Another month has come to pass, and with it, more events and developments in the collector and enthusiast car world. February marked a number of notable gatherings, like the Paris auctions that coincide with Rétromobile, and Silverstone’s Race Retro Classic and Competition Car Sale held during the last week of the month. We were also looking forward to what was to come out of the appropriately named International Concours of Elegance (ICE) in St. Moritz, but due to growing concerns over the coronavirus, the Swiss government banned all gatherings of over 1,000 people, which subsequently meant the end of events like The Geneva Auto Show and the luxury watch industry’s Baseworld.
As we followed the sales that surrounded Rétromobile, there were a number of cars we were watching, but in the end, the results were rather unexpected. While the high end of the spectrum continued to lag in what feels like a soft market for the most expensive cars, a few unexpected stars emerged. Many of these were German, and with eras and segments that ranged from prewar performance cars to midcentury sports cars like the BMW 507 and Mercedes-Benz 300SL. As we noted at the time, the more affordable enthusiast side of the market seemed to remain strong with plenty of interest, but we still saw overall sell-through rates and average prices decline year-over-year.
Although Silverstone’s Race Retro Classic and Competition Car Sale slipped under the radar of many, we were watching the lots go by, and by this time, the results seemed par for the course for 2020. While more than a few Ferrari and Lamborghini cars remain for sale, others, particularly those from the burgeoning Radwood generation (1980–1999) saw strong interest. Whether it was a 500E or am Acura NSX, cars from what is being referred to as a golden age of modern technology and design are the current object of enthusiast affection. It’s not that the other stuff isn’t moving, it’s just that the action, along with appreciating valuations, seem to be focused on 5-speed Porsche 928s and others that fit the criteria.
February also witnessed further developments in the spread of the human coronavirus which originated in an industrialized region of China. The new disease has since spread all over the world and has left tumultuous financial markets and a slew of cancelled events in its wake. The auto industry is by no means immune, with dozens of factories, some of which have since reopened, shuttered for weeks from the end of January and into February. At the same time, important events and gatherings have been cancelled as a precaution. These include the Geneva Auto Show, where automakers were scheduled to unveil a host of new models and concepts during the first week of March, and the ICE St. Moritz, a perennial gathering of special cars not on the manicured 10th and 18th fairways of some exclusive golf club, but on the frozen surface of Lake St. Moritz.
March marks a continuation of events, including the first important concours of the year in the US, Amelia Island. This event is of course bookended by auctions from the big houses, including Bonhams, Gooding & Company, and RM Sotheby’s. We will be on the ground for this one, so expect a full after-action report and analysis. Not long after is the Mecum Glendale sale in which the action returns to Arizona with some 1,500 vehicles up for bid. Radwood held an event at the end of February, but the one we’re looking forward to hearing about is the gathering scheduled for the second to last week of March in Greenville, South Carolina, which will be held at Michelin’s North American headquarters. Techno-Classica in Essen, Germany caps things off, where RM Sotheby’s and Coys of London will have a presence.
Photos via Nate.Stevens on Flickr, the respective auction houses.
Powered by Froala Editor