Photos: Various, Copyright and Courtesy of Gooding & Company
The impact of COVID-19 has been devastating globally, but the pandemic appears to have had a minimal impact on the collector car community.
When the spread of the pandemic made traditional in-person “event” auctions unsafe, the auction houses devoted to classic and collectable cars were swift to react, expanding existing online and telephone bidding operations to cover the loss of on-site, in person bidding.
American collector car specialists, Gooding & Company, were among the first to shift to online-only auctions and launched ‘Geared Online’ this past August.
Held from 3 to 7 August, Geared Online was not a replacement for Gooding & Co’s traditional Monterey/Pebble Beach auctions, but an all-new and standalone auction held exclusively through the company’s website and mobile bidding app.
Ahead of the auction, Gooding & Co. stated that the aim of Geared Online was to complement the company’s annual live auction events, while also broadening offerings from the usual top end of the collector car scale to more affordable offerings, ensuring something was available for every level of collector.
As such, Geared Online featured everything from multi-million-dollar Ferraris to a Model A Ford, post-war American classics, British sports cars and even a vintage Porsche tractor.
While the bidding was exclusively online, all the vehicles consigned for Geared Online were brought together ahead of the sale, allowing sellers to confer with Gooding & Co. specialists, and buyers to inspect the consignments under appropriate COVID-safe protocols.
In total, 77 lots were on offer at Geared Online, led by the “usual suspects” of post-war Ferrari and Mercedes-Benz models.
Expected to be the top seller was a 1966 Ferrari 275 GTB Long Nose that was being sold at auction for the first time in its history. Described as possibly the most enviable steel-bodied 275 GTB in existence, the example on offer, chassis #08921, was remarkable not least for the fact it had never been restored, but also for its rare combination of factory options and one-off colour scheme (for a 275 GTB) of white with a beige leather interior.
One of the last 275 GTBs built, chassis #08921 was sold new in Genova, Italy, but spent only three years there before it was sold to Ferrari’s North American distributor, Luigi Chinetti Motors of Greenwich, Connecticut. The car passed through a handful of knowledgeable American buyers in the decades that followed, all of whom drove it sparingly and ensured its remarkable condition was retained without reverting to restoration.
The 275 GTB’s most recent owner acquired the car in 1995 and showed similar care and sparing use, so it was only showing a little over 50,000 miles when it was consigned for Geared Online.
Offered with a set of Campagnolo alloys and Borrani wire wheels, and equipped with period extras like a Blaupunkt radio, Jaeger chronograph and Marchal driving lights, the car was described as having a fantastic patina and came to auction with original tools, books and extensive documentation confirming its provenance.
“Having the chance to sell a magnificently preserved car with such unique and desirable factory equipment is truly exciting,” said David Gooding, President and Founder of Gooding & Company, ahead of the auction. “This is certainly one of the finest 275s I have ever encountered.”
Gooding & Co’s pre-action estimate of US$2.75 – US$3.25 million turned out to be spot on, as the preserved 275 GTB sold for US$3.08 million (AU$3.9 million approx.)
The result set a new record price for a car sold at an online-only auction, but that record only stood for a week before it was eclipsed by US$4.29 million (AU$5.5 M approx.) achieved for a 2001 Ferrari 550 GT1 Prodrive at RM Sothebys’ Shift/Monterey online auction.
The classic 275 GTB wasn’t alone in representing Maranello at Geared Online, with modern Ferraris in the mix, including a 1992 F40, 1995 F50 and 2003 Enzo.
The F40 came from single family ownership, was one of only 213 US specification examples built and had travelled only 4,600 miles from new. It was a similar story with the F50: single family ownership from 2002, low mileage and recent service history. One of only 55 US-spec F50s built, this one was repainted in Argento Nurburgring from Rosso Corsa by its second owner. Despite this and some minor electrical issues, the car still sold well. The US-delivered Enzo was another with single family ownership, low miles and service history.
All three were expected to make seven-figure sums and duly delivered, with the F40 selling for US$1.2 million, the F50 for US$2.13 million and the Enzo for US$2.35 million (AU$2.08 M, AU$2.73 M and AU$3.02 M, respectively), with the F40 exceeding its estimate, the F50 just under and the Enzo selling within estimate.
Away from the big dollar items, the deliberate diversity in consignments at Geared Online meant there were many affordable offerings and even a few bargains, as evidenced in lots like an immaculately restored 1941 Ford pickup (US$50,600 – AU$64,900 approx.), 1971 Lancia Fulvia 1.3 S coupe (US$29,700 – AU$38,000 approx.), 1972 Jaguar XJ6 (US$29,700 – US$38,000 approx.), 2002 BMW Z8 (US$176,000 – AU$225,000 approx.), 1967 Toyota FJ40 LandCruiser (US$52,800 – AU$67,750 approx.) and a 2000 Mercedes-Benz E320 dual cab utility conversion (US$47,300 – AU$60,680 approx.)
Automobilia and collectables featured, too, with posters, books and spare parts on offer. The standout result from this group was a tin sign for the North American Racing Team (the Ferrari race squad sponsored by Luigi Chinetti Motors) that sold for a staggering US$51,250 (AU$65,750 approx.) against a US$15,000 high estimate.
Shining Stude – 1958 Studebaker Golden Hawk
When new, Studebakers were always an individual choice. Even moreso when it came to “family sports cars” like the Hawk, which was introduced for 1956 and remained in production until 1962.
Offered in pillared and hardtop form, and with names varying from Flight Hawk to Power Hawk, Silver Hawk and Golden Hawk, all featured distinctive styling from Raymond Loewy that gave these all-American cars a European look. Most were powered by V8 engines, too, originally from Packard before Studebaker started fitting their own “Sweepstakes” V8 from 1958.
The Golden Hawk was the top of the range in the later ’50s and the example offered at Geared Online was one of the last built before that particular model variant was discontinued at the end of 1958 (the Hawk range was replaced by the Gran Turismo Hawk in 1962).
Powered by a factory supercharged 289ci V8, this example was fully restored in the 1990s and has been a concours trophy winner on the AACA show circuit since.
Finished in factory-authentic Canyon Copper metallic with Parchment White accents and matching tan and white pleated leather interior, the auctioned Golden Hawk was described as one of the finest examples remaining.
Against a US$45,000 – US$55,000 estimate, it sold for US$51,700 (AU$66,300 approx.)
Deluxe Dodge – 1960 Dodge Polara wagon
There seems to be a growing demand for outstanding examples of 1950s and ‘60s “longroofs” ie. station wagons, as evidenced by the interest in this 1960 Dodge Polara nine-passenger wagon at Geared Online.
Finished in Fawn and Cocoa metallic paint with a Cocoa interior, this Polara wagon was factory-fitted with Chrysler’s biggest engine for the year, a 383ci V8, matched to a Torqueflite 3-speed auto. It was loaded up with options from the factory, too, including power steering, power brakes, AM radio, luggage rack and tinted windows.
The wagon spent almost four decades in California before relocation and a full restoration in the early 2000s. A regular concours entrant since, the wagon has been on the market, off and on, since 2012.
The appeal of this Polara lay partly in its styling and condition, but also in its rarity. Dodge built only 1,768 Polara wagons in the nine-passenger style (with the rearward-facing third row seat) in 1960, and of that number, only five are thought to still exist today.
Despite some wear and tear on the paint, as well as the exterior and interior trim, the wagon was complete and solid. Its Jetsons styling, nine-passenger configuration and overall rarity saw it sell for an exceptional US$93,500 (AU$120,000 approx.) against a US$55,000 high estimate. Considering it reportedly sold for just US$42,000 in 2012, that’s a big increase in value.
In total, Geared Online realised US$14.4 million (AU$18.47 M) in sales, with 55 of the 77 lots sold for a 71 per cent clearance rate.
“Our first ever online only sale was a great success for both our clients and the company,” said David Gooding.
“The demand for quality cars has not faded during such uncertain times, and we are thrilled to provide Geared Online to the world.”
Gooding & Co’s next online only sale will be held in October. For updates and details on this auction, as well as all results from the August Geared Online sale, go to: https://www.goodingco.com/