I hadn’t originally planned on covering this year’s Gooding & Company auction at Amelia Island, but I found myself with some down time and headed over to the show to preview the cars. Unlike last year’s event, which was dominated by a few best-in-class cars expected to fetch jaw-dropping prices (which they did), this year’s Gooding & Company event was more subdued. There were more cars, but most weren’t the show-stoppers I tend to associate with Gooding. In fact, only the Lamborghini Muira SV prototype, a 1990 Ferrari F40 and a 1961 Alfa Romeo Giulietta Sprint Speciale caused me to fall to my knees exclaiming, “I’m not worthy”. Below are my thoughts on a few cars and the prices they commanded.
1971 Lamborghini Muira SV Prototype
Sold, at $1,705,000, this car was well bought. The prototype used to design the SV (SuperVeloce) Muiras, the car was stunning, fast and historically significant. The price paid represents this, but I seriously doubt the new owner will lose money on the car in the long run.
1990 Ferrari F40
Sold, at $522,500. I’m a huge fan of the F40, so it’s hard for me to be objective about these cars. Pre-auction estimates had the car selling for as much as $50k above the actual hammer price, and given the cars documented service history and low mileage (under 6,000), I’d call well bought. I’ve seen F40s trade hands for a lot less money, but none were as well preserved and thoroughly documented as this car, and that’s worth money to a potential buyer.
1961 Alfa Romeo Giulietta Sprint Speciale
Sold, at $154,000. This car was as close to flawless as I’ve ever seen, and a selling price nearly $25,000 over the highest pre-auction estimate reflects this. The car is a multiple award winner, and came complete with extensive documentation. For any hard core Alfista with a big enough bank account, this was the car to buy.
1991 Lamborghini Diablo
Unsold, pre-auction estimates ranged from $125,000 to $175,000. Used Lamborghini Diablos typically don’t sell for much above $100,000, so the pre-auction estimate on this car was more than a little bit ambitious. Worse, the car was highly customized by the current owner, who claims to have sunk as much as $250,000 into the development of this race-car-themed Diablo. We’ve all learned that mods don’t increase the value of a car, but this owner’s lesson was more expensive than most.
1969 Buick Riviera
Sold at $25,300; pre-auction estimate was for $40,000 to $50,000. At first glance, this car looked great on paper. It wears period correct black California plates, and has only clocked around 13,000 miles since leaving the factory. Even the tires are original (although I’m not sure that 42 year old tires are a selling point), and the car has clearly spent its life inside of a garage. It looks like the proverbial “little old lady drove it to church on Sundays” special, which we all know is too good to be true. Up close, the driver’s side door has a bad case of orange peel, which doesn’t match the rest of the paint. I didn’t go over the rest of the car, but experience tells me that bad paint on one panel usually means bad paint (or worse, bad Bondo) on other panels. At $40k, this car as a “pass”; at $25k, it’s a fun weekend car that the new owner can even afford to have repaired correctly. I say well bought.
1991 Ferrari 348
Sold at $79,200; pre-auction estimates ranged from $90,000 to $120,000. In the Ferrari hierarchy, Mondials are typically the most “affordable”, followed by 308s, 328s and then 348s. Sure, I’m generalizing, but that makes this the fourth most affordable Ferrari to purchase, since there’s no such thing as an inexpensive Ferrari to maintain. Used 1991 Ferrari 348s typically sell for $50,000 to $70,000, so thinking that this cars exceptionally low mileage (just 300 on the clock) could double that price was absurd. At $79,200, the new owner paid a fair price for a low mileage car with a known service history.