A Look Back at the Concluded 2020 Scottsdale Auctions

Last week, I chose three collector cars that I found interesting, which were scheduled to cross the auction block during what’s known as Scottsdale Auction Week. All three were European sports cars, and all were offered at no reserve.

In that blog post, I provided a brief summary of each vehicle, listed the auction companies’ pre-sale estimates, and gave my own projection of a final hammer price. With the auctions concluded, let’s revisit the cars and see how accurate I was (or wasn’t).

(Note that all three auction companies charge a 12% buyer’s premium, and that inflated number, with premium, is what’s shown on their websites. This makes the sales results appear higher than they really were. I backed out that 12% to show the actual hammer prices.)


Bonhams: 1978 Porsche 928, Lot #11, sold on Thursday

https://www.bonhams.com/auctions/25718/lot/11/?category=list&length=12&page=1

ESTIMATE: $45,000-55,000 (NO RESERVE)
RICHARD’S PREDICTION: $30,000
HAMMER PRICE: $67,000 (plus 12% premium for final price of $75,040)

Ahem…. Not only did I miss the hammer price by a country mile; this car blew right past the high end of its pre-sale estimate. Undoubtedly, its original condition and low mileage contributed to giving the seller a grand slam, funky ‘70s colors be damned. And to those who continue to maintain that 928s are not collectible, I now have this piece of evidence in my arsenal.


Gooding & Co: 1969 Alfa Romeo 1750 Spider Veloce, Lot #010, sold on Friday

https://www.goodingco.com/vehicle/1969-alfa-romeo-1750-spider-veloce/

Estimate: $80,000-100,000 (NO RESERVE)
RICHARD’S PREDICTION: $50,000
HAMMER PRICE: $64,000 (plus 12% premium for final price of $71,680)

I was a little closer with this one, but my guess was still under the hammer by $14,000. Auction fever can infect bidders in many ways, and someone caught the fever and stepped up for this cute little roadster. While this Alfa sold for 50% more than what similar cars have brought recently, note that its hammer price was still well under the auction company’s unreasonably optimistic estimate.


RM Sotheby’s: 1970 Jaguar E-Type roadster (OTS), Lot #168, sold on Thursday

https://rmsothebys.com/en/auctions/az20/arizona/lots/r0076-1970-jaguar-e-type-series-2-42-litre-roadster/838010

ESTIMATE: $110,000-140,000 (NO RESERVE)
RICHARD’S PREDICTION: $95,000
HAMMER PRICE: $75,000 (plus 12% premium for final price of $84,000)

Last week’s post stated in part: “… the Series II cars have become the affordable E-Type….”. Given that the hammer price was $20,000 under my seemingly reasonable guesstimate, and $35,000 under the auction company’s low-end estimate, it’s not going out on a limb to call this one a good buy. The new owner got a beautiful E-Type OTS (Open Two-Seater) with 80% of the charm of a Series I car at a 50% discount.


FINAL THOUGHTS

These cars represent such a small fraction of the hundreds and hundreds of collector cars sold in Scottsdale. Can we draw any conclusions from just three sales? I maintain that we can:

  • No Reserve cars are, by definition, guaranteed to sell. A theory I’ve heard about no-reserve sales, disproven here, is that they always favor the buyer. Sometimes, when the audience knows the high bidder gets the car, a bidding war erupts. Both the Porsche and the Alfa sold over their high estimate, so the consignors in both cases should be delighted with these results.
  • Another theory we can try to debunk based on this minuscule sample is that the hobby is in poor health. The Alfa and the Jaguar are blue-chip collectibles; the 928 less so, but it’s still a Porsche. Each of these cars appeared to be in very nice shape. I’d venture that all three buyers, if a modicum of care is taken with their new prizes, will not lose money in the long-term when it’s time to sell. Were these cars affordable? It’s a relative term. For a large segment of the Scottsdale audience, vehicles under six figures are affordable, and return on investment was not a primary purchase factor. The hobby is far from dead.
  • Are auctions a good place to buy cars? There is no simple answer to that. It would be misleading to look at these results and think it’s not. Instead, I would postulate that these examples highlight the need for bidders to educate themselves before raising the paddle. You cannot make good judgments from pretty online photos while sitting 2,500 miles away. Learn all you can about the model you’re interested in, make direct contact with the auction company, seek out the seller if available, and bid with your head, not your heart.

Sunday Morning Breakfast Run, August 28, 2016

Lined up and ready to go
Lined up and ready to go

It’s been a hot summer in the Northeast, but the morning of August 28, 2016, dawned with somewhat cool temperatures. This usually means that while it would still get quite warm, the humidity would fail to be oppressive. Most importantly, it gave every indication of staying dry for our breakfast drive, a gathering which we last did back in May.

The usual chit chat before breakfast
The usual chit-chat before breakfast

Our turnout today was great: 12 cars and 14 participants. Showing the diversity of our automotive interests, we had a mix of 5 domestics and 7 imports, and almost every decade represented from the 1960s through the 2000s. For a switch, let’s list our cars alphabetically by make (OK, I admit it, I want to get the Alfas first):

  • Alfa Romeo – THREE! Two ’91 Spiders, and your blogger’s ’67 GT Junior.
  • BMWs – Three: Two Z3s (one an M), and a rather new 2-series convertible.
  • Cadillac – a ’66 Eldorado convertible.
  • Chevrolet – Two: A ’72 Nova, and a C4 Corvette coupe.
  • Dodge – The Green Viper.
  • Ford – A late-model Mustang convertible.
  • Porsche – a late ‘80s 911 coupe.

 

We're now in the habit of including a fuel and restroom break
We’re now in the habit of including a fuel and restroom break

Our breakfast destination was the Readington Diner on Route 22 in Whitehouse Station NJ. Once we got off Routes 287 and 10, the roads were a driver’s delight. The diner was most accommodating, as we called ahead, and there was a table waiting for us when we strolled in at 10:30.

Coffee, food, more coffee, talk, and more coffee finally concluded with the usual “why don’t we do this again soon?” So we will. We’re hoping for at least two more runs this year before our classics are tucked away for the winter.

Enzo's 1991 Alfa Spider
Enzo’s 1991 Alfa Spider

 

Livio's 1991 Alfa Spider
Livio’s 1991 Alfa Spider

 

Richard's 1967 Alfa GT 1300 Junior
Richard’s 1967 Alfa GT 1300 Junior

 

Rob's Z3M
Rob’s BMW Z3M

 

Jeff's BMW Z3
Jeff’s BMW Z3

 

The BMW 2-series of our Maryland guests
The BMW 2-series of our Maryland guests

 

Ted's 1966 Caddy
Ted’s 1966 Caddy

 

Larry's 1972 Chevy Nova
Larry’s 1972 Chevy Nova

 

Ron's C4 Chevy Corvette
Ron’s C4 Chevy Corvette

 

The mean green Viper machine
The mean green Viper machine

 

Nick's Mustang convertible
Nick’s Mustang convertible

 

Peter's Porsche 911
Peter’s Porsche 911

 

This is not an optical illusion
This is not an optical illusion

 

All photographs copyright © 2016 Richard A. Reina. Photos may not be copied or reproduced without express written permission.

Hemmings Sports & Exotic Car Show Report, August 6, 2013

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The good folks at “Hemmings”, publishers of several well-known collector car magazines, held their 11th annual Sports & Exotic Car Show on the grounds of the Saratoga Automobile Museum in Saratoga Springs, NY. The event took place on Saturday, August 6, 2016. In spite of a threatening forecast (and a published rain date of Sunday August 7), the organizers decided to press on, and the weather cooperated, as the show field remained sunny and dry, if a bit warm.

The show was open to “sports cars, GTs and exotics built outside the United States prior to 1992.” Those with newer imports were still welcome to attend, but would not have their vehicles judged.

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My good friend Peter agreed to accompany me (and did most of the driving – thanks Peter!). Since I had attended one Hemmings show at the same location two years prior, I had reason to expect a professionally-run event, with a decent turnout and quality cars. We were not disappointed.

Arriving by 10:30 a.m., the show field was almost completely full. Cars were arranged by class, which for the majority of attendees was Country of Origin. As in years past, this show had several Featured Classes, including pre-1992 Jaguars, Porsche 356s, and Toyota Sports & GT cars. The big attractions for me were the two Italian Featured Classes: Fiat 124 spiders and Alfa Romeo spiders. Both the Fiat 124 spider and the Alfa Duetto/spider were celebrating their 50th anniversaries.

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The entire event had a relaxed and casual feel to it. Most cars were prepped for judging, but unlike some other judged shows, the owners seemed carefree. (No one was spotted picking blades of grass out of their tire treads.) Everyone lazily walked the grounds, chatted up the drivers, and shared their stories. The verdant setting helped with the “stroll in the park” ambiance.

At 2 p.m. sharp, the Awards Ceremony began. There was a 2nd place and 1st place trophy for each of 13 classes. (I believe judging was done by that time-honored method known as “which cars do we really like?” Nothing wrong with that, either.) The winners were lined up and slowly driven past an admiring audience. By 2:30, it was over.

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Hemmings hold two shows each year in Saratoga Springs, this one, and the larger Concours d’Elegance in September. If you haven’t been, either is highly recommended.

 

BRITISH

This 1968 Triumph 250 was voted “Best of Show”. It was immaculate, and it deserved it.

This Sunbeam Tiger was in a most unusual shade of baby blue, and we’re unsure if the color was an original choice from the factory.

Triumph Spitfires have marvelous engine access.

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MG-TFs carried the marque’s octagonal badge shape to the instrument cluster.

This Austin-Healey Bug Eye Sprite was even cuter sans bumpers.

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A Jaguar XK8 Coupe.

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A rarely-seen Lotus Elan +2.

 

GERMAN

Porsche 356s were one of the Featured Classes.

Two of the more striking ones in attendance.

This 1960 356 coupe is an unrestored survivor.

One of my show favorites: this 1969 911 has been with the same owner for 25 years. Paint was peeling off the driver’s door. He told us he didn’t care; he owns the car to drive it.

There were German cars there besides Porsche. This Mercedes Benz 230-SL had a side-facing rear jump seat.

An Opel GT, sold new in the U.S. by Buick dealers.

Another favorite: this 1979 Ford (not Mercury) Capri had been privately imported. The car was tastefully modified, was clean and straight, and must be a hoot to drive.

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SWEDISH

This Volvo 123GT looked authentic; at least it wore the correct badging. I don’t think I’ve seen an actual 123GT in about 20 years.

This was the only Volvo 1800 at the show.

 

FIAT 124 SPIDERS

There were about 20 Fiat 124 spiders at the show, with cars from the first generation (late 1960s) right through to the Pininfarina-badged cars of the mid-1980s. As a former Fiat owner, it was difficult for me to believe that this many survived. Best of all, the owners were there just to have a blast. Bellissimo!

An early car: in addition to the chrome bumpers, note the slatted grille, and the small, round side marker lights.

The placard claimed this to be an unrestored survivor.

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We spoke at length to the owner of the Positano Giallo car. He recently bought this car after it had sat, unused, in the previous owner’s garage for 30 years. There had been a small carb fire, and that owner gave up on it. The new owner refreshed the fluids, washed off 30 years of dust, and here it is.

This beauty took home 2nd place in this class.

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More, more, more

The Pininfarina cars got their first dashboard redesign.

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Here you see the 124 Spider tail lights evolve and enlarge.

 

OTHER ITALIAN

The Alfa class was disappointingly small. However, the cars that were there were gems.

Fine Italian jewelry:

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This Duetto, striking in grey, took 1st place in its class.

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Modern Alfas, in the guise of a 4C coupe and 4C spider:

A Lancia Fulvia Coupe.

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LICENSE PLATES

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Sunday Morning Breakfast Drive, May 15, 2016

8 a.m.: sunny before departure
8:30 a.m.: sunny before departure

After a relatively mild winter, the spring of 2016 has been taking its sweet time arriving in the Northeast. Any fears of summer heat waves in early May have been unfounded, with daily temperatures often running 10 degrees below normal. Our little driving club tried to get an early start on the season by planning a mid-April event, which had to be cancelled due to the threat of snow! Our scheduled drive on Sunday May 15 did successfully occur, in spite of cool weather and surprise showers.

Hey guys, do you want to eat, or would you rather stand around and shoot the breeze?
Hey guys, do you want to eat, or would you rather stand around and shoot the breeze?

Checking back on last year’s blog entries, we never had more 15 participants on any one run (excepting Spousal Accompaniment Day). Today, we broke that record with 17 gentlemen occupying 12 cars. Obviously, we had 5 passengers, several of whom were joining us for the first time. Our destination was a crowd favorite, the Silver Spoon Café in Cold Spring NY.

We pull over to give those in back a chance to catch up

We pull over to give those in back a chance to catch up

The cars: we usually count up the Chevys, and then all the rest. Today, the Europeans won the day with a total of 7 cars: 3 Germans, 2 Brits, and 2 Italians. We had 4 U.S. brand cars, and one Japanese. There were old(ish) and new(ish) vehicles in all the subcategories with multiple vehicles.

The Mother Country was beautifully represented Rich S’s black MGB and Rich L’s white Jaguar F-Type.

The MGB of Rich S
The MGB of Rich S

 

The F-Type Jag of Rich L
The F-Type Jag of Rich L

The 2 Italians cars were both Alfas: EC was the proud papa bringing his ’91 spider out with us for the first time, while your humble scribe brought his trusty, un-rusty ’67 GT Junior.

Enzo's 1991 Alfa Spider
Enzo’s 1991 Alfa Spider

 

The author's '67 Alfa GT Junior
The author’s ’67 Alfa GT Junior

German marques ruled the roads today with 3 cars: Peter’s stunning red 911, Sal’s BMW 325is, and John M’s new Audi A3 cabrio.

Peter's Porsche 911
Peter’s Porsche 911

 

John's Audi A3
John’s Audi A3

 

Sal's BMW 325is
Sal’s BMW 325is

Among domestic product, it was all Chevrolet, including 3 Corvettes: Bill’s C1, Ron’s C4, and George’s C6. Larry ran his reliable Camaro.

Bill's C1
Bill’s C1

 

Ron's C4
Ron’s C4

 

George's C6
George’s C6

 

Larry's '94 Camaro
Larry’s ’94 Camaro

The sole Asian car was Jim N’s Datsun 280Z.

Jim's Datsun 280Z
Jim’s Datsun 280Z

We departed the Sheraton Crossroads parking lot (almost) right on time and headed north. As soon as we did, the skies darkened, and the clouds threatened. In spite of the weather, several drivers motored with convertible tops down. After a beautiful ride along Seven Lakes Drive and over the Bear Mountain Bridge, we were at our destination with 10 minutes to spare. The staff at the Silver Spoon had a table for 17 waiting. Coffee was almost immediately served, with hot breakfast plates soon following. As always, the camaraderie around the table made it difficult to leave.

The obligatory wave before breakfast
The obligatory wave before breakfast

When we finally wrenched ourselves away from the food and endless caffeine, we stepped outside to some slight sprinkles. Those who had left their tops down scurried back to their cars. Several of us continued to linger and chat, not wanting the festivities to end. But end they eventually did. We’ve assured the group that we’ll do our best to get out at least once a month this driving season.

A crowd favorite is the Silver Spoon Cafe, on Main St. in Cold Spring NY
The Silver Spoon Cafe, on Main St. in Cold Spring NY, survived our visit

All photographs copyright © 2016 Richard A. Reina. Photos may not be copied or reproduced without express written permission.