Monterey auctions 2015 – the biggest week of the classic car year (preview)

Monterey auctions 2015 – the biggest week of the classic car year (preview)
11th August 2015 Team CSF
Monterey auctions 2015 - Ferrari 250 SWB

Monterey auctions 2015 – the biggest week of the classic car year (preview)

Monterey is the most important week of the year for collector cars – period.

All the major auction houses descend on the California town to join in with the multitude of concours, classic car meets and other events that make up Monterey Car Week. This year no less than seven auction houses are offering thousands of classic cars – many could be described as collector cars – worth hundreds of $millions over the course of a long weekend. It doesn’t take much imagination to figure out the potential impact these sales have on the public perception of classic car prices and on the classic car market as a whole.

The Monterey auctions have been growing in size, stature and value since 2010, and figures recently released by our friends at Hagerty show just how much things have changed. They have analysed the growth in the number of million $ cars offered and sold at Monterey and show a steady growth in the number of seven-figure cars offered with close to one hundred more million $ cars on offer this year compared to five years ago.

Information provided by Hagerty

Information provided by Hagerty

The crucial statistic will be how many of the $million cars will sell well this year?



There are simply far too many great cars being auctioned this year to highlight particular cars and still do justice to the auctions as a whole. RM Sotheby’s are offering what they call The Pinnacle Portfolio . In their own words:

the most valuable single collection of motors cars ever presented at auction. The “Pinnacle Portfolio” comprises some of the greatest and most iconic European modern super cars.”

The selection of cars offered is quite frankly ridiculous (in a good way) and brings together a collection of classic supercars and modern hypercars in one incredible confection.

The very first Bugatti Veyron - chassis #001...

The very first Bugatti Veyron – chassis #001…

...and the very last - #300 - both in the same collection

…and the very last – #300 – both in the same collection

Ferrari 250 SWB Competitzione

The Pinnacle Portfolio is claimed to be a single collection amassed by one US collector allegedly within the last five years. It wouldn’t take a cynic to question the motivation for collecting them for such a short period of time – but in actual fact recent short term ownership is a feature of many of the cars for sale. Many of us will question how enthusiasts and collectors can bear to part with such magnificent machines, but the short answer is money talks and this may just be the optimum time to sell if profit is your priority.


The other salient feature of the Monterey auctions 2015 as a whole is that the auction houses have gone to great lengths to offer unusual, interesting and one-off machines rather than the standard Monterey auction fodder of run of the mill 300SL’s, “Daytonas” and Testarossas. There is plenty for the true enthusiast to get enthusiastic about and arguably less so for the speculators. As Jakob Greisen, head of Bonham’s US motoring department pointed out to us, confidence amongst speculators has diminished, but there are more than enough real car enthusiasts out there.


Recently restored

The number of restored cars being offered at auction is growing and the same goes for Monterey. Walking around an auction these days you will see very few of the “patinated” cars that one would have seen five years ago and true originality is getting rarer and rarer. If you take a look at the number of cars that have been in the consignors hands for less than 18 months (and even 12!) as well as the number of those same cars that have made the journey from Europe to Monterey then it is clear that these cars have been purchased with a quick sale in mind. One has to wonder how keeping an eagle eye on profit margins might affect the quality of restoration, but automotive historians such as Ferrari specialist Marcel Massini and the Ferrari Classiche department office printers (paper and money) will have been extremely busy in the months leading up to Monterey.


The cars – Monterey auctions 2015

In short: there a lot of Ferrari 250‘s for sale at the top end of the scale, Porsche is strongly represented with a number of the key indicator 2.7 RS available and 959 prices will be a key area of focus. The BMW M1 will be interesting to watch as we believe these will be very appealing to speculators. LHD Aston Martin should do well given the shortage of supply which is reasonably conspicuos compared to other marques at Monterey. We will also be keeping a careful eye on pre-war cars in the run up to the sale of the the Frederiksen collection by Bonhams. Hypercar prices will be under the spotlight of the next generation of collectors and we will see what the market makes of McLaren P1 prices right now.

RM Sothebys – The Pinnacle Portfolio. What we will be watching.

RM Sothebys – Monterey auction. What we will be watching.

Bonhams – Quail Lodge Auction. What we will be watching.

Gooding & Company – Pebble Beach auction. What we will be watching.


Prices in £GBP

Prices always look a lot more impressive in US dollars and only Bonhams publish their prices in Pounds so for your convenience – at to give you a more complete picture of the cars on offer – you can view the £ prices by clicking on the links below.

RM Sothebys – Monterey 2015. Prices in £GBP

Gooding & Company – Pebble Beach 2015. Prices in £GBP



It’s going to be a big year. It will take some time to figure out the post-Monterey impact of the sales results but we expect for it to go much the same way as it did last year in terms of the headline numbers without the same number of “real” record breaking headlines. The most important factor will be – “is the market  in line with auction house expectations”?

You can view the Monterey auctions 2015 lots by clicking on the links below.



RM Sothebys

Gooding & Company

Mecum auctions

JR Auctions

Russo & Steele

Rick Cole auctions