Pebble Beach Monterey Car Week: The Most Expensive Cars Sold

A 1962 Ferrari 250 GT SWB coupe sold at auction at the 2023 Monterey Car Week.

Credit: Gooding & Company

A $30 million Ferrari led the parade of trophy cars sold during Monterey Car Week last week, although there were signs of a further slowdown in the classic car market.

More than 1,200 cars sold at five auctions in Monterey and Pebble Beach totaled $397 million, the second-highest amount at any auction, according to classic car insurance company Hagerty.

However, sales were down 16% from last year’s record of $473 million. The results, combined with a number of high-profile disappointments on the auction block, suggest inflation, high interest rates and volatile financial markets have put a damper on the classic car market.

“The cooling market we’ve seen over the past 15 months has finally reached the Monterey auctions after having little impact last year,” Hagerty said in his report. The company cited “increased discipline at the top end of the market, weakening demand from new collectors and high prices giving pause to buyers at the top end of the market.”

Classic cars were among the worst performing collector assets in 2023, according to a new report from Knight Frank. Values ​​are down 7% so far this year, while art values ​​are up 12%, according to data from Knight Frank. Jewelry and watch prices have also increased.

The rise of online auction sites is putting pressure on live classic car auctions, which have emerged as a popular alternative to sales events like Monterey. Sales on online auction forum Bring a Trailer reached $841 million in the first half of 2023. In total, online collector-car auctions generated about $1.9 billion last year, slightly less than the $2.4 billion from live auctions, according to Hagerty.

The most important sign of weakness at Monterey Car Week was the “sales ratio,” or the percentage of cars sold for the reserve price or minimum bid. This year’s sales rate fell to 68% from last year’s 78%, meaning about a third of the cars up for auction failed to sell for the minimum price.

The top seller on the auction block was a 1964 Ferrari 250 LM auctioned by RM Sotheby’s. The car was expected to be sold between 18-20 million dollars. However, the highest bid only reached $17 million, below the reserve price.

A 1960 Ferrari California Spyder was also not sold at auction, and the highest bid reached $8.25 million. RM Sotheby’s said the car was later sold at a private sale after the auction. The auction house did not disclose the price.

The most expensive car also fell below the expected range. Bonhams sold a 1967 Ferrari 412P for $30.25 million, making it the fourth most expensive Ferrari ever sold. However, the “whisper number,” or expected sale price, was more than $40 million, and bidding for the car was light.

“The top of the market has proven resilient until recently, as demonstrated by the falling prices of Ferrari prototype racing cars from the 1960s,” Hagerty said.

Some experts say the Monterey and the overall classic car market may be suffering from an oversupply. Older collectors, especially those from the baby boom generation, tend to sell entire collections as they age, and it’s unclear whether the new wave of younger collectors has the same appetite for similar classics or prefers more modern cars from the 1990s and 2000s. .

According to classic car scouting firm K500, “As expected, there were plenty of cars, auctions and locations.”

Here are the three most expensive cars ever sold and why they went for it.

1. 1967 Ferrari 412P Berlinetta

A 1967 Ferrari 412P Berlinetta was sold at auction at the 2023 Monterey Car Week.

Credit: Bonhams

Sold by Bonhams for $30.25 million

The 412P was the road or “customer version” of Ferrari’s popular 330 P3 and P4 racing cars. Only two 412P Berlinettas were built initially, and Ferrari converted two more 330 P3s into 412Ps. The car sold was the second of the original 412P models to roll off the factory line and was raced at the highest level.

2. 1957 Jaguar XKSS Roadster

A 1957 Jaguar XKSS Roadster was auctioned at the 2023 Monterey Car Week.

Credit: RM Sotheby’s

Sold by RM Sotheby’s for $13.2 million

The XKSS was essentially a modified racing car after Jaguar withdrew from racing after the 1956 season. The company decided to turn its D-type racers into customer road cars by adding a passenger door and weather protection. Jaguar produced only 25 of them. Nine were destroyed in a factory fire, so only 16 remain, making them some of the finest trophies in the classic car world.

3. 1962 Ferrari 250 GT SWB coupe

A 1962 Ferrari 250 GT SWB coupe sold at auction at the 2023 Monterey Car Week.

Credit: Gooding & Company

Sold by Gooding & Company for $9.5 million

The 250 GT SWB Berlinetta won at Le Mans and Sebring along with numerous other races in Europe. Between 1960 and 1963, Ferrari produced a total of 165 SWB Berlinettas. According to Gooding, this car was in “beautiful original condition” as it had never been restored. It is very rare to find a Ferrari in such good condition without major repairs, increasing its value.

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