Top trends at Scottsdale classic car auctions this year



2015-06-26 14:05:11

Stay ahead of the market: discover the top trends at this year's Scottsdale classic car auctions

With this year's Scottsdale, Arizona auctions (one of the biggest US events on the car collecting calendar) ending this weekend, Paul Fraser Collectibles looks at the top buying trends, helping you stay ahead of the market.

Everybody wants a Lamborghini

Almost every auction house had at least one Lamborghini in their lot list this year. That certainly wasn't the case in previous years, and it appears that Lambo has finally found popularity among the car collecting elite.

Prices have soared in recent months, propelled by three record prices for a Countach in 2014. Muiras and Countachs remain the most popular, and if you own one, you might consider selling up to maximise the returns on your investment.

If you're looking to buy, you're a little late, but there are still bargains to be had in the Lamborghini market, with value in the lesser known models.

The Ferrari F40 is almost as popular as the 1960s classics

There's a distinct hierarchy when it comes to Ferrari models at auction, with those from 1960s stood firmly at the top.

Yet, the young upstart Ferrari F40 (1987-1992) has forced itself a place near to those from the 60s, and has become extremely desirable in recent months.

This is due to the car being the last that Enzo Ferrari was involved with before his death in 1988, as well as its racing success, despite never being intended for competition.

The good news is that the Ferrari F40 hasn't shot up in value too drastically, with the original price at $400,000 (about $800,000 in today's money) and one selling for $1.2m at RM Auctions' Scottsdale event. However, we expect prices to continue to rise, so get on board now if you're thinking of buying.

Alfa Romeo is on the rise

Scottsdale saw a deluge of 1960s Alfa Romeos cross the block, and the marque is certainly enjoying its time in the sun at the moment.

This is presumably a result of the dizzying prices of Ferraris from the era at auction, which has caused collectors with a smaller budget to look for that iconic 1960s Italian GT style elsewhere.

Many Alfas of the day boast beautiful coachwork by the likes of Zagato, Pininfarina or Scaglietti, but sell for just a fraction of the price of a Ferrari. Couple this with the marque's strong competition history, and you're just about as close to a 1960s Ferrari as you can get for under $1m.
Automobilia is not to be overlooked

With all those fancy cars comes an equally fancy garage and you'll need to decorate it…

Automobilia, or automobile memorabilia, is the answer for many collectors. And the area is growing fast, with many auction houses at this year's event adding a string of motoring-related items to their lot listing.

RM Auctions featured paintings of classic races, and Barrett-Jackson offered over 2,000 advertising signs and unique pieces of nostalgia. Automobilia will be on the rise in years to come, and those looking to make a profit should get on board now, seeking out rare and desirable piece to sell on in the future.

Porsche racers are seeing top prices

While Ferrari may be about luxury and styling, Porsche's most sought after models seem to be the aggressive-looking cars built especially for competition, particularly the Le Mans winning endurance racers.

The iconic livery, racing history and unique look of these, such as the 917, are big draws for collectors, not to mention the rarity. A 906 Carrera 6, the model that led to the development of the famous 917, proved most popular at Scottsdale, bringing $1.9m to Gooding & Company.

German marques are making headway

This year's Arizona sales saw a number of German marques among the most valuable sold, with BMW, Porsche and Mercedes-Benz all up there with the likes Ferrari, Lamborghini and Shelby.

Of course, the Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwing has long been a top selling collectible, but others such as the BMW 507 – which has doubled in price in the last 12 months according to Hagerty Insurance – are also becoming regular fixtures at the top of auctions.

Hagerty's German Collectibles index backs up the trend, seeing a 25.5% increase in value in 2014, and more robust results expected this year.

Not all cars make good investments

Ron Pratte sold his esteemed collection at Barrett-Jackson this past week, including some of the finest and rarest American cars on the market.

Many were unique and highly sought after (the famous 1966 Shelby Cobra Super Snake was among them) but Pratte barely made a penny on his collection.

The Super Snake, which sold for $5m back in 2007, made just $5.1m, while his GM Futurliner sold for $4m, the same as Pratte bought it for in 2006. Consider how much he must have put into the proper storage and upkeep of these, and he's made a considerable loss.

The reality is that Pratte paid too much in the first place, and there is a limit to how high prices can go for certain models. Let Pratte's story be a warning not to get too excited when bidding, as you'll only be disappointed in years to come.

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