An absolutely shocking barn-find sale led to a shattered world record at the second-annual Auctions America Hilton Head auction, held in conjunction with the Hilton Head Motoring Festival in South Carolina on Nov. 5.
World-Record Porsche Sale
The big news at this auction was the barn-find Aquamarine Blue 1957 Porsche 356A 1600 Speedster. This car had a pre-auction estimate of around US $250,000, a lot of money for a worn-out Speedster. But somehow, this dusty car, with chrome that had seen better days and a replacement engine (the original engine comes with the car) managed to sell for an astronomical $665,500, which is, to my knowledge, the world record for any non-Carrera Speedster.
When it drove onto the block, the bidding started immediately, with scores of phone bids as well as bids in the room driving up the price. When the car broke US $300,000, I was not surprised; when it hit US $400,000, I was somewhat amazed; but when it passed the US $500,000 mark, I was stunned. The excitement could be felt in the room, and no one had any idea how far it would go. Seeing a car perform on the block this well is something that does not happen every day and is an experience in itself.
I honestly thought the barn-find phenomenon had run its course, but I was definitely wrong. I am not sure if the bidders were looking at the same car I was, which I saw as having, at least according to Porsche records, incorrect seats. And, while a survivor example, this Speedster was not what I would call a preservation-class car. But somehow, this car is now the world record price holder in the Porsche Speedster market.
I hope the new owner is able to bring this car up to preservation-class level, because if not, this is a whole ton of money to pay for a restoration candidate. I know a few good 356 restorers if the car is too far gone, but let’s hope it is worthy of being made a preservation-class car.
Sales of Note
Other sales of note were the 1967 AC Shelby 427 Cobra, which I at first thought was a deal at US $726,000, but then found out that the car had been rolled and rebodied. Nonetheless, this still represented a very nice buy for a true 427 Shelby Cobra, and I hope the owner loves his purchase.
Other strong sales, especially in the current market, were the 2004 Porsche Carrera GT selling for a notable US $800,000; a driver-level 1960 Maserati 3500 GT by Touring that changed hands for US $222,750; and a stunningly restored white 1965 Jaguar E-Type Series I 4.2 roadster that sold for a very reasonable US $163,900. I am betting that if the car had been a better color, it would have come close to the US $200,000 mark.
There were some great deals at the sale as well. A 2006 Ford GT Heritage Edition with 34,000 miles sold for only US $305,250 (higher miles are your friend for a car if you are going to drive it). A fantastic driver-quality 1967 Porsche 911S coupe sold for a very low US $110,000. The 911S was a great car, perfect for vintage tours and able to be shown, and I was honestly quite surprised at the low price. Of all the cars at the sale, it was the one I most wanted to take home.
If that car is the new market on early 911 cars, it looks like it might be time for collectors to start planning on buying these cars while they are still inexpensive, because that is not likely to last.
Attendance for both the preview and the sale were lower than last year. Chalk that up to holding the event only four weeks after a hurricane ransacked the venue, making parking for the auction a bit difficult. Many attendees had to park off site and take a bus to the venue.
Despite the hurdles, Auctions America’s final auction of the 2016 season sold a total of 58 of the 103 total cars on offer (63 percent sell-through rate), for a total of US $5,685,825. For a second-year event that had issues from a hurricane, this is a solid result, and should be enough to bring Auctions America back to Hilton Head in 2017.
Auctions America takes a little hiatus prior to its next auction, which is scheduled for March 31-April 2, 2017 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
Photos courtesy of Auctions America.