“At the Amelia Island auctions this year, it was evident to me that there is a nascent change underway in the collector car market. Major auction houses are taking a cue from their audience and offering an abundance of newer cars. When I say “newer,” the term “Youngtimers” is getting thrown around an awful lot. I guess we can define this “Youngtimer” era as a date range from 1986-2000. At Gooding and RM, these newer cars were more far more prevalent than usual, and these vehicles brought big money. If you were to look at the Amelia Island sales two or three years ago, today is a different auction scene.” —J.R. Amantea, GT Motorcars LLC
Demography is Destiny. Recent auction results from Amelia Island are pointing to a new reality. The incoming “Youngtimer” generation is transforming the collector car market. There is now a large, young, and affluent demographic that desires cars from the late 1980s through the early 2000s. There are many examples of highly bid Youngtimer cars at Amelia. An ultra-low mileage Mercedes 560 SEC brought $75,400 all in. An E30 M3 brought $95,200. A 2004 Porsche Carrera GT brought $687,000. RM sold a 1994 BMW 850
Last week’s auction results at Amelia add further credibility to the developing trends we have been observing over the last few years. The message from Amelia this year: Tastes are changing. Perhaps the most illustrative example is the stunning $173,600 sale of a black Twin Turbo Toyota Supra at RM Sotheby’s. This sale comes on the heels of BAT’s recent $121,000 sale of a similar Supra. Contrasting the record Supra sale, two gorgeous Ferrari Dino’s were on the block at Amelia and the results were only ho-hum. One Dino was offered by Gooding and the other by RM Sotheby’s. Both cars were excellent examples. The Gooding car was a 43,000-mile one-owner example. It sold for under $300,000 before fees. RM’s Dino had an unknown early history but was still a fine example. That car was a no sale. It was not long ago Ferrari Dinos enjoyed robust demand and regularly fetched over $500,000. The market message: Ferrari Dino’s are out, and Toyota Supra’s are in!
Along with the popularity of Youngtimer collectibles, the rising trend of selectivity firmly asserted itself at Amelia. Turtle Garage reader, friend, collection advisor, and Pebble Beach judge Jonathan Sierakowski eloquently summed the Amelia Island auction scene this year:
“As the market continues to recalibrate itself, it is clear that quality and provenance, or lack thereof, continue to have increased impact on prices realized. The market is shedding speculators and once again true enthusiasts and connoisseurs are back behind the wheel. “
While the Youngtimer generation was in the spotlight, several pre-war cars also enjoyed strong bids at Amelia. RM sold a 1931 Rolls-Royce Phantom II Henley Roadster by Brewster for $566,000. A 1934 Packard Twelve sedan with Dietrich coachwork sold for $1,325,000. A 1954 Delahaye 135M at Gooding almost broke $500,000.
Overall auction results at Amelia are off their highs but bidding still remained fairly strong across the board—except vehicles that lacked quality and provenance. A wide range of cars sold for decent money at Amelia—as usual, a oddball Fiat Jolly fetched six-figures. Certain important cars from the ’30s were in demand—especially those with bespoke coachwork. However, it was modern Youngtimer classics that stole the show and rang the bell. We are definitely entering a new age in the collector car market. Expect more Supras to go to the moon. Expect Dino’s to fall back to earth.