Porsche’s record sale shows ancestry of online auctions

When cars sell for record prices, you would expect those sales to come from highly reputable auction houses like RM Sotheby’s, Bonhams or Mecum Auctions. However, the latest headline-grabbing top-notch sale came from a native online auction site, yet another signal of the rapidly changing landscape in the collector car world.

A low-mileage 2005 Porsche Carrera GT sold for $1.9 million on Bring a Trailer on Wednesday, the highest price ever paid for the coveted sports car at auction. It broke the record for a $1.3 million Carrera GT sold on Bring a Trailer in September 2021 and a $1.21 million copy sold on Mecum the previous month, as reported by Bloomberg. The original price for new condition cars started around $450,000.

The record price came as no surprise Brian Rabold, vice president of Automotive Intelligence at Hagerty, who told Bloomberg that the V10 car – of which only 1,270 have been produced in four years – has doubled in value over the past five years. last years. What’s surprising is that Bring a Trailer, a once scrappy online auction site that started as a blog in 2007 and didn’t start selling cars until 2014, was able to woo high-profile sales like this Porsche and generate enough interest to beat the sale prices of long-running in-person auctions like Mecum’s, which have been around since 1988.

Part of the reason for Bring a Trailer’s success is its dedication to community building, as we explained in 2019. It’s not just an outlet, but a website that encourages users to chat vehicles, even those they may not be bidding on. A $1.9 million Porsche, after all, is a car for one percent.

This emphasis on community building extends to arguably the most important factor: low fees. Bring a trailer only requires sellers to pay $99 to list a vehicle, whether it’s a $2,000 car or a $2 million car, and buyers pay a fee 5% on top of the final sale price, capped at $5,000. It’s a lot cheaper than most auction houses, but that’s normal for new sites online. For example, Cars & Bids and Rad for Sale both cap buyer fees at $4,500.

That’s not to say anyone can replicate the success of Bring a Trailer. Confidence in the collector car space comes with time. But trust is exactly what older auction houses can exploit, and they’re trying to regain ground with their own online auction sites.

A good lot to watch is another 2005 Porsche Carrera GT that will be auctioned through Gooding & Company (which has been around since 2003) at their in-person sale at Amelia Island in March. It’s not as low as this recent example (although it’s under 2,500), but it’s the only one in Polar Silver in the US, and they’re hoping to set the price record again. Gooding & Company’s estimate puts it at between $1.8 and $2.4 million.