For a Few Dollars More: The 2020 Arizona season-opener
Saddle up for this year’s Scottsdale auctions, for decades an annual institution, in recent times losing ground to other glitzier venues. Bucking that trend, this year the Big Three offer some interesting European cars of appeal to international collectors. Here’s the K500 take on the catalogues, a thumping 70% of which are entries offered without reserve.
In 2019, Gooding filled the top three podium places with a Ferrari walkover headed by an unremarkable red 250 GT SWB at $7.6m. Grossing $48.1m overall, the Santa Monica-based house also outsold its rivals by total value; the others lacked either realistic reserves on star lots (RM) or any big-hitting entries at all (Bonhams).
Click here for a complete lot listing sorted by make and model
2020 at a glance:
* Average mid-estimate price per car offered: $298,803 (2019, $448,595)
* 2019: $101,291,210 combined gross; 86% sold by number; $294,451 avge. value of cars sold
* Total number of cars: 393 (2019, 399)
* Average year of cars offered: 1968 (2019, 1968)
* Percentage of cars offered at No Reserve: 70% (2019, 63%)
Bonhams at the Westin Kierland, 16 January 2020
Heading the Brits’ offering in the January sun is a long-chassis 1932 Alfa Romeo 8C 2300 (above) with cabriolet coachwork by Figoni. Like many of its peers, its history is complicated by a renumbered chassis but, rather than converted to a ‘Monza clone’ for the modern Mille Miglia, it’s been kept as an elegant and roomy – if prim – two-seat tourer. Bonhams expects interested parties to ‘Refer Dept.’ for a guide on a model that’s usually traded under the radar or from collector to collector.
Serious prospective members of the 8C club want a Zagato or Touring Corto Spyder. Like a frumpy Ferrari 250 GT Pininfarina Cabriolet Series 2 vs a sexy 250 GT SWB California Spider, the racier one is not only worth millions more, it’s also easier to sell. In a market where discussion about changing demographics is a hot topic, this will be one to watch.
It’s kept company in a broad-ranging catalogue – 68% at No Reserve – by typical auction fare including a well-known $1.0m to $1.3m Miura P400 S and homely $2.0m to $2.4m Ferrari 212 Inter Cabriolet by Vignale.
RM Sotheby’s at the Arizona Biltmore, 16-17 January 2020
The Canadians have slipped a bit in Arizona since the high days of $64.4m in 2016 – last year’s gross was $37.1m (a figure achieved in a temporary marquee, while next week the Canadians return to the McArthur Ballroom at the Biltmore).
This time there are a few more cars in the catalogue (144 vs. 132 in 2019) and star billing goes to a 1958 Ferrari 250 GT Pinin Farina Cabriolet Series 1. Two decades of single ownership and a fine record in touring events are in its favour. Against that are non-matching colours of red/tan; the car was delivered new in more desirable Grigio Metallizzato with Nero. Estimated at $6m to $7m, that’s in line with the similar one sold by Gooding last August for $6.8m all-in.
Much pre-event interest has centred on the ‘hot rod’ Euro-spec Miura P400 SV (pictured, above) modified by marque expert Claudio Zampolli in the late 1970s to accept a dry-sump system of his own design. The matching engine went missing during this process, as most likely did the original Nero interior and Verde Miura paintwork. Still, it’s a late-production, genuine split-sump European SV in a popular colour combination of the time best returned by the experts in Italy to as-delivered. And it’s been off the radar for many years, with just three owners from new, the last for nearly four decades. At RM’s $1.4m to $1.6m estimate there’s a degree of flexibility for a $500k restoration, but the non-matching engine is likely to eliminate more than half the potential buyers at any price.
How’s the US Miura market doing after RM’s surprising £1.25m (say $1.55m) with premium ‘barn-find’ P400 S wreck in London last October? With this SV, Bonhams’ familiar P400 S and Gooding’s low-mileage $1.25m to $1.5m P400 S, we’ll soon find out.
Elsewhere in the bumper 340-page catalogue there’s RM’s usual mix of No Reserve American oldies, modern supercars, home-grown muscle and collectable Ferraris. In total, 73% are offered without reserve.
Gooding at Scottsdale Fashion Square, 17-18 January 2020
David Gooding’s team close proceedings mid-afternoon on Saturday with a 139-car catalogue aimed at the more modern collector. The average year of cars offered is 1972 (Bonhams’ is 1963, RM’s 1968). Just under 70% will be sold without reserve.
A fair number of modern Porsches and Ferraris are in the mix, leaving RM to do the heavy lifting on the Bonnie and Clyde collections. There is some crossover: both have Ferrari 330 GTSs, Gooding’s yellow car priced at $2.2m to $2.5m, RM’s grey (was elegant Nocciola new) at $1.8m to $2.2m. Both are Classiche-certified – may the best one win.
Gooding has scored in the past by selecting more cars with interesting back-stories than the competition. Take this year’s 1967 Ferrari 330 GTC; although ‘retail red’ from new, it was ordered by Aristotle Onassis and described as “largely original… unseen in public for nearly 30 years”. At $750k to $900k, the estimate is punchy but the provenance solid gold.
Or the 1937 BMW 328 (pictured, above) in single ownership for 75 years, formerly the property of a WW2 American fighter pilot and still with its original engine. At No Reserve, carrying a ‘come on’ pre-sale estimate of $350k to $450k, the car was driven by its aviator owner up until five years ago. It’s our tip for the buy of the weekend.
After a quieter-than-normal Monterey Week and miserable late-season sales in the UK, the market looks to Scottsdale for direction in the new decade. Arizona, Paris Rétromobile and Amelia Island are almost back-to-back events now: what sellers hope will be the dawn of the Roaring Twenties. Expect K500 to be first in giving you the inside line on all the sales as they unfold.
Car photos by the auction houses, including Anna McGrath for Gooding & Co. Top photo, Alamy
January 2020 Scottsdale Auction Schedule:
Click here for a complete lot listing sorted by make and model
Barrett-Jackson – event from Saturday 11 January to Sunday 19 January. Sales from Monday 13 January to Sunday 19 January. Gates open at 08:00. 16601 N. Pima Rd, Scottsdale, AZ 85260. See www.barrett-jackson.com
Worldwide Auctioneers – sale Wednesday 15 January at 17:00. Viewing from 09:00. Event address: Singh Meadows, 1490 E. Weber Drive, Tempe, AZ 85281. See www.worldwide-auctioneers.com
Leake – sales Thursday 16 January to Sunday 19 January. Gates open at 08:00. Event address: Salt River Fields, 7555 N. Pima Rd, Scottsdale, AZ 852585. See www.leakecar.com
Russo & Steele – sales Thursday 16 January to Sunday 19 January. Gates open at 09:00. Event address: 101 Freeway and Scottsdale Road, 18601 N Scottsdale Road, Scottsdale, AZ 85255. See www.russoandsteele.com
Bonhams – sale Thursday 16 January at 11:00. The Westin Kierland Resort & Spa, 6902 East Greenway Parkway, Scottsdale AZ 85254. See www.bonhams.com
RM Auctions – sales Thursday 16 January and Friday 17 January. Auctions at 17:30. Arizona Biltmore Resort & Spa, 2400 East Missouri Avenue, Phoenix, AZ 85016. See www.rmsothebys.com
Gooding & Co – sales Friday 17 January and Saturday 18 January. Auctions at 11:00. Scottsdale Fashion Square, 4700 N. Scottsdale Road, corner of N. Scottsdale Road and E. Highland Ave, Scottsdale, AZ 85251. See www.goodingco.com