In general the market performed well in the face of the global COVID crisis, with auction houses quick to adapt their platforms to online-only sales when lockdown restrictions around the world put a stop to in-person bidding. Many houses reported strong sell-through rates once the initial trauma experienced in March and April had been factored in to their plans for the year ahead. The cancellation of Monterey Week was the calendar's biggest casualty, forcing a switch to online auctions with scaled back catalogues which lacked the blue-chip entries of previous years. To put this year's Monterey sales in context, only 37 cars offered by the Big Three (Bonhams, Gooding & Company and RM Sotheby's) carried million dollar-plus estimates compared to 106 in 2019.

 

Alfa Romeo Berlina Aerodinamica Tecnica 5-7-9d - Ron Kimball © 2020 RM Sothebys

2020 marked the first time for many years that a Ferrari didn't appear in the top five; a trio of Alfa Romeo show cars which, as they were sold as one lot, arguably headed the results. The three Franco Scaglione-designed Alfa Romeo Berlina Aerodinamica Tecnica concept cars, known as B.A.T. 5, 7 and 9d, were hand built by Bertone in the 1950s and fetched $14,840,000 during Sotheby's live-streamed Contemporary Art Evening Auction in October. Pre-war Bugattis locked out the other four slots, led by a 1934 Type 59 Sports from the single-owner Passion of a lifetime sale at Hampton Court, which set a new auction world record for the marque at £9,535,000.  If the Alfas are considered as three individual cars each achieving $4,946,666 they drop to 6th in the rankings, with a 1928 Bugatti Type 35C Grand Prix at £3,935,000 claiming the 5th spot – giving Bugatti an impressive 100% record in the 2020 Top 5.

Overall Top 5 Result Estimate Auction House Location Date
Alfa Romeo B.A.T. 5-7-9d $14,840,000 $14-20m RM Sotheby's USA October
Bugatti Type 59 Sports £9,535,000 £10m+ Gooding & Co UK September
Bugatti Type 57 S Atalante £7,855,000 £7m+ Gooding & Co UK September
Bugatti Type 55 Super Sport $7,100,000 $6.5-9.5m Bonhams USA March
Bugatti Type 55 Super Sport € 4,600,000 €4-7m Bonhams France February

 

Ferrari F50 - Mathieu Heurtault © Gooding & Co

Looking in more detail at the 172 auctions Glenmarch covered in 2020; Gooding & Company kicked off the year recording the highest price achieved for a hypercar, selling a two-owner 5,200-mile 1995 Ferrari F50 for $3,222,500 at Scottsdale in January. RM Sotheby's set an online auction record in May, its barely-used 1,250-mile 2003 Ferrari Enzo attracting a winning bid at $2,640,000.

Hypercars Result Estimate Auction House Location Date
Ferrari F50 $3,222,500 $3.2-3.6m Gooding & Co USA January
Ferrari Enzo $2,782,500 $2.75-3m RM Sotheby's USA March
Ferrari Enzo $2,640,000 $2.6-2.9m RM Sotheby's Online May
Pagani Huayra Roadster $2,370,000 $2.5-2.7m RM Sotheby's USA January
Ferrari Enzo $2,354,000 $2.2-2.6m Gooding & Co Online August

 

BMW 507 – © Bonhams

A brace of BMW 507s featured in the 1950s Top 5, with a Series II example that was originally owned by HRH Prince Constantine II of Greece changing hands at Bonhams' Zoute Sale for €2,070,000, narrowly pipping RM's similar car which generated €1,996,250 at Paris in February.

1950s Result Estimate Auction House Location Date
Alfa Romeo B.A.T. 5-7-9d  $14,840,000 $14-20m RM Sotheby's USA October
Aston Martin DB3S £3,011,000 £3-4m Gooding & Co UK September
Ferrari 225 S $2,810,000 $2.5-3.5m RM Sotheby's USA October
BMW 507 € 2,070,000 €1.9-2.3m Bonhams Belgium October
BMW 507 € 1,996,250 €1.75-2.25m RM Sotheby's France February


Shelby GT350 R Prototype © Mecum

Mecum brought two iconic Mustangs to auction in 2020, setting record prices for each. First up, at Kissimmee in January, was the Highland Green 1968 GT that co-starred with Steve McQueen in the film Bullitt which sold for $3,740,000. The figure was trumped six months later at Mecum's Indy sale where a 1965 Shelby GT350 R Prototype, driven to victory by Ken Miles on its debut, garnered $3,850,000. Gooding briefly held the record for the highest price at an online-only sale when its Ferrari 275 GTB/6C 'Long Nose' took a mid-estimate $3,080,000 in August, while Artcurial's short-nose version – a class winner at the 1966 Monza 1000km – realised  €2,502,800 at Rétromobile.

1960s Result Estimate Auction House Location Date
Shelby GT350 R Prototype $3,850,000 on request Mecum USA July
Ford Mustang GT "Bullitt" $3,740,000 on request Mecum USA January
Ferrari 275 GTB/6C Long Nose $3,080,000 $2.75-3.25m Gooding & Co Online August
Ferrari 275 GTB/6C € 2,502,800 €2-3m Artcurial France February
Porsche 904 Carrera GTS € 1,917,500 €1.6-1.8m RM Sotheby's France February

 

Lamborghini Miura SV - Mathieu Heurtault © Gooding & Co

The ultimate iteration of Lamborghini's legendary Miura proved popular with bidders in 2020, with all three SVs offered at auction finding new homes. Gooding's Oro Metallizzato example made a record-breaking £3,207,000, more than double its lower estimate.

1970s Result Estimate Auction House Location Date
Lamborghini Miura SV £3,207,000 £1.6-2m Gooding & Co UK September
Lamborghini Miura SV £1,912,500 £1.8-2.4m Silverstone UK August
Ferrari 365 GTS $1,930,000 $2-2.4m Gooding & Co USA January
Lamborghini Miura SV $1,391,000 $1.4-1.6m RM Sotheby's USA January
Porsche 916 $957,000 $900k-1m RM Sotheby's Online August

 

Ferrari 288 GTO - ©2020 Courtesy of RM Sotheby's

A Ferrari 288 GTO was the pick of the '80s sellers; RM Sotheby's ex-Hartmut Ibing car with 23,555km making a mid-estimate $2,310,000 at its online auction in May. RM also sold the second highest in the group, its 5,822-mile Porsche 959, California legal and sporting Canepa upgrades, going for $1,050,000.

1980s Result Estimate Auction House Location Date
Ferrari 288 GTO $2,310,000 $2.2-2.4m RM Sotheby's Online May
Porsche 959 $1,050,000 $1-1.25m RM Sotheby's USA March
Lancia 037 Stradale $451,000 $420-520k RM Sotheby's Online June
BMW M1 £382,500 £385-435k Silverstone Online November
Aston Martin V8 Vantage Volante £280,500 £280-320k Historics UK July

 

Ferrari F40 – Josh Hway © Gooding & Co

It was a clean sweep for Ferrari in the 1990s top 5, where notable sales included a US-spec 4,600-mile single-family owner F40, bringing an estimate-busting $1,628,000 at Gooding's online auction in August.

1990s Result Estimate Auction House Location Date
Ferrari F50 (Top Hypercar) $3,222,500 $3.2-3.6m Gooding & Co USA January
Ferrari F50 $2,134,000 $2.2-2.6m Gooding & Co Online August
Ferrari F40 $1,628,000 $1.25-1.5m Gooding & Co Online August
Ferrari F40 $1,386,000 $1.25-1.5m RM Sotheby's Online August
Ferrari F40 € 1,112,840 €1-1.2m Artcurial France February

 

Ferrari 550 GT1 Prodrive - Remi Dargegen ©2020 Courtesy of RM Sotheby's

RM Sotheby's raised the benchmark for the highest price achieved at a dedicated online-only collector car auction, when its Ferrari 550 GT1 Prodrive drew $4,290,000 in August. In Japan, BH Auction successfully hammered away an ex-Gerhard Berger Ferrari F1/87 for ¥189,200,000 (£1,350,000), making it the top F1 result for the year.

Modern Competition Cars Result Estimate Auction House Location Date
Ferrari 550 GT1 $4,290,000 $3.85-4.85m RM Sotheby's Online August
Ferrari F1/87 Formula 1 ¥189,200,000 ¥150-190m BH Auction Japan January
Ferrari 126 C3 Formula 1 € 1,438,880 €600k-1m Artcurial France February
Porsche 935 K3 ¥150,000,000 ¥140-180m BH Auction Japan January
Porsche 934 $1,380,000 $1.25-1.6m Gooding & Co USA March

 

View the full 2020 results and keep track of upcoming auctions here: