Five things to take away from the 2019 Arizona sales

Five things to take away from the 2019 Arizona sales 20th January 2019

Which way runs the road ahead? The season-openers in Scottsdale have always provided a guide to the health of the market – we draw some conclusions from this year’s event.

1.    Scottsdale week is reverting to its blue-collar origins, from the man checking your passport to the server in Starbucks: “Ya’ll here for Barrett-Jackson?” Arizona is no longer in the same league as Monterey or Monaco to sell a top European classic or modern supercar.

2.    If it doesn’t tick all the boxes – unless priced competitively – it doesn’t sell. Witness the Ferrari 500 Mondial Spider, Lamborghini Miura SV and Maserati A6G Spyder: great models, but none had its original engine and only one found a new home.

3.    Haven’t we met before? Buyers these days have instant access to data (such as K500); a surprising number of Arizona auction offerings had already done the rounds, which made it feel a bit like Groundhog Day.

4.    If sellers had bought their cars in the past three years, they were likely to be disappointed in Arizona. Those that had bought before, or well, went home happy.

5.    The auction houses worked furiously behind the scenes to lower sellers’ expectations – and reserve prices – until the moment their car crossed the block. Estimates might not have been met but, where sellers listened, deals were done: look at the sale percentages.

Simon comments:

“This year’s Scottsdale week felt at times like a January department store sale: pile unsold stock high and sell it cheap. New lows for a ‘specollector’ Porsche 911R, retail-red US-spec Ferrari ‘Daytona’ and a Ferrari 250 SWB with a colourful recent history but, as always, the devil’s in the detail.

“Whilst the overall quality this year in Scottsdale felt down – reflected by an absence of ‘big name’ international collectors – the few interesting cars that were sensibly estimated attracted plenty of bidding. There’s money out there for the right items but the reality is that owners aren’t sending them to Scottsdale.”

Photo by Alamy