The Monterey Car Week Auctions Could Bring in a Record $398 Million in Sales

·2 min read

As the US teeters on the brink of a possible recession yet enjoys healthy jobs growth and dropping fuel prices, it’s becoming trickier than ever for prognosticators to get a bead on collecting trends. These mixed-up moments are like a double-rating on the Face Pain Scale: “No hurt” with a dash of “hurts a whole lot.”

If you’re looking ahead to Monterey Car Week’s cornucopia of classic auctions during this best-of-times/worst-of-times moment, you could do worse than draw expert advice on the classic car market from the data-driven folks at Hagerty. 

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First off, while the company’s market rating has observed 15 straight months of gains through June, the metric finally slipped a tad in July. That said, Hagerty notes that there’s no shortage of “big” cars this year, with more million-dollar vehicles for auction than ever. That includes the vaunted McLaren F1 #059, which will be sold using RM Sotheby’s first proprietary sealed-bid formats and could exceed the $20 million range established by earlier F1s. Of course, demand is heavily reliant on supply, and this year’s unprecedented twelve Mercedes-Benz 500K/540Ks should test the outer edges of interest in that premium but rather niche market.

1998 McLaren F1. - Credit: RM Sotheby's
1998 McLaren F1. - Credit: RM Sotheby's

RM Sotheby's

Given the vagaries of these multifarious times, Hagerty takes three potential scenarios that cover most eventualities among the approximately 1,200 auctions throughout the week. The first is a perfect storm of everything working in favor of the market, with total sales approaching $500 million, which would beat the prior record by $100 million. The second recalls 2019, in which there’s a significant disconnect between greedy sellers and realistic bidders. The third sees consignors stick with reasonable reserve prices and buyers bid strongly thanks to the high-quality nature of the goods on hand. For all their hedging, Hagerty ultimately contends that the third scenario is the likeliest outcome, and commits to a rather specific forecast of $398 million in sales, edging the last market peak of 2015 only slightly. 

However, despite the depth of numbers, data, and market-driven analysis available to industry pundits everywhere, there’s nothing like the vagaries of the human heart (and the realities of the bank account) to gauge a potential acquisition. May the best buyers win. 

Click here to see highlights of the Monterey Car Week Auctions.

Monterey Car Week Auctions
Monterey Car Week Auctions

 

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