Journal: Auctions America’s Barker Hangar Sale Was An Exciting Spectacle

Auctions America’s Barker Hangar Sale Was An Exciting Spectacle

By Benjamin Shahrabani
August 6, 2015

Photos Courtesy of Auctions America

In advance of Monterey, one of the few auctions held is by Auctions America, and this year the event was the perfect way to experience a sale in advance of the larger sales that dominate the headlines in August.

The historic Barker Hangar at the Santa Monica Airport was the setting for Auctions America’s most recent, held on the weekend of July 17-18. There was an abundance of eye candy for car enthusiasts of all stripes, and the theme was very much one of inclusiveness.

A diverse cross-section of different marques, and models: pre war, hot rods, sports cars, classics, and customs featured, so there was bound to be a car or two that might tickle a particular person’s fancy. In keeping with the aeronautical theme of the venue, the auction “block” was the back door of a prop cargo plane where cars emerged one by one to be displayed for the audience, and almost 300 vehicles crossed it. 162 cars went to new homes, representing a sell–through rate of 55%, and $15,407,050 changing hands. In addition, over seventy-thousand dollars of automobilia sold alongside the main features.

The fast-talking of the American-style auctioneers made the proceedings charged, and exciting—if a bit loud. If you happened to be a non-car enthusiast, or were dragged there by your significant other, there were a few other things to do. Auctions are increasingly becoming “lifestyle” events, and Auctions America had space within the Barker Hangar dedicated to VIPs, food, and drink, people watching, as well as a local golf club, men’s apparel, a photo booth sponsored by Volkswagen (so you could have a keepsake from the day), and a professional racing simulator company.

A mixture of reserve and no reserve cars meant some lots went back home with their owners, but others could have been financed on a credit card. Nevertheless, some notable sales include:

  • 1971 Mercedes-Benz 280SE 3.5 Cabriolet – $407,000
  • 1959 Mercedes-Benz 190SL – $258,500
  • 2003 Saleen S7 – $175,000 NOT SOLD
  • 1967 Ferrari 330 GTS – $1,622,500
  • 2004 Ferrari Enzo – $1,870,000
  • 1983 Audi Ur-Quattro – $55,000
  • 1989 Lamborghini Countach 25th Anniversary – $360,250
  • 1988 Ferrari Testarossa – $120,000
  • 1998 Porsche 911 (“993”) C2S – $105,000 NOT SOLD
  • 1967 Ford Falcon – $1,650

My armchair analysis? Overall, we’re still very much in automotive bull market, and where she stops, nobody knows. The 1971 Mercedes 280SE 3.5 Cabriolet blew past almost everyone’s expectations, and sold for $407,000 including a 10% buyer’s premium. Effectively, it has doubled in price over the past two years. The same goes for the 1959 Mercedes-Benz 190SL. Just a few years ago, these were known as the inexpensive little brother of the 300SL, and you could find them for $50,000 or $60,000. Now? Not so much. It is a collectable in its own right, pulled up by the ever rising fortunes of the 300SL.

A 2004 Ferrari Enzo, and a 1967 Ferrari 330 GTS sold pretty much where expected, but the hardening prices of 80’s supercars such as the 1989 Lamborghini Countach, and a 1988 Ferrari Testarossa tell me that new money is there, and judging by some of the people who raised their paddles, they possibly might have grown up with posters of these cars on their bedroom walls too.

The 1983 Audi Ur-Quattro? Looks like it’s now a true classic. A Saleen S7 from 2003 didn’t sell at $175,000, perhaps showing the market doesn’t know quite what to make of this domestic supercar from the mid-2000’s. It is still depreciating, it seems. The 1998 Porsche 911 wasn’t extremely low-mileage, but it was in exceptional condition, and nostalgia for this extremely well driving, and last of the air-cooled 911’s has clearly influenced prices. It didn’t sell at $105,000.

Lastly, $1,650 for a 1967 Ford Falcon. I include this one because it shows that there is classic car for every budget.

Full results from the Santa Monica event are available now online at Overall, Auctions America put on a wonderful experience on all levels that generates both excitement and excellent results. Best of all, I now feel ready to tackle Monterey.

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Gaurav Dhar
Gaurav Dhar
8 years ago

Was there. Bought cars. Had fun and now looking forward to seeing what they do next.

Dan Picasso
Dan Picasso
8 years ago

I had to find what in God’s Holy Name this vehicle was…it’s ‘The Beatnik Bubbletop’.

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