Last week was a big one for auto sales. First, the storied Italian brand De Tomaso was sold to a Chinese holding company for $1.1 million. But buying the company that built legendary supercars like the Pantera and Mangusta seems like a bargain compared to the latest blue-chip classic car auction. RM Sotheby’s sale of the Andrews Collection brought in a whopping $53,887,585, setting a record for single-vendor auction sales and reshuffling the list of the world’s most expensive cars yet again. With this latest blockbuster, the collector car market continues to expand to heights not seen since the original market boom of the 1980s.
Held on May 2 in Fort Worth, Texas, the auction consisted of 78 cars (and 83 additional lots of memorabilia, including artwork, neon signs, and models) from the collection of Paul and Chris Andrews, a father-son team who spent more than 15 years building one of the most impressive car collections in the world. Sixteen cars sold for over $1 million each, and while they didn’t sell their entire collection, every lot that was offered found a buyer.
Speaking with Sports Car Digest, Chris explained: “We want to get down to a smaller number of cars — perhaps 15 to 20 — that we very much enjoy driving and that we can use on events with the family … and in order to do that, we need to focus on a more manageable collection.” There’s no word on what the Andrews kept, but judging by the cars they let cross the auction block, their pared down collection must be pretty special.
Like most recent high-profile auctions, the star of the show was a vintage Ferrari. The black 1962 Ferrari 400 Superamerica SWB Cabriolet by Pininfarina brought in the largest sum of the day, crossing the block for $7,645,000. The Ferrari was followed by a 1934 Packard Twelve Individual Custom Stationary Coupe by Dietrich. The green V12-powered coupe brought in $4,180,000, becoming the most expensive Packard ever sold at auction.
There were a number of cars from European makers like Bentley, Aston Martin, Mercedes-Benz, and other Ferraris, too, but the stars of the show were predominantly vintage and pre-war American iron. Among the strangest lots was a one-of-a-kind 1965 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray auto show display stand that was discovered in a South African warehouse and recently restored back to its original condition. Though it was predicted to fetch upwards of $1 million, the stationary Stingray ended up crossing the block for a cool $715,000.
Not all the lots had prices in the stratosphere. Among the bargains of the show were a Canadian-built 1953 Mercury M-100 pickup, which went for $26,400, and a clean 1987 Range Rover, which sold for $22,000. Still, the sale of the Andrews Collection was a true blockbuster, and its success — especially selling coach-built, pre-war American cars — will be used as a benchmark for future auctions.
With prices of classic cars continuing to climb, vintage iron has become one of the best blue-chip investments in the world. We’ve reached the point where an 80-year-old Packard is worth more than a legendary supercar company. If you were going to invest, which one would you choose?