The inside track to this month’s Scottsdale auctions
For 2023 the Arizona season-opener has a different feel. With Californians Gooding sitting it out in favour of a massive two-day gig at Amelia Island in March, it’s now just two international houses playing off against local big shots Barrett-Jackson. Let’s take a closer look at what’s on the block.
The online sales revolution of recent times is mostly responsible for the change to what has always been a sunny week of car trading with few distractions like concours. Why pile them high and sell them at No Reserve in a big white tent on expensive real estate in 2023 when a virtual tent has been hosting the same process pretty well and cheaply since 2020?
The 2023 Arizona auctions at a glance, RM Sotheby’s and Bonhams combined (2022†):
* Number of cars offered: 214 (158)
* Average of estimates: $86,412,500 ($54,795,000)
* Average mid-estimate per car offered: $403,797 ($346,804)
* Most valuable car offered: 2014 Ferrari LaFerrari at RM for $4m to $4.5m (1971 Ferrari 365 GTS/4 ‘Daytona Spider’ at RM for $2.4m to $2.8m and not sold)
* Percentage of catalogues at No Reserve: 50% (44%)
* 2022 gross: $54,704,460† at 93% sold by number
* Highest gross at Scottsdale week 2014-2022: $186,757,500 in 2016, at 85% sold by number
† Excludes Gooding & Co, online only 2022 and not present 2023
RM Sotheby’s at The Arizona Biltmore, Thursday 26 January 2023
* 88 motor cars
* Average of estimates: $55,367,500
* Average mid-estimate price per car offered: $629k
* Percentage of catalogue at No Reserve: 56%
* 2022 gross: $42,970,300 at 93% sold by number
* Star car: The LaFerrari ordered new in Blu Elettrico by ex-Microsoft alumnus and lifelong Ferrarista Greg Whitten
The headlining LaFerrari has 3,816 miles on its odometer. “As much as that?” some might say. It’s the only one in a bright blue that may divide opinion (we rate it), but it’s a one-off, not red and that explains the $4m to $4.5m guide. For comparison, RM sold a rare, all-black example with fewer than 600 miles for $3,662,500 all-in at Amelia Island in March 2022.
More recent favourites of the market include a 19,697 km Euro-spec F40 for $2.2m to $2.8m and a 1994 Bugatti EB110 GT. The latter, with replacement engine and ca. 32,000 km today, was bought at RM’s Luigi Compiano seizure sale in November 2016 for the equivalent of $692k and sold a couple of times since. It carries a guide of $1.6m to $2m in Arizona and could – with recent no sales for the model at auction – find a buyer at lower estimate, although the mileage and engine swap will shrink the buyer pool dramatically. They might even drive it.
The chunky estimate ($625k to $700k) for the 1995 Ferrari F512 M is all about recent interest in the model and its one-of-two Canna di Fucile (gunmetal metallic) paintwork. A year ago, RM achieved the highest price yet paid for an F512 M when it sold a Nero car for $527,500.
Of the older cars from Maranello, the four-owner-from-new 1967 Ferrari 275 GTB/4 crawled to $2.75m at Bonhams at Amelia in 2016. Seven years and two owners later, the unremarkable four-cam is up at $3m to $3.5m with RM. It’s joined by a 1966 500 Superfast Series 2 (older Paul Russell restoration, bought by consignor for ca. $1m in August 2010, now $2.2m to $2.8m) and the inevitable red, US-spec ‘Daytona’. The latter bears further examination, though, as it’s had just two private owners – one for 46 years – and the odometer reads 29,146 miles. The car had its attractive silver-grey noseband when first delivered. It was sold by Bonhams for $660k in August 2017 – expect to pay $550k to $600k plus premium in 2023, says RM.
The Miura SV is one of nine built in pretty Giallo Miura, only five of which – including this one – had split-sump engines from new. Although ostensibly a ‘European SV’ (it was ordered through an Italian dealer), some internal records indicate it had US smog equipment and other North American features from new. It has spent all of its life in the US – where it was restored in the 2000s to the standards of the day for serial buyer and seller Randy Simon in a fantasy spec of dark blue with pale grey. The estimate of $3m to $3.5m should buy a correct and original car. There’s little room for a return flight to Italy to bring this SV back to how it should look.
Finally, a note on a couple of stars-and-stripes classics at the Biltmore sure to go down well in Scottsdale. The 1965 Shelby 427 Competition Cobra saw some action on the track in period but is best known as one of the cars of the Cobra Caravan publicity tour and was ‘raced’ by Elvis in his 1966 movie Spinout. Estimate $3m to $3.6m, and we like it. And much interest has already been generated by the 1969 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray ZL-1 Convertible: the single open Stingray built that packed a scary 560bhp road version of the all-aluminium Can-Am racing engine. It was a $4,718 (!) option in 1969. The cost of unobtainium today? $2.6m to $3m.
Bonhams at the Westin Kierland Resort & Spa, Friday 27 January 2023
* 126 motor cars
* Average of estimates: $31,045,000
* Average mid-estimate price per car offered: $246k
* Percentage of catalogue at No Reserve: 47%
* 2022 gross: $11,734,160 at 93% sold by number
* Star car: The ‘Refer Dept’ 2006 Maserati MC12 Corsa, though public auction is possibly not the best environment for it
Bonhams returns to its familiar location out in a big white tent at the Westin Kierland. The Brits are becoming known for bumper catalogues, and 126 cars, preceded by 13 pedal cars will be a test of endurance. Luckily, nearly half are without reserve.
As a model, any MC12 is a rare bird. RM set the bar high when it sold a road car belonging to Luigi Compiano in Milan in November 2016 for the equivalent of $3.4m. Bonhams’ one is a Corsa, the track-only equivalent of Ferrari’s FXX, but less valuable than a road MC12. The catalogue notes, “having covered a mere 123 miles... [the car] has never even been driven by its current owner, and has spent its life in private collections.” Note the plural. All of which suggests a serious bill coming down the line for any buyer wishing to properly sample its 755bhp V12.
RM sold a one-owner, 250km 2015 FXX in Abu Dhabi 2019 for $4,281,250. Expect high-fives all round if the Bond St firm gets anywhere near this for their MC12 in Arizona.
On safer ground, there is a 1958 BMW 507 Series II Roadster at $2.1m to $2.4m, with the typical non-matching engine but silver and factory hardtop from new. The 1965 Ferrari 275 GTS ($1.65m to $1.95m) is a US car, first delivered in silver but now dark blue (why?) courtesy of a recent restoration by rated firm Motion Products. Matching numbers, it comes with its (believed) original hardtop – a plus. Both cars are probably estimated at mid-to-strong market prices.
Look out for the 1953 Siata 208S Spider. The focus has shifted a little from that era, but this car is a well-restored example with awards at Pebble Beach (twice), Amelia Island and Villa d’Este. It only misses its original engine – not unusual in the land of the ubiquitous small-block V8. The estimate of $1.5m to $1.8m is bullish.
The rest of the catalogue is familiar auction material and, as expected, includes a plethora of No Reserve European classics little-used since purchase a decade or so ago. The strapline “Beautifully presented British motoring” has been appended to some of these cars. It’s an opinion.
Scottsdale will be keenly watched, an early 2023 temperature check of the North American market before the European season kicks off properly in Paris. Expect us to keep you updated from the front line.
Photos by Shutterstock (top) and the auction houses
January 2023 Scottsdale Auction Schedule:
Click here for a complete lot listing sorted by make and model.
Barrett-Jackson – event from Saturday 21 January to Sunday 29 January. Sales from Monday 23 January to Sunday 29 January. Gates open at 08:00. 16601 N. Pima Rd, Scottsdale, AZ 85260. See www.barrett-jackson.com
RM Sotheby's – sale Thursday 26 January. Auction at 14:00. Arizona Biltmore Resort & Spa, 2400 East Missouri Avenue, Phoenix, AZ 85016. See www.rmsothebys.com
Bonhams – sale Friday 27 January at 10:00. The Westin Kierland Resort & Spa, Pittman Lawn, West Lot
6902 E Greenway Parkway, Scottsdale, AZ 85254. See www.bonhams.com