It’s the oldest and most prestigious car show in the United States, the annual Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance.
Now in its 71st year, it’s the highlight of what is known in the collector car community as Monterey Car Week, which includes other car events, such as the Quail Motorsports Gathering, Concours d’Lemons, Concorso Italiano, and five races and rallies.
But this is more than just a week of car shows. It includes a number of auctions, as the world’s collector car auction companies descend on the Monterey Peninsula. Auction houses scheduled to sell collector cars include Gooding & Company, Mecum, Bonham’s, Broad Arrow and RM Sotheby’s — the latter selling their cars over three days, Aug. 18-20.
Blenheim, Ontario-based Sotheby’s previewed a handful of the 170 cars it plans to auction next month in California at Eastern Market in Detroit. This year’s sale will include vehicles from the Oscar Davis Collection, one of America’s top car collectors and a familiar face at America’s top concours.
Jake O’Gorman of RM Sotheby’s said that Monterey is a “flagship auction.” Here’s why.
Cars with impressive provenance
Among the cars offered is a 1927 Miller Supercharged One-Man Front Drive Race Car valued between $700,000 and $850,000. Miller race cars are well-known among collectors. Between 1926 and 1929, three quarters of all cars on the Indy starting grid were Millers, including this one. Miller won the Indianapolis 500 an incredible 15 times in the 20-year period from 1921 to 1941.
Also crossing the block is a 1971 Ferrari 365 GTB/4 Daytona Coupe, valued between $500,000 and $600,000, with 22,000 miles on its odometer that was both raced and driven in its early years.
A 1929 Auburn 8-90 Eight Speedster that was once part of the fabled Harrah’s collection in Las Vegas will also be sold, with a value of as much as $350,000. Former owners include the daughter of E.L. Cord, president of Auburn Automobile Co., and actor Ed Hermann.
Perhaps one of the most significant cars being offered is a 1955 Ferrari 410 Sport Spider, among the most significant purpose-built Ferrari “big block” sports-racing prototypes from the 1950s. One of two factory-campaigned 410 Sports, it was raced by Carroll Shelby, Juan Manuel Fangio, Phil Hill, Eugenio Castellotti, Masten Gregory, Richie Ginther, Joakim Bonnier, Bruce Kessler, Jim Rathmann and Chuck Daigh.
The current market
“The market is in good shape,” noted O’Gorman, adding there are a lot of new collectors coming in their 40s and 50s, who would like to own one of these cars.
According to Hagerty Insurance, regardless of the auction house, the median auction buyer is younger than someone who purchases the identical vehicle privately. For example, the average age of a 1993 Mazda RX-7 owner is 45, whereas those bidding on and buying 1993 Mazda RX-7s at this auction are, on average, 36 years old.
The company also notes that there is no correlation between the age of the buyer and the age of the car they’re buying or selling.
This could make for some interesting and record-breaking sales at Monterey Car Week.
Executive Editor Larry Printz contributed to this article.