Hagerty analysis: what happened at Arizona Auction Week?

WORDS & PHOTOGRAPHY: HAGERTY

The 2022 Arizona Auction Week far exceeded optimistic expectations, showing just how super-heated the collector car market is right now. Total sales of $266.7m bested Hagerty’s forecast of $211m, and the week’s total was the second highest-ever gross behind the $307.3m haul of 2016. Despite fewer vehicles and fewer auction companies, the sell-through rate ticked up from 97 percent to 99 percent, and the average price increased from $95,152 to $126,556. The latter increase reflects the broad appreciation we’ve seen in the enthusiast vehicle market across all segments, where 71 percent of vehicles in the Hagerty Price Guide appreciated in the past 12 months. Some of the factors driving that appreciation are as follows.

The growth of online auctions (whose sales have doubled every year since 2016), have brought enthusiast vehicles to more people than ever. No longer passively watching auctions on TV, they can bid from home more easily than ever now. Since the pandemic began, people have also prioritised fun-to-drive vehicles over poised-to-appreciate ones. Witness the emerging popularity of the Porsche 911 Cabriolet — a model traditionally shunned by Porsche faithful in the US, a 996 Turbo S Cabriolet sold at Gooding & Company for a near-record $126,500.

The popularity of online auctions has had an impact on live auctions, which had one-third fewer vehicles on offer during this year’s Arizona auctions (including seven-figure cars). Despite the drop in the number of vehicles, total sales at live auctions benefited from widespread appreciation. That breadth of appreciation is partly apparent in the 33 percent increase in the average price, but also the share of vehicles under $50K shrinking by nine percent while the share of those between $50k and $250k increased by ten percent.

Live auctions do still produce some exceptionally strong prices, sometimes bordering on unbelievable. Despite audiences numbering tens of thousands for certain online lots, live auctions can still create the right atmosphere for a win-at-any-price attitude. In just the first month of 2022, among vehicles (defined as year make model) sold at auction, we’ve seen a record set for 29 percent of them.

The January auctions don’t just happen in Arizona, either. Mecum has grown its Kissimmee Florida event, held in early January each year, to mammoth proportions. Held over 11 days, Mecum sold nearly 3000 vehicles with sales totalling $213m. Compared to 2020, Mecum sold over 1000 more vehicles this year and sales soared from $88m. The average price increased from $46k to $72k, too, showing that increased take wasn’t strictly due to volume. The number of vehicles sold and the total sales rivals all the Arizona auctions combined. Live auctions will need to continue to create must-attend events to succeed.

As January’s live auctions have shown that rapid growth in the market continues, there are questions of how long these gains will last, if a widespread price correction is coming (and when), and what that correction might look like. One possibility is that this bull rush won’t behave like past ones. Priorities changed during the pandemic, and enthusiasts are valuing experiences and paying in cash. No speculators. Perhaps. However, vehicles sold at the January auctions and bought at auction in the two years prior were held for nearly two weeks less time this year compared to 2020. The average return jumped from seven percent to 26 percent as well, with 73 percent of those repeats leading to positive gains. With a likely return of 26 percent, then, it’s realistic to expect the audience to grow as enthusiasts fear missing out.

Attention now turns to the upcoming Rétromobile and Amelia Island auctions, where volume sales will be replaced by more curated offerings of cars with provenance. In the meantime, we expect online auctions to continue to sell more vehicles at ever-higher prices. But while the market is singing, it’s wise to remember that the collector car market is just as cyclical as any other market. Prospective buyers will do well to keep this top of mind as they seek out their next fun-to-drive purchase.

Listed below are the raw results witnessed by Hagerty during the live auctions, which may not factor in any post-sale deals that have occurred. These numbers include the appropriate buyer’s premiums.

We are comparing results to 2020 because that was the most recent year all auctions were in January and in Arizona.

Overall through Sunday from all auction companies
Cumulative Total:
$266.7m
2107/2135 lots sold: 99 percent sell-through rate
Average Sale Price: $126,556

2020 Cumulative Results through Sunday
Cumulative Total:
$217.7m
2288/2352 lots sold: 97 percent sell-through rate
Average Sale Price: $95,152

Overall Top Ten Sales from all auctions through Sunday:

  1. 1955 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Aluminum Gullwing Coupé sold for $6,825,000 (RM Sotheby’s)
  2. 2023 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 Coupe sold for $3,700,000 (Barrett-Jackson)*
  3. 1931 Duesenberg Model J Derham Tourster sold for $3,415,000 (RM Sotheby’s)
  4. 1964 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Roadster sold for $2,315,000 (RM Sotheby’s)
  5. 1929 Duesenberg Model J Derham Sedan, 5-pass. sold for $2,260,000 (Worldwide Auctioneers)
  6. 2004 Porsche Carrera GT Coupé sold for $1,980,000 (Barrett-Jackson)
  7. 1967 Ferrari 330GTS Spider sold for $1,957,500 (RM Sotheby’s)
  8. 1965 Ferrari 275GTB Coupé sold for $1,875,000 (RM Sotheby’s)
  9. 1955 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwing Coupé sold for $1,870,000 (Barrett-Jackson)
  10. 2015 Porsche 918 Spyder Roadster sold for $1,815,000 (Barrett-Jackson)

*Charity car

Results broken down by Auction Company

BARRETT-JACKSON
Cumulative Total through Sunday: $195.5m
1841/1841 lots sold: 100.0 percent sell-through rate
Average Sale Price: $106,202

Overall Top Ten Sales:

  1. 2023 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 Coupe sold for $3,700,000*
  2. 2004 Porsche Carrera GT Coupé sold for $1,980,000
  3. 1955 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwing Coupé sold for $1,870,000
  4. 2015 Porsche 918 Spyder Roadster sold for $1,815,000
  5. 2014 McLaren P1 Coupé sold for $1,705,000
  6. 2019 Ford GT Heritage Coupé sold for $1,650,000
  7. 2019 McLaren Senna Coupé sold for $1,512,500
  8. 2017 Ford GT Coupé sold for $1,430,000
  9. 2020 Ford GT Carbon Series Coupé sold for $1,375,000
  10. 1967 Shelby Cobra 427 (CSX3300–CSX3360) Roadster sold for $1,210,000

*Charity car

2020 Cumulative Results
Cumulative Total: $137.1m
1908/1909 lots sold: 99.9 percent sell-through rate
Average Sale Price: $71,833

RM SOTHEBY’S
Cumulative Total through Sunday: $43.3m
66/70 lots sold: 94 percent sell-through rate
Average Sale Price: $655,803

Overall Top Ten Sales:

  1. 1955 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Aluminum Gullwing Coupé sold for $6,825,000
  2. 1931 Duesenberg Model J Derham Tourster sold for $3,415,000
  3. 1964 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Roadster sold for $2,315,000
  4. 1967 Ferrari 330GTS Spider sold for $1,957,500
  5. 1965 Ferrari 275GTB Coupé sold for $1,875,000
  6. 1955 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwing Coupé sold for $1,710,000
  7. 2015 Porsche 918 Spyder Roadster sold for $1,600,000
  8. 1987 Porsche 959 Komfort Coupé sold for $1,600,000
  9. 2005 Porsche Carrera GT Coupé sold for $1,545,000
  10. 1988 Cizeta-Moroder V16T Prototype Coupé sold for $1,363,500

2020 Cumulative Results
Cumulative Total: $30.3m
128/143 lots sold: 90 percent sell-through rate
Average Sale Price: $237,080

BONHAMS
Cumulative Total through Sunday: $11.3m
81/89 lots sold: 91 percent sell-through rate
Average Sale Price: $139,846

Overall Top Ten Sales:

  1. 1958 AC Ace Roadster sold for $516,500
  2. 1953 Mercedes-Benz 300S Roadster sold for $472,500
  3. 1997 Porsche 911 Turbo S Coupé sold for $467,000
  4. 1989 Lamborghini Countach Coupé sold for $445,000
  5. 1962 Aston Martin DB4 Vantage Sedan sold for $381,750
  6. 1962 Aston Martin DB4 Vantage Sedan sold for $379,000
  7. 1949 Buick Roadmaster Model 76C Convertible sold for $335,000
  8. 1992 Ferrari 512 TR Coupé sold for $296,500
  9. 1967 Porsche 911 S Targa sold for $288,250
  10. 1954 Porsche 356 1500 Coupé sold for $257,600

2020 Results through Thursday
Cumulative Total: $8.4m
88/108 lots sold: 82 percent sell-through rate
Average Sale Price: $95,872

WORLDWIDE
Cumulative Total through Thursday: $9.7m
72/79 lots sold: 91 percent sell-through rate
Average Sale Price: $135,391

Overall Top Ten Sales:

  1. 1929 Duesenberg Model J Derham Sedan, 5-pass. sold for $2,260,000
  2. 1935 Delahaye 135MS Competition Drophead Coupé sold for $1,435,000
  3. 1932 Chrysler Imperial Convertible Sedan sold for $940,000
  4. 1970 Dodge Challenger R/T Hardtop Coupe sold for $329,500
  5. 1991 Lamborghini Diablo Coupé sold for $302,000
  6. 1937 Packard Twelve-Series 1507 Coupe sold for $280,000
  7. 1983 Ferrari 512 BBi Coupé sold for $263,200
  8. 1961 Chevrolet Impala Customized Station Wagon, 6-pass. sold for $252,000
  9. 1937 Cord 812 Supercharged Convertible Phaeton Sedan sold for $235,200
  10. 1967 Shelby GT350 Fastback sold for $207,200

2020 Cumulative Results
Total: $6.1m
42/55 lots sold: 76 percent sell-through rate
Average Sale Price: $144,263

GOODING & COMPANY
Cumulative Total through Sunday: $6.8m
47/56 lots sold: 84 percent sell-through rate
Average Sale Price: $144,159

Overall Top Ten Sales:

  1. 1961 Maserati 5000GT Touring Coupé sold for $924,000
  2. 2005 Ford GT Coupe sold for $423,500
  3. 1974 Ferrari Dino 246 GTS Spider sold for $374,000
  4. 2008 Porsche 911 GT2 Coupé sold for $357,500
  5. 1963 Chevrolet Corvette Split-Window Coupe sold for $335,500
  6. 1962 Lancia Flaminia GT 3C Coupé sold for $286,000
  7. 1937 Cord 812 Customised Westchester Sedan sold for $275,000
  8. 2011 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Coupé sold for $264,000
  9. 1957 Porsche 356A 1300 Super Speedster sold for $247,500
  10. 1961 Jaguar E-type SI 3.8 Flat Floor Roadster sold for $247,500

2020 Cumulative Results
Cumulative Total: $35.8m
122/137 lots sold: 89 percent sell-through rate
Average Sale Price: $293,501

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