Ferraris accelerate to record $167-m sale as others stall

Written by Bloomberg | Updated: Aug 30 2011, 07:47am hrs
The classic-car market is dividing between the best models, whose prices are racing to records, and others that are faltering on the sales start line, dealers say.

Auction totals are beating forecasts and some sellers made bigger returns from their Ferraris this month than from volatile financial markets. Still, investors are aware that an average classic auto can offer less lucrative returns.

The market has polarised, Geneva-based auto advisor Simon Kidston said in an interview. Big-ticket cars are making more and more. The rest is becoming much more difficult to sell.

Kidston attended this months Monterey Car Week, North Americas bellwether for the market, where the three biggest auctions increased by 11% over last year.

The results were better than anyone could have expected, said Kidston, the founder of Kidston. The auction houses are having to work harder, though. Certain cars are being guaranteed and bidding isnt as deep or as frenetic as it was three years ago. The top lots went to known collectors. There arent enough younger new buyers entering the market.

There will be another test of demand on September 16 at Goodwood in England, with a Bonhams sale of 90 cars with a total value of as much as 11 million.

A 1963 Semi-Lightweight hardtop Jaguar E-Type, one of two road models built as variants of the 12 competition cars that the factory created to take on Ferrari at Le Mans, may fetch as much as 2 million. The 165 mph coupe has its original gray paintwork and hasnt been offered at auction before.

Gooding & Co, RM Auctions and Bonhams raised $166.7 million from the Monterey sales, up from $150.2 million in 2010. Gooding and RM both had official totals of $78.2 million, with selling rates of more than 80% for respective offerings of 127 and 144 cars. More sales came after the auctions.

A 1957 Ferrari was sold by Gooding for $16.4 million, a record for any car at auction. Gooding raised $10.3 million, a record for an American car at auction, for a 1931 Duesenberg. A further $3 million was given for a 1956 Ferrari Superamerica.

That was a strong price, said Dietrich Hatlapa, founder of HAGI and the author of Better than Gold: Investing in Historic Cars.