At 2014 Auctions, BMW, Porsche On The Rise – Forbes

Posted: Saturday, February 22, 2014

Next Next month at the annual auctions on Amelia Island 50-year-old pieces of metal and leather will sell for six- and seven figures while the money pours in from every corner of the globe.

It’s more of the same binge buying from 2013, when for the first time total car sales at auction in North America exceeded $1 billion. Four of the five most expensive cars ever sold at auction went in 2013–of those four, three of them sold since July.

Experts say this year will also be flush with big-spending and prize items like early model, mint-condition Ferraris (still). But that doesn’t mean there won’t be some inevitable leveling off as well. Thing is, it’s impossible for such supremely high price tags to increase at this pace indefinitely.

“The collector car market is now widely being talked about, which has plenty of people pulling out the ‘B’ word,” says McKeel Hagerty, the CEO of Hagerty Insurance, referring car collecting becoming a billion-dollar industry. “But from our vantage point, we think a more likely development in 2014 is that prices in this segment will begin to relax rather than pop.”

David Gooding, the owner of Gooding & Co., agreed. Last week on the phone he said that the United States still leads the field in terms of who is spending money, and how, but that model will continue to shift. Money is coming now from Europe, Latin America, and the East—and it’s coming increasingly from young(ish) buyers.

“North America still leads the way but there are quite a few people newly entering the market,” Gooding says. “It’s becoming a generational thing—more people accept the automobile as an art form, and it’s seen as an asset class. There’s definitely a greater understanding and appreciation for special automobiles as a viable and important investment-grade area.”

It’s also going to a wider variety of models—not just the Ferrari/Jaguar combination of sellers. At Amelia look for a special 1968 Porsche Porsche 907 racecar that was the first Porsche to win the 24-Hours of Daytona race; Gooding will also offer 20 rare-to-market BMWs from the 1950s-1980s that epitomize the engineering mentality of the brand (think 1958 BMW 507 Series II, several V8 models, various Neue Klasse models, a selection of high-performance models and a full range of Isettas).

One, that extremely rare 1958 BMW 507 Series II, is the very original car designed by Albrecht von Goertz. It’s expected to fetch as much as $2 million. (Click through the slideshow above to see it up close.)

Elsewhere the Grand Palais Sale of the Bonhams’s Blue Riband auctions saw a 1929 Bugatti Type 35B sell for $2.2 million (it went to a buyer from the Far East). Another Ferrari –a Formula One Grand Prix single-seater – sold for $656,000. But British Aston Martins have proved newly popular among bidders: A rare left-hand drive 1962 DB4 Vantage GT coupe went for more than double its estimate there at $1,631,000, and a 1965 Aston Martin DB5, of the same model as used in the James Bond film Goldfinger, sold for $1,055,000.

It’s results like those that set the tone for the auction year. Which—despite maybe that relative cooling—will be strong. Very strong.

“This year, and especially early this spring, people are definitely watching what’s happening very carefully,” Gooding says. “There certainly could be some new records yet, despite everything. We’ll see.”

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