If you’re a car collector (or want to be one), then Scottsdale, Arizona, is the place to be each January. All the major automotive auction houses host major events there (or nearby) this time of year, and this year’s saw over $220 million in classic metal trading hands – including some big-ticket items to start the year off right.
Though Barrett-Jackson moves the largest volume, Bonhams handled the top sale – and it wasn’t even a Ferrari or a Bugatti. It was a rare and coveted 1963 Jaguar E-Type Lightweight Competition coupe, which went to the top bidder for a record $7.37 million.
This was the first time that one of these rare sports racers – of which only twelve were originally made – came up for auction in over a decade. All of which suddenly puts into perspective why Jaguar recently built six more, and charged $1.5 million a pop.
Bonhams alone moved $36 million over the course of the event, including a 1964 Porsche 904 GTS ($2.3m), a 1928 Mercedes Type S ($4.8m), and a 1952 Ferrari 340 America ($6.4m) – but that wasn’t even the next highest-grossing lot of all.
RM Sotheby’s sold a 1939 Mercedes-Benz 540 K Special Roadster for $6.6 million. It also found new homes for several high-priced Ferraris, including a ’69 365 GTS that tripled the previous record for that model at $3.6 million, as well as a rare black F50 ($3.1m), a Superamerica Aerodinamico ($3m), and Tommy Hilfiger’s Enzo ($2.7m). Those contributed to a total of $53.8 million the one auction house racked up at the Arizona Biltmore.
Gooding & Company made a strong showing as well, rapping the gavel to the tune of over $33 million. Its top lot was a 1925 Bugatti Type 35 grand prix racer that went for $3.3 million, followed by a 1965 Ferrari 500 Superfast for $2.9 million.
Of course nobody could match Barrett-Jackson for sheer volume. Only two of its lots crested the million-dollar mark: a 1964 Aston Martin DB5 at $1.5m, and a one-of-a-kind 1960 Chevrolet engineering research vehicle for $1.3m. (Floyd Mayweather’s white Bugatti Veyron Grand Sport might have topped both, but failed to meet its reserve price after its last-minute consignment.) With 1,678 lots moved over the course of nine days, however, Barrett-Jackson brought in nearly $100 million all on its own – more than the next two highest-grossing auction houses combined.