Periods of flux are always fascinating. If you look in the right places, you can find evidence that the dominant trend is giving way, often before it is widely known and is reflected in sentiment.
Case in point: Collectible Car Sales.
On Fridays, I usually do a deep dive into an interesting automobile. Some are new EVs, others are old classics, and others are just fun fast machines. The process allows me to learn about a specific vehicle. Often, the inspiration comes from various auction sites. I “star” interesting cars, and this has the auction site email me the results.
This week, I am combining my usual Friday car post with our recent thread on inflation and aspirational home pricing. The reason was the unusual number of auctions where the reserve price was not met and the car failed to sell. “RNM” could be some confirmation bias on my part, or wishful thinking that some of my favorites might become more reasonably priced (aka affordable).
Or just maybe, it could point to a peak in car prices.
These are anecdotes, but if you really want to fall down the used car data analysis rabbit hole, check out the depreciation videos that Fourwheel Trader does. Year, Mileage, Engine, Transmission, Options, and even Color play a major role in determining a collectible car’s selling price.
Sometimes, a market gets so far ahead of itself that sellers lose rationality in their minimum asking prices. Let’s look at a few recent examples of cars I have been tracking that failed to sell at auction because their minimum reserve prices were not met:
2020 Lamborghini Huracan EVO RWD Spyder.Bid to $281,500
The Huracan Spyder received minor updates in 2020, including a boost to 602-horsepower (going to the rear wheels in this car). New, this one cost $293,473. There are a few of these RWD Spyder listed for sale, ranging from $279k to $327k asking price. The caveat is these are still only 2 years old, so there is limited sales data on the used market.
Perhaps it’s the crypto/Lambo crowd fading as Bitcoin’s price falls? Or is it simply that Lamborghinis are less collectible than Ferraris? Regardless, this one failed to sell:
2019 Ford GT Carbon Series: Bid to $1,075,000.
BAT shows the range of prior sales for each car, and this was center of range. Perhaps the Carbon series warranted higher prices, and with only 500 miles, it is practically new. Maybe it’s the stripes/color combo…
1966 Chevrolet Corvette Convertible 427 4-Speed. Bid to $100,000.
Big 427 engine and 4 speed is desirable, but nothing said about matching numbers, so that could lower the value to a collector. Also, the C2 Vette is one of the few cars where the Coupe is often more valuable than the convertible, because of how amazingly gorgeous it is. Then again, I am biased.
2006 Ferrari F430 Spider 6-Speed: Bid to $288,000
The F430s have been rising in price for a while generally, but the gated manual shifter versions have gone ballistic ($350k+). A friend picked up the F1 version, and I have seen lots of the 430s he looked at in the range of $150k-190k.
The 6-speeds have been regularly going for much more — you can see half a dozen that sold for $300k-$400k or higher. I suspect those folks top-ticked the 430-market, and those prices are likely to plateau or even drift down from here…
Euro 2000 BMW Z8 Bid to $176,000.
One of my favorite cars, and this was a fair price 2 years ago. They have run away in prices, especially the Alpina (meh) and more preferred color combos, like Black/Crema, or my favorite color combination for these, Topaz Blue/Crema Nappa (no, really).
I’ll just have to be patient waiting for these prices to come back down to earth.
1965 Porsche 356C Cabriolet: Bid to $145,000.
What a charming little runabout, fun to drive and easy to maintain. The range of prices on these is all over the map, as are the frequent RNM for them (See white circles here).
2020 Mercedes-AMG G63: Bid to $176,000.
Not my favorite truck, but there is a definite market for these among both Russian oligarchs and people who own second homes in the Hamptons alike. MSRP new was $173,345, and while you can find these listed for sales in the $200s, those are either heavily modded or just aspirational.
This is not to say cars aren’t selling, but rather, a noticeable increase in RNMs caught my eye.
Other cars are selling at what I consider market prices, and I surmise these below were reserved more reasonably:
–2008 Porsche 911 Turbo Coupe 6-Speed Sold for $99,000. These 997.1 have appreciated the past few years, in part because the Turbo manual ended ~2013.
–2014 Audi R8 V10 Spyder 6-Speed Sold for $157,000. This one had all the marbles: Big engine, gated shifter, soft top. Could be the biggest exotic bang for your $157k if you want 3 pedals and open top driving.
–2017 Lamborghini Huracan LP580-2 Coupe Sold for $229,000. I keep hearing rumors of Lambo sales being crypto driven…
–2007 Ferrari 599 GTB Fiorano Sold for $166,000. Not the prettiest F car but one of the least expensive ways to get into a 611 horsepower Ferrari V12.
These are priced higher than 2019 but within a rational range relative to other recent sales.
I recall witnessing a similar phenomenon in single-family homes in 2006; it takes a while for market changes to penetrate the psyches/wishful thinking of sellers,
Time will tell if this is really “peak” car price — my guess is we are — but I expect we find out sooner than later…
UPDATE: May 29, 2022
1996 Porsche 911 GT2: Bid to $440,000 on 5/28/22
UPDATE: June 1 2022
16-Mile 2006 Ford GT. Bid to $521,000 on 6/1/22.
UPDATE: June 2 2022:
2011 Aston Martin V8 Vantage N420 Coupe: Bid to $66,000 on 6/1/22
Aspirational Pricing (May 25, 2022)
Transitory Is Taking Longer than Expected (February 10, 2022)
1. This was my epiphany auction: I am in the middle of managing a run of minor annoyances and repairs for the too many cars on my driveway. This lovely F12 made me realize I could sell the C2, R8, and FJ for about what this one beast costs — and have a lot less repair work to do and routine maintenance to worry about.
Any one of these has regular work that must be done, and that’s fine, but once you multiple normal auto work by 5 or 10 cars it becomes less of a hobby and more of a vocation…