September 1999

A $45 Million Fireworks Display

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Monterey this year was a three-day auction-block fireworks show, with 228 of 286 cars that crossed the block selling for a 79% rate and a sales total of just over $45 million. We'll have a complete report in next month's issue, but our first reaction is that while the overall sales rate was strong, a reflection of the buoyant American economy, nearly every car that sold fell within an expected price range. This wasn't 1988, with Aston dropheads going from $30,000 to $300,000 overnight, or 1989, with Daytonas zooming from $50,000 to $500,000 in a mindless orgy of buying and flipping.
There's a lot of new money coming into the collector car hobby, much from high-tech entrepreneurs and investment moguls who have made their millions and are now satisfying their automotive fantasies.
They're willing to pay strong prices for exceptional cars with provenance, like the Terry Cohn Alfa 8C 2900B that an SCM subscriber bought at the Christie's auction for over $4m, but only average prices for serial production cars, no matter how well restored they might be, as witness the immaculate 289 Cobra that RM got just $126,500 for.