California Porsche Auctions: Mecum & Gooding

Jamie & I are decompressing in San Francisco after five days of flat-out photography on our 2012 California Hot Rod Porsche Tour. He’s outside messing with the beige Porsche 912 he bought from one of our mates at Shark Werks a few days ago, and I’m indoors with a cup of tea and the TV showing non-stop car auctions.

Mecum Auctions is the big name in hammer sales here in the USA. Apparently, they pay this channel to replay coverage of their previous sales, for car guys like me to watch in the mornings. Good job they do, as I’ve been glued on and off since we arrived. Boss man Dana Mecum (below, centre) is kinda hard work, but tracking the prices from sale to sale is interesting.

Another channel hosts Keith Martin’s What’s My Car Worth, where the price expert behind Sports Car Market meets people bringing their car to auction, gets the auctioneers to give a view on value, adds the seller’s expectation and hazards a guess of his own. Once it’s gone through, its surprising how close Keith ends up. As I write, he’s just hit the nail on the head with an RS that was estimated to fly as high as $375k by the auctioneers (Gooding), an owner expectation of $340k, but a Keith-predicted $275k which was the price eventually fetched.

Valuing used cars is a bit of a black art: something I got pretty good at in my ten years as an editor with Glass’s Guide, the English equivalent of America’s Kelley Blue Book. With a twenty-five year history in the motor trade and a solid valuation background, I do a lot of insurance valuations for UK Porsche, and have a small pile to do when I get home later this week, but you can never have too much information on what the market’s doing in other countries.

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