Recent sales show continued market growth

by Richard Hudson-Evans
24 July 2013 4 min read
Recent sales show continued market growth
The sole DB4GT Bertone "Jet" coupe is the most expensive Aston Martin road car ever sold, at £3.25 million.

One-off DB4GT ‘Jet’ and Ferrari 340/375 with Ascari-Farina-Hawthorn history set records, while Professor Higgins still seeks ‘My Fair Lady’

Bullish prices paid for Aston Martins at the annual Bonhams AML auction in May confirmed an upward trend in Aston values in the marque’s centenary year. The 14th such sale to be held at the rebranded ‘Aston Martin Works’ restoration workshops and heritage centre, on the site of the former Newport Pagnell factory, inspired the highest live attendance yet, and broke all previous records.

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The £3.25m with premium invested by an Irish buyer in the 1960 DB4GT ‘Jet’ Coupe by Bertone is the highest price ever paid for an Aston Martin road car, while the £10.07m sale total with 100% of cars selling were also record stats for this auction.

Every last barn find dropping was eagerly swept up, led by a 1964 DB5 that had been in deceased ownership since 1972 and was last MOT’d in 1979. It was taken on for £320,700, more than double the pre-sale estimate, and more than another previously restored DB5 of identical spec and vintage with valid MOT in the sale which sold for £303,900!
Even a 1965 DB5 Aston Engineering detailed minter appeared to have been inexpensively landed for £460,700, by comparison. And yet, despite being uneconomic prospects, in terms of what they might cost to revive and what a benefactor may expect to recover on subsequent resale, even the most apparently hopeless basket cases continue to pull. Clearly, there’s more than one Professor Henry Higgins out there, who wants to turn Eliza Doolittle into ‘My Fair Lady’.

Among other discoveries in Bonhams ‘Barn Finds’ corner at the Aston Sale (which even warranted a photo-mural set as a backdrop this year) were a largely complete 1964 DB5 with seized engine, which found £259,100; a 1963 DB4 Series V Vantage with last tax disc expired in 1985 that made £180,700, and a really down and virtually out 1966 DB6 Vantage with a cat’s skeleton in the back that raised £107,900 and much applause. One hopes the winning bidder has a sense of humour.

The following weekend, in the grounds of Villa Erba beside Lake Como, in excess of 1,000 afficionados saw RM’s star lot, a 1963 Ferrari 340/375 MM Pininfarina Berlinetta ‘Competizione’ with period competition provenance duly deliver another record-breaking performance.

[Editor’s Note: ‘The Fangio 1954 Mercedes-Benz W196R realising £19,601,500during the Bonhams 12 July Goodwood Festival of Speed sale has convincingly overtaken the RM Ferrari result — a full analysis of the significance of what is a new world record price for any collector vehicle will appear in next month’s European auctions round-up.]

Having been raced by no less than three World Champs — Ascari, Farina and Hawthorn — 0320AM was driven past the RM rostrum into new ownership for a premium-inclusive 9,856,000 euros (£8.38m) during an 85% sold evening, during which RM bidders exchanged 27.32m euros (£23,22m) for 32 collector cars.

The 340/375 MM smashed the previous auction record for the model and established a new world record for a closed ‘Berlinetta’ Ferrari sold under the gavel. It is also the most expensive automobile sold at auction during the 2012/2013 Transatlantic auction season so far. Five cars realised more than 1 million euros apiece here and all 16 Ferraris sold out.

For although a 1962 400 Superamerica Short-Wheelbase Coupe ‘Aerodynamico’ achieved a 2.18m euros (£1.86m) mid-estimate result, more significant for the Prancing Horse market was the 1.1m euros (£952,000) paid for a 1965 275GTB, which had been guide-priced to fetch 750,000-850,000 euros. Originally a short-nosed car, then long-nosed during an earlier rebuild, 07743’s more than top estimate valuation was certainly boosted by a recent return to short-nose configuration during the latest restoration, the fact that all numbers were still matching and the car being in fresh receipt of Ferrari Classiche Certificazione.

In achieving 1,069,000 euros (£909,190), 190,000 euros (£162,000) more than forecast, a 2004 Enzo, admittedly a virtually still ‘as new’ one owner car with only 1028k on the odo, did sell, which is more than the last couple of auction entries have done. But then a 1985 288GTO also bettered its estimate to sell for 963,200 euros (£818,720). Seemingly un-abused examples of the 1997 F50 and the 1989 F40 also sold to the Villa D’Este Concours weekenders,  and for above their estimates too, the former realising 560,000 euros (£476,000), the latter 470,000 euros (£399,500).   

It would certainly appear that the prices of earlier front-engined Ferraris motor  upwards, sale by sale. A 1964 250GT Lusso, again enhanced by matching numbers and Classiche Certification, attracted an above-estimate 974,000 euros (£828,240) and a 1961 250GT S2 Cabriolet sold for a more than expected 834,400 euros (£709,240) with matching numbers and the comforting Classiche Certificate. Also more than forecast were the 795,000 euros (£675,920) available for a 1965 275GTS open-top, again with Classiche paperwork, and the 448,000 euros (£380,800) for a Classiche Certificated 1966 330GTC. The going rate for a matching numbers 1973 365GTB/4-cam Daytona on a Saturday night out in Northern Italy was 380,800 euros (£323,680), 61,000 euros (£51,850) more than the guide. Vroom, vroom.

Consumers are usually only cajoled into play by ‘No Reserve’ offers in a market where bears have chased away the bulls, and yet, 60% of the voitures viewed in the underground car park beneath Artcurial HQ in Paris were auctioned ‘Sans Reserve’. Among them, surprisingly, the highest and second highest priced sellers, a 1939 Horch 853A Cabrio and a 1938 Bugatti Type 57 Ventoux from the collection of Carroserie Lecoq, the restorer Andre Lecoq. They were hammered away in the Theatre du Rond-Point for 666,900 euros (£566,865) and 508,950 euros (£432,608). By the end of a close-to-five-hours marathon evening, 81 of the 91 cars had sold, a decidedly bullish 89% sale rate, for 8.66m euros (£7.36m).

More than 20 ‘No Reserve’ lots certainly magnetised plenty of punters to spend their Saturday afternoon in the former Mercedes-Benz dealership showroom just outside Woodstock that is the Bonhams Oxford saleroom these days. Once again, there were plenty of takers for 91% of the 76 cars and 79% of the 38 bikes in exchange for £1.51m with premium. Making blips on many radar screen here was a right-hand drive 1972 Porsche 911T 2.4 Coupe with the last MOT out of time in 1997, so needing full re-commissioning if not considerably more and an ideal candidate for 911RS 2.7 conversion. It was keenly contested until hammer fall at £48,300 with premium, three times more than the lower estimate.

But then, another right-hand drive 1970 911T 2.2, a rust-beneath-dust ‘No Reserve’ project, had already pulled well by selling for £26,400 in the Historics at Brooklands sale a fortnight earlier. The weekend after the Bonhams 911T result, a previously repainted 1971 911T 2.2 left hooker, in need of another respray, but with valid MOT, raised £32,025, double the estimate, during the latest ACA sale at King’s Lynn, where 107 or 76% of the 141 cars changed hands for £784,186. And right beside the Hagerty booth, a £25,000-35,000 1970 Mercedes-Benz 280SL ‘Pagoda Top’ with locked-on brakes, that had been garaged for 30 years, made a thumping £81,900. Happily, for many vendors, the old car world has gone completely mad.

‘Movers and Shakers’ in the latest batch of European sales analysed by auctions commentator and Hagerty data collector Richard Hudson-Evans

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