Gooding Arizona sale 2018 lead by 1965 Ferrari 275 GTB Speciale

This year’s Gooding Arizona sale, held in Scottsdale on Friday 19th and Saturday 20th January, achieved good results, recording a total turnover (including the 10% commission) of USD 49.2 million and a sale rate of about 85%. It is worth remembering that 76 lots — more than half the entire catalog — were offered without reserve. The average price of the lots sold was USD 447,400. Only nineteen of the 129 cars offered failed to sell, while 12 sold for amounts in excess of USD 1 million. The auction firm has declared that a remarkable 20 new world record prices were set over the two days, but don’t be too impressed by this high figure, as some of these sales concerned very inexpensive cars or, simply, models never previously offered at auction. Nevertheless, some of the 20 record-breaking transactions are important results, in that they confirm a current market trend, namely that very special cars are growing in appeal and value all the time.

Gooding Arizona sale: D-Type on hold, Ferrari shines

The real surprise of this auction, as at the RM Sotheby’s sale, was the no-sale of a Jaguar D-Type. Indeed, both these firms had expected their respective D-Types to come out on top. The car that fetched the highest price at the Gooding sale, a result that also made this car the overall top seller of the three 2018 Arizona auctions, was the 1965 Ferrari 275 GTB Speciale, a perfectly kept one-off car, shown in many car shows in the past and used by Pinin Farina in person as a daily runabout. It deservedly fetched USD 8.08 million, a new world record for the model. Interestingly, both first and second place in the Top Ten went to Ferraris: the 275 GTB Speciale was followed by a 1954 500 Mondial, which also set a new world record price for its model.

To summarize, one car broke the USD 8 million barrier, one crossed the USD 4 million mark, and another topped USD 2 million. The next seven all fetched in excess of a million dollars, meaning that all the cars in the auction’s Top Ten sold for seven-digit figures. At the other end of the spectrum, the sale’s cheapest cars were both offered without reserve and both fetched USD 35,200. One was a 1963 Alfa Romeo Giulietta Berlina T.I. (chassis # AR10129.225114), a well restored and documented car that set a new world record price for this model at an auction, despite failing to reach its pre-sale estimate of USD 45–55 K, and the other a 1948 Kurtis Kraft Midget Racer (chassis #248) with a documented American and Australian racing history. It, too, fell short of its estimated value (USD 50–70 K). The event’s lowest estimate pre-sale estimate (USD 35–45 K), assigned to a 1963 Volkswagen Karmann Ghia Coupe, offered without reserve, turned out to be accurate, as the car sold for USD 37,400. All the prices given here include the buyer’s premium of 10% on the hammer price.

Finally, I am delighted to highlight one particularly “sweet” purchase, motivated by personal reasons: the Ferrari 330 GTS, the sale’s fourth most expensive lot, was sold, after some fierce bidding that saw its final price setting a new world record, to the son of one of its previous owners, who simply wanted to bring his late father’s car back into the family.

The six cars we previewed: Bugatti revives pre-war market

Five of the six cars we featured in our preview of the Gooding & Co. 2018 Arizona auction found new owners. Three of them set new world record prices for their respective models and entered the Top Ten, one of them taking the top slot. With the no sale of the Jaguar D-Type, which had been assigned the highest pre-sale estimate, the top place in the classification was taken by the car with the second highest pre-sale estimate, the 1965 Ferrari 275 GTB Speciale, which sold at the world record price of USD 8,085,000 (in line with its estimated value of USD 8–10 million). The second of our selection to make it into the Top Ten, becoming the third most expensive car of the sale, was the 1931 Bugatti Type 55 Roadster, whose special roadster body was designed by Jean Bugatti himself. Selling for USD 4,070,000, this car, too, fetched a price in line with its estimated value (USD 4–5 million). Interestingly enough, this very car was previously sold by Gooding at its Pebble Beach auction in 2009 where, after an estimate of USD 1.4–2.1 million, it fetched USD 1.76 million. Its sharp in increase in value since then well illustrates the trend shown by very special models at the upper end of the classic car market over the past 10 years.

The third car in our selection to take a place in the Top Ten, setting a new world record in the process, was the 1963 Iso Grifo A3/L, a one-off car that served as the prototype for what would become the Iso Rivolta Grifo. This perfectly restored car sold for USD 1,760,000 (the sale’s sixth highest price), far exceeding its estimated value of USD 1.1–1.5 million. Outside the Top Ten, but still setting a new world record for its model, we find the 1951 Alfa Romeo 1900C Sprint Touring. This car, the third built of the series and featuring some custom-made parts requested by its first owner, Juan Manuel Fangio, sold for USD 616,000, a result in line with its estimated value of USD 500–700 K. The 1962 Mercedes-Benz 190 SL, in preserved condition, sold for USD 110,000 after being offered, without reserve, with an estimate of USD 160–200 K; in this case, as we have often seen in recent times, the market did not recognize the extra value conferred by the vehicle’s preserved condition, and the 190 SL therefore sold at the value of a “normal” restored car. The only car in our selected six that failed to sell was, as mentioned, the 1956 Jaguar D-Type.

The Top Ten at the Gooding & Co. sale

  • USD 8,085,000. 1965 Ferrari 275 GTB Speciale, covered in our preview. This sale was a world record for the model.
  • USD 4,455,000. 1954 Ferrari 500 Mondial Pinin Farina, Series I (chassis # 0434 MD), one of the only 14 built. This matching numbers car had been offered with an estimate of USD 5–5.75 million.
  • USD 4,070,000. 1931 Bugatti Type 55 Roadster, covered in our preview.
  • USD 2,530,000. 1967 Ferrari 330 GTS (chassis # 10703), one of 99 built, matching numbers and with a known provenance since new. Its estimated value was USD 2–2.4 million.
  • USD 2,090,000. 2014 Pagani Huayra (chassis # ZA9H11UA4ESF76087), number 87 of the 100 manufactured. Less than 1000 miles from new. This car sold below its estimated value of USD 2.2–2.6 million.
  • USD 1,760,000. 1963 Iso Rivolta A3/L Prototype, covered in our preview. It fetched a world record for the model.
  • USD 1,732,000. 2015 McLaren P1 (chassis #SBM12ABAFW000156) with less than 1700 miles from new. It fetched a price just short of its estimated value (USD 1.8–2.2 million).
  • USD 1,320,000. 1956 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Gullwing (chassis #198.040.6500174). This well documented car, in America since 1969, slightly exceeded its estimate of USD 1.1–1.3 million.
  • USD 1,155,000.1954 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Gullwing (chassis # 198.040.4500128). This matching numbers car, one of the first of its model produced, came from a 50-year ownership and had been assigned an estimated value of USD 1.1–1.3 million.
  • USD 1,100,000. 1960 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Roadster (chassis # with just two owners since 1961. Fresh from a restoration, its estimated value was USD 1.1–1.3 million.

Some of the other cars

With so many world records broken at the Gooding & Co. auction, it is easy to pick out a few more highlights from the sale. There is no doubt that the most touching moment of the auction was the sale of the 1967 Ferrari 330 GTS. This well-restored car was bought by Brent Martini, son of the late second owner, Robert Martini of New Jersey, who, in 1974, had bought it second hand from his brother Emil. The opportunity to buy the car and bring it back into the family, a full 42 years (and five owners) later, was seized upon because, in the words of the new owner, “this car meant a lot to me. I have fond memories of the car arriving at my home and, some years later, of driving it. It shaped my passion for cars, a passion that changed my life.” The transaction had the added bonus (at least for the seller) of achieving a price (USD 2,530,000) that exceeded the car’s estimated value of USD 2.3–2.4 million.

Another Ferrari, the 1954 500 Mondial Series 1 Pinin Farina (chassis #0434 MD) set a new world record for its model. This matching numbers car, extensively raced in period, is one of the only 14 Pinin Farina-bodied Mondial Spiders. It sold for USD 4,455,000, below its estimate of USD 5–5.75 million. Another new world record was set by the 2012 Lexus LFA Nürburgring Package (chassis # JTHHX8BH2C1000479), number 498 of the 500 built. This car, which has done less than 60 miles from new, failed to reach its estimated value of USD 0.9–1.2 million, coming under the hammer at USD 825,000. Finally, a 1969 Mercedes-Benz 280 SL (chassis # WDB113.044.10.007869), preserved, largely unrestored and recently serviced, represented a particularly attractive lot. However, offered without reserve, this car, a rare American version of the “Pagoda” with manual transmission and a clock reading of less than 50,000 miles, fell considerably short of its estimated value (USD 100-130 K), selling for USD 79,000.

All photos courtesy of Gooding & Company, Lexus by Brian Henniker, Ferrari 500 by Mike Maez, Ferrari 275 by Jensen Sutta.

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