The excitement in the market subsided, auction rates began to decline. And collecting is not only a passion, but also an investment. Sometimes it is fantastically successful.
If one day you find yourself on the 62nd road, which winds at the foot of the picturesque Mount San Juan in Colorado, carefully peer at the passing cars. Perhaps you are lucky to meet Ralph Lauren, walking on flat gas one of his next acquisitions. In these parts of the ranch fashion designer. The man, whose name is embroidered behind the lapels of a good half of short-sleeved shirts, is one of the most famous car collectors. The collection is small, especially if we compare it with the owner's rating in the Forbes list: about seven dozen cars. Not the garage of the Sultan of Brunei, but what kind of cars they are!
Among them is the 1938 Bugatti T57 Atlantic SC, the most expensive car in the world - it is estimated at $ 40 million. Skeptics will note that no one has yet tried to pay that amount for it. Let the sky-high price be just another myth shrouding this piece of engineering. Nothing excites blood as much as inaccessibility - whether women, cars, youth … The fascination with historical cars has a lot of implications. For some, the uterine rumble of old motors really sounds like a melody of youth. But here's an amazing thing: generations change, values are devalued, a new technological order is maturing, and interest in historical technology is only growing.
Bugatti T57 Atlantic SC release 1938 from the collection of Ralph Lauren. Of the four cars, only two survived © AP Photo / Steven Senne
The hobby, as you know, was invented by the British. Everything can be attributed to the peculiarities of the island mentality, but gathering has spread throughout the world. In 1896, English entertainers decided to celebrate the abolition of the draconian speed limit, the so-called "Red Flag Law". Celebrated with a race of cars from foggy London to the resort of Brighton. She was called The Emancipation Run. And in 1927, the participants in that "race of the liberated" wanted to shake things up with the old days. They rolled out of the sheds pretty rusted and pigeon-housed rattles, put them on the move and, as if nothing had happened, drove back to Brighton. Since then, with an interruption for World War II, the race invariably starts at Hyde Park on the first weekend of November. Oldtimers not younger than 1905 are allowed to participate.
In 1927, no one thought about collecting anything. But today the auction house Bonhams is one of the sponsors of the historic rally "London - Brighton". Nothing adds polish more than appropriate value.
The third oldest London auction house, Bonhams was founded in 1793. Before him, Christie's had already operated since 1766, and Sotheby's since 1744. It is difficult for a Russian to comprehend the full depth of the European culture of things. When did auctions turn their sights on vintage cars? That's right when they started to rise in value. This process, with all its extremes and periods, deserves a doctoral dissertation in sociology. Trades, sometimes driving the participants to hysterics, acted not only as accurate markers, but also as catalysts of interest.
Participants of the Bonhams London to Brighton Veteran Car Run at the start of the race in London, 2016 © spothits / Bonhams
Ahead were true passionaries and protagonists, such as Lord Montague, whose grandfather taught how to drive King Edward VII's cars and came up with the idea to decorate the Rolls-Royce radiator with the famous figurine. Montagu's collection evolved naturally - descendants simply did not throw anything away. So in the family estate of Lord Montagu in Bellew, in Hampshire, the National Motor Museum arose. Parallels with the Moscow Tretyakov Gallery suggest themselves: they have lords and machines, we have merchants and paintings.
The oldtimer craze is believed to have started with William Fisk Harrah, a casino owner in Reno, Nevada. Harr's name has become a household name. He was a famous hoarder: he collected 3655 cars in his life. There were all sorts of rumors about the "Harrah collection" in the United States, which, no worse than the auction rates, heats up the excitement around the item. The tabloid novelist Donald Stanwood, who traveled by bus for most of his life, fell under the influence of gasoline fumes. In The Seventh Royale (in our translation of The Seventh Limousine), he describes Harra as if he personally drove fresh exhibits into his hangars:
“Like Noah, he took a pair of each creature into his ark … The secret of the museum was that Harra adored them all. Dazzlingly sparkling blunt "Merzers" or ugly "Edzels" - he did not care, he did not have favorites. With one exception - "Bugatti" ".
This passion for metallic French elegance was shared with Harrah and the Swiss textile magnates the Schlumpf brothers. Hans and Fritz were ready to buy every Bugatti in the world. Did the rivalry of the continents threaten the Third World War? Of course not. But the prices regularly kicked up.
Collectible cars - "children of inflation"
The Americans, who contracted the collecting virus from the same Englishmen, brought a fair amount of healthy cynicism to the hobby. After the Second World War, the racer Briggs Cunningham bought from the impoverished Bugatti family two giant cars Bugatti Type 41 La Royale for $ 571 and … a couple of General Electric refrigerators in addition. The Bugatti factory built just six of these monsters, and Cunningham got the 40141 Kellner coupé and the 41150 Berline de Voyage.
Bugatti Typ 41 No. 40141 of 1931 build. At the Christie's auction on November 19, 1987, he left for a record £ 5.5 million © autowp.ru
Returning from a European tour, in 1952, the racer sold copy # 41150 for $ 6,500. Harra's donkey's car. In 1964, Harra got another “royal Bugatti” (a rarity is supposed to have a proper name!), Namely, No. 41111 with a Coupé de ville body from the Binder studio, having already paid $ 45,000. Parity was established between Harra and the Schlumpfs: now both collections had two majestic giants each.
Maybe profit is your key passion?
When, after Harrah's death, his sons were selling the collection in 1986, "number 41150" went to American collector Jerry Moore (by that time he already had about seven hundred cars) for $ 6.5 million. A year later, Moore sold the rarity to the founder of the Domino's Pizza chain Thomas Monaghan already for $ 8.1 million
From an object of passion, an antique car turned into a source of income. The owner of the auction, Mitchell Cruz, confided in The New York Times: “In 1965, a decent Duesenberg cost $ 5,000-10,000. In 1971, the price was already $ 35,000; next year - already $ 90 thousand. Now the "Dusenbergs" cost at least $ 3.5 million! " Maybe profit is your key passion?
Collectible cars are “children of inflation”. Christie's most famous car auction took place on November 19, 1987 at London's Albert Hall. It was a time of inflationary risks for the UK. The then Treasurer of the Tory government, Nigel Lawson, made a series of economic miscalculations that caused inflation to rise from 2% in 1986 to nearly 10% in 1990. The country has become an excellent platform for taking profit in dollars. In November 1987, from under the hammer of the auctioneer Christie's "Royal Bugatti " No. 40141 went for £ 5.5 million, which on that day was $ 9,751,500. It was so outrageous that even the Soviet press wrote about it. Not forgetting to emphasize that "during the Second World War, the model of grace was hidden from the Nazis."
The cover of the catalog for the Christie's auction, which was held on November 19, 1987 at the Royal Albert Hall in London. These trades are still called "gold"
Bugatti cars, for all their merits, had one drawback: they weren't made much, and they quickly ran out. By the time the Schlumpfs went bankrupt and Harra died, more or less worthy samples had been taken over. They were not enough for all the suffering. But parades and races of veteran cars were already in full swing, amateur clubs were created (the first in the USSR, the Latvian Antiko Automobiļu Klubs- in 1972), magazines were published, the doors of factory collections were opened. Retro fashion has swept the world. Pugacheva sang: "Somewhere outside the city, dad bought a car very inexpensively." Sometimes in the USSR, old people simply gave their favorites to enthusiasts, realizing that they were no longer able to support them on the go. Western collectors quickly tasted the lacuna: the Soviet border was by no means locked for nosy businessmen.
The story of the first domestic collector of vintage cars, Tula Yevgeny Samoilovich Gurevich, is indicative. In 1964 he showed off his 1913 Bugatti Type 13 to a guest in France. They shook hands, formalized the deal through Vneshtorg, and in October 1965 the ship took a wooden box with the Autoexport stamp to Marseille. For a rarity, Gurevich received 650 rubles. And at the Bonhams auction in February 2009, the already restored car (“the 4th of the oldest known Bugatti”) was estimated at € 150,000 - 200,000, but it was never sold.
Anything more or less worthwhile goes through auctions. Recognized names in this case: French Artcurial, American Barrett Jackson, Brooks and Kruze, British Bonhams, Coys of Kensington and Christie's, Anglo-Canadian RM-Sotheby's. Small Californian giant Gooding & Company has grown on the wave of demand at the beginning of the 2000s. In 2012, at his Concource d'Elegance auction in Pebble Beach, California, a 1960 Ferrari 250 GT California Spider LWB went for $ 11,275,000, and Mercedes-Benz 1936 540K Spezial Roadster - $ 11,770,000.
The absolute record is held by the Ferrari 250 GTO produced in 1962-1964. During this time, only 39 copies were made. On August 15, 2014, the Bonhams auction house at auction in Monterey sold one of them for $ 38 115 000 © newspress.co.uk
Ferrari is an auction-collector's “everything”. It's not so much about the exclusiveness of the cars themselves, but about the competent policy of the company, which does not get tired of stirring up interest in itself. Just look into Ralph Lauren's secret "daddy's garage" in Westchester County, New York. Ferraris dominate there - as many as 14 examples. However, Ralph Lauren is not the kind of person who follows the demand - he forms the collection, selecting pearl for pearl.
Who dares to give the perfect recipe for collecting? And there is a demand for ugly girls. If the company exists to this day, almost always the car will cost more than the same, but forgotten brand. There is advertising, and the potential interest of factory museum workers, and possible support with spare parts and documentation. There are other subtleties as well. Obviously, more will be asked for a car that is admitted to a prestigious get-together, for example, at the Mille Miglia rally or at the same London - Brighton. Well, if we are talking about competitions of elegance … The best condition of a historic car is called “competitive”. And only then follow "excellent", "good", "so-so" … The spread of prices between them is fivefold.
Human addictions sometimes lead to funny situations. The collectible "icon" - Mercedes-Benz 540K, one of the fastest cars of the late 1930s, the greatest example of engineering and craft. At the RM Auctions auction in London Battersea Park on October 31, 2007, a Mercedes-Benz 540K with a Spezial-Roadster body from the collection of the owner of Formula 1 Bernie Ecclestone left for £ 3,905,000. From the same collection, a car of the same model, but with a cabriolet A body was sold for … £ 660 thousand. It is not surprising that there are rude guys who buy out 540s with "more modest" bodies in order to then, on the basis of factory documentation, turn them into "special roadsters". In the Mercedes-Benz Museum even joke that today there are more actually confirmed copies of "special roadsters" than were produced by the plant.
Mercedes-Benz 540K with a 1937 Spezial-Roadster from the collection of Formula 1 owner Bernie Ecclestone. Only 25 of these cars were produced © Darin Schnabel / Courtesy of RM Sotheby's
Forgery scandals only elevate car antiquity to the level of works of art. And, by the way, the declared price for an exact copy - not a fake - Mercedes-Benz 540K with a Spezial-Roadster body at one of the recent auctions amounted to … a million euros. Secretly: there is a factory in the Czech Republic where exact copies of Bugatti are manufactured industrially.
Simon Kidston congratulates Ralph Lauren on the Grand Prix of the most prestigious European competition of elegance, Villa d'Este, 2013 © kidston.com
There is another way to own pearls - brokerage houses. They look for a car like in an elite marriage agency: not just beautiful and prestigious, but also capable of becoming a profitable investment. The best brokerage is held by people who are skilled in the auction business, such as Simon Kidston, who headed Bonhams Europe in 2005, or Max Girardeau, the leading auctioneer of RM Auctions Europe. During his ten years at RM Auctions, Max Girardeau made a total of $ 1.5 billion. When he resigned, in the world of four-wheeled antiques it was no less an event than it was for Hollywood - the divorce of some brilliant acting couple.
Max Girardeau, formerly a successful auctioneer, now owns his own antique car brokerage © Girardo & Co. Press Office
But even the most calculating antiques dealers retained at the bottom of their hearts a boyish passion for typewriters. Another thing is that business asks very specific questions, like "buy or sell?" The American collectible car insurance agency Hagerty (antiques insurance is a special topic) charts market activity. Buying activity peaked at the end of 2015, after which the market entered a phase of decay. So you shouldn't expect records from the current Bonhams auction, no matter what valuable rarities are put up for sale.
Aston Martin DBR1 / 1 racing car, the first in the series, 1956. Holds the 2017 record: at RM Sotheby's in Monterey, the lot went for $ 22.55 million
What is bad for brokers, on the contrary, for collectors is a chance to acquire a rarity at a lower price. Someone is always forced to dispose of their treasures. This is how the antiques market works. Today's situation stimulates novice collectors. In turn, they push prices up. Which Hagerty estimates is about to start. Antiques market motto: the main thing is to be in time!
Hagerty Insurance Agency annually compiles a Hot List of ten cars that in the future can be considered classic and of interest to collectors. In 2017, the first place in the top ten was taken by the Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio Verd e - a sports sedan, the interior of which was created by Inna Kondakova, a graduate of the St. Petersburg Stieglitz Academy.
Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio Verde 2017 release. Will it become a collector's hunt in the future?