The Market


In their words: market insiders predict the year ahead

In their words: market insiders predict the year ahead 17th January 2022

We’ve spent time with leading dealers and auctioneers to get their take on 2021 and insider tips on what should be hot in 2022. Let’s see what they say.

Kenneth Ahn, CEO of Broad Arrow Group | President of Hagerty Marketplace

We observed two key trends in the collector car industry in 2021:

1. Asset price growth:  Fuelled by low interest rates and high liquidity across markets, we witnessed price increases across nearly all asset classes – stocks, real estate, watches, art, etc – and collector cars were no exception.  Average price of a car sold at auctions – both live and online – grew by 9% (from $53K in 2020 to $58K in 2021), and overall prices continue to remain exceptionally strong with many model-specific price records broken in 2021.

2. Continued proliferation of online auctions:  Online auction total sales have more than doubled between 2020 and 2021 (which also approx. doubled between 2019 and 2020).  It also seems every month a new online auction company was launched in 2021 in their quest to capture the exploding market.

Even with the near-certain rate hikes coming, I expect collector car values to remain strong in 2022.  History has shown that in an inflationary environment, hard assets hold value better – and collector cars are undoubtedly hard assets.  I also expect the online auction market to continue to be white hot – they are not necessarily taking share away from live auctions; they have become a channel through which local brokers/dealers can access an incredibly broad audience – while engaging prospective buyers with the excitement of an auction.  Private sales market is estimated to be 10-12x the size of the auction market, suggesting there’s still plenty of headroom for continued explosive growth.

James Cottingham of DK Engineering

“We had a very good 2021. It was ‘the year of Brexit’, but we found it benefitted us as specialists based in the UK with the ability to source modern (less than 30 years old), local-market cars free of EU import tariffs. Also, our business to the US was boosted by key models such as the Ferrari F50 now eligible for low-duty export under the ‘25-year rule’. The same applies to the Porsche 911 (993) GT2 – these were cars sold in tiny numbers new to the US.

“More will follow, and the F40 now meets the EU-UK 30-year rule, dramatically reducing the tariff and inevitably leading to more trading. In any case, F40 prices have jumped over the year, as proved by the few auction results.

“A final word on Brexit is that we still believe the UK will retain its position as the main hub for international collectors; registering and storing cars here, with the option of driving them for up to six months in Continental Europe.”

Cars to tip in 2022?

“Anything in rare or unusual colours; cars such as the F50 and Porsche Carrera GT. The LaFerrari is looking good value and will be boosted when the next must-have Ferrari hypercar is launched, and you can say the same about F40s and 288 GTOs. These cars bridge the gap between the classics and moderns.

“Ferrari road cars are on a roll, and we are finding younger buyers who started on more modern cars are looking at the 1960s classics. Now that these are still a little off the highs of 2014, they represent better value. Think 275 GTBs, and we sold two RHD 250 GT SWBs in 2021. For the cost of purchasing a new special-edition Ferrari road car that includes establishing a relationship with the dealer by buying heavily depreciating catalogue models, collectors can own a genuine classic. People are seeing the opportunities in this now.”

Gord Duff of RM Sotheby’s

“What I’m seeing in today’s market is the explosive growth that has been created around new types and classifications of cars that are now considered ‘collectibles’ within our hobby.

“I can reference examples such as JDM [‘Japanese Domestic Market’] cars like the 1995 Nissan Skyline GT-R we sold in Monterey for 2.5 times its estimate, to homologation specials that are continually selling for more than the last one. We’re seeing everything from the great American Duesenbergs commanding strong prices to Ferrari F40s setting new world records.

“Across most areas of the market and at every price range there are cars selling for higher prices then we’ve previously seen. It’s not fully across the board though; sectors that are less buoyant include 1940’s Woodies and ’50s and ’60s American convertibles, while the hottest segments appear to be cars from the ’80s, ’90s and 2000s, covering marques and examples that are lower mileage and in exceptional condition.”

Gregor Fisken

“We had a good year last year. We found that in 2020 the deals were there, but it took a while to get them over the line with some ups and downs along the way. In 2021 this changed: there was a feeling that ‘I missed out on that in 2020!’ and buyers did not want that to happen again. I would not say prices have moved too much. There were some exceptions, of course, but it’s more a case of solid figures for cars that sold quickly.

“With the world opening up this year, I can only see that continuing at a faster pace. This spring and summer we have the Monaco Historics, Mille Miglia and Le Mans Classic. Last year’s Goodwood Revival was run pretty much as normal. Events such as these are the life blood of the classic car world and give many younger collectors the opportunity to see older cars racing on the limit. It’s addictive and spurs many to say: ‘I want one of those’. More modern racing cars we have sold include a pair of Audi R8 LMPs and a brace of Aston Martin DBR9s – these are eligible to race at the support event for the main 24-hour race at Le Mans and rounds of the Masters Endurance Legends.

“Prices for pre-War cars have been resilient. Less fashionable tourers might not make the headlines, but the demand is there, and you have to say they are lot of car for the money. A stand-out result last year in the auction arena was the Bugatti Type 35B sold by Gooding at Pebble: $5.65m and worth every cent when you look at its history and originality.

“Running this type of car, a Vintage Bentley or pre-War Alfa Romeo at an event excites me – and in 2022, after two years of lockdown, you should be able to do it. Something like a Jaguar SS100 is more accessible but no less fun.

“If you look at the really great cars sold last year ‘under the radar’ it makes their contemporaries look good value: a good D-type vs. a 250 Testa Rossa; a genuine Lightweight E-type compared with a 250 GTO. We sold four AC Cobras with period competition history in 2021, GTO-beaters in their day and driven by the same top-notch pilots. I’ve just bought an XK120 with Jersey Road Race history for restoration. What a great car for Goodwood or the Mille Miglia.

“The combination of low interest rates, looming inflation and the simple fact that people just love cars means there’s more to come in 2022. The market’s got legs.”

Max Girardo

“Last year was good for us, as it was for the whole business, though maybe not the live auction houses. These facts might be connected, in the sense that without the merry-go-round of worldwide sales and never-ending examination of results good and bad, left alone, the market matched buyers to cars pretty well on its own.

“You know we like to sell ’80s and ’90s rally cars and 2021 was no exception. Elsewhere, the demographics are changing; younger clients want younger cars, and now more experienced collectors whose garages might include 1960s greats are now looking at more recent limited-editions, cars such as the Ferrari 599 SA Aperta. There is definitely more of an overlap today, with the advantages of starting on the button, no restoration costs and instant driving pleasure appreciated right across the age spectrum.

“If you asked me for one word that defined what sold in 2021 and will find buyers in 2022 it’s ‘sporty’. That could mean a great pre-War car (Bugatti Type 35, Alfa 8C, Blower Bentley), a 300 SL Gullwing or Roadster, a California Spider, 250 GT SWB, 275 GTB or 1973 Carrera RS 2.7. We sold two Ferrari 250 GT TdFs last year and an SWB – the appetite for these blue-chip Ferraris is still there: the market is strong for cars with real performance, though buyers are very discerning, spending more time on the selection process than ever.

“I think 2022 will be great, even though we start the year in a similar position to 2021; postponed events and traditional auction firms forced to go online-only for previously headline dates. There’s still a lot of excitement about cars, sharing their stories on social media and the fun of meeting people face to face. And yes, that does include dealers…”

David Gooding

“After the immense challenges and uncertainties of the pandemic, this [2021] year bore witness to the strength and resilience of the collector car market, and auction houses like ours came out stronger than ever by manoeuvring through unprecedented times with innovation, integrity, and adaptability.

“We saw the strong demands of the market unfold in front of our very eyes this year, especially at our record-setting Pebble Beach Auctions. In 2022, we look forward to further delivering our proven company standard with the utmost agility and attentiveness. We are proud to continue expanding our offerings both in the live auction and digital realms, and are especially delighted to become a consistent presence in the UK going forward.”

Tom Hartley Junior

“2021 was a phenomenal year on the sales front. We sold more ‘eight-figure’ cars than any year previous and were busy with everything from pre-War to modern-day supercars.

“With regards 2022, I am anticipating another strong year. With the exception of unrepeatable or 'Rembrandt' cars, prices are still below their peak of 2015, and I predict we’ll reach and surpass that peak in the next couple of years. Accordingly, my tip for 2022 is anything that’s great, ticks all the boxes and if you want to play it safe then buy something with a horse on the badge!”

Rory Johnston of the Classic Throttle Shop, Australia

“The Australian market for classic and collector cars has seen a strong trading since the early days of the pandemic. Heavily policed border closures in and out of the country made many Australians reflect on what was important in their lives: clearly, more cars! Lots more, resulting in purchases made online at a speed we have not seen before. Regular collectors stepped up, paying the new prices knowing that if they didn’t, they would miss out.

“Cars that continue to reach new heights are early Porsche GT series cars from the early 2000s onwards, and small-bumper 911 coupés, especially in S spec with one car recently trading for nearly $700k AUD (ca. $497k USD). Others that have seen strong growth are the Mercedes-Benz 280 SL ‘Pagoda’, as this cool classic hit new highs above $500k AUD ($355k USD) for the best cars.
“Older Ferrari are once again back on the shopping list, with the Dino in demand and creeping towards $800k AUD (ca. $568k USD) for a restored standard car and lots more for a rare GTS or super-rare ‘Chairs and Flairs’. The Testarossa has again seen a flood of cashed-up covid craziness, with cars reaching $400k AUD (ca. $284k USD).”

Cars to tip in 2022?

“Early Porsche 356 coupés. Alfa Romeo 105 series GTVs are on a steady climb and are a good alternative to a 911 of the period and just as much fun. Ferraris from the ’70s and ’80s are coming back into vogue with a new generation and this is seeing prices rise. Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Roadster and Gullwing; these are too cheap currently and have to be a bargain.”

Editor’s note: the Australian market prizes cars originally delivered to the country (few), and prices quoted reflect duties of 47% on imports above $70k AUD, hence the high values.

Edward Lovett of Collecting Cars

“In excess of £135,000,000 in sales; UK and EU market leader by a huge margin; £110m more sales than our nearest online competitor.

“2021 was a bumper year for the entire market.  It was hard to make a costly error.  2022 may change as we will not continue to see the same increases in value and history may well repeat itself as people realise they may have overpaid and would prefer to liquidate rather than sit on a static asset for several years.  New car supply has been heavily affected which has benefited late sports cars, which in turn has helped the Youngtimer market.  I wouldn’t be wanting to hold too much inventory currently.”

Dylan Miles

“We’ve just had our best-ever December. Our speciality is Aston Martin and we have found that a combination of price and quality sells the car. Younger buyers are attracted to 1980s V8 coupés, while demand for the classic DB-era sixes is mainly concentrated on DB5s. The phone started ringing as soon as the latest Bond film came out – we sold several DB5 coupés and two convertibles in 2021.

“An interesting history is a plus, such as the DB2 rally car we had. Looking ahead, I’d say demand for a good V8 coupé is solid, Vantage or standard, auto or manual, and the DB5 is evergreen. The other DB-era sixes suffer from oversupply at auction and are more the choice of a connoisseur nowadays.”

Christophe Schmidt of Weekend Heroes, Germany

“We are witnessing very interesting times indeed. In my view the last time the market was as active was around 2015.

“There are plenty of sales happening, mostly off market. Obviously, very strong money is being asked and paid for the ’80s to 2000s supercars: EB110, 288 GTO, F40, F50, 959, Carrera GT, GT1, CLK GTR etc. But I am also experiencing great interest in useable and eligible cars across all years, especially post-war Mille Miglia cars.

Cars to tip in 2022?

“Lamborghini Diablo and Murciélago. The great ’60s Ferrari coupés such as the 250 GT Lusso, 250 GT SWB, 275 GTB, all of which are still under their 2015 value. Porsche 959 and Carrera GT.”

Stephen Serio of the Bond Group

“In every metric, 2021 saw the best figures I have ever had. The gross, the number of $1m+ cars sold – everything broke records. Given the sheer liquidity in the market to blow on ‘big cars’, the final figures were only limited by the availability of high-quality stock. And I must stress ‘quality’; condition, provenance and colour had to be the best.

“The whole Covid thing meant people stayed inside and thought about how to treat themselves. Yes, many found cars online, as the stats of sites such as Bring a Trailer show. But a marque such as Porsche generates so much interest online that inevitably filters through to the market as a whole. For me, it is THE brand: for one vintage Aston buyer you might get 50 interested in classic Ferraris but 1,000 looking at collectible Porsches of all ages.

“The events scene in the US is strong; the informal coffee meets, the road rallies. You don’t need 200mph performance down at the Malibu Kitchen, but you do need an attractive or maybe unusual car. Enthusiasm for early supercars, limited-edition modern Porsches and the perennials – early 911s and 912s, Carrera RS 2.7s, 356 Speedsters and 1950s race cars such as 550s and RSKs usable on the road – is as strong as it’s ever been.

“With Porsche, it’s the power of the brand. You think of how many significant collectors bought a 911 in their youth and still own it. The build quality is just there the whole time. So, looking ahead I’d say seek out the more modern limited editions like the R and 4.0-litre GT3 RS, Carrera GTs and 918 Spyders, as well as the classics like good quality 356 Speedsters and Roadsters to original specification. The ’50s competition cars might be uncompetitive in European racing events, but are highly popular over here on tours such as the Colorado Grand or similar.”

Maarten Ten Holder, Bonhams Motoring
“The collectors’ car market bounced back significantly in 2021 and is looking strong this year. It was fantastic to stage live auctions with busy salerooms again, while digital sales have continued to flourish and are very much here to stay. Capitalising on this and as a response to client demand, Bonhams will be pursuing a two-tier strategy of live and digital sales for 2022.
“Cars to tip? We’ve witnessed increased interest in analogue supercars from the ’80s and ’90s. Indeed, The Market by Bonhams set a new online record in the UK and Europe with the sale of a 1989 Ferrari F40, which sold for more than £1 million last July. We think this trend will carry on this year.”

With thanks to all who gave us their opinions for this survey. Now it’s up to you to interpret...

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