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Auctions Confirm: The Ferrari Market is Slowing

But Big Guns Still Sell – Notes from Your Cavallino Staff

It wasn’t pretty, if you looked at the percentages of Ferraris sold, both at the lone Artcurial auction in France in July, followed five weeks later by the massive amounts of Ferraris for sale at Monterey in August – a success rate of anywhere from 22% to 89%. And the trend was evident that the more Ferraris you took on to sell at your auction, the lower your sale percentage, and more illuminatingly, the more late model Ferraris you took on, your sales percentage dropped dramatically. Which did seem counter-intuitive, since the later model Ferraris, being more recent and less rare, sold for much less overall, and at a lower price point that many could easily afford. But the many stayed away.

Among these later models, however, there were some standouts, but overall there was no getting around the fact that there were too many 3-series, early 4-series, and 500-575 models on offer, much more than the market can absorb at the moment. One has to wonder if this was the last gasp of the bull market, with many owners asking the high prices “just one more time”, to see if they could squeak past the stagnating market and get their car sold. The results were painful, with many unsold cars. (And we should note that it wasn’t just Ferraris that were left out in the cold – nearly all other marques had bad report cards as well.)

What bright spots you ask? Well how about that 330 GT 2+2, s/n 8787, that went for an astounding $737,000, all in, at RM Sotheby’s. These models have always been somewhat understated in looks when compared to their brethren of the era, but in the right (dark) colors that highlight their delicate trim, they are understated in an elegant way. And underneath, of course, they are all Ferrari, with only slightly de-tuned versions of the same running gear as found in the sportier 250/330 GTs of the era. A 308 GTSi, s/n 37199, went for a large $154,000 at Bonhams, a nice car with possibly two buyers that had to have it, since there were thousands made of this model and ergo, many to choose from. Making a bit more sense was the $355,000 at Russo and Steele for a Scuderia Spider 16M, a model with a lot more pizzazz, and with many fewer examples manufactured.

The good news was more readily apparent with some of the heavy-hitters, such as the $18m for the 250 GT LWB Competition California, s/n 1603 GT (above), and the $13.5m for the 250 GT SWB Competition, s/n 1759 GT, the $2.75m for the 500 Superfast, s/n 5985 SF, the $5.225m for the 750 Monza, s/n 0510 M (with correct but non-matching engine number), and the $5.8m for the new LaFerrari.

But there were disappointments too, like the fine 250 GT TDF, s/n 0507 GT, which went for a low $5.7m, or the ultra-rare and correct 268 SP, s/n 0798, which couldn’t find a home. Granted this latter can only appeal to the specialist collector with a big checkbook, but it is a special car, being part of that mythical Ferrari sports-prototype era of the 1960s.

Various reasons for the current stall have been offered, including election year, Brexit, a ballooning stock and bond market, abundant small wars of attrition around the world, etc, all the usual bugaboos. Oversupply is the real reason in the auction market in our opinion – too many Ferraris coming on-stream for too few buyers.

Will the Ferrari market decline further? Possibly. Will it collapse? Never. As was found out in the last panic and recession of 2007-08, Ferraris are cash. There is many a tale of individuals, collectors and companies saving themselves from ruin by being able to raise quick cash by selling their own Ferraris. Discounted? Of course. But there was (and always will be) a buyer.

In Cavallino 215, the October/November issue, we have the complete chart of the Ferraris at the Artcurial Auction on July 9, 2016. Also complete charts of the Ferraris at the many Monterey Auctions from August 18 to 21, 2016. Each chart has model type, chassis number, sold or unsold, and final sold price.

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