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Be inspired: The top-10 most expensive car auctions of 2015

Posted on December 1, 2015

Be inspired: The top-10 most expensive car auctions of 2015

When it comes to inspiration for finding a beautiful classic car to bring to New Zealand, you can’t go past the world’s top auction houses.

Sure, we can’t all find the dollars to put the absolute crème de la crème of motoring history into our garages, but by watching what goes under the hammer, you can gauge how the market is performing and see the types of sales which are coming up for auction.

Earlier this year in the UK, property firm Knight Frank published a report which put an approximate rise of an incredible 487% on the value of classic cars over the past decade showing that the extra wealth in developing nations and the climb-back since the Global Financial Crisis were having a major impact on the market.

Again, in the UK at the end of June, the Hagerty Price Guide showed the price of classic cars had risen on average by 8.4% in the first six months of 2015 alone.

As we head towards the end of the year, there are still one or two important auctions still to come but it’s revealing (and more than a little fun) to see the top-10 most valuable cars to be sold at auction in 2015.

The most likely way that this year’s top-10 might change is through Sotheby’s New York-based “Driven by Disruption” sale earmarked for December 10 – especially because it features a 1956 Ferrari raced by Juan Manuel Fangio.

When a similar auction was held in 2013, it saw an incredible $US63 million in sales and the 30 cars due to go under the hammer this year are expected to raise that figure.

Estimates include:

  • The 1956 Ferrari 290 MM raced by the legendary Juan Manuel Fangio during the 1956 Mille Miglia for between $US28 million and $US32 million.
  • A 1962 Aston Martin DB4GT Zagato – one of just 19 made and delivered new to Australia where it was raced by Doug Whiteford, Laurie O’Neill and Ian Georghegan – for between $US15 million and $US17 million.
  • A 1972 Lamborghini Miura P400 SV – deemed to be the original “supercar” – for between $US2.2 million and $US2.6 million.
  • A 1938 Bugatti Type 57C Atalante which was displayed at the 1939 New York World’s Fair for between $US2.2 million and $US2.5 million.

Bonhams’ December sales could also make a dent in the top-10 with their incredible lineup of classic British racing cars from the Gordon Willey and Arthur Carter collections.

The two sales will include:

  • A 1938 Frazer-Nash BMW 328 Roadster once owned by the British dance-band leader Billy Cotton estimated at £550,000-£650,000.
  • A 1964 Aston Martin DB5 Sports Saloon (bound to attract attention with a new James Bond movie out) first owned by the Nizam of Nabunda and estimated at £400,000-£500,000.
  • A 1953 Austin-Healey 100 Coupe which was owned by Donald Healey and used for ongoing development of the model.
  • The ex-works rally Austin-Healey 3000 which was raced by Jack Sears, Pat Moss and Eric Gott, and in which Gott suffered a suspected heart attack and died after crashing at Lydden Hill in 1972.

But by the start of November there had already been more than 200 cars sold for more than $1million at public auctions with the top-three auction houses being Sotheby’s, Gooding & Co and Bonhams, and the most to achieve that figure at a single sale being at the mid-August sales on the Monterey Peninsula in California which featured Sotheby’s, Gooding and Bonhams.

The top-10 sales, then, for the year to November were dominated by Ferraris. They were:

  1. A 1961 Ferrari 250 GT SWB California Spider which was rescued from a barn and sold as part of the phenomenal Baillon collection auction at Artcurial’s Paris classic car sales for $US18.5 million.
  2. A 1964 Ferrari 250 LM sold for $US17.6 million at August’s Monterey classic car auctions – one of 15 lots in the Pinnacle Collection to top $US1million.
  3. A 1961 Ferrari 250 GT SWB California Spider in unrestored, original condition for $US16.83 million at August’s Pebble Beach auction.
  4. A 1962 Ferrari 250 GT SWB Berlinetta Speciale with unique bodywork reached a model record of $US16.5 million also at Pebble Beach.
  5. A McLaren F1 LM-Specification – the second to last of 63 road-worthy F1 McLarens and one of only two designed to Le Mans spec – sold by Sotheby’s in August for $US13.75 million.
  6. (6 equal) A 1953 Jaguar C-Type Works Lightweight which raced at Le Mans was also sold by Sotherby’s in August for $US13.2 million.
  7. (6 equal) A 1956 Ferrari 250 GT SWB Berlinetta Competizione also reached $US13.2 million at what was becoming a pretty good auction for Sotherby’s at Monterey.
  8. A 1982 Porsche 956 which came second in the 1982 Le Mans 24 Hours race and won the following year’s event became the first Porsche to seel for more than $US10 million when it reached $US10.12 million in August.
  9. A 1964 Ferrari 250 LM set a new auction record at the Arizona classic car sales in January when it reached $US9.625 million.
  10. A 1966 Ferrari 275 GTB Competizione which raced at three Le Mans in the late 1960s also sold at January’s Arizona classic car sales for $US9.405 million.

If you’re inspired by any of these auctions to go and source yourself a classic car from the US or Europe you can contact McCullough for all you need to know about importing it back to New Zealand, including advice on MAF and Customs clearance and New Zealand compliance. Call us on +64 9 303 0075, or email us at info@mmnz.biz or via the website.


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