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Pebble Beach 2015: Monterey auctions going strong

Pebble Beach 2015: Monterey auctions going strong
A 1964 Ferrari 250 LM sold for $17.5 million at RM Sotheby's on Aug. 17 at Monterey Car Week. (Don Kelsen / Los Angeles Times)

The automobile auction action continued strong into the final hours of this year's Monterey Car Week, with running totals just shy of 2014's record-setting levels.

As of late Saturday night, the cumulative take for the first three nights of gaveling was $338.4 million, slightly off the pace of last year's $352.7 million at the three-day mark.

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Saturday highlights included the Gooding & Co. sale of a 1962 Ferrari 250 GT SWB Speciale Coupe for $16.5 million, and the Mecum sale of a 1976 Porsche 930 Carrera Turbo Coupe for $2.1 million.

The Porsche was the last vehicle purchased and registered by the actor and auto enthusiast Steve McQueen. Proceeds from the sale will benefit Boys Republic, the group home where McQueen spent his teenage years, according to his son Chad McQueen.

McQueen, who died of cancer in 1980, took possession of the car in 1976. The car was subsequently owned by movie producer Floyd Mutrux and Dean Paul Martin, son of the singer Dean Martin. The car was brought to the Mecum auction by car restorer Mike Regalia.

"It was his last car, and one of his favorites," Chad McQueen said at a Pebble Beach event on Wednesday night. "It's fitting that the money should go to Boys Republic."

RM Sotheby's held its position as the leading auction house, gaveling a cumulative total of $172.7 million worth of collectible cars.

Gooding's one-day proceeds were a strong $69.5 million. Bonham's, which finished its auctioning Friday, totted up $45.7 million. Mecum had a running tab of $41.2 million. Russo and Steele had gathered $5.8 million in total sales, and JR $624,000.

As expected, Ferrari was the leading brand, commanding seven of the top 10 sales spots.

But Jaguar, McLaren and Porsche vehicles were also selling well. High marks were also set by more modern cars, and for Japanese cars.

Jonathan Klinger of the collectible vehicle insurance company Hagerty, said, "Gen X cars are doing quite well. Recent price spikes in Porsche have brought many to Monterey this year."

Pebble Beach veterans note that the auctions have become an increasingly high-profile part of the annual Monterey Car Week, which annually draws tens of thousands of auto enthusiasts from around the world for a menu of activities that includes vintage car shows, beauty pageants, rallies and races.

A decade ago, a few auction houses were selling $50 million in auctions held over two to three days. Last year, nearly $500 million worth of vehicles passed under the gavel before the week was through.

Twitter: @misterfleming

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