In August, buzz in the collector car world shifts to California’s Monterey Peninsula, and inevitably, the two main questions that come from the weekend are: What car won “Best of Show” at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, and what vehicle fetched the highest price at auction. Of course, we have the answer, and then some.
Headlines everywhere, including mainstream media, went to RM Auctions, which sold a one-family-owned 1967 Ferrari 275 GTB/4*S N.A.R.T. Spider for $27.5 million (with buyer’s commission) during its Aug.16-17 Monterey sale held at the Portola Hotel & Spa and Monterey Conference Center. That figure represented a world record auction price for a road-going car, and the second-highest price ever paid for any car at auction.
“From day one, our singular aim was to tell our extraordinary father’s story and honor him in a way that would have made him smile, by donating the proceeds to charities that dad and our entire family are fond of,” said Eddie Smith Jr, son of the Ferrari’s original owner. “We feel very blessed to be able to touch thousands of lives in such a positive way. RM Auctions did a tremendous job from start to finish, forever linking dad’s legacy with the car he loved so much. Attending the festivities on the Monterey Peninsula with our friends and family was precisely what Dad would have wanted us to do!
“It’s certainly our hope that the new owner enjoys the car as much as our family has and continues to show and drive it with pride, so that the many Ferrari enthusiasts around the world can partake in the fun,” he added.
RM Auctions had a great weekend, stating, “Over two nights, which witnessed the sale of some of the world’s finest and most significant automobiles, a total of 120 handpicked lots achieved an incredible sales total of more than $125,000,000 with over 87 percent of all lots sold, making RM’s 2013 Monterey sale the highest grossing collector car auction of all time.”
Money flies around more than the seagulls at Monterey during mid August, and other auction companies also posted huge numbers during the auctions. Gooding & Company stated it sold $112 million worth of cars during its sale Aug. 17-18. It said its highest seller was a 1957 Ferrari 250 GT 14-Louver Berlinetta it called sold at $9.4 million (with buyer’s commission).
European sports cars dominate Monterey during the week-long activities, from the shows to the auctions, so it’s not surprising that Mecum, best known for offering quality postwar American cars, saw its high sale go to an import. It sold a 1955 Porsche 550/1500 RS Spyder for $4.012 million (with buyer’s commission).
Russo and Steele is also a very popular and strong venue for postwar American performance machines, but also European exotics, and saw its top sale go to an import: a 1949 Ferrari 166 Inter Berlinetta. This exotic Ferrari sold for $1.05 million (with buyer’s commission) to much applause after the hammer fell.
Bonhams, the fifth auction house to host a sale in Monterey during the week of automotive activities there, posted its top seller as a 1931 Bentley 4.5-Litre Supercharged Le Mans Roadster, which reportedly sold for $4.6 million (with buyer’s commission).
All told, about $300 million traded hands at the auction houses during Monterey’s automotive week. Old Cars Weekly and its roving team of auction reporters were present during the auctions, so watch for detailed listings of sold cars in upcoming issues.
The week of auctions and other automotive events lead up to Sunday’s Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, the original August automotive event on the Monterey Peninsula. The 63rd annual concours pronounced its Best of Show as the 1934 Packard 1108 Twelve Dietrich-bodied convertible victoria owned by Judge Joseph Cassini III and his wife Margie.
"This Packard is the epitome of American style and grace in the Classic Era; it embodies that period," said Concours Chairman Sandra Button. "It is understated but elegant, and it has a striking but quiet presence. When it drove onto our show field this morning, and I stepped forward to greet the Cassinis, I could barely hear the engine running."
Apart from a 2007 win by the 1935 Duesenberg SJ Speedster known as the Duesenberg Special (formerly the Mormon Meteor), this win marks the first for an American car in nearly 20 years.
"That makes this win even more special," said Judge Joseph Cassini III. "It's nice to see that even the European judges found this car significant enough to win Best of Show."
The Cassinis previously won the top award at the 2004 Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance with a 1938 Horch 853A Erdmann & Rossi Sport Cabriolet. "This win is more emotional," said Cassini. "This is the Olympics of car shows, and you would never think that you could win the Olympics twice."
The win for the Cassinis was also a win for RM Auctions, as the car was restored by the restoration wing of the auction house, RM Auto Restoration.
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