This post contributed by our collector car insurance partner, Hagerty®.

After 7 days, 7 venues, and 3,176 vehicles, the final exhaust note at Barrett-Jackson faded away at 5:15 p.m. and the books officially closed on the 2018 Arizona Collector Car Auctions. According to the classic car experts at Hagerty, preliminary results total $247.8M — a 5 percent decline from last year. The immediate takeaway is that 2018 is shaping up to be a good year for the “Everyman” classic: that affordable, fun, and largest segment of the market.

More bidders flocked to the Valley of the Sun than last year, and a soaring stock market and clarity on tax reform might have had buyers feeling flush. Popular American options saw strong results, including 1968-1982 C3 Chevrolet Corvettes, first-generation 1967-69 Chevrolet Camaros, and vintage trucks and SUVs. All this spending pushed Barrett-Jackson to $112.3M, which is the company’s second-highest total ever.

Popular cars on the top end

At the higher rungs on the pricing ladder, results weren’t as strong, but not for lack of effort from bidders. Nearly 90 percent of cars valued above $250,000 were bid to amounts at or above market-correct prices, although the sell-through rate in this price bracket was only 70 percent. The 2-star Jaguar D-Types at Gooding & Company and RM Sotheby’s missed with high bids of $8.85M and $9.8M respectively, and further struggles were specifically seen in the $2M to $5M range, all of which could indicate a softening in the market. But the best examples of cars in this range have been appearing at the Amelia Island sales more frequently, so the March auctions will provide a better indication of whether the uppermost reaches of the market are slipping.

The importance of backstory

It also became clear that provenance is more important. The top lot of the week was Batista Pininfarina’s personal 1965 Ferrari 275 GTB Speciale, with numerous unique styling details, that Gooding & Company sold for $8.085M. The 2005 Ford GT that Carroll Shelby originally purchased sold at Bonhams for $489,500, while a similar Ford GT without the star connection traded at $335,500 at Barrett-Jackson. Mr. Shelby’s 1966 Shelby GT350H also hammered sold at the Bonhams auction, this time for $100,000 above the Hagerty Price Guide value for a standard GT350H in similar condition. For collectors, the car’s story is often as relevant as the car itself.

The Arizona Auctions traditionally set the tone for the next 6 months, so we expect spending to pick up for most enthusiasts. The conclusion for the upper end isn’t quite so clear.

Protect your collector car

Classic beauty, hobby car, showroom stopper, or true love — however you think of your collector car, make sure you have coverage that’s geared toward the way you drive, think, and collect. Esurance and Hagerty have partnered to provide collector car owners better coverage at a better price. Learn more about how we can help you to protect your passion and get a free quote.


Coverage and availability varies by state and individual risk situation. Collector car insurance policies are offered and underwritten through Hagerty Insurance Agency. Esurance does not process or pay claims for this product.

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