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2015 Monterey Auctions
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Anxious anticipation
With the ever rising value of collector cars, each major auction is used to gauge the market. None more so than the annual auctions on the Monterey Peninsula, which excel in both quality and quantity. This year was certainly no exception and our photographers visited the three major players to capture the finest machines they had on offer in this 180-shot gallery. All prices listed include buyer's premium.

RM Sotheby's Monterey Sale
RM Sotheby's traditional two-day sale in downtown Monterey was expanded with another day, dedicated exclusively to the 'Pinnacle Portfolio'. This single-owner collection was assembled during the last few years solely as an investment. Judging from the results, the Florida based investor-collector surely made a profit with the sales highlighted by $17.6 million for a Ferrari 250 LM and $13.75 for a McLaren F1 upgraded to LM specification by the factory. The most remarkable sale was $6 million, or triple the current value, for the 400th Ferrari Enzo built, which had originally been donated to the Pope. For Friday and Saturday, RM Sotheby's had lined another fine selection of machinery. Ferraris also headed the results with the 1956 Tour de France winning 250 GT changing hands for $13.2 million and a very early Lampredi-engined 275 S finding a new home for just shy of $8 million. Also grabbing a lot of attention was the ex-works Jaguar C-Type. Spirited bidding saw the Ecurie Ecosse liveried machine exceed its top estimate at $13.2 million. Another six-cylinder engined Jaguar doing well was the very rare 'Supersonic' bodied XK120, which commanded just over $2 million. This helped bring the grand total to just over $167 million, including post auction sales.

Bonhams' The Quail Lodge Sale
Bonhams was the talk of the peninsula in 2014 as the British company smashed the world record by selling the ex-Maranello Rosso 250 GTO for over $35 million. This year no lot was consigned that could quite match that feat but the auctioneer's team had managed to assemble a list of lots that included something for if not all but certainly most takers. A Ferrari nevertheless lead the way for Bonhams as the $46 million sale at the Quail Lodge was topped by a freshly restored Ferrari 250 GT Interim, which found a new owner for just over $8.5 million. Another Ferrari that did well was the 212 Inter Vignale Cabriolet that had been restored by the vendor himself and changed hands for $2.2 million. Another Supersonic-bodied machine, this time the slightly more common Fiat 8V, also starred with a final sale price of $1.8 million. Of a slightly different magnitude but equally impressive was a BMW M3, which sold for well over the top estimate at $96,250. At the end of the afternoon, 90% of the lots on offer changed hands.

Gooding The Pebble Beach Auctions
Traditionally bringing the Monterey weekend to a close was the two-day Gooding auction on Saturday and the Sunday after the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance. As is very much the norm, Ferraris topped the Gooding Pebble Beach Auctions. Our favourite car on offer during the weekend, the unique Bertone-bodied Ferrari 250 GT SWB, lived up to the expectations as it sold for $16.5 million, just over the top estimate. Another Ferrari, however, topped the sale as the 250 GT SWB California Spyder changed hands for $16.8 million, which underlined what a great deal the buyer of the much rarer Bertone-bodied 250 GT SWB made a day earlier. Another hugely impressive sale was that of the 1983 Le Mans winning Porsche 956, which smashed it already bold estimate at just over $10 million. It was not the only Porsche that impressed; a lovely 718 RS 60 sold for $5.4 million. During the two-day sale, Gooding managed to sell 89% of the lots on offer for a total of $128 million.

Final thoughts
No doubt some sighs of relief were heard after the Monterey auctions were concluded. The results achieved showed the market is still strong. Among the most outstanding were the modern supercars sold as part of the Pinnacle Portfolio; not only the inflated Ferrari Enzo but also the Saleen S7 Turbo that sold for close to $700,000. Our only hope is that this does not encourage other investors to buy up cars and hide them away until the value has increased sufficiently.

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2015 Bonhams Quail Lodge Auction  
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2015 RM Sotheby's Monterey  
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2015 Gooding & Co. The Pebble Beach Auctions  
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Report by Wouter Melissen and images by Pieter Melissen and Wouter Melissen for Ultimatecarpage.com