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Here’s what happened at the 2017 Amelia Island collector car auctions

There were some predictable outcomes from this year’s Amelia Island auctions, but as the big hitters of the catalogues failed to find new owners in the tents, questions were raised of both the estimates and the audience…

Rollercoaster ride

Given the number of blue-chip, top-of-the-tree collector dream cars offered over the three days, you’d have expected some big numbers to come flying out of the packed tents of these Florida sales, but the headliners were arguably the biggest casualties of the auctions. Make no mistake, the chances of these cars being sold after the sales are high, as always, but the fact that a 1957 Jaguar XKSS, 1961 Ferrari 250 SWB Berlinetta, and a 1950 Ferrari 166 MM Barchetta by Touring were passed on the block goes to show that it’s not just a case of ‘the best will sell’, they need to be estimated appropriately as well — the market is no place for greedy sellers. Of the headliners, it was, unsurprisingly in today’s market, a Porsche that delivered on the pre-sale hype, with the 1998 Porsche 911 GT1 Strassenversion from Gooding & Co selling for 5.665m US dollars all in. Porsche continued to perform well throughout the sales, with the 997 models catching some big numbers again in the Gooding tent. The 2011 997 GTR RS was sold for a within-estimate 561,000 dollars, while the sought-after sibling GT3 RS 4.0 from the same year cashed in at a strong 748,000 dollars, almost hitting top estimate all in, compared to RM Sotheby’s example, which sold for 577,500 dollars. Overall, the auctions continue to show the effects of a correcting market, with buyers more informed and stoic than ever. Will the mixed results from these sales see an increase in younger, affordable cars consigned and estimates lowered on headline cars going forward? We’ll have to wait and see…

Photos: Gooding & Co / RM Sotheby's