My Car Quest

July 2, 2022

Classic Car Prices And Market Trends – Car TV Shows – Part 3

by Mike –

Do you ever get the feeling that there is too much hype around the buying and selling of classic cars?

The classic car auctions are getting bigger each year and it seems that they are setting new price records for many classic car models at each auction.

The big auctions are on live TV and then a few months later the same auction show is a rerun – usually just before their next auction.

1964 Ford GT40 Prototype at The Gooding Auction In Pebble Beach, August 2012

1964 Ford GT40 Prototype at The Gooding Auction In Pebble Beach, August 2012

Car TV show

There is at least one car TV show, in addition to the auctions, that is dedicated to car values called “What’s My Car Worth?”.

I watch many of these TV shows and I enjoy seeing the cars and learning more about current market values.

1955 Ferrari 857 Sport At The Gooding Auction In Pebble Beach, August 2012

1955 Ferrari 857 Sport At The Gooding Auction In Pebble Beach, August 2012

However, doesn’t it seem that turning a car auction into TV entertainment affects the actual prices of the cars? The bidder knows he is on TV and there is a live audience cheering the bidders on as well.

1959 Maserati Tipo 61 Birdcage

1959 Maserati Tipo 61 Birdcage At The Gooding Auction In Pebble Beach, August 2012

The auction company uses the displays of beautiful cars above to attract the crowds on auction night below.

Gooding Auction in Pebble Beach

Gooding Auction In Pebble Beach, August 2012

Bizzarrini GT 5300 at auction

I know this from experience because I bought my Bizzarrini GT 5300 at the Russo and Steele auction in Monterey a few years ago and it was on TV.

On the other hand I had been searching for a special Bizzarrini GT 5300 for more than four years and could not find one. Most Bizzarrinis are in Europe and I live in California so the process of inspecting a car from such a long distance is difficult.

Then one day I discover that there is a terrific Bizzarrini coming up for auction practically in my back yard. So, without Russo and Steele I would probably never have found this special Bizzarrini.

It was an interesting experience bidding on a car at an auction with a TV camera in my face. I also could not see the other bidders and did not know what they looked liked until much later when I saw the TV show.

Bizzarrini GT 5300 at Russo and Steele Auction in Monterey

Bizzarrini GT 5300 at The Russo and Steele Auction In Monterey, August 2008

The other main bidder is a very nice man who lives in New York. He attended Concorso Italiano in 2010 where we spent some time talking next the the Bizzarrini we had fought over a couple of years earlier. He said that he wished he would have kept bidding. I am so glad he did not keep bidding.

Even after the auction was over the bidding continued

I was approached by Russo and Steele before I made it to the TV interview (maybe 10 minutes after the auction ended). The sales manager asked if I wanted to sell this car to “a special customer who came to buy this Bizzarrini but was a few minutes too late”.

My response, “after more than 4 years of searching – this car is not for sale”.

It is a high intensity hyped up environment at one of these major classic car auctions. But what fun!

Do you wonder if you can trust classic car auction companies?

More on classic car values soon.

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  1. Mike:
    I still occasionally see the episode of when you purchased the car at Russo and Steele replay on cable TV four years later. It is a moment that I will always remember, and I am so glad that you are the caretaker of this wonderful piece of machinery, as you are a fantastic ambassador for the marque. I hope that you enjoy the car as much as I enjoy your blog.
    Glenn Rudner

  2. Glenn – thank you for the kind comments. I hope you get your Bizzarrini someday (Glenn was the other bidder).

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