Monterey Car Week 2022 Approaches
The biggest event in the collector car market is happening next month. Monterey Car Week is a whirlwind of events spanning the course of eight days and collectors from all over the world attend. There are major auctions, hundreds of cars crossing the block, and even more new attendees hoping to find their first classic car. Following the success of 2021, what will we see this year? Do ever increasing prices mean Monterey Car Week is out of reach for the average enthusiast? Can a new collector reasonably expect to find his or her first classic car in Monterey? What impact will this have on future sales throughout 2022 and beyond? We’ll take a look at all these questions here so you can decide if it’s time for you to get in on the action or if it’s best to wait until next year…
Monterey Car Week 2022 - 8 Non-Stop Days of Collector Car Fun
Monterey Car Week is like Christmas for car guys and gals, as it’s the biggest event of the year for the collector car world. With so much to see and do in such a short amount of time, it can be intimidating to even experienced collectors and enthusiasts.
As the largest car show in California, there are dozens of events happening during Monterey Car Week every year. From classics racing on track at Laguna Seca Raceway to concours-quality restorations at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, there is no shortage of eye candy or opportunities for fun with friends and family alike!
The Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance - The Oscars of the Car World
The Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance is often described as the Oscars of the car world and this year marks its 71st anniversary. While not an auction, it certainly is the culmination of everything else that occurs during Monterey Car Week. The show attracts a global audience from collectors and industry professionals alike, who come together to admire some of the finest examples of automotive history on display.
Other car shows have come a long way, such as Amelia Island and Greenwich, but nothing rivals Pebble Beach for bragging rights. This year will be no different with hundreds of cars being shown over two days at the famed golf course, which is expected to be open to spectators again this year after being invite-only only for ticket holders in recent years.
The Pebble Beach Concours d’Eleance is more than a car show – it’s a chance for everyone to relax, breathe and process all the heart-stopping sales that took place during the week.
Monterey Car Week 2021 - 903 Vehicles Sold for $321 Million
The Monterey Car Week auctions are well-known for their high-dollar sales, but last year’s results were particularly strong. In 2021 the various auctions sold a combined 903 vehicles for $321 million. That was a strong jump from the $245.5 million in 2019 and even more impressive considering that it came on the heels of what many consider to be the worst of global pandemic.
The fact that 2019 and 2021 saw such robust sales is not surprising given how much pent-up demand there has been for high-end cars since before it all started; however, other factors came into play that could have made this record breaking year even better had they not been present (more on those later).
RM Sotheby's Broke Records in 2021
The Monterey Car Week auctions were once a small affair, but they have grown to become one of the largest and most important events on the collector car calendar. RM Sotheby’s expanded their auction to three nights and are continuing with that format this year in order to accommodate more cars for sale and not run out of room at their main auction hall. Last year they sold almost $150 million – a huge amount of money, especially when looking at earlier years in Monterey. The Top 5 cars sold by RM Sotheby’s last year brought in over $35 million alone! With so much money coming into this event, it’s no wonder everyone wants a slice of the pie.
“The last five years have been crazy.” - McKeel Hagerty
As you may have heard, McKeel Hagerty, CEO of Hagerty Insurance, in an interview with Motor1.com said “The last five years have been crazy.”
It’s hard to argue with this statement. Prices have been moving steadily upward, more and more cars are being offered for sale, and there is strong demand from collectors all over the world—many of whom will be attending Monterey Car Week next month (#MCW2022). As a result of this upward movement in values, more people are investing in classic cars than ever before. The question on everyone’s minds: Is this kind of growth sustainable?
There are more cars expected at auctions than ever before during Monterey Car Week. Five major auctions are being held from August 17-21, including the inaugural Broad Arrow offering at Hagerty’s Motorlux event.
The auctions are expected to break records this year. The question isn’t can they do it, but by how much?
Broad Arrow Auctions will hold their inaugural offering at Hagerty’s Motorlux event. This auction will showcase in an incredible number of highly desirable cars in excellent condition. Broad Arrow is expected to deliver some very strong results in their first-ever auction.
8 Cars North of $10 Million
While the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance is always a big deal, this year there are at least eight cars with estimates north of $10 million hitting the auction blocks. In a normal year just one of those would be the talk of the town for the whole week. What will this mean for the collectors selling those cars, and what impact might it have on the rest of the market?
Any other year and one of these 8 cars would be the talk of the town like past major sales that include a McLaren F1, plenty of Bugattis, Carroll Shelby’s personal 427 Cobra, and ever-present Ferraris of all ages.
Will any of the 8 cars with estimates north of $10 million suffer due to another? Seeing this much potential value hit the auctions at same time must have some impact on remainder of the market – an important question is whether this means people are trying to get out from under their big investments or do more people simply have the funds available to buy those cars?
Doubling Prices from 2021?
Based on the high estimates for the cars that will be on offer in Monterey, it appears that there will be just under $700 million in merchandise crossing the different auction blocks. Simply put, we may witness sales totaling more than twice that of 2021. Can the market handle/absorb this many high value cars being on offer at the same time?
The answer is yes and no. Yes because there are likely enough buyers who can afford these cars and are willing to pay up for them. No because there are only so many buyers at any one time for any one particular car. So if all of these big ticket items were sold at the same auction I think it would result in some pretty significant price reductions for future auctions as well as a reduction in demand going forward due to buyer fatigue (which is often referred to as oversupply). Fortunately, not all of those will be at the same auction so even if we do start witnessing buyer fatigue, it shouldn’t have as sudden an impact as otherwise possible.
RM Sotheby’s and Gooding & Company were the biggest successes last year. While they’re both holding auctions again, along with Mecum and Bonhams, the debut of Broad Arrow Auctions and the impressive slate of cars they have lined up to cross the block is putting another big player in the game. Will the other auction houses see lower attendance or fewer bids due to Broad Arrow Auctions holding their sale comparatively early in the week?
Broad Arrow Group partnered with Hagerty and will hold their first auction relatively early in the week, on Thursday, August 18th. They’re starting off in a fairly solid position, with a lot of well-known members of the collector car world working with them.
It’s clear that Broad Arrow plans to make a splash at Monterey by getting the jump on other auction houses. Will they be successful? There are certainly enough high-value cars available. The question is how much buying power will be left over for RM Sotheby’s, Gooding & Company, and the rest of the auction houses following Broad Arrow’s sale. Might we see bidders looking for less expensive alternatives before going home empty handed after a full week in Monterey?
Is Monterey Becoming Out of Reach?
Monterey is still the premier classic car show in the world, but that doesn’t mean it’s immune to change. Is Monterey no longer a place that a new collector can expect to find his or her first classic car? Are the prices out of reach for the average enthusiast? If so, what does that mean for the market as a whole in the next few years?
If it’s possible we see as much as $700 million change hands, it seems Monterey is less and less welcoming to the younger/newer enthusiast; perhaps they’re pricing themselves out of the market or maybe they’re simply not interested in these cars anymore. These questions only become more pressing when you consider how much money is being spent on cars that don’t even run and are probably not worth what was paid for them (or at least not yet). What should we expect to see play out in the months between Monterey and Scottsdale?
As we move into the next decade of collecting, it’s important to keep in mind that there will always be a place for enthusiasts who want to preserve these great pieces of history. But as the market continues to grow, prices will continue to rise and new collectors may find themselves priced out of this market entirely. If you’ve ever considered buying a car from Monterey Car Week, now might be your best chance before interest in classic cars drives prices even higher!