Jim’s Blog — Here Comes Scottsdale!

It’s a new year, and the car season is about to get fired up in a big way.

The annual Scottsdale auctions in January — Barrett-Jackson, Gooding, RM, Bonhams, Russo and Steele, and Silver — typically offer over 2,500 cars combined. Last year saw over 2,200 of them sell for a grand total exceeding $225m. It was a record, but I don’t think the market is done moving up.

What can we expect in terms of auction totals once the dust settles in Arizona at the end of the month? That’s hard to predict, but I’m going to get out my crystal ball and give it a shot.

The Monterey auctions in August saw a boost of 20% from 2012 to 2013 (which worked out to a $50m increase). Trends really haven’t changed much since then. Apply that to Scottsdale’s totals from 2013 and the number you get is $270m.

A lot of Monterey’s increases came from top-level multi-million-dollar consignments — where the market has been on fire lately — and Scottsdale’s consignment lists tend to offer more in the way of American muscle and hot rods. Ultra-high-end cars do sell here too, but generally, it’s a different demographic, where overall prices tend to average about $100k rather than the $400k we see in Monterey. But then again, about 1,500 more cars sell in Arizona in January than Monterey in August.

I expect we’ll see more consignments in Arizona this year, and I think the average price will be up slightly as well, in line with the trends we saw in 2013. All things considered, I really wouldn’t be surprised to see our number hit $270m.

But of course, I could be way off here. The market doesn’t always do what we think it might. You’ll just have to stay tuned to see how everything turns out.

If you’re planning on being in Scottsdale this year, you should set aside some time to come to the American Car Collector seminar at Barrett-Jackson on Wednesday, January 15 at 9:00 am. We’ll be discussing the market as well as what we think are the best buys today. Publisher Keith Martin will moderate the panel, which will be made up of Colin Comer (ACC Editor at Large), Mike Yager (Founder of MidAmerica Motorworks), John L. Stein (ACC Contributor and Corvette Columnist), B. Mitchell Carlson (ACC Contributor and Cheap Thrills Columnist), and myself. Learn more here.

We’ll see you in the desert!