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Supercars in Scottsdale: The Crazy Prices for Modern Cars at RM Sotheby’s Sale

Modern classics.

Got any limited-production supercars sitting around? Now might be the best time to dust them off and ship them to auction. RM Sotheby’s recent Scottsdale auction saw the sale of multiple modern super- and hypercars, crossing the auction block for sometimes more than the value of their classic counterparts.


A market dip, but not for modern cars

After the dust from Scottsdale settled, analysts from Hagerty Insurance saw a $40 million drop in total sales over the 2015 sale, along with average sale price down by $15,000. Now, as the classic car market remains volatile, the modern supercar market has flourished, with modern cars propped up on speculation for future values. This speculation has begun to take a rather sharp turn, with some cars now valued at more than their equivalent vintage counterparts. AUTOMOBILE auctions expert Dave Kinney sees this market segment as a direct result of the stratospheric rise of the collector car market. “1960s and ’70s Ferraris are completely unaffordable, so collectors are moving into newer Ferraris,” Kinney said. “When you can’t buy a $43 million car, a car that costs a half-million seems a whole lot more reasonable.”

From 2000 to 2010, with the exception of perhaps the 2003 Ferrari Enzo, most supercars, even special models, were subject to depreciation following the release of the next iteration of the model. These cars were seen as outdated and older technology in the face of rapidly increasing speed and capability among the supercar class.


A pair of Ferrari 599 twins take home big money

Talk to a Ferrari purist, and he or she will undoubtedly mention that the only “true” thoroughbred machines to exit the Maranello factory are those hiding V-12 power under their front hoods. This makes the more exclusive twelve-cylinder models much more difficult and expensive to acquire new than their V-8-powered little brothers. And, where the fixed-roof V-12 Ferraris are treasured, the drop-top twelve-cylinders are worshipped. Ferrari’s open-air twelve-cylinders are rare, and as a result, Scottsdale saw the hammer fall on both the Ferrari 599 SA Aperta and its hard-roofed twin, a Ferrari 599 GTO. With just 80 produced, the SA Aperta claimed an eye-watering $1,182,500, compared to the GTO’s $770,000. Remember, both the GTO and the SA Aperta cost around $400,000 when new, causing the value to almost double and triple in today’s volatile market.

The 2004 Porsche Carrera GT used to stand out as a cut-price Enzo, with values in the late 2000s hovering right around $250,000 to the Enzo’s $650,000. Now, following the recent upward swing of both the Porsche market and the supercar market, a Carrera GT sold for $795,000 in Scottsdale, more than doubling its value over the course of 7 years, and almost doubling its initial sale value of $448,000.


Hybrid hypercar trio on the rise

Compared to the prices of modern hypercars, the Carrera GT still remains a bargain. As we saw with the sale of a gorgeous 2015 McLaren P1 last week, the recent crop of hybrid hypercars from McLaren, Porsche, and Ferrari became instant auction-block stars the minute they left the showroom floor. With an initial sale price of right under $1,000,000, the Porsche 918 is currently a car “of the moment,” with it remaining squarely on the bleeding edge of performance and technology. All three cars were produced in limited numbers, and current prices are driven by collectors who might not have been able to secure a slot when they were new. While 918 units of the 918 Spyder were produced, this apparently wasn’t quite enough, as the final sales price fell at $1,595,000, or nearly a 60-percent boost over the original purchase price.


Don’t call it a comeback

With the continual focus on technology and speed, manual transmissions have all but evaporated in the supercar segment. Because of this void, high-quality second-hand supercars are creeping up in value. “A lot of activity has developed in the late-model manual cars, due to the low-production numbers,” said Kinney. Scottsdale had a handful of manual supercars, including a 2007 Ferrari F430 Spider with a manual transmission that claimed over $300,000 in Scottsdale, with just around 300 miles on the clock. Similarly, a 2007 Lamborghini Murcielago LP640-4 bagged a $297,000 final price, far above its rapidly dropping values in the past few years.

Since blue-chip cars have vaulted above the grasp of all save billionaires, the secondary supercar market has seen a meteoric rise to fill the middle-ground for the lowly multi-millionaires. Look for this market to grow even more as we see supercar manufacturers release even more exclusive special-edition models in the future.

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