Arizona Auction Week 2017 Wrap-Up

Arizona Auction Week 2017 Wrap-Up

After spending some time studying my new Hammer Price app (a must-have) and going through some of my auction notes for the week, I have come to some of the same conclusions I did last year—some marques did well, and others lost a little ground in value. it also seemed like the general attendance for the whole week was up, starting with the Arizona Concours d’Elegance. Too bad the weather didn’t cooperate.

The Italians continue to march forward, although mostly in the “affordable” models. Really nice Ferrari 308s have moved into six -figure territory, with a slightly flawed but nonetheless lovely 1958 Alfa Romeo Giulietta Spider Veloce bringing stellar money at $160,000+, and a 1974 Alfa Romeo GTV hammering at $76,000+ at Bonham’s.

Overall, the whole Austin Healey market is down about 20% from highs of a few years ago. Even a fabled 100S—one of fifty—was well-bought at a bargain price of $490,000. I heard people tell of it’s flaws but I reminded them that, “It’s still a real 100S!” Only the really nice cars sold well with the so-so cars at street sales rates.

Except for the $6.7 million spent for the Lightweight, the Jaguar market has cooled a bit on the E Types. A really nice late Series 1 4.2  did sell for $160,000+ which isn’t too shabby, though. There were just a lot of E Types available, and it is a hot brand and model. I still predict the Series 2 cars will start filling up the demand for E Types overall in the next few years.

Trending up (still,) the air-cooled Porsches are the cars to have. Some lovely 356 Speedsters held their own, and a really nice 912—but still a 912—fetched $105,000 at Gooding on Saturday. Another 356 barn-find bewildered even the most faithful at $341,000. After $600,000 plus for a Speedster barn find in Hilton Head, I’m left smiling to myself.

In talking with Andy Reid and other auction watchers, the cars that came up slowly and steadily—like the Aston Martins—held their own. The rising prices on cars like the Sunbeam Tigers have steadied, and again, only the nice cars held their values. There was also a lot of talk also about money availability and people not wanting to touch other investments with a stock market and Dow that is surging towards 20,000.

I think I may have to attend the March Amelia Island event to continue my research and see if the trends continue. Poor, poor pitiful me.

Top image credit: Andy Reid – ClassicCars.com


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The 2017 Austin-Healey Conclave

A quick wrap up from my trip to the 2017 Austin-Healey Conclave - in short: another great event, organized this time by the Texas Austin Healey Clubs. A quick wrap up from my trip to the 2017 Austin-Healey Conclave - in short: another great event,...

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My Annual Arizona Car Week – Trending 2017

My Annual Arizona Car Week – Trending 2017

Ever since I sold Mark Baker’s 100R Healey at Bonham’s Auction in Scottsdale four years ago I eagerly await coming back to Arizona for my now annual trip to the land of auctions and car shows. Once here, a common question I get from old and new friends alike is, “Are you out here buying and selling cars?”

When I typically reply “no” most figure I’m just goofing off in the sun. Which, since I do have family here, I sometimes do. But this has become a crucial week for me from a business strategy standpoint.

Arizona Car Week—as it has come to be known—is a place for me to focus my time, money, and energy to see first-hand what is going on in the vintage automobile market. What goes on at Arizona Auto week is what becomes knowledge that I can then share with friends and customers.

While the auction experience in and of itself is very exciting, the number of industry people and fellow enthusiasts I’ve met here has been invaluable. What I learn here— through a mix of social media, and being on the ground where the collectors and fans speak with their voices, minds, and checkbooks—sets my thinking for the year as a restorer and impassioned automotive devotee.

I mostly focus my attention on the Bonham’s, RM and Gooding’s auctions. I study the catalogues for sell estimates and then look at the cars critically. I do this for a variety of marques and models.

I then attend as many auctions—live—as I can, and study the results where I cannot. I talk to people as the cars move along, note which one failed to meet reserves, and which ones are beating the estimates. If I’ve seen the cars, many times I can tell you why it failed to meet the reserve, or why it took in some big cash. You can’t do that from the web, or watching Barrett Jackson on TV.

It’s a crazy busy week for me, there is so much activity all at once, but if you pay attention the trends become visible quickly. What marques and models are becoming more valuable? Which marques are losing strength or simply holding?

These hectic days help me guide customers and prospective customers into the light as to what cars are worth spending money on, and which ones to maybe wait on. If there are a lot of mediocre examples, you can bet the nice ones will shine.

When it’s over and I’m back in the Sport and Specialty shop, I’ll provide some insights as to what I have seen, heard and deduced. Come on back.

I need to get some more sunblock, so until I get home make sure to follow me on Facebook where you can see more of the beautiful cars below.


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The 2017 Austin-Healey Conclave

A quick wrap up from my trip to the 2017 Austin-Healey Conclave - in short: another great event, organized this time by the Texas Austin Healey Clubs. A quick wrap up from my trip to the 2017 Austin-Healey Conclave - in short: another great event,...

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Hilton Head Island Motoring Festival & Concours d’Elegance

Hilton Head Island Motoring Festival & Concours d’Elegance

Yesterday’s results. People’s choice 1951 Dodge. Founders Award 1952 A6G Maserati. Best in Show 1914 Stutz Bearcat!! Beautiful Car!


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The 2017 Austin-Healey Conclave

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Arizona Auto Auction Week – The Wrap Up

Arizona Auto Auction Week – The Wrap Up

Two Italian Cousins - Ferrari and Maserati

Two Italian Cousins – a Ferrari and Maserati at the RM Sotheby’s Auction in Arizona

The shock to my system has worn off already as I acclimate to the cold back on the tundra. I want to write down some thoughts about my trip to the AZ auctions this year for those of you who watch them. Understand, I am no “old hand’ at the AZ auction scene. My first auction experience was a little over two years ago in 2014, which makes this my third year. Without a doubt, it’s a great experience for a car nut of any shape, size, or breed. The various auction houses literally have something for everyone, and more, if you include memorabilia, motorcycles, toys, and whatever. The AZ Concours d’Elegance is spectacular and is the keystone event to kick off the week. This week long “Event” also generally kicks off the collector car season now. Even without a car to buy or sell, I still like going because it provides me with an idea of current market strength and values, as well as the quality of cars that are being offered. It also allows me an opportunity to meet and talk with professionals in the industry and see this business through the eyes of others that make their living in it. It is truly educational overall. Without me going into some deep dive on the results, you may want to check out this article in Petrolicious by Benjamin Shahrabani: What Does The Collector Car Market Look Like After The 2016 Arizona Auctions? It is a really good analysis of the metrics and atmosphere. Overall, $250 million changed hands in the big houses, down about 15%. I also saw many, if not most cars not reaching their estimated values. I also didn’t see a lot of really perfect cars in the production car areas. The coachbuilt cars are usually stunning, but some of the production cars just looked a little shabby to me. I believe the years of compounded annual growth just caught up with the market a bit, and people figured why not, let’s just send it out and see what happens. Typically not a good strategy, unless it’s a barn find or some sympathetic restoration. Between the US stock market woes, the de-valued Euro and the somewhat optimistic expectations, you may not look at the week as a win. Actually, I just feel it simply re-set the bar a bit. I also believe that the really nice cars will always bring the best prices. Half-assed work really stands out at these events, especially to the eye of the savvy collector. The stories about the bidding wars on TV cars aside, the people coming out to really buy cars are looking at them very carefully, and with a wary eye. A driver quality car is still a driver quality car. They don’t become more valuable because they are under the lights. Overall, the Healeys were probably down around the aforementioned 15% mark this year. The Series 1 E-Type Roadsters were bringing top money, as did most of the other Jaguar E-Type models and years. Porsches continued their value march forward generally, with Ferrari not bursting to new levels unless they were special cars. It was still fun and I’ll be going next year, knock wood. Maybe I will bring a car and enjoy the game again!


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The 2017 Austin-Healey Conclave

A quick wrap up from my trip to the 2017 Austin-Healey Conclave - in short: another great event, organized this time by the Texas Austin Healey Clubs. A quick wrap up from my trip to the 2017 Austin-Healey Conclave - in short: another great event,...

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Arizona Auto Auction Week – Chasing Classic Andy Reid

Arizona Auto Auction Week – Chasing Classic Andy Reid

I attended my first Auction Preview a few years ago here in Scottsdale when our Austin Healey 100R was at Bonham’s. Normally I’m not much of a guided tour kind of guy so I figured I would just walk around with the catalogue and do my own research. But then I decided to take a tour led by Andy Reid, who’s auction reviews I have read for years now in Classic Motorsports Magazine and a few other publications. Since I was keeping an eye on the 100R, I thought, why not?

With a group of about 30 people, Andy led us through an amazing automotive history of European cars. Be it Alfas, Astons, Jaguars, Mercedes, or Porsches, there was an interesting commentary and review. Production numbers, values, developmental history, there was info about it all, including his opinion as an auction journalist as to the collectability. The group was mesmerized and actually payed attention amid all of the shiny stuff around them. Even my celebrated ADHD was abated for the tour.

I had some free time and stuck around after the formal tour was over and learned a few things about Jaguars and Ferraris I hadn’t even thought of. I signed up for one of his tours last year and again was drawn into the detail and uniqueness of many of the cars I may have simply passed over otherwise. Afterwards, he and I talked for quite some time. I found out he represents Hagerty insurance, and decided to reach out as I was shopping to realign my general business and collector car policies. Andy is now my insurance guy, and become a trusted friend. I look forward to his reports in ClassicCars.com.

I spent yesterday afternoon doing another of his tours (see more photos below) and again I learned things I wouldn’t even have thought to ask – and yes – everyone paid attention among all of the beautiful eye candy. If you get a chance to attend one of his previews, do it, because Andy can get me to do something most of my friends will attest is almost impossible, shut up and listen. I always learn something new.

Thanks again, Andy.


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The 2017 Austin-Healey Conclave

A quick wrap up from my trip to the 2017 Austin-Healey Conclave - in short: another great event, organized this time by the Texas Austin Healey Clubs. A quick wrap up from my trip to the 2017 Austin-Healey Conclave - in short: another great event,...

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Arizona Auto Auction Week – Judging the Future Classics

Arizona Auto Auction Week – Judging the Future Classics

Future Classics - Sport and SpeciatlyMy friend Andy Reid was asked to be the chief judge for a new car show here in Arizona to compliment the already crazy week of activities. The show was titled “Future Classics” and the main sponsor was www.classiccars.com, where Andy is their East Coast editor. In a moment of desperation he asked me to help judge the European cars coming there.

The show was held at High Street near the Desert Ridge Mall and was a wild success with more than 150 cars in attendance. Hip hop and dance music was blaring and I got to see a wide assortment of cars, from 930 Turbos to a one-of-three optioned Mitsubishi Starion, (pretty ratty, but pure gold in the owner’s eyes!)

Both “diamonds in the rough” and beautiful custom builds shared the street. After the AZ Concours d’Elegance it was certainly different, but no less fun! The quality and craftsmanship of the work on these cars exceeded many I saw on Sunday and the attention to detail was amazing! You can see the some of the cars on their Facebook page, Future Classic Car Show.

future-classics-1The Best of Show went to John Garza’s perfect resto-mod done on a first generation Toyota Celica (top photo) with a four cam engine swap. If TRD built a Celica, this would be it! So cool! Also of note was an unmolested Saab 900S with less that 40K miles. The Chicago based husband and wife team of Arnie and Lena Press each won with their Dinan Stage 3 BMW M3 Coupe and Acura NSX. Both were absolutely beautiful cars.

I don’t often get to spend time with the “modern” stuff! Hope I get asked again next year.


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The 2017 Austin-Healey Conclave

A quick wrap up from my trip to the 2017 Austin-Healey Conclave - in short: another great event, organized this time by the Texas Austin Healey Clubs. A quick wrap up from my trip to the 2017 Austin-Healey Conclave - in short: another great event,...

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