For wealthy car enthusiasts and auction houses alike, the annual Pebble Beach auctions are the place to be in the search for rare and expensive vehicles.
This year’s classic car auctions during the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, in Monterey, Calif., were held once again by RM Auctions, Gooding & Co., and Bonhams. Sales this year reached a record $400 million in total between all auction houses.
Hagerty Insurance, which insures and tracks the value of classic cars, reported that the sales over the four-day event were 28% higher than last year’s total.
The top sale went through Bonhams, which auctioned off a 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO Coupe for a record-breaking $38,115,000; the second highest sale of all time was just shy of $30 million last year. While the price may seem ostentatious to many, the same model Ferrari has sold in private sales for upwards of $50 million in recent years.
All of the top 10 sales, in fact, were Ferrari models from the 1950s and 1960s, except for a 1965 Ford GT40 Prototype Roadster, which came in seventh place at a sale of $6.93 million and was sold through RM Auctions.
Overall, even the middle of the market saw increases over last year’s auction results at Pebble Beach. The average sale price rose 29% to %535,648; the median grew to $99,000, according to Hagerty Insurance.
And although pre-war cars and European makes dominated the auction blocks, auction houses have also begun to include more Japanese brands, which are seeing more collections over the past few years.
A Mazda Cosmo from 1967 and a 1972 Nissan Skyline both sold for more than $200,000 a piece — greatly exceeding their pre-auction estimates.
If auction houses also disclose any private deals that took place after the events at Pebble Beach, that $400 million total could go higher. Although many cars are auctioned with undisclosed minimum prices, sellers may negotiate privately if a car receives bids that are close to, yet not meeting, that figure.
Many of today’s auctions, such as those from Bonhams and RM Auctions, offer online bidding, which helps remove time and location restraints from those looking to make a purchase. The Pebble Beach auctions through Gooding & Co., however, require absentees to fill out paperwork first or bid by phone if they are not present for the live bidding.
Also featured in the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance are numerous car shows as part of Monterey Car Week.