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RM Sotheby's previews big auction at Monterey Car Week

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Ian Kelleher of RM Sotheby’s Chief Marketing Officer previews some big lots on auction ahead of Monterey Car Week and the Pebble Beach Concours.

Video Transcript

- The richest car sale of the year-- it happened in Pebble Beach, California at Monterey Car Week, something that Adam is very, very familiar with. It's said to get underway later on this month. So we want to talk about what we could expect. And for that, we want to bring in Ian Kelleher. He's Sotheby's chief marketing officer there.

And Ian, we'll get into the specific cars. I know Adam is very, very excited to talk to you. But just give us an overview of what we could expect this year and some of the cars that you're most excited about.

IAN KELLEHER: Well, returning to Pebble Beach and returning to Monterey this year is pretty exciting in that we weren't there last year. So this year, we're expecting a strong amount of clients and a strong amount of attendees for the auction and for all the different car shows.

- And I mean, you were talking to me earlier that the low end of the estimate for total sales is $190 million, which would beat the 2015 sales of $178 million. And leading, I mean, you're going to be selling this. We've got a picture of it, this 1970 Porsche 917. And I hope I'm using the right language to describe this.

But this could be the most expensive car, the most-- or the most ever paid for a Porsche at auction if you get the $18 million, $18.5 million. Tell us about this vehicle.

IAN KELLEHER: So the 1970 Porsche 917 is estimated at $16.5 million to to $18 million. And if it sells for that price, it would in fact be the most expensive Porsche ever sold at auction. It's a spectacular example of unbelievable restoration.

And what you're seeing is basically prepared in the exact configuration that it raced at Lamar in 1970.

- I would love to have the $18 million for that. Because then I could afford the next one I want to show everybody, an 1962 Aston Martin DB4 GT. And this is actually-- this comes out of a special collection. Because I had said to you in our discussion before the interview, Thursday, when you guys go to auction in Monterey on-- I think it's the first day of the auction is August 12th-- you have a bunch of Aston Martins. And they're all coming from this one collection. Tell us about this.

IAN KELLEHER: So the car you're seeing right now is a very special Aston Martin. It's a Zagato body example. So they actually only built 19 of these very special lightweight Zagato bodies.

Of the 19, only six of them were left-hand drive. And left-hand drive, obviously giving it a little bit more usability on all the continents.

Now, what makes these so special is they were effectively the greatest car Aston Martin ever built. And we are selling the estate collection of Paul Andrews, who was a long-term client of ours, and really loved to race and drive all of his cars with his son, Chris and his other family members.

And so this was a car that he would tour, and take on rallies, and drive. And all 26 cars in the collection are just like that. They're on the button, ready to race, ready to enjoy. And many of them are being offered without reserve.

- Well, if I had a couple million dollars, I would certainly jump into that. Let me ask you real quick before we get to the last car we want to talk about.

How is the market right now? I mean, the pandemic hit everybody. And yet last year, you set a record for-- it was a Ferrari, a 550 Pro Drive. And it was the highest price ever paid at an all online auction for a Ferrari. How is the market looking this year?

IAN KELLEHER: We have seen a lot of clients who have decided that it's time to sell their classic. But they're then going ahead and buying something new. The market's been very strong. We've had a number of live auctions throughout the actual pandemic.

And all of them were very well-attended. In fact, some of them did better during COVID than they did before COVID. So the market's been very strong, and we're anticipating a good response going into Monterey. And we have a lot of people that have signed up to register to bid, almost on par with 2020, 2019.

- How important is Monterey Car Week? I mean, you're one of the biggest auctions of the week. But this is a worldwide event. And this year, the international folk aren't going to be able to come in. How much importance does it still maintain?

IAN KELLEHER: Well, we're seeing also the same level of events, such as the Goodwood Festival of Speed in the UK, which was another sort of watershed event for the collector car community, take place, and very strong attendance. But unfortunately, without the international clientele that really do come to Monterey, come to Pebble Beach, there will be, I think, a dip in terms of attendance.

But the beauty of online and the beauty of our auctions is that a lot of people can actually bid. They're going to bid. They're going to telephone bid. They're going to absentee bid. But really, the unfortunate side is not being able to see those people face to face.

- Also from the Fox collection, you have a 2015 Ferrari-- do you pronounce it La Ferrari? What a bargain, $2.75 million to $3 million. Who is the ideal purchaser of this vehicle?

IAN KELLEHER: Well, this example only has about 800 miles from new on it. But I think what's notable in this scenario is that this is coming from a collection-- and that's an Enzo that you're looking at right there. But both cars, notably, are being offered without reserve. And so that means that they are going to sell for whatever that top bid is. And that's really one of the things that makes this quite unique.

- Why is it so many cars, it appears, are going to auction with no reserve?

IAN KELLEHER: In each scenario-- sometimes the collector might have a different motivation on why they're doing it. But ultimately, if you want to get the most attention for your car that's going to be sold, offering it with no reserve, offering it without reserve will ultimately bring in more bidders every single time. And that's what you're seeing.

- And people can check out the online auction at RM Southeby's. We want to let everybody know that Monterey Car Week starts on Friday of this week. Your auctions begin on Thursday. And they are Thursday the 12th, the 13th on Friday, and then Saturday the 14th. We wish everybody at Sotheby's the best.