Monterey Classic Car Week Review

Monterey Classic Car Week is one of the most exciting events in the automotive calendar. Global and regional auction houses hold four to five days of sales of cars and automobilia, enthusiasts assemble a huge array of vehicles from classics to clunkers, and the week ends with a bang at the annual Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance. This year’s Concours winner was a 1929 Mercedes Benz S Barker Tourer, which has retained its original chrome plated wheels and lighting system.

Other eye-catching cars include a 1956 Aston Martin DBR1, a 1970 Porsche 917K in Gulf Oil livery (used in the filming of Steve McQueen’s Le Mans), and a 1966 Ferrari 275GTB/C all of which came up on the auction block as part of Monterey Classic Car Week. In partnership with Classic Driver, Borro has reviewed some of the week’s top sales and results.

Sales Overall

Monterey Classic Car Week is best known for marquee lots, and going into the sales, there were some worries that higher value lots would struggle to sell. Overall, the results were stable with a 57% sale rate and $316 million (£246,952,000) in overall sales. This is comparable to 2016 figures, although the total sales value was slightly lower. A table by auction house is below, it is important to note that these figures are not final as some lots may be bought privately after failing to sell at auction – Bonham’s for instance sold a 1963 Jaguar for $8 million (£6,252,000) after it went unsold.


AuctionTotal Sales ($)Lots Sold (#)Lots Offered (#)Sale %
Bonham’s $    43,900,000 (£34,308,000)8110974%
Gooding & Company $    90,500,000 (£70,725,000)10613280%
Mecum Auctions $    36,400,000 (£28,446,000)28164544%
RM Sotheby’s $ 132,800,000 (£103,782,433)10211688%
Russo and Steele $      5,300,000 (£4,142,000)397552%
Worldwide Auctioneers $      7,000,000 (£5,470,000)497367%
Total $ 315,900,000 (£246,874,000)658115057%

Bonham’s, Gooding & Company, and RM Sotheby’s all set records for manufacturers, and saw impressive percentages of lots sell. A short summary of these Monterey Classic Car Week sales can be found below.

RM Sotheby’s Sets a Record for a British Car

Monterey Classic Car Week - RM Sotheby's
Source: Rémi Dargegen for Classic Driver

The previously mentioned 1956 Aston Martin DBR1 was the highlight of the RM Sotheby’s sale. The hammer fell at $20.5 million (£16,021,000), $22.5 million (£17,584,000) after fees. This just beat the $21.78 (£17,021,000) million paid for a 1955 Jaguar D-Type at 2016’s sale.

Overall, 102 of 116 lots sold bringing in a total of $132.8 million (£103,782,000). For more highlights, including the 13-car ‘Ferrari Performance Collection’ and a 1960 Mercedes Benz 300SL Roadster, please read Classic Driver’s summary here.

Gooding and Co. Sets a Record for a Porsche

Monterey Classic Car Week - Gooding and Co.
Rémi Dargegen for Classic Driver

The Porsche 917K from Steve McQueen’s film Le Mans was the headline lot at Gooding & Company’s sale. At $14.08 (£11,003,000.) million dollars (including buyer’s premium) it is a world record for Porsche, while more modern cars from the company sold within their estimates.

As with the RM Sotheby’s sale, Ferraris performed well, as did an unrestored 1955 Mercedes 300SL Gullwing. 110 out of 135 lots sold with the sale bringing in $91.5 million (£71,506,722). For more details on the sale, including two Porsche’s that failed to sell, visit Classic Driver’s review here.

Bonham’s Sets a Record for a McLaren

Monterey Classic Car Week - Bonhams
Source: Bonham’s

A 1995 McLaren F1 sold $15.62 (£12,207,000) million, a new record for the British manufacturer. The single owner car was also the first F1 imported to the United States and one of very few F1s to be road legal in America.

Overall, Bonham’s saw 81 of 109 lots sell, two were withdrawn prior to the sale. A total of $43.9 million (£34,308,000) was raised in the sale. Other highlights include a 1990 Ferrari F40, often considered the original supercar, and a 1967 Ferrari 275 GTB/4. For a full list of results, you can visit Bonham’s website.

Mecum, Russo & Steele, and Worldwide Keep Ticking Along

While none of these sales set a record, they still show the robust nature of the market. Mecum’s main event was their Saturday sale, but overall, they hosted four days of car auctions, including the sale of a 2014 Ferrari LaFerrari Coupe for $3.795 million (£2,966,000). Overall, 281 out of 645 lots sold (Saturday’s figures were 83 out of 173) for a total of $36.4 million (£28,446,000) ($26.8 million (£20,944,045) sold on Saturday), you can see the result for each lot here.

At Russo & Steele $8.2 million (£6,408,252) of cars sold over the three days with 106 of 202 lots selling. The top lot was a 1961 Ferrari 250 Europa Coupe which sold for $1.115 million (£871,000). A full catalogue of the sale, without estimates, is available here.

Finally, at Worldwide Auctioneers’ Pacific Grove sale, a 1940 BMW 328 Roadster sold for $605,000 (£473,000). The car was chassis number 1, and Worldwide believe as few as 461 328s were built by BMW. Overall, the sale brought in $7.0 million (£5,470,000) with 49 of 73 lots selling. The catalogue for the sale is available here.

If you’re interested in luxury and classic car financing, learn more about Borro’s services.

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About the Author:

Matthew Young is a freelance automotive journalist and blogger hailing from Boston. He is passionate about everything on 4 wheels and new, emerging tech in the industry.