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Wealthy car collectors shrugged off recession worries and spent more than $460 million at classic car auctions in Monterey this weekend, according to insurance and lifestyle company Hagerty.

More than 790 cars sold for an average price of $590,700 during auctions between Thursday night and Monday morning for a weekend total of $469 million, according to Hagerty. Total sales broke Monterey’s previous sales record, set in 2015 at $395 million.

Sales in Monterey and Pebble Beach, leading up to the Concours d’Elegance on Sunday, mark the biggest test of the year for the classic car market and suggest wealthy collectors remain optimistic despite recession fears and recent market volatility scholarship holders. Over 110 cars sold for $1 million or more this weekend, marking a record.

“If anyone was wondering if this is going to be a good year, this week has proven that demand for all of the different collector car segments is very strong,” said McKeel Hagerty, CEO of Hagerty. “Almost all auction companies reported multiple strong bidders on multiple cars.”

1937 Bugatti Type 57SC Atalanta

Copyright and courtesy of Gooding & Company, images by Mike Maez.

Heading into the weekend, some experts feared the spike in classic car prices was due to a correction. Several top collectors have dumped large chunks of their collections in Monterey, suggesting smart money is experiencing a market spike.

There were scattered signs of exuberant prices: the top lot of the week, a 1955 Ferrari auctioned at RM Sotheby’s, sold for $22 million, below its estimated value of between $25 and $30 million . Several cars were not sold at the asking price.

The sell-through rate, or share of cars sold, was 79%, down from last year’s rate of 80%.

1955 Ferrari 410

Source: Patrick Ernzen ©2022 Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

Yet demand was strong for almost every class of collector car – from pre-war classics and 1960s Corvettes to 90s Ferraris and 2021 supercars. New price records were set for a wide range of models.

The auctions have also been fueled by collectors of all ages, with millennial collectors playing an increasing role at the sales.

Auctioneers say impulse buying of six-figure cars was also strong as wealthy buyers decided at the last minute to sign up and bid.

“Anecdotally, we’ve seen bidders buy now – bidders who came to auction, saw the car(s) they wanted, signed up to bid on the spot on important cars, won auctions, went to the bank the next morning, got a cashier’s check to pay and drove them this week,” CEO Hagerty said. “That’s pretty rare and says a lot about today’s drive-focused buyers.”

1937 Mercedes Benz 540K

Darin Schnabel ©2022 Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

Here are the 10 most expensive cars sold in Monterey:

10. 1958 Ferrari 250 GT Cabriolet, sold for $6,825,000 (RM Sotheby’s)

9. 1938 Talbot-Lago T150-C SS Teardrop Coupe, sold for $7,265,000 (RM Sotheby’s)

8. 1953 Ferrari 375 MM Spider, sold for $7,485,000 (RM Sotheby’s)

7. 1954 Ferrari 375 America Vignale Cabriolet, sold for $7,595,000 (RM Sotheby’s)

6. 1966 Ferrari 275 GTB/C Coupe, sold for $7,595,000 (RM Sotheby’s)

5. 1957 Ferrari 500 TRC Spider, sold for $7,815,000 (RM Sotheby’s)

4. 1924 Hispano-Suiza H6C transformable torpedo, sold for $9,245,000 (RM Sotheby’s)

3. 1937 Mercedes-Benz 540K Sindelfingen Roadster, sold for $9,905,000 (RM Sotheby’s)

2. 1937 Bugatti Type 57 Atalante Coupe, sold for $10,345,000 (Gooding & Company)

1. 1955 Ferrari 410 Sport Spider, sold for $22,005,000 (RM Sotheby’s)

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