How do the big auctions do it?

Discussion in 'Ferrari Discussion (not model specific)' started by hetek, Jun 22, 2009.

  1. hetek

    hetek Karting

    Aug 8, 2005
    LI, NY
    Jackson Barrett, Amelia Island, etc...

    How do they deal with the pre-auction inspection process?

    I'm sure there is a lot of "behind the scenes" activity before the car hits the block, but how does a potential bidder do his pre-auction inspection? Do they PPI also?

    I've never heard (on TV) "Pending a PPI" uttered at all. Does the auction house get involved somehow?
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  3. TommyFerrari

    TommyFerrari Karting

    Feb 6, 2009
    You could ask to look at the service history or search the car for any sticker to indicate what shop worked on it. You could bring a mechanic to the auction for his opinion. People like Wayne Carini get paid big bucks for their professional opinion.
  4. CornersWell

    CornersWell F1 Rookie

    Nov 24, 2004
    I'm sure Bill Noon can answer your question definitively. He has cars going into these auctions regularly.

  5. Rosso328

    Rosso328 F1 Veteran
    Rossa Subscribed Owner

    Dec 11, 2006
    Central FL
    Full Name:
    There is no PPI unless you know the car and have checked it out in advance.

    Once it goes on the block, what you see is what you get. All sales final.

    I looked at a car coming up through RM a couple of years ago. The opinion I got from the 20 year factory trained technician was: "It looks fine, but you can't really tell by looking. You'd need a set of big brass ones to buy it at auction."
  6. jasonporsche

    jasonporsche Karting

    May 7, 2007
    auburn, al
    Full Name:
    jason gautney
    I go to Amelia Island auction everyyear. The cars are always on display the day before and morning of the auction. You are totally right though, it's very hard to determine what you are buying. A lot of times, you can find the owners of the cars hanging around and atleast get them to get you a closer look. I totally understand though. I saw a 512BB at Amelia this year that looked great friday night in the dark. I'm sure glad I saw it Saturday morning though. The sunlight told all the tales of the poor bodywork. RM usually does a nice write-up of all the cars but still buyer beware!
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  8. sammyb

    sammyb Formula 3

    Jun 23, 2006
    Where wife tells me
    Full Name:
    I have talked to owners of cars purchased at auctions and have been told plenty of horror stories -- from the nut and bolt-restored muscle car that had brake shoes down to the rivets to a late-model Cadillac that was positioned in staging and going across the block to prevent the buyer to see it had been badly hit on one side.

    I generally don't fault auction companies, because in most cases they do the best they can to ensure the seller is telling the truth. The big auction companies can't be expected to PPI all cars going through -- or even check that all the numbers match (if that's the seller's claim). There are a few -- usually smaller companies that have turned a blind eye once or twice (or more).

    While it is simply personal opinion, and I don't expect all to agree: I believe auctions are best utilized for purchasing a car that cannot be obtained through private sale. For instance, if you wanted to buy one of only two Triumph Dolomite 8s ever built -- and the only one with correct coachwork, you had to go to Gooding and bid, because that's where it was for sale. Across town at another auction was a '87 328 GTS...with no PPI and no ability to go through records, why would an enthusiast choose to buy this car at this type of venue when dozens of similar cars were available with a) the ability to inspect and b) the ability to negotiate price.

    On the other hand, my neighbor down the street who has owned dealerships for decades, made an impluse decision to buy a 246 GTS at B-J years ago and he doesn't regret it for a second, because it was a great car at a reasonable price.
  9. Rosso328

    Rosso328 F1 Veteran
    Rossa Subscribed Owner

    Dec 11, 2006
    Central FL
    Full Name:
  10. hetek

    hetek Karting

    Aug 8, 2005
    LI, NY
    My only high-end auction experience is from my living room with the TV remote in my hand, courtesy of Speed, TLC and Discovery Channels. Obviously for entertainment value, the shows are more tilted towards the "glamour factor" of the cars themselves.

    One difference: "Chasing Classic Cars" with Wayne Carrini, actually showed him filling out paperwork and struggling with the DMV over VIN numbers - perhaps as close as you will ever see on TV of the behind the scenes stuff.

    The inspection process to me (via TV) looks nothing more than a few buyers leaning over the fenders and looking under the hood and into the interior while wearing nice clothes.

    It's truly "What you SEE is what you get" then?
  11. writerguy

    writerguy F1 Veteran

    Sep 30, 2003
    Full Name:
    The coverage on Speed is to sell wax not to sell cars. There is much smoke and mirrors there. The cars are scheduled to have the hot and bothered on the block during prime time (sells more wax). Especially at the events where the Big Whales hit the pond there is much lubrication

    Show is crap. There is no behind that is worth seeing on that

    Other than BJ (they don't care) the seller and auction house call someone like me to either go on site or have the cars delivered to my studio to shoot them for their auction catalog pictures. I also get all the information i can to write up the description. A couple of years ago I did a Daytona Spyder for the WWG's Houston Auction, it was I contacted the FML to get as much info as I could, then called up a couple of the prior owners including MikeS (the guy who turned a coupe to a drop top) I called him and pulled as much info from public sources as I could. With Ferrari's and ExotoClassics the Due Diligence side is expected prior to sale, The catalog is critical but Bringing your own mechanic or expert to the sale to look over the car Pre Sale on site (usually displayed 2-3 days in tents prior to sale time) is what most of the big players do.
    The "Average" classic car sale auction is no different. You will see many "Players" with a buddy who is actually a 30 year Master Tech

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