The Arizona Auctions for 2011 are now history - with dozens of Corvettes ranging from pristine vintage originals with demonstrable documentation to known replicas of great classics to modern and desirable models to the most unbelievable over-the-top speedboat you've ever seen. All told, over $157 million in cars, boats, and automobilia traded hands, with the auctioneers earning about 20% of that amount. Not a bad business at all, and great for the Phoenix-area economy!
MotoExotica - a newcomer to the Arizona auction scene - went first, racking up some good sales on some interesting Corvettes. Highlights of this auction included a 1958 convertible and a 1965 convertible that each sold for $38,000. One of the 300 original 1954 Pennant Blue Corvettes sold for a relatively low $56,500. Sports Car Digest had a reporter on scene for this one.
In all there were three of the Pennant Blue '54s sold in Arizona this week. The second was sold at Barrett-Jackson, the big daddy of the Arizona auctions. This one brought $104,500, almost twice as much as the first car, attributable to the car's impeccable restoration.
The highlight of the Barrett-Jackson show was a triple-buy - a fantastic catamaran speedboat designed to look like a C6 Corvette and powered by not one but two Corvette engines. The boat, along with its custom trailer and a matching 2008 Z06 'Vette, sold for $742,500.
Other highlights at Barrett-Jackson included a 1953 Corvette that sold for $170,500 and an original surviving 1967 427/435 convertible with just 17,900 documented miles on the clock that sold for $242,000.
Over at RM Auctions, the third '54 Pennant Blue Corvette sold for $63,250, and the top Corvette of the sale was a 1967 427/435 convertible at $165,000.
Over at Gooding & Co., the belle of the ball was a 2009 ZR1 coupe, which drew $88,000 - a $20,000 savings over buying a new ZR1. The balance of auction companies have not yet released their results for this year's auctions.
So what does it all mean? From a first pass looking over the results, and the analysis of the experts present at the auctions, it looks like top-quality cars are bringing premium prices unaffected by the lingering recession, but buyers are being choosy. A perfectly restored Pennant Blue '54 Corvette is worth about twice the price of an ordinary example of the same heritage. That's as it should be, and it shows that there's no irrational exuberance, or anyone betting that a vintage Corvette is a moneymaker just because it is what it is. In the long run, I think that's good for historic Corvettes, and good for all of us because it means that sweat equity will still count for something in the future.
I'll post the rest of the results as they become available