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Scottsdale car auctions fetch $223.8 million

Several classic-car segments are expected to climb in value; even a 1969 Ford Bronco hits half a million.

By Clifford Atiyeh Jan 22, 2013 8:19AM
Last weekend's classic-car auctions in Scottsdale, Ariz., totaled a blistering $223.8 million, yet another reminder that no price is too high for an old Ferrari.

In fact, three Ferrari 250 GTs were among the 10 highest-grossing sales from all six auction companies, according to Hagerty, an insurer of collector cars. A 1958 California Spider, similar to the replica model seen in "Ferris Bueller's Day Off," sold for $8.25 million, while a 1960 Competizione Berlinetta went for $8.14 million.

Oddly enough, the original 1966 Batmobile seen in the TV series ranked third and swept $4.62 million, more than any other Porsche, Maserati or Mercedes. The only other American car to break the top 10 was a 1933 Duesenberg Model J Disappearing-Top Convertible at $2.69 million.

The most expensive car at Scottsdale, a 1958 Ferrari 250 GT LWB California Spider, sold for $8.25 million. (Eric Fairchild/Gooding & Co.)

A decade earlier, it was rare for any classic car to reach a cool million on the auction block. But with televised auctions such as Barrett-Jackson, an influx of celebrity owners and a wealthier contingent of foreign buyers competing for rare European models, there doesn't appear to be any price ceiling, said McKeel Hagerty, Hagerty's CEO.

"Auctions on television have raised the value of high-profile collectibles more than anything," Hagerty told MSN Autos. "Sometimes with a collectible, people usually sell when they're worth about 10 times what you paid for them, and they never imagine that they could have been worth 500 times what you paid for them."

Compared with last year's Scottsdale auctions, total sales increased by nearly 22 percent. Only the Monterey auctions in Pebble Beach, Calif., were higher, at a record $260 million in August. In total, 2,234 of the 2,699 cars were sold; the average $100,000 sale price was inflated by ludicrous items like the first 2014 Corvette (pictured above), which NASCAR team owner Richard Hendrick snapped up for $1.1 million.

Two other Corvettes, a 2013 427 convertible owned by celebrity chef Guy Fieri and a 1958 convertible owned by General Motors CEO Dan Akerson, both brought in $270,000, with all of the money going to charity. Some other high-priced insanities flew off the floor, all from 1969: a Ford Bronco for $500,000, a Camaro ZL1 for $605,000 and a Mustang Boss 429 for $233,750.

George Barris pops out of the original Batmobile, which he customized for the 1960s TV series. (Barrett-Jackson)

Hagerty said that while American muscle cars have jumped in value since the recession, three other classic segments -- early Japanese cars such as the Datsun 240Z, vintage trucks and "pre-SUVs" such as the Jeep Wagoneer and Bronco -- should command higher prices in future auctions.

But despite the megamillions raining down in Scottsdale, many more cars sold for considerably less, such as a 1958 Oldsmobile Eighty Eight for $5,400 or a 1962 Volkswagen Beetle for $4,200. Hagerty said that only 3 percent of collector cars are ever sold at public auctions, and often it's a car's subjective value that matters most. 

"It's a little bit humbler of a world than we might see on television or read about," Hagerty said. "Whatever currency we end up spending on these [cars] long term, whatever that amount is, I just hope it's in a place where people still really love the thing."

[Source: Hagerty, Auction houses]
Jan 22, 2013 10:45AM
Was was there Saturday night and watched Clark Gable's Mercedes 300SL Gullwing, the new C7 Vette and the Batmobile be auctioned off, it was a pretty awesome night to be there at the event!
Feb 15, 2013 8:26AM

Who says there is a recession?? The rich get richer and the poor get poorer

May 22, 2013 7:22PM

These cars are probably lots of fun but if I buy a car I want to be able to pack it up with junk and family and go on vacation.

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