It has been impossible to avoid the hype surrounding the sale of the the 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO Berlinetta, chassis no. 3851GT.
As well as being headline news in the classic car press, the mainstream and financial media from the New York Times to Bloomberg have also run stories on the car and the booming “investment car” market. With industry commentators and armchair experts alike predicting a potentially astonishing result – classic car insurers Hagerty said “It could definitely go as high as $60 or $70 million” – the auction was packed with spectators eagerly awaiting a bidding frenzy. Watch the video below to make your mind up whether they got what they paid for.
As it turned out, the car sold for $34.65 million (£20.86 million) + premium – a world record for a car at auction, but way short of the alleged $52 million paid for a 1963 GTO by “an unidentified buyer in a private transaction” (so we have to take this figure with a pinch of salt) in 2013 and around about the prices supposed to have been paid in recent years in private sales. The remainder of the Maranello Rosso collection that went under the hammer traded at the lower end of their estimates with a Ferrari 250 Mille Miglia looking like a particularly good buy.
What have we learned?
Don’t believe the hype – the potential price was talked up, in many cases by those now reporting a new world record for a car at auction rather than commenting on a result that failed to meet expectations. In actual fact the car sold for what we at Classic and Sports Finance had predicted (and hoped) – around the going rate – which should bring pundits, buyers, sellers and most importantly the collector car market back down to earth. Here’s some of the pre-auction talk:
“When will the GTO hit its plateau? They’ve continually gone up in value over the last few years. And not just a little bit of value. It’s basically been multi-million dollar jumps. When will one hit $100 million? It can’t be that far off anymore.”
US car site Jalopnik
“It could definitely go as high as $60 or $70 million,”
Classic car insurance and valuation specialist Hagerty
The collector car market is topping out – OK, we’ll put our necks on the block and say it.
Membership of the GTO club is by invitation – if you wanted to join a club, would you want everyone else in it knowing you had paid a lot more than everyone else to get in? We didn’t think so – which is why most of these cars trade privately. We dare say the auctioneers have done better out of this than the previous owners of the GTO.
One swallow doesn’t make a summer – with all the press focused around auction results and the supposed outcome of private sales it is easy to believe that the market is made by these one-off transactions. It isn’t . We transact for clients through auctions and dealers dozens of times a month – so we are able to form a realistic market view by analysing the actual sales prices rather than using auction prices and second hand information which may or may not be correct.
Rarity is relative – you can take your pick of pretty much any collectors car at this year’s Montery auctions. There are literally dozens of cars that sellers will have you believe are unobtainable.
The classic car market is still in rude health – there are still plenty of great cars and enthusiastic buyers out there. Just look at the prices.