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2017 Highlights and State of the Collector Car Market

January 2nd, 2018

2017 Highlights and State of the Collector Car Market

State of the Market
On the whole, the current collector car market is stable and rational, slightly favoring buyers over sellers. Buyers are making sensible decisions, free from the feverish pressure of an ever-increasing market that has characterized transactions at various times in the past.

As always, buyers are willing to pay significant premiums for the highest quality cars, at any level of the market whether it's for a BMW 2002 or a Ferrari 275. Our traditional barometers for the collector car market, Ferrari 250/275/330/365, Mercedes 300SL, and other significant sports cars of the 50s, 60s, and 70s are easier to acquire than in the past: competition from other buyers is less, and prices are stable. If you were lamenting the unsustainable and meteoric climbs of these cars five years ago, now is an ideal time to act. The collector car market has always been cyclical, and a well-reasoned purchase now may very well end up looking like a smart buy in a few years. Values have not, however, collapsed and correctly priced cars continue to sell near their asking prices within reasonable timeframes.

At the top end of the market, we noticed an uptick in activity in the later part of the year. During this period, we sold a Ferrari 250 Tour de France, an SWB, and an Alfa Romeo 8C 2300. Of particular note is the fact that we placed these cars quietly, with very little public exposure and virtually no advertisement. While some buyers and sellers are happy for their cars to receive publicity for their transactions, Fantasy Junction has a proven record for completing "under the radar" sales of significant cars for clients who prefer to maximize their privacy.

At more accessible price points, enthusiasts seeking cars to drive and enjoy are continuing to drive plenty of sales. Traditional sports car choices from the 50s to the 70s such as Porsche 356s and 911s, Alfa Sprints/Spiders and GTVs, Mercedes Pagodas, Jaguar XKs and E-Types, and Austin-Healeys remain in demand, while alternative choices (particularly more contemporary cars) in the same price range which were not previously considered collectible are definitely seeing increasing interest. Examples of this phenomenon include impact bumper and McPherson strut air-cooled Porsche 911s (1974-1998), 8-cylinder Lamborghinis (Uracco, Silhouette, Jalpa), Ferrari 308/328/355s. Moving to even more modern cars, limited production and sports purpose cars like the Ferrari 360CS and Porsche 996/997 GT3 are appreciating as well.

Today's market is not drawing a great deal of speculation, which has the welcome effect of ensuring that more cars are trading between true enthusiasts who are passionate about cars and buy what they like. As always, we recommend buying the cars that inspire your passion. There are still plenty of interesting cars that represent good values, especially compared to what comparable cars or money can bring: Cosworth Mercedes 190Es cost a fraction of E30 M3s, while Ferrari 308 GT4s are worth similar money to Alfa GTVs, and the Mercedes McLaren SLR costs the same as a BMW Z8, all of which indicate there are still ample opportunities to acquire interesting cars that represent strong value against other cars available at the same price point.

Highlight Sales of 2017
In 2017, Fantasy Junction placed a variety of our traditional core cars: sports cars from the 50s, 60s, and into the 70s, as well as some more modern special interest cars. Here are some of the highlights, chosen not just on the basis of sale price, but for particularly exceptional examples or with interesting stories.

1964 AC Cobra 289, s/n CSX2237
Raced extensively in period, CSX2237 is identified as one of the handful of "privateer" racing Cobras by the Shelby Cobra Registry. It then passed into 30 years of ownership with the same keeper and to this day, continues to wear its competition history with pride, making it the kind of Cobra that no one will ever ask whether it's real.
1931 Alfa Romeo 8C 2300, s/n 2211080
Previously wearing a Figoni drophead body,  this 8C provided its then owner with transport as he fled the Nazi invasion of France during World War II, along with his wife, mother-in-law, dog, and a caged canary. The car is now on its way back to Europe for what will presumably be a less stressful life.
1953 Aston Martin DB2 Vantage Drophead, s/n LML/50/252
An exceptionally rare specification left hand drive Vantage Drophead, this car is a beautifully restored example with 61,000 miles from new. Fantasy Junction facilitated the sale between two California collectors with spectacular collections.
1980 BMW M1, s/n 4301006
Visually stunning in Inka Orange, this M1 was the third example built of this legendary Motorsports model. An unmolestered 21,000 kilometer example, this car is returning to Europe.
1958 Ferrari 250 GT Berlinetta "Tour de France"
This Classiche-certified original alloy-bodied covered headlight single louver Tour de France raced in period, and in more recent years, proved to be competitive on the show circuit as well. Fantasy Junction quickly placed this car with a new owner immediately after the Monterey Car Week.

1962 Ferrari 250 GT SWB
Surely one of the finest Steel SWBs extant, this example found its way to a new customer of Fantasy Junction who is a young collector with obviously exceptional taste. 
1962 Ferrari 250 GT Pininfarina Cabriolet Series II, s/n 3633
With few owners from new, comprehensively documented history, and a beautiful restoration that proved that it works as well as it looks on the Colorado Grand, this PF Cab was an exceptionally high quality example that included a rare hard top. It returned to Europe for the first time since being sold new to an industrialist in Philadelphia.

1963 Ferrari 250 GT Lusso, s/n 4635GT
Comprehensively restored in its stunning original color combination of grigio argento with red leather interior, this Lusso has tremendous presence which was appreciated by its well-known new owner.

Photo credit: Allan Rosenberg Photography 

1965 Ferrari 275 GTS, s/n 6909
Finished in a suitably minty silver green metallic, this 275 GTS was sold new to an Italian toothpaste magnate who retained the car for three years before selling it to a 33 year old woman. The recent recipient of mechanical and cosmetic sorting by some of the best in the business, the car returned to Europe for what will likely be somewhat less colorful adventures than it enjoyed in its early life.
1967 Ferrari 275 GTB/4, s/n 10563
Enthusiastically kept from new by a series of passionate and knowledgeable collectors, 10563 has never needed to be disassembled for restoration, but instead remains a largely original example, including the spectacular original color combination of pino verde with arancia interior. A stunning example of one of Ferrari's most stunning cars, it was a pleasure to place this car with a collector in Japan.
1985 Lamborghini Countach 5000 Quatrovalvole Downdraft s/n 12830
Exceedingly rare in North America, the downdraft carbureted Countach has more power than the fuel-injected US version and is possibly our favorite Countach variant at Fantasy Junction. We sold this car to a collector some years ago, where it shared garage space with a Miura, and then again a few weeks ago to another collector (also with a Miura).
1955 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwing, s/n 5500354
Any Gullwing is special, but 5500354 is a particularly neat example. An original Rudge wheel car delivered new with luggage and high compression motor, this car has known history to new, having been sold to a resident of Malibu, California, and remaining on the west coast its entire life. We sold it from its collector owner and avid racer to another west coast enthusiast.
1960 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Roadster, s/n 10002559
Originally destined for US delivery, this 300SL's original owner decided to take delivery in Europe and remained there with the car for the first four years of its life. The rest of its existence has been similarly international, including twenty years in Japan. A wonderfully complete car with books, tools, luggage, and hard top, this car was sold via Fantasy Junction to an appreciative new owner on the east coast.
1989 Porsche Speedster, s/n 173453
Sold new in Santa Monica, California, this 1989 Speedster was a time-capsule quality car which had covered just 1,100 miles from new when we placed it with a well-known Porsche collector.

2016 Porsche 911R, s/n 195323
Instantly collectible due to its limited production and unwavering commitment to the classic ethos of the 911, the 911R demonstrates that someone at Porsche still understands what inspires the passion of the driving enthusiast more than 50 years after the 911 first appeared. We were happy to place this example, which had covered just 32 miles from new, with an enthusiast on the east coast.