Monterey Car Week: Auction Highlights
Monterey Car Week has quickly established itself as the place to be for the discerning car collector of late and the auction at its heart has become an increasingly popular highlight thanks to the unrelenting rise of super and classic car values.
With several rare and exotic machines heading over the block at this year's event, the 2019 iteration didn’t disappoint, with no less than 1,315 lots available for sale. Centre to these lots were some very notable highlights that included the likes of an exceptionally rare 1994 McLaren F1 LM, 1939 Porsche Type 64, 1965 Ford GT40 Prototype Roadster and a 1975 Ferrari 312T Formula 1 Race Car.
The sales of vehicles of this standard comes at a prime time for the industry. As the market and appetite for rare and interesting vehicles become increasingly competitive thanks to high investment potential, prices also continue to rise and the recent Monterey Auction still shows that there is still life and growth in the marketplace yet. Despite a subtle drop over last years event, the cumulative total for lots across the block this year brought in $245.5 million.
With 768 of those lots finding new homes, let's take a look at some of the cars that stole the show out on the US East Coast last weekend.
1994 McLaren F1 LM
Sale Price: $19,805,000
The McLaren F1. Designed by legendary car designer Gordon Murray, it is the epitome of the supercar and is a car with an enviable pedigree. Taking major success at the famous Le Mans 24 hours back in 1995, the McLaren F1 took a commanding victory with sister machines coming home in 3rd, 4th and 5th. Whilst it wasn’t quite the dream podium lockout, it did put the McLaren F1 on the map.
The example that went under the hammer recently is just one of two F1 road cars that were upgraded to LM specification at the McLaren factory with all conversions happing in period at the height of the F1 programme. Centre of this conversion is that stunning 780bhp V12 race specification engine. Covering 13,352 miles, it has been meticulously maintained and consistently fettled by McLaren Special Operations.
1965 Ford GT40 Prototype Roadster
Sale Price: $7,650,000
Our next highlight is somewhat of a rarity and is something not many people knew existed. In a move that many purists would not agree with, at the height of Ford GT40 fame, Ford produced six GT40 Roadsters.
The Ford GT40 needs no introduction. A car that holds an iconic profile, it goes down in motorsport folk law as one of the most successful race cars in history and arguably put Ford on the motorsport map as it swept to a number of dominant Le Mans 24 Hour victories. The GT40 Roadster is a rare beast and with the roof off adds a new dimension to the GT40. The only Roadster to survive in its original form, the example sold at Monterey can boast to being driven by the likes of Carroll Shelby and Jim Clark.
1975 Ferrari 312T Formula 1 Race Car
Sale Price: $6,000,000
In the year that Formula One legend Niki Lauda sadly passed it away, it’s somewhat fitting that the Austrian hero’s first championship-winning Formula One car has its moment in the spotlight.
The first 312T to be offered for sale at auction was fastidiously maintained by its previous owner and comes presented in the same livery as it raced in the 1975 French Grand Prix, the very championship event where Lauda was thrust to the top of the Championship table. Taking 5 victories that year, 1975 would prove to be the first of three championship victories for Lauda.
1939 Porsche Type 64
Sale Price: $7,650,000
Our final vehicle highlight caused somewhat of a stir at auction and for all the wrong reasons. Initial bidding got off to a frenzied start after RM Sotheby’s commenced the auction at $30 million instead of $13 million. Bidding soared to heights of $70 million before the auctioneer realised his error.
The auction was restarted to boos and jeers from the crowd. Despite the previously high bid price, it wasn’t to reach that again as potential interest in the room was lost, resulting in the vehicle being unsold. It was a sorry end for an exceptionally rare machine, a machine that was said to be driven by Ferdinand Porsche himself.
Whilst the above machines were the stars of the show, other highlights included the ever-popular Ferrari 250 in a number of guises, with the best selling of these being the 250 California LWB Spider ($9,905,000), 250 GT SWB Coupe ($8,145,000), 250 GT Cabriolet SI ($6,800,000) and 250 GT TdF Coupe which sold for $5,100,000.
Whilst the final cumulative sale prices of vehicles at this years Monterey Car Week didn’t top previous records, it does show that the classic car market is still in great shape and as vehicles become even more scarce and buyers pallets becoming increasingly discerning, it will be interesting to see if the impressive growth in vehicle values can continue at the same rate. We’ll be keeping a watchful eye.