‘Future shaper’ is the expression used when we talk about Asia, so the collector car market could not help but discuss this subject.
In recent weeks three auction houses have offered their different approaches to this challenge by competing in the Arab market, with different but challenging results. The Asian collector’s market is much younger than the European or American one and the offer has to be tailored accordingly; therefore, many recent supercars and hypercars (which, incidentally, is also happening at the American events) and racing cars have joined the classic ones. The first pair of auctions was organised during the Riyadh Car Show, the most important historic car event on the Arabian peninsula.
The start was given by the English Silverstone Auctions that on the 21st of November organized an auction of 65 relatively recent lots, on average the year of production was 2004. The poor result (just 16 cars or 24.6%) is due more to high reserve prices than to the lack of interest for the cars themselves.
For the British house, however, it was not a disaster: with over 14 million dollars sold it was their best auction ever, having also awarded the most expensive car ever gone through their auction: the 2017 Pagani Zonda Riviera, worth 5.5 million dollars. If Silverstone could count on no fewer than six cars offered without reserve (excluding cars without reserve, sales would fall to about 16% of the offers), the same could not be done by the American Worldwide.
The mix of American muscle cars (many), classic cars (enough, even some pre-war ones) and recent supercars (few) disappointed the participants of the show, and at the end of the day only 4 cars out of 120 were sold (a paltry 3%). Again, the problem could be found in too high reserves or, being on average older cars (49 years), the strict regulations for registrations in these countries may have discouraged even the most fervent enthusiast.
The following week, RM Sotheby’s in Abu Dhabi attempted to succeed in the venture that the other two had failed. First of all, it radically changed the backdrop, taking advantage of the agreement with Liberty Media, the organizer of the Formula One Grand Prix, and using the Abu Dhabi track as an auction venue.
Then it presented his typical parterre of high level cars (recent, however, from 2000, on average) but, above all, it played its cards with reserve prices, which were definitely more reasonable than the other two. Moreover, it was able to count on the powerful ‘Sotheby’s battleship’, well known among Middle Eastern collectors (we must not forget that the most expensive painting ever sold at an auction, the Salvador Mundi, is owned by a Saudi prince). And the results were not long in coming. With 50% of cars awarded (20 out of 40, without taking into account the memorabilia), it ‘destroyed’ the numbers of the previous auctions. Not only that, but it alone awarded more cars than the other two put together which, moreover, had brought a number of cars almost 5 times higher than that of RM Sotheby’s. Also in Abu Dhabi, however, the reserve had an important role. In fact, 13 cars were awarded under the estimate (including commissions!) and just the top lot, the 2017 Pagani Zonda Aether, was awarded above the estimate ($ 4.5-5.5 million) for $ 6,812,500.
Some hypothetical conclusions can be drawn from these facts:
CLASSIC CAR MATCHER