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2017 Monterey Auctions
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Over the years, the numerous auctions staged during the Monterey Car Week have grown out to become events in their own right. Due to the large number of high profile cars that cross the block during the week, the sales are highly anticipated by all as they provide a clear indication of the state of the market. As with all events held on the Monterey Peninsula, we have had to pick and choose which sales to visit. We settled on the auctions staged by the three major players; Bonhams, Gooding & Co. and RM Sotheby's.

Bonhams Quail Lodge Auction
British auctioneer Bonhams traditionally stages their annual sale as part of The Quail, a Motorsports Gathering in the Carmel Valley. Held during the day on Friday, it was the first of the major sales to kick off. Over the last few years, the Bonhams auction has attracted an increasing number of major lots and this year the trend continued with consignments including a one-owner McLaren F1, a Jaguar E-Type Lightweight and a large number of rally cars from one collection. Originally delivered new to an American enthusiast, the McLaren lived up to the expectations and found a new owner for a record breaking $15.6 million. Even though not all in the best condition, the rally cars also did well with a Ford RS200 selling for a hefty $550,000. While the pair of Ferrari 275 GTBs consigned sold well, there was less interest in the other multi-million dollar lots. The ex-Cunningham Lightweight E-Type did change hands for $8 million but this sale was agreed only after the sale had ended. Nevertheless, Bonhams managed to sell 77% of the lots for a total just shy of $55 million.

Gooding & Co. Pebble Beach Auctions
Although Gooding & Co. remained as the official auctioneer of the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance, the sale did see a scheduling change from Saturday and Sunday evening to Friday evening and Saturday afternoon. What definitely did not change was the quality in the line-up of what is the company's flagship sale. A favourite in Friday's offering was the ex-Jo Siffert and ex-Le Mans Porsche 917 K finished in the iconic Gulf colours. It headed the sales on the opening evening and became the most expensive Porsche ever sold at auction at $14 million. Also crossing the block on Friday were a 300 SL Coupe and Roadster that were offered from a single family ownership and sold for $1.7 and $1 million respectively. Friday's momentum continued through into Saturday with a beautifully restored and very rare Ferrari 275 GTB/C finding a new home for $14.5 million, just eclipsing the 917 K of the previous evening. While the schedule may have changed, Gooding performed much as they have during the last few years and sold 81% for a combined total of $91.6 million.

RM Sotheby's Monterey Auction
Also kicking off on Friday afternoon, in downtown Monterey, the RM Sotheby's sale was clearly not affected by the conflicting schedules. Their opening night was dominated by a startling selection of Aston Martin competition cars. Topping the sale and for that matter the entire week was one of just five Aston Martin DBR1s built. Spirited bidding saw the final sale price, including all premiums, end up at a startling $22.5 million and this was not even the example that scored Aston Martin's only outright victory at Le Mans. All but one of the other Astons, which included an AMR1 Group C car and a DBR9 GT1 racer found new homes for respectable sums. Where the Friday evening was dominated by Aston Martins, Saturday evening kicked off with a collection of Ferraris, all of which were offered at no reserve. The top lots, a 275 GTB/4 and 250 GT SWB both sold well at $3 million and $8.3 million respectively. Among the other mind boggling sales was an early Porsche 356 Coupe, which was bid up to over $1 million, all in. With close to $133 million in sales and 87% of the lots sold, RM Sotheby's certainly had the best result of all at Monterey in 2017.

Final thoughts
While the prices during the 2017 Monterey auctions were not quite as high as at the peak a few years ago the market is certainly not in decline. The demand, in particular for very good cars, is as high as ever, which explains the numerous record setting results. This is definitely only a snapshot as the sentiments can all change during the next round of major sales in early September.

Related Articles
2017 Bonhams Quail Lodge Auction  
Date: 08 / 18
Total result: $54,980,150 (77%)
2017 RM Sotheby's Monterey  
Date: 08 / 18 - 08 / 19
Total result: $132,994,200 (87%)
2017 Gooding & Co. The Pebble Beach Auctions  
Date: 08 / 18 - 08 / 19
Total result: $91,593,700 (81%)

Report by Wouter Melissen and images by Wouter Melissen and Pieter Melissen for Ultimatecarpage.com