Selling the Most Expensive Cars in the World – Pebble Beach and Monterey Car Week 2023

The Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance (concoor del-ay-gaunce), Monterey Car Week, and Auctions are the biggest highlights of the summer car events. The concentration of car-obsessed rich people at Pebble Beach showing, buying, and selling some of the most rare and special vehicles in the world sets the mark for collector car prices and showcases the best of the best cars in the world.

The Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, held every year in August on the golf course of the Pebble Beach resort on the Monterey Peninsula in northern California, attracts the top tier car collectors from around the globe. These people gather here to display, talk cars, and show-off their irreplaceable vintage automobiles.
For me, the auctions are the highlight of the week long event. The Monterey Car Week auctions concluded Saturday with the second highest total in Car Week history. The 1,200-plus vehicles and 150-plus, 1 million dollar vehicles offered across five auctions resulted in total sales of 396.7 million dollars and a sell-through rate of 68 percent.

The cooling market we’ve observed for the past 15 months finally reached the Monterey auctions after having little impact last year. Hagerty Automotive Intelligence is hearing of several factors stemming from the first season of Monterey auctions in a full inflationary environment. Namely, an increased discipline at the higher end of the market, weakening demand from new collectors, and higher prices that have given pause to buyers at the upper end of the market.

The top of the market has proven resilient until recently, as Ferrari prototype racecars from the 1960s have begun to slow.

Bonhams sold a 1967 Ferrari 412P for 30.2 million dollars which left observers wondering why it didn’t get more bids.

RM Sotheby’s offered a 1964 Ferrari 250 Le Mans on Saturday which didn’t sell on a high bid of 17 million dollars.

Gooding & Company sold a 1962 Ferrari 250 GT Short Wheel Base Coupe sold for 9.4 million dollars.
Overall through Saturday, all auction companies including Mecum had a cumulative Total of 396.7 million dollars. The auditions offered 1,225 vehicles for sale, and sold 68 percent with an average sale price of 474,519 dollars. That’s less than the 2022 cumulative results for Monterey Car Week which had a cumulative total of 472.8 million dollars, a higher 78 percent sell-through rate, and average sale price of 591,768 dollars. Which means the collector car market is off by 10 percent. This means it’s a great time to buy and a bad time to sell a collectible car.

But the biggest reason for this huge gathering is the 72nd Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance. Taking home the grand prize at the 2023 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance is a 1937 Mercedes-Benz 540K Special Roadster . The “Best of Show” winner is one of three surviving examples, specifically a “long-tail” version “with covered spare tire.”

All the finalists this year were Pre-War (before World War II) vehicles. It beat out a 1930 Mercedes-Benz 710 SS Special Roadster, a 1932 Alfa Romeo 8C23 Figoni (Feego-nee) Cabriolet and a 1939 Delahaye 165 Figoni et Falaschi (Feego-nee ay fala-shee) Cabriolet. This also marks the third straight year of 1930s Mercedes models winning “Best of Show.”

Thousands turned out for the display full of amazing and prestigious vehicles. The cars were presented on the Pebble Beach Golf Links’ 17th and 18th fairways like an outdoor museum featuring 200 of the world’s top collector cars. The announcement of the Best in Show marks the curtain call for a memorable week of roaring exotics and classic rides on the Monterey Peninsula.

There are so many other events surrounding Monterey Car week. One of my favorites is the ROLEX MONTEREY MOTORSPORTS REUNION, a museum revving to life. It’s a celebration of motorsports history. Yet, this is not a car show, it’s the only event this week where cars are on track racing. Hundreds of historic and period-correct race and sports cars from nearly every era compete in the world’s premier motoring event. Almost as exciting as the on-track activity is walking through the open paddock seeing motorsports history firsthand.

If you are considering attending next years Monterey Car week, the traditional headline events include the Pebble Beach Tour d’ Elegance, The Quail — A Motorsports Gathering, the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion, and the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance plus all the exciting auctions.

If you love cars, add the third week of August in Northern California to your bucket list.

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