-Lago “Teardrop Coup” completed the 1939 LeMans 24 hours and later underwent a six-year restoration and won several awards as part of the Oscar Davis collection. It’s being auctioned by RM Sotheby’s.
3. 1937 Mercedes-Benz 540 K Special Roadster by Sindelfingen
Estimated price: $9 million to $12 million
One of just three examples, this 540 K was delivered to the King of Afghanistan in 1937. The car passed through several owners and has rarely been seen in public, with many of its original details. It’s being auctioned by RM Sotheby’s.
2. 1937 Bugatti Type 57SC Atalante
Estimated price: $10 million to $12 million
This is one of the top examples of the sought-after Type 75S Atalante. Bugatti only built 42 of the cars, and no two are alike. This model, auctioned by Gooding & Co., passed through several owners in Europe and the U.S. before undergoing an extensive, three-year restoration by owner Ray Scherr and winning several awards.
1. 1955 Ferrari 410 Sport Spider by Scaglietti
Estimated price: $25 million to $30 million
One of the most significant racing Ferraris ever built, this 410 was one of just two built and was raced by legends Juan Manuel Fangio and Carroll Shelby. Shelby won more races in this 410, known as “0598 CM,” than in any other car during his racing career. It’s being auctioned by RM Sotheby’s.