If it’s got four wheels, odds are it went under the hammer

Without a doubt, some of the biggest attractions at Monterey Car Week are the auctions, and although multi-million-dollar sales are usually what get the most attention, this annual automotive celebration actually offers a wide variety of cars. Whether you prefer big block iron, exotics, sports cars, or trucks, MCW provides the goods. Hell, there were even multiple BMW Isettas available for purchase if, you know, you’re into that kinda thing.

This year, we were on the scene of four of the big auction events, checking out the lots and watching the action unfold. That includes RM Sotheby’s, Russo and Steele, Gooding and Company, and the Mecum auctions. We found all manner of automobiles on hand, from racing legends to fan favorites, wild space ships to antique workhorses. Read on for a breakdown of what it was like to be there.

Continue reading to learn more about the 2016 Monterey Car Week auctions.

RM Sotheby’s

Held in downtown Monterey around the Portola Hotel and Spa, the RM Sotheby’s auction is a classy event filled with top-dollar automobiles. This year, the auction had to contend with construction just outside the hotel’s front lobby, but that didn’t put a damper on the quality of the vehicles making it onto the block.

When it comes to events like these, there are a few cars that are almost expected to make an appearance. These include the Bugatti Veyron, the symbol of modern supercar-dom, the Ferrari California, the perennial collectible Prancing Horse GT car, and the Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Gullwing, an absolute icon of upper-crust automobiles. All three were present and correct at RM Sotheby’s, joined by a host of additional seven-figure vehicles, all competing for attention in the limelight.

Further lots were found outside the auction tent and inside the neighboring hotel. The uber-expensive 1939 Alfa Romeo 8C 2900B Lungo Spider by Touring (Lot #234) was tucked into a corner, but that didn’t hurt its value, as it fetched $19.8 million at the final gavel fall, becoming the most valuable pre-war car to ever sell at public auction.

Read the event preview here.

Russo And Steele

Adjacent to the Sotheby’s event was the Russo and Steel auction, which occupied several parking lots with a diverse lineup that included everything from a lime green Porsche 918 Hybrid, to a 1931 Ford Model A Rumble Seat. There were plenty of more accessible vehicles there as well, like a 1984 Mercedes-Benz 380SL, and a 1996 Chevrolet Corvette Grand Sport Convertible.

But beyond the variety in the lots, the feature that made Russo and Steele stand out the most was the format. Unlike the other auctions, R&S allowed participants to literally walk up to each car as it made its way across the block, checking over every little detail before making a bid. The ground-floor access was complemented by the frenzied pace at which the auctioneer rattled off the prices, keeping things flowing with a light-speed swiftness that had to be seen (and heard) to be appreciated. If you’re looking for a dose of adrenaline-fueled entertainment with your auction, this is where you want to be.

Read the event preview here.

Gooding And Company

Compared to the Russo and Steele auction, Gooding and Company takes a much more calculated approach to the way it moves cars. Chalk it up to the caliber of the automobiles on the block – only a few can be had for less than six figures, while roughly a quarter are over a million dollars. Several of the lots, like the 1959 Ferrari 250 GT LWB California Spider Competizione, or 1932 Bugatti Type 55 Roadster, brought estimates that climbed as high as $20 million, and the top five sales this year raked in nearly $60 million. With that in mind, the methodical style starts to make a whole lot of sense.

Simply put, if you like watching well-heeled collectors try to outspend one another for some of the most rare and desirable vehicles in the world, this is where you need to be.

This year, there were a few very interesting lots on hand. These included old Japanese sports cars, like the Toyota 2000GT and Nissan Hakosuka GT-R, and rally heroes like the Lancia Delta S4 Stradale, all three of which are rare offerings for Gooding. We’ll have to wait until next year to see how else the auction house plans to expand its collection.

Read the event preview here.

Mecum Auctions

If I had to pick a single defining feature for the Mecum Auctions, it would have to be the size. Occupying a considerable chunk of the Del Monte golf course, the Mecum event in Monterey brought in a whopping 600 lots this year, spreading them out between three days of auctions.

That makes for some really interesting car spotting, not to mention more than a few unique offerings. In addition to top-dollar rides like the Porsche 959, a smoking Ferrari Enzo, and Maserati MC12, all models that could be found at other auctions scattered up and down the coast, Mecum was the only event to offer the Aston Martin Vulcan, an ultra-rare racer constructed from spaceship stuff to obliterate lap times with extreme prejudice.

All told, the top 10 sales this year pulled in a combined value of nearly $20 million, including $4.7 million for a Nero black LaFerrari.

Read the event preview here.

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