Amelia Island sales favour newer Porsches and Dodge Vipers
Strong price patterns at the Florida concours sales, with low-mileage classics, Vipers and transaxle and modern Porsches proving especially strong
So after all the excitement of Amelia Island Concours week, what exactly happened at the Amelia auctions? What were the surprises, what were the good buys, and what are the trends we see in the market?
To start, I would say that the market overall is solid and healthy. We're not seeing the rapid price increases or decreases that we have seen in the past and, as always, the best examples of important cars are selling for strong money.
Examples of this were the 1966 Ferrari 275 GTB long-nose alloy coupé that sold for $2,530,000 at Gooding and Company, the 1966 Ferrari 275 GTB long-nose coupé that sold for $2,205,000 at RM Sotheby's and the 2015 McLaren P1 that sold for $1,710,000 at Bonhams.
Then there was the pair of modern Porsches, the 1993 Porsche 911 Turbo S Leichtbau at $1,760,000 at Gooding and the 1993 Porsche 911 Carrera RS 3.8 changing hands at RM for $1,655,000. All of these cars were excellent examples. And they show that superior cars sell for strong money.
A continuing trend from Monterey was that somewhat pedestrian sporting cars in exemplary condition sold for record prices. We saw this last year with the 914 at RM Sotheby's in Monterey and we saw a number of examples of this at the Amelia auctions.
The first of these was the 1989 Porsche 911 Carrera at Bonhams. This was a M491 Turbo-look car finished in paint to sample Minerva Blue. The car was completely original with only 7300 miles from new. It sold for a staggering world record price of $169,120.
Another example of this was the 1988 Mercedes-Benz 560SL at RM Sotheby's. This as another all-original car in a stunning Blue Green Metallic had travelled fewer than 3000 miles from new. The car sold for a astounding $95,200 – basically the same money that a restored Pagoda 280SL would sell for.
Our final winner for common cars in exemplary original condition was the 1974 Porsche 914 2.0. This car, finished in Zambezi Green over black vinyl was again 100% original and had fewer than 5000 miles on the clock since new. It sold for an incredible $93,500.
All of this goes to show you that if you have, say, a Datsun 240Z with 8000 original miles that you should indeed take it to auction.
Some cars that did not fair as well as they have in the past were the Mercedes-Benz 190SLs, Ferrari 330GTCs in driver condition and Porsche 930s. To start with the 930, Gooding had a fantastic example, a 1977 that was gifted by Porsche to Porsche racing legend Hurley Heywood. The car was, in my opinion, stolen for $104,500, or basically 11 grand less than the 914. I am calling that a strong buy and wish I had bought it.
As stated above, the Mercedes 190SLs were serious value when compared to years past, with RM Sotheby's selling a #1 condition car for $137,200. A car like this would have cost north of $200,000 a year or so ago so it looks like the going rate for 190SL cars is back into some sense of reality.
The days of the driver level Ferrari 330GTC commanding prices north of $650,000 are also over. These cars saw a huge run up a few years ago but it seems now that nice but not perfect examples of these admittedly fantastic driving V12 Ferrari road cars have again become more affordable, with one at RM selling for $511,000, and another at Bonhams selling for $545,100. That to me spells a trend.
The big winners of the week continue the trend of special and limited production versions of more modern Porsche 911s selling for serious money. Examples of this were: the 1993 Porsche 964 Turbo S Leichtbau at Gooding that sold for $1,760,000, the 1996 Porsche 911 GT2 also at Gooding selling for $1,485,000; the 1993 Porsche 911 Carrera RS 3.8 at RM that sold for $1,655,000; the 1993 Porsche 911 Carrera RSR 3.8 also at RM that sold for $1,270,000; and – possibly the bargain of the bunch – the 1995 Porsche 911 Carrera RS that sold at Bonhams for $368,000.
These cars are but a few of the more than 20 special-build 911s that were on offer, and all sold for very strong money. This is a place in the market that is likely to continue to grow and worth keeping an eye on.
Some surprises of the week were the water-cooled transaxle Porsches and the Dodge Viper. Both of these new segments of the hobby had a strong showing while also representing good values with a way to go.
Porsche standouts were the 1986 Porsche 944 at Gooding and the 1986.5 928 S4 at Bonhams. This market is moving northward fast, with the Gooding 944 with only 51,000 miles selling for $41,800 and the all-original but somewhat scruffy 928 at Bonhams selling for a very strong $50,400.
These Porsche front-engine transaxle cars are definitely something to watch in 2018 as I don’t thing we have seen these cars even begin to peak yet.
On the Viper end of the market we saw Bonhams field a terrific collection of rare models of the iconic American supercar, with prices starting at $42,560 for the low-mile 1993 Dodge Viper RT/10 to the top selling model, a 2015 Viper TA 2.0 that sold for a strong $91,840.
What I am calling the best Viper buy and my favorite of all of them was the 1998 Viper GTS/R, which sold for a very well-bought $90,720. I call this the best buy because it is one of 100 total GTS/R cars built and used to homologate the Le Mans race cars. This piece of history would make a excellent addition to any enthusiast's garage. I only wish it was parked in mine .
What do we learn from the Amelia sales?
First, if you have a super low-mile example of what at the time was a common sports car you could well be sitting on a gold mine.
Second, now is the time, and possibly the last opportunity to buy a transaxle Porsche for anything resembling a reasonable price.
Third, the modern Porsche supercar market is hot, with even the Carrera GT moving up in price along with the 911 specials.
And finally, if you are thinking of selling a production Ferrari Enzo era V12 road car, make sure it is a perfect car or you might find yourself disappointed with the result.
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