Collector cars may fetch $342 million in one week at Monterey auctions

Car enthusiasts are expected to spend hundreds of millions of dollars on classic automobiles at this year’s Monterey Car Week.

Collector car auctions held during the annual event in California will combine to fetch $342 million in sales, according to an estimate by Hagerty. That would mark a 4 percent gain versus 2017 and the first year-over-year increase since Monterey Car Week auctions set a record high in 2015.

Hagerty also said there are five cars with low-bid estimates of at least $10 million, compared to four eight-figure cars last year. The number of seven-figure cars has climbed to 102 from 96.

A 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO could become the most expensive car ever sold at auction. RM Sotheby’s estimated the car’s value in excess of $45 million. The current record is $38.1 million, the price for another 250 GTO sold at a Bonhams auction in 2014.

Monterey Car Week attracts thousands of car enthusiasts each year with a collection of car shows, races and auctions starting Aug. 18. RM Sotheby’s, Bonhams, Gooding & Co. and other auction houses will hold sales during the week.

Hagerty noted that collector car buyers have increasingly bid more than pre-sale estimates in the past 12 months. The sell-through rate at flagship catalog auction events has improved by 2 percent so far this year, Hagerty said, despite a slight decline in overall sales.