The 2017 collector-car market indicator that everyone will be watching

With the door well and truly closed on 2016, all eyes turn to the catalogue for the RM Sotheby’s Arizona sale to see the thoroughbreds on which the auction houses will be betting in 2017…

The first act in the international collector car auction circus, the Arizona sales serve as a barometer for the market moving forward into the new year. Despite some strong headline results and an abundance of record prices achieved in 2016, there were lessons to be learned by the auction houses. We’ve pored through the catalogue for the RM Sotheby’s Arizona sale, in which some obvious patterns emerged. 

Modern marvels

It’s no secret that modern supercars became hot property in 2016. The combination of a generational change in buyers, a renewed enthusiasm for true drivers’ machines and startling premiums placed on new limited-production supercars brought these carbon-clad, post-Millennium heroes firmly into the sights of collectors. Consequently, RM Sotheby’s has consigned a raft of this era’s poster cars, including the final Bugatti Veyron Supersports built (est. 2.1-2.3m US dollars), a 2003 Ferrari Enzo (2.7-3m dollars) and a 2005 Porsche Carrera GT (650,000-750,000 dollars). Also of note is the brace of ultra-rare Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren 722s – a coupé and a convertible ‘S’ model estimated at 450,000-550,000 and 725,000-850,000 dollars, respectively. 

1980s/90s heavyweights

As we briefly touched on in our 2016 auction year roundup, the cars of the plastic-fantastic 1980s and ’90s – a time when analogue and digital worked in rare, non-obtrusive harmony – were strong sellers last year, and clearly RM Sotheby’s is bargaining on more of the same in 2017. As expected, there are a number of Porsches offered, spearheaded by a 1996 993 GT2. Its eye-watering 1.1-1.5m dollar estimate can be attributed to can be attributed to the incredible result RM achieved for a similar model in London last September. Other tempting offerings include the menacing 1995 Ferrari F50 (one of just four produced in black, and estimated accordingly at 3-3.5m dollars) and the ever-popular 1989 Aston Martin V8 Vantage Volante (375,000-425,000 dollars). 

Auction favourites

Time waits for no man… or car, it seems. As the market demographic changes, cars from the catalogue that would have previously ranked towards the top of every collector’s shopping list are now being overshadowed by the new, younger elite. Despite this, the highly original Mercedes-Benz 300 SL ‘Gullwing’ (1.35-1.5m dollars), factory left-hand-drive Aston Martin DB5 (1-1.2m dollars) and the desirable six-carb Ferrari 275 GTB/C (2.4-2.8m dollars) are bound to still pique the interest of the discerning collector.

Photos: RM Sotheby's

You can find the entire catalogue for the RM Sotheby’s Arizona sale, taking place on 19-20 January 2017, listed in the Classic Driver Market.