Tips on How to Sell Your Million/s Dollar Vintage or Classic Car

Tips on How to Sell Your Million/s Dollar Vintage or Classic Car

Tips on How to Sell Your Million/s Dollar Vintage or Classic Car


Each and every year since 1971 hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of classic and vintage collector cars find new homes via the world’s prestigious auctions and private treaty transactions.

This year sales predictions this year are cautiously optimistic. But, no matter the conditions the great Tier 1 and fine cars will always command  multimillion-dollar prices in this age of the billionaire collector.

So far this year, the major vintage and classic car auctions have higher prices than in Y 2015. But the overall sell-through rate is down to 65% compared with 87% meaning fewer of the cars on public offer have ended up getting sold.

The Big Q: You have an important vintage or classic car you want to sell at public auction, what to do?

The Big A’s, from the experts in the sector, as follows:

  1.  The Preparation: The longer a top auction house has to photograph, film, and market your car, the better. And if you want to sell your car through one of the world’s top auto auction houses, like say RM Sotheby’s (NYSE:BID) start now. Most are taking considerations for consignment for the Monterey, California auctions in August until the end of this month. And there is a lot of administrative, logistics and promotion work involved.
  2. The Consideration: Your car should/must have the provenance and racing success that might make it appealing. That is because the top auction houses work hard to ensure that their sales and are very selective when choosing lots. It is a business, not a show.
  3. Trust: A seller must trust the auction company to market the car and sell it in the best way possible. They know the market, they know the values, and they know their clientele. They turn cars away, even great cars if the owner/sellers are not realistic.

How to go about it, as follows:

  1. Do your homework and determine which auction house fits your sale. For instance, Gooding & Co. is known for selling the Tier 1 and Fine cars like the racing Ferraris, Bugattis, Jaguars.. Bonhams is renowned for unique models. RM Sotheby’s HQ’s in London. Mecum features American muscle cars. Call and meet the specialists at each House who your believe would be right for your car.
  2. Have a proper file that includes all the documentation for an diligent evaluation. That means ownership records, maintenance logs, information about any and all restorations and updates, lists of racing entries and wins, and any other document relevant to you car, including the minute details about your car’s life history, history and provenance are very important to each house.
  3. Detailed HD Photos: Provide detailed photos, the house wants to see what they will be working with. Once the house determines it likes your car, it will send out a representative to evaluate it in person.
  4. Engage the house, execute the confidential seller’s agreement. The experts say that if a car valued at less than $250,000 it should be offered without reserve and a 10% seller’s commission, plus a $1,500 entry fee that covers marketing. Above the $300,000 mark, the commission is negotiable depending on the value and sale price. Now, there is a buyer’s premium associated with the sale that stands at 10%. That is a fixed commission that also goes to the auction house and is attached to the sale of the car. Note: The seller’s commission is an entirely separate commission that the auction company earns from both buyer and seller.
  5. Logistics: schedule transportation. Unless you have a multi-million dollar Ferrari, you will pay the cost for getting the car to the auction site. If you have that Ferrari, the auction house will often work out the shipping with you.
  6. Be on site for the sale, business may come up that requires personal and immediate attention.
  7. Keep good thoughts.

I have been attending vintage and classic car auctions since the trend was kicked off by Tom Barrett and Russ Jackson in Scottsdale, Arizona in 1971. Cars that sold then for thousands are now selling for millions of dollars. It is a lot of fun for car lovers and buyers alike.

But, in this Age of Billionaire collectors my recommendation is if you own a Tier 1 or Fine multi-million dollar car, a confidential private treaty transaction is the way to sell your Treasure to the new Treasure Hunter.

That’s me in the picture, I know the top people in the business, going back to 1971.

Stay tuned…



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