Desmond On ... Monterey Car Week 2019

Posted in Insights 1 year ago


Desmond On … highlights from Car Week 2019:

“Obviously a large proportion of Car Week for me was spent at the main auctions; predominantly looking at cars and liaising with clients and friends. The three main auctions as ever were RM, Gooding and Bonhams with an interesting selection of cars being offered for sale. In addition to the sales, I also attended the Pebble Beach Concours that always concludes Car Week and visited Laguna Seca for the Motorsports Reunion.

Some of the standout moments from the week include the impressive results for the ‘Bond’ and Shooting Brake DB5s in RM’s sale and I also thoroughly enjoyed my time out at the track. However, simply seeing so many people driving their Astons on the streets of Monterey was thoroughly enjoyable, with a particularly vast array of Newport Pagnell Vanquishs on show.”

Desmond On … The Car Week Auctions and Market thoughts:

“RM kicked off the auctions with their Aston Martin Sale and although some strong results were achieved, I did feel like the catalogue just lacked a few more ‘star’ cars. Saying this, the DB5s made strong money and later in the week, RM did well with the Mclaren F1 achieving nearly $20m. Gooding and Co presented cars well with a nice production, although given the amount in the RM sale, there were potentially a few too many Astons going through the block, which can be highlighted by the below estimate results for the no reserve cars. Saying this, the post-sale result for the DB4 GT was a strong figure for the car. Although Bonhams had a couple of lovely Astons on offer in the form of a recently restored DB5 and highly original DB4 S5, both cars performed below expectation and I feel that there were just a few too many cars in that sale.

Looking at the results from the week as a whole, it is clear that LHD Astons perform significantly stronger in the US market, which although to be expected is certainly worth noting. The other key message that I take away from the sales is ‘Caveat Emptor’ or ‘Buyer Beware’ – auctions are both unpredictable and volatile where prices realised cannot always be rationalised. Another key topic of conversation in the auction rooms remains Brexit, with many UK dealers feeling that European buyers are looking to make purchases before potential duties may be imposed!” 

Desmond On … The best events of Car Week:

“For me one of the best events of Car Week was the Rolex Motorsport Reunion at Laguna Seca; an event that I had not attended in my previous visits to Monterey. Getting away from the pressurised environment of the auction room, Laguna is where the true car enthusiasts go to get their fix of classic cars and see some of the most important vehicles drive flat out at one of the most recognisable circuits in the world. In addition to the old F1 cars on show, my other favourite sight at Laguna was Chris MacAllister’s Ecurie Ecosse Jaguar D-Type sliding through the corkscrew!

Away from the track, the Pebble Beach Concours is always a prestigious event, with the key display being Pre-War Bentleys as part of the centenary celebrations. However, there were also some special Astons on the lawn, most notably the prize-winning DB4 GT Zagato and beautifully original DB5.”  

Desmond On … Final thoughts from Car Week:

“My final thoughts from the week … I would say that market is enjoying some increased buoyancy to the 6 months previous, with the USA appearing to lead the way. It is clear that US clients still have an appetite for the ‘right’ and ‘correct’ cars, with top cars still making strong money so long as they are offered in the appropriate sales environment; whether that be at auction or on the retail market."