The top tier of the collector car market is stronger than it has ever been. Collectors seem more than willing to pay whatever it costs to acquire top cars, especially those with a great history, as seen in our top 10 sales of the year. All these cars were record setters in their class and represented this idea of history, adding to the allure and price of the cars at the top of the market.
For the cars selling for less than US $10,000,000 -- say, the “more affordable” premier cars, or anything more than US $1,000,000 in value -- we also are seeing continued strength. Most cars that make up this segment are European sports and racing cars, and even some more modern collector cars.
A few cars decreased in value in this segment, most notably the Porsche Carrera GT, which went from just under US $1,000,000 last year to a price today in the range of US $750,000, and the Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwing, which has also corrected a bit from its price last year of about US $2,200,000 to its price today of around US $1,700,000. But for the most part, top-tier cars such as the Ferrari 250 GT, 275 GTB, Porsche 550 Spyder, and the Alfa Romeo 6C and 8C all saw increases in value. In many cases, these are selling for record amounts of money.
A few examples of this are a pair of Porsche 550 Spyders. The first, a 1956 model, sold at the Bonhams Goodwood Revival sale in September for US $6,115,470 (£4,600,000) setting a world record for a Porsche 550 model. The second, a 1955, sold at Gooding & Co.’s Amelia Island auction for US $5,335,000, bettering records for that model of US $4,000,000.
Another example is the 1939 Alfa Romeo 8C 2900, which sold at RM Sotheby’s Monterey auction this year for more than US $19,000,000. This is a top-tier car, deserving of that price, but it represents a very strong number for a 8C 2.9 that is not a racing car with history.
One caveat among lower-priced premier cars: Condition really matters for achieving top value. A driver-level Ferrari 275 BTB/4 will sell for a lot less than a restored car or an all-original car, and this trend is both sensible and logical. A better car should not sell for the price of a driver-level car, and while we saw this happen a few years ago, I feel this trend is starting to end.
So, if you now own one of these top-tier cars, I recommend holding onto it until you are finished with it and feel you want something else, because I can practically guarantee you will pay more for it if you want to replace it at some point in the future.
Photos courtesy of Gooding & Co., Mecum Auctions and Bonhams.