Max Girardo and the rest of Team Girardo & Co. have just touched down back in the UK after yet another unforgettable week on the Monterey Peninsula, which concluded with Sunday’s Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance. What better time to find out his 2022 Car Week takeaways?
The ‘Best of Show’ confetti has settled on the luscious green grass of the Pebble Beach Golf Links and what was one of the best Monterey Car Weeks I can remember has sadly drawn to a close. You only have to glance at the Pebble Beach entry list, both in terms of the cars and their custodians, to see that it remains the most important classic car event in the world. The volume, breadth and quality are peerless.
The mood on the Monterey Peninsula was electric, especially as the incredible results continued to roll in from the numerous collector-car auctions throughout the week. Any initial doubts about the sheer volume of cars offered last week were quickly dispelled. Almost 90-percent found new homes – everything from a 1924 Hispano-Suiza H6C ‘Tulipwood’ Torpedo to a brand new Porsche 911 992 Carrera. And while trends were clear to see, there is vibrance and real depth to the market at the moment.
We’re delighted to report that Girardo & Co. did not leave California empty-handed. We won’t divulge too much just yet, but it’s a car that’s very close to our hearts and one which we’ll be returning to its former glory – hot on the heels of the Lancia Delta S4 Corsa Group B project we just concluded. Keep an eye on our social channels in the coming weeks to discover more. For now, here are my takeaways from this year’s Monterey Car Week and Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance.
If last year’s Monterey collector-car auctions lit the touchpaper for the interest in rare low-mileage modern-era supercars, in 2022 the inferno well and truly blazed, telling of the increasingly younger generation of collectors which continues to enter the market. In fact, we’ve never seen prices like it for these cars – which is why it’s perhaps unsurprising that they – rightly or wrongly – stole all the headlines.
I’m always impressed with the bullishness of American collectors when it comes to bidding – and nowhere was this more evident than in this burgeoning sphere of the market. For sellers, America really is the Land of Opportunity. There were too many astonishing prices achieved to list, but I’d like to note a few which stood out to me.
Colours make cars – I’d never seen a Ferrari 550 Maranello finished in Rosso Fiorano like the 11,000-mile example Broad Arrow offered before – and it clearly won affection, selling for a mighty 324,000 US dollars all in. The RM Sotheby’s 4.4m-dollar 288 GTO, Gooding’s 4m-dollar F40 and Broad Arrow’s record-breaking 5.175m-dollar F50 showed the sky’s truly the limit for the ‘halo’ Ferraris. And who anticipated the black-on-black 1995 Ferrari 512M at RM to make almost 800,000 dollars? Certainly not me!
I was more confident of the delivery-mileage 1993 Porsche 911 964 Carrera RSR 3.8 going well, which it did – 1.215m including premium and in touching distance value-wise to the 962C Group C prototype in the same sale (CLICK HERE to view the car we’re currently offering). The 406,500 dollars somebody paid for the low-mileage 1995 Porsche 928 GTS at RM was extraordinary. And I firmly believe that had the 2022 Porsche 911 ‘Sally Special’ been sold at an auction in the United Kingdom, it wouldn’t have garnered anywhere near the 3.6m dollars it sold for. Congratulations to Porsche and to RM Sotheby’s for raising such a fantastic sum for a great charitable cause.
“Away from the salerooms, the collector-car ‘youthquake’ was every bit as evident. In all my years of visiting Monterey Car Week, I’ve never seen so many sneakers, ripped jeans and smartphone-wielding influencers.”
Away from the salerooms, the collector-car ‘youthquake’ was every bit as evident. In all my years of visiting Monterey Car Week, I’ve never seen so many sneakers, ripped jeans and smartphone-wielding influencers. This is also a reflection of the fact that Car Week has turned from a predominantly classic car-oriented series of events into a stage on which the world’s biggest manufacturers choose to reveal their latest and greatest creations.
Bugatti, McLaren, Bentley, Aston Martin – they were all at it, clearly confident that those not in California would be reached digitally by the seemingly thousands of Insta-famous faces present. I found it entirely telling of the trend that Koenigsegg chose Pebble Beach to reveal a modern-day homage to the original CC8S – a car that’s only 20 years old!
Long live the Kings
Let’s not be mistaken – the modern cars made the headlines, but it’s the pre- and post-War classics which remain the most valuable cars in the world… and those which graced the 18th fairway during Sunday’s Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, remember.
“The modern cars made the headlines, but it’s the pre- and post-War classics which remain the most valuable cars in the world.”
People might not think they’re selling well because, generally, they fell a touch short or only just met their pre-sale estimates. But that’s just because they used to be flavour of the month so people expect them to be selling for more and more. In reality, they’ve reached their happy place. In reality, it’s telling of the more focused nature of the market – a car with so much as a sniff of a story signals a red flag for collectors – and the auction houses’ obligation to appease sellers. Where the cars sell in relation to their estimates is a great reflection of the market.
Let’s not forget the 1955 Ferrari 410 Sport Spider still sold for 22m dollars. A 1966 Ferrari 275 GTB/C still sold for 7.595m dollars. A 1958 Ferrari 250 GT Cabriolet Series 1 still sold for 6.825m dollars. They are incredible sums of money paid for the very best cars.
At this point it’s fair to say we can dispel the myth that the heyday for the pre-War sports car is over. Four of the top 10 cars sold by value in Monterey this year were built before World War Two. Three of them – the 1937 Bugatti Type 57SC Atalante, 1937 Mercedes-Benz 540 K Spezial Roadster and the 1924 Hispano-Suiza H6C ‘Tulipwood’ Torpedo broke the 9m-dollar barrier. And on the concours lawn on Sunday, it was a traditional pre-War winner of the ‘Best of Show’ gong in the shape of the 1932 Duesenberg J Figoni Sports Torpedo – the most prestigious prize in the collector car world, full-stop. Will that change any time soon? I highly doubt it…
Photos: Ken Saito for Girardo & Co. / Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance