Keith’s Blog: The Afterglow of Monterey

The Monday after Classic Car Week in Monterey is strangely quiet. No herds of Lamborghini  Aventadors pushing their way through traffic. All the real Cobras are gone; you know if you see one today it’s a Tupperware special.

I’m staying on through Thursday, to participate in the BMW CCA annual convention, Oktoberfest. Wendie drove our tii tribute (i.e. replica) down for the event, and she and I will drive it home up Highway 1 and 101. I’ll be the emcee on Tuesday, at the concours held at the Hyatt where the Mecum auction was.

I just spoke yesterday with Alex, who is on a five-day road trip down the Oregon coast with two girlfriends. She was driving on a secondary road, pulled over for a minute, and then found the Alfa Giulia Super wouldn’t start.

She popped the hood, and another car pulled over. The driver jumped out and said, “Hi, I’m an SCMer, you must be Alex and this is the SCM Super. Can I help?” A few minutes later he had found come corrosion on the coil wire that energizes the starter — a few scrapes with a pocket knife, and the problem was solved. Thank you, Don Carlson!

The SCM staff is now headed north for a well-deserved couple of days off, after our most successful Monterey ever. The sales of SCM and ACC subscriptions and books were double what we expected, and we gave away nearly 1,000 SCM 25th Anniversary pins to subscribers.

(Yes, you can still order yours here – or get it at the SCM booth at the All British Field Meet in Portland over Labor Day, our next event).

I was honored to be inducted into the Concorso Italiano Hall of Fame; the event was better than ever this year, and I think next year’s move to Saturday will surely increase the crowds even more.

At the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, our own Simon Kidston came home with a coveted Best in Class, Lamborghini, with his immaculate black-over-white 1973 Miura SV.

My personal favorite car of the weekend was a 1948 Alfa Romeo 6C competizione coupe at Gooding & Co. I bid aggressively for the first $3m, but then the serious players got involved and it raced to a $4.4m hammer.

Of course, the one sale everyone wanted to talk about was the Ferrari NART Spyder that brought $27.5m at RM. Yes, a staggering price, and well beyond the $15m – $20m even the most optimistic wags thought it would bring.


To me, the explanation of this price is simple. The buyer was a well-heeled, experienced Swiss-based collector. The Spyder was a one-owner car, and the proceeds were going to charity. When was the next one going to come up, and if it did, was it going have the same provenance? And I personally think the charity aspect is important, as it allows someone to feel like they are actually doing some societal good while buying the car of their dreams.

Of course we’ll have a full report on the sale in the Monterey coverage of SCM, but for the moment let’s just call this one extremely well sold, and very satisfyingly bought.

(To follow my adventures at Oktoberfest and on the trip home, check out my FB account here.)

Keith Martin

Keith Martin has been involved with the collector car hobby for more than 30 years. As a writer, publisher, television commentator and enthusiast, he is constantly on the go, meeting collectors and getting involved in their activities throughout the world. He is the founder and publisher of the monthly Sports Car Market, now in its 33rd year. Keith has written for the New York Times, Automobile, AutoWeek, Road & Track and other publications, is an emcee for numerous concours, and had his own show, “What’s My Car Worth,” shown on Velocity. He has received many honors, including the Lee Iacocca Award, the Edward Herrman Award, was inducted into the Concorso Italiano Hall of Fame and more. He is on the boards of directors of The LeMay Museum and Oregon Ballet Theater, and was formerly the chair of the board of the Meguiar's Award.

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