Russo and Steele, Fisherman’s Wharf, Monterey, August 17-19, 2017

Last year I got in trouble with Russo and Steele’s impresario, Drew Alcazar, for complimenting him and the Russo and Steele team on establishing a record Monterey total sale.

Maybe the compliment was a little awkwardly worded, but it was sincerely meant.

That mistake will not be repeated in 2017 with a total sale that was 18.3% below 2016 and even a few bids below 2015.

The sell through rate was the best it’s been for Russo and Steele since 2011, but the median sale was the lowest it’s been since 2012 which speaks to the overall caliber of the consignment. Monterey is a tough auction environment, made no easier this year by Worldwide Auctioneers’ appearance on Thursday at Pacific Grove.

Russo and Steele’s steady performance likewise speaks — in this case to their attractive venue downtown in the Fisherman’s Wharf parking lot, at the center of the week’s action, and the loyalty and enthusiasm of consignors and bidders who revel in the bright, brassy, loud auction in the round production that is Russo and Steele’s trademark.

There were cars in Russo and Steele’s auction that should have sold at, or even close to, the reported high bids. Even a few of them crossing over from no-sale to sold would have drastically improved the sale’s numbers.

But whatever it is, Russo and Steele has become a Monterey fixture with the shouts of “The Reserve is OFFFFFF” ringing out over downtown for three nights.

Matt Nelson, Andrew Newton and Tim Weadock contributed the on-site observations. Rick Carey is responsible for the final content and comments.


Year Cars Sold/ Offered Sale % Average Sale Median Sale Total $
2017 114/202 56.4% $75,057 $39,600


2016 116/227 51.1% $90,307 $48,950


2015 114/210 54.3% $76,841 $46,200



The cars below are sorted by Marque, Model, Body Style and Year for easier perusal.

Lot # F421 2000 Aston Martin DB7 Vantage Convertible; S/N SCFAB4230YK400302; Blue/Blue leather piped in White; Dark Blue top; Unrestored original, 3+ condition; Hammered Sold at $21,500 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $23,650. With Reserve. – Alloy wheels, wood dash and door trim, Alpine CD stereo. – Showing 80,595 miles, but the paint still looks very good. The rubber is a little faded. The top has two frayed spots that have been burned down. The engine is clean but not detailed. The plenum shows wearing from the hood insulation. The interior is clean but lightly worn with both seats showing moderate cracking and discoloration. The dash looks great as does the steering wheel. A used Aston with significant mileage, but well maintained and with recent service work done in the past year. – DB7s are pretty tempting at the moment, offering stunning good looks and an Aston Martin badge often for the kind of money you’d spend on a newer Camaro with similar performance. Even by DB7 standards, though, this seems like a pretty sweet deal, although it’s the cost of ownership where these cars really start to catch up with you. Given the miles and overtly used condition the probability of doing many miles without an expensive trip to the Aston specialist is not good.

Lot # TH225 1996 Chevrolet Corvette GS Coupe; S/N 1G1YY2253T5600110; Admiral Blue, White, Red/Black leather; Unrestored original, 2+ condition; Hammered Sold at $36,500 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $40,150. With Reserve. – 6-speed, Z51 handling package. – Represented with 7,546 miles. Fantastic original paint. The rubber trim is cracking across. The engine bay looks new with only some dirt collecting in the very deepest nooks. The interior looks brand new. Can’t find and significant flaw. Represented as a Southern California car all its life and looks like it. – Offered by Mecum at Anaheim in November 2015 where it was bid to $35,000. These one-year-only Grand Sports are, other than the ZR1, the only C4 Corvettes that command anything resembling serious money. Many like this one have been treated as collectible from new, and the result here is in line with current prices.

Lot # S677 1961 Ferrari 250 Europa Coupe, Body by Pinin Farina; S/N 0321 EU; Blu Montagna/White leather piped in Blue; Older restoration, 3 condition; Hammered Sold at $1,050,000 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $1,155,000. With Reserve. – Wire wheels, triple Webers, woodrim steering wheel. – One of 16 coupes built. 4-liter engine from 330GT s/n 6981GT and had a Tremec 5-speed when seen previously. Paint chip at the top of the driver’s door near the handle. Two scratches on the hood under the passenger’s wiper blade. The chrome appears to have been omitted from restoration, as it is scratched and dull. Scratches are visible on the front and rear glass. The seats, dash and carpet look freshly restored. A driver quality 250 Europa. – While there are many shortcuts, shortcomings and oversights, this is an attractive early Ferrari that brought a realistic price for its configuration, specification and condition. It was sold by Auctions America at Burbank in 2014 for $1,017,500 which is to all intents and purposes the same price as here adjusted for inflation. Whether it still has the 5-speed is unclear.

Lot # F439 1976 Ferrari 308 GTS Spider, Body by Pininfarina; S/N 26311; Rosso Corsa, Black vinyl roof/Black leather; Unrestored original, 3- condition; Not sold at Hammer bid of $52,500. With Reserve. – Alloy wheels, power windows, air conditioning. – The paint is good with no swirl marks but some cracking around the panel edges. The rubber trim is also cracking and faded. The engine is very dirty with corrosion on all aluminum parts and surface rust on many other parts. The state of the engine bay calls the 4,800 miles into question, but the interior looks nearly immaculate so this car must have sat outside in salt-heavy air for a while. – Serious Ferrari collectors or enthusiasts aren’t going to pay this car any mind, which narrows the scope of potential buyers. This car was lucky to get an offer this high, and it should have been taken.

Lot # S639 1986 Ferrari 328 GTS Spider, Body by Pininfarina-Scaglietti; S/N ZFFXA20A6G0061493; Blu Chiaro/Dark Blue Leather; Unrestored original, 3 condition; Hammered Sold at $52,500 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $57,750. With Reserve. – Potenza tires, power windows, air conditioning, later Sony stereo. – Represented with full service history, but the car card also states that the last major service was in 2010. There are a fair number of chips on the nose. Light road wear underneath. Some worn and faded switchgear, plus the seats are fairly worn, at least corresponding with the age and 47,317 miles showing on the odometer. A used car and not a great one, even by 328 standards. – There was a wide range of 328 GTS prices in the Monterey auctions of which this was the lowest, and the car deserved that distinction.

Lot # S670 1983 Ferrari 512 BBi Berlinetta, Body by Pininfarina-Scaglietti; S/N ZFFJA09B000046545; Black/Black, Red leather; Visually maintained, largely original, 3+ condition; Hammered Sold at $210,000 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $231,000. With Reserve. – Alloy wheels, leather-wrapped steering wheel, power windows, air conditioning, Daytona seats, Alpine cassette stereo. – The older paint is good with very light swirl marks and occasional touched up rock chips. The rubber trim is lightly cracking. The engine bay is dirty with peeling paint and discolored wires and tubes. The interior is fairly dirty, mostly in the carpets. The seats are slightly and very evenly worn. A good detail on the interior would make a difference, but this car really should be better given the 13,702 miles showing. – It was sold by Russo and Steele here in 2012 for $96,250 in essentially the same condition as it was presented today with 76 more kilometers on its odometer today. Five years ago Boxers were overlooked in the Ferrari market but not so today although having run up they are cooling off a little recently and this example is appropriately price in this transaction.

Lot # S650 1991 Ferrari Testarossa Berlinetta, Body by Pininfarina; S/N ZFFSG17A2M0087769; Rosso Corsa/Tan leather; Unrestored original, 2 condition; Hammered Sold at $90,000 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $99,000. With Reserve. – Leather-wrapped steering wheel, power windows, air conditioning, Tubi exhaust. – Despite the relatively high mileage of 46,587, it presents like a babied like-new Ferrari. Engine-out service and new clutch done last year. – This is a superior example but not a standout in Monterey where there were seven Testarossas, a 512 TR and a 512M from which to choose in a variety of colors other than Red over Tan. An abundance of alternative choices resulted in the least expensive Monterey Testarossa and a sound buy for the new owner.

Lot # S671 2006 Ford GT Heritage Coupe; S/N 1FAFP90S46Y400624; Blue, Orange/Black; Unrestored original, 2 condition; Not sold at Hammer bid of $400,000. With Reserve. – BBS wheels, painted calipers. – Light discoloration on the GT logo on the steering wheel and some grime in the shifter knob lettering. Represented with 989 miles, which seems about average with these cars. A professional detailing would bring it back to like new condition. – This was a perfectly appropriate offer, and why it wasn’t taken is a mystery. Mecum reported selling a Heritage today for $420,000 hammer, not enough more than the reported high bid here to turn this down. If there was money here, or a nudge below, it would have been prudent to take it or make a deal with Russo and Steele to share some of the buyer’s commission.

Lot # S668 1969 Ford Mustang Boss 429 SportsRoof; S/N 9F02Z195403; Royal Maroon/Black vinyl; Recent restoration, 2+ condition; Post-block sale at $322,727 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $355,000. With Reserve. – 429/375hp, automatic, Magnum 500 wheels, Goodyear tires, hood scoop. – Paint scratches at the top of the passenger’s door, but they are barely noticeable. The seats, carpet and dash are all very good. Very good and restored underneath An excellent restoration of one of the most desirable classic Mustangs. – Consignment # 1145; Reported sold at Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale last year for $352,000. Reported sold on the block for $310,000; later reported sold at this result. Either way the result here is flatlined from eighteen months ago at a currently appropriate value for this car’s condition.

Lot # F437 1959 Jaguar Mark IX Sedan; S/N NC34588; Black, Gray/Gray leather; Visually maintained, largely original, 3+ condition; Hammered Sold at $30,000 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $33,000. With Reserve. – 3781/220hp, automatic, hub caps and trim rings, Firestone wide whitewalls, dual wing mirrors, Lucas driving lights, sunroof, wood dash and door trim, tables in the back, power steering. – Very good original interior that shows age but there is no deterioration to any significant degree (the definition of ‘patina’?) Major drivetrain work and a clean but not totally restored engine bay. Clean and maintained but unrestored underbody with no visible rust. Small dent on the left front fender. Very good older paint and chrome. The rear window frame is hanging a bit loose. Not fully restored and not totally original. Just maintained. Would make a good event car, and these larger Mk Jags look like Bentleys for a fraction of the cost. – Sold at Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale back in January for $40,700, the odometer having added just 49 miles since then. It was sold here for a lower but still reasonable price, leaving the owner with some money to left over to address a few of this car’s cosmetic shortcomings, but not many of them. A more comprehensive restoration on this car would be straightforward, but quite expensive with all that leather and wood.

Lot # S653 1960 Jensen 541R Coupe; S/N 4616011; Milano Red/Brown leather; Recent restoration, 2 condition; Not sold at Hammer bid of $110,000. With Reserve. – RHD. 4-liter/135hp Austin straight-six engine, 4-speed with overdrive, centerlock wire wheels, pushbutton radio, bucket seats, Plexiglas rear window. – Any Jensen 541 is rare, but a 541 R is just about unheard of. Fully restored top to bottom and still looking fresh. Very good paint, chrome, interior and underneath. Gaps are quite good for a fiberglass British car from 1960. Replacement engine. A funky car that was the world’s fastest production four-seater when it was new. Not at all beautiful, but distinctive and cool, plus in fantastic shape. – Described on site as first owned by Quinten Keynes, Charles Darwin’s grandson and John Maynard Keynes nephew with two owners from new with $125,000 spent on the restoration. It also is an odd duck and even with this high quality restoration is unlikely to attract much if any more than the reported high bid here.

Lot # S663 1988 Lamborghini Countach LP5000 QV Coupe; S/N ZA9CA05A3JLA12261; Black/Beige leather; Unrestored original, 3 condition; Not sold at Hammer bid of $260,000. With Reserve. – OZ wheels, wing. – Paint is decent with swirl marks and cracking around most edges of the body panels. The rubber trim looks sun baked and there is evidence of water behind the headlights. The engine bay is mostly clean but the hoses show water marks and there is chipped paint on some of the surfaces. The interior is pretty clean with only light scuffing but closer inspection it shows what looks like water spots in several areas, discoloring the beige leather with pale orange spots. Not a good example, and there are plenty of better Countaches out there. – Hammered not sold at Leake Dallas this year at a $305,000 high bid, an offer that now looks pretty attractive.

Lot # S605 2002 Lotus Esprit Coupe; S/N SCCDC08232HA10428; Silver/Black; Unrestored original, 2- condition; Post-block sale at $40,000 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $44,000. With Reserve. – Cross-drilled rotors, tinted glass, power windows, air conditioning, CD stereo, 25th Anniversary model. – A few inevitable stone chips on the nose but otherwise very good original paint. Clean wheels aside from the Lotus badge cap on the left rear, which is fading. Very good original interior. Looks like a car with fewer miles than the 38,410 showing, and one of the last, fastest, most developed series of Esprits. – Consignment # 1191; reported bid on the block for $45,000 hammer; later reported sold for this result. Late Esprits are still essentially just used exotics in terms of value, so while the reported high bid here is certainly less than the 90 grand or so that this car cost new, it’s still right in line with current prices for similar examples. The consignor wisely reconsidered after it left the block an accepted this post-block offer.

Lot # TH210 1990 Mercedes-Benz 560SEC AMG Coupe; S/N; White/Blue leather; Unrestored original, 2+ condition; Hammered Sold at $39,000 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $42,900. With Reserve. – 6-liter/385hp AMG V8, automatic, AMG exhaust, suspension, wheels and instruments as well as a wood dash, power windows, air conditioning. – Very good original paint with minor swirl marks. The engine is very clean and orderly. Looks like new other than some cracking stickers and cracking around the softer rubber. The interior is fantastic other than leather that looks slightly faded and seats showing minor creases. A mostly very well kept early AMG from back when it was still an aftermarket tuner. – This is more than double the value of a standard 560SEC, even in such well-preserved condition. Unfortunately for the consignor, the 560SEC AMG everyone wants is the more extreme ‘widebody’ series that brings 2-3 times as much and looks appropriately menacing for the money. The standard body example is just ludicrously fast for the day; today this is SUV horsepower.

Lot # S665 2008 Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren Convertible; S/N WDDAK76F88M001619; Crystal Laurite Silver/Red leather; Red top; Unrestored original, 2 condition; Hammered Sold at $320,000 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $352,000. With Reserve. – Red calipers, ceramic brakes, power seats, Bose stereo, heated mirrors, carbon fiber interior trim. – Represented with 6,500 miles and looks like a new car from top to bottom. – This car cost half a million dollars when new, which was more than the coupe version but not a lot more. They naturally command a premium on the collector market as well, and this result is in line with other current prices.

Lot # F415 1977 Pontiac LeMans Can Am Coupe; S/N; White/Red vinyl; Unrestored original, 2+ condition; Hammered Sold at $18,000 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $19,800. With Reserve. – Olds 403 engine, automatic, rear spoiler, bench seat, column shift, shaker hood. – Showing 4,858 miles. The paint is good. It’s slightly faded but there are no scratches or swirl marks. The rubber is good. The engine bay looks like new with only slight corrosion on aluminum and discoloration on stickers. The interior is near perfect. The Can Am was a one-year-only submodel for the LeMans, meaning it was named after not one but two types of racing that Pontiac didn’t take part in. – A little over 1,000 of these Can Am versions of the Le Mans were apparently built. There can’t be many left, and this could be the very best one. That’s the only explanation for this very high price.

Lot # F470 1966 Porsche 911 Coupe; S/N 304216; Black/Black; Unrestored original, 3+ condition; Not sold at Hammer bid of $120,000. With Reserve. – Fuchs wheels. – The paint is OK with heavy swirl marks but no cracking or scratches. The brightwork has moderate scratching. The engine shows paint chipping and scratches and is a little dirty but overall well sorted. The interior is a little dusty around the edges. The seats look unused except for some sun fading. The dash is near perfect. A well sorted survivor that looks like it should have fewer than the 81,510 miles on the odometer. – The bidders afforded this car an appropriate premium for preservation and originality, but the seller was overly ambitious about the car’s value. The day of mediocre early 911s bringing $150,000 prices passed about eighteen months ago.

Lot # S636 1997 Porsche 911 Coupe; S/N WP0AA299XVS321098; Black/Tan leather; Unrestored original, 2- condition; Hammered Sold at $62,500 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $68,750. No Reserve. – Alloy wheels, power windows, air conditioning, sunroof. – Paint is very good with no swirl marks. There are three well repaired rock chips up front and four poorly repaired scratches on the right rear fender. One dime sized spider crack on the sunroof. The engine compartment is clean but not detailed and has dusty hoses as well as some corrosion on the AC compressor. The interior is good. The seats have only light wear but some rubber pieces in the car have faded and the carpet is slightly discolored. A used 993. – This money could have bought a better example, and even though the peak of interest in and prices for 993s was last year, the seller still made out very well.

Lot # F451 1973 Porsche 911E Coupe; S/N 991320107; Blue/Black; Unrestored original, 2 condition; Not sold at Hammer bid of $65,000. With Reserve. – Fuchs wheels. – Very good paint. The rubber is clean with only light water spots. The brightwork is a little scratched. The engine is dusty but in order with no corrosion. The interior looks very good. Showing 19,488 believable km. A very well kept mostly original car. – An unrestored 911E in such good shape should expect a lot closer to 75 grand, so holding out for more here was understandable.

Lot # F430 1972 Porsche 911E Targa; S/N 9112210344; Gold, Black vinyl roof/Black; Visually maintained, largely original, 3 condition; Hammered Sold at $56,000 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $61,600. With Reserve. – Fuchs wheels, aftermarket steering wheel, tools and books. – The paint looks flawless, but the exterior rubber is cracking. Very minor scratching on the brightwork. The engine is dirty with black smudged wires. A few spots of surface rust underneath. The interior is great with newer seats and a sound original dash, although the steering wheel is very worn and there is some rust on the seat runners. A driver that has been given some cosmetic work but never restored. – This is not a particularly good car, but the ’72 E Targa is a relatively desirable classic 911 model, and at this price the seller has some money left over to fix a few things, which can be chosen from a number of needs.

Lot # S648 1967 Porsche 911S 2.0 Targa Soft Window; S/N 500190S; Polo Red, Black vinyl roof panel/Black leatherette; Recent restoration, 2- condition; Not sold at Hammer bid of $140,000. With Reserve. – Fuchs wheels. – Nut and bolt restoration completed in 2014. Vibrant paint and chrome. The roof is lightly faded and noticeably duller than the rear window covering. The black leatherette interior shows no signs of wear. Fitted with the original engine and transmission. Accompanied by Kardex and Porsche Certificate of Authenticity. Recently restored to high but not excessive standards. – Sold fresh from restoration for $195,250 at Gooding Amelia in 2014. Classic 911 values have dipped a bit since then, but the reported high bid was still lower than this well restored genuine 911S deserves, however it’s worth noting that when sold at Amelia it was described as having a replacement engine.

Lot # S625 1971 Porsche 914/6 Targa; S/N 9141430383; Orange, Black vinyl roof/Black; Recent restoration, 2+ condition; Hammered Sold at $105,000 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $115,500. With Reserve. – 5-speed, Fuchs wheels, dual three-barrel Webers, pushbutton radio. – The paint is very good. Light swirl marks and some well repaired cracking on the edges of body. Exterior rubber looks fresh. The engine bay is very clean and the interior is also nearly flawless. Restored for Chip Ganassi. Comes with CoA. – A huge price and the seller can be thrilled. Freshly restored genuine 914/6s don’t come up for sale very often, and anyone looking for one in Monterey this year had only here to look. Sometimes a plethora of similar cars attracts hordes of buyers and strong competition but most times it’s like this when all the attention is focused upon a single example (and a good one at that) and scarcity affects the result.

Lot # TH229 1985 Porsche 928S Coupe; S/N WP0ZZZ92ZFS842158; Black/Tan leather; Visually maintained, largely original, 2- condition; Hammered Sold at $11,000 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $12,100. No Reserve. – Automatic, alloy wheels, Continental Extreme Contact tires, sunroof, rear window wiper, tinted glass, power windows, air conditioning, JVC CD stereo. – Supposedly a more powerful euro-spec car for the Dutch market, but it has US instruments and is represented as being California-legal. Very good repaint with a small touch up at the front of the hood. Very good original interior with light wrinkling to the front seats. The tailpipes have been painted. A solid used auto 928 showing 58,973 miles. – Prices for these long somewhat underappreciated grand tourers have crept up in recent years, but this one didn’t make anyone fall in love with it in Monterey and it went at no reserve for a price that was probably a bit disappointing to the seller. These aren’t cheap cars to own, and the new owner has a cushion of a few grand in case something unexpectedly expensive comes up in the near future.

Lot # S676 1965 Shelby Cobra 289 R&P Roadster; S/N CSX2417; White/Red; Recent restoration, 2 condition; Not sold at Hammer bid of $700,000. With Reserve. – 289/271hp, 4-speed, wire wheels, roll bar, 5-speed gearbox (original 4-speed is included). – Originally finished in Princess Blue over Red. With the consignor since 1975. The new paint is flawless. The interior is likewise cosmetically excellent. The 289 V-8 has a replacement 6-bolt block. The HiPo heads, bell housing and manifold have been retained and come with the car. An optional Paxton supercharger is included in the package as well. A solid restoration but not all correct. – Even a mixed-up 298 Rack & Pinion Cobra is worth more than the reported high bid here but with three others available in the Monterey auctions this week the bidders seemed to be attuned to quality and originality.

Lot # S659 1966 Shelby Mustang GT350 Fastback; S/N SFM6S250; Wimbledon White, Blue stripes/Black vinyl; Recent restoration, 2 condition; Hammered Sold at $270,000 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $297,000. With Reserve. – Tremec 5-speed (original 4-speed comes with the car) – Bought from the original owner in 2012 and a restoration was finished last year. Flawless paint, but there is an uneven cut on the passenger door stripe. Represented as the original engine. One of 252 carryover GT350s what were essentially ’65 cars with the ’66 grille. Recently restored and gorgeous. – This GT350 is very well and accurately restored, but is also handsomely priced at full retail even for a carryover car.

Lot # F453 1947 Studebaker M5 Pickup; S/N 1M30499M530422; Beige/Black vinyl; Truck restoration, 3 condition; Hammered Sold at $19,000 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $20,900. With Reserve. – Hub caps and trim rings, whitewalls, floor shift, wood bed, dash clock. – Supposedly owned by Don Johnson. Older restoration. The tires and the paint on the wheels look ancient. The headlight bezels are scratched up. Decent older wood. The step boards are a little beat up under the paint and the rest of the paint is sound but older. New upholstery, carpets and cloth headliner but otherwise unrestored interior. Done to truck standards, and done a long time ago. – Sold for $18,700 in the same condition at Mecum Dallas last year. It was also in essentially the same condition way back in 2003, when it sold at Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale for $15,660. It’s all fair for a fair and unusual Studebaker that is good enough to put in a parade, but not so good it can’t serve its original purpose with trips to Home Depot.

Lot # S645 1965 Sunbeam Tiger Mk I Convertible; S/N B9470382; Red, Black hardtop/Black vinyl piped in Red.; Recent restoration, 2 condition; Not sold at Hammer bid of $105,000. With Reserve. – 260/164hp, 4-speed, Panasport wheels, dual mirrors, hardtop. – Very good paint with moderate swirl marks but no scratching or chipping. Brightwork shows only light swirl marks and the rubber looks like new. The engine is equally clean, as is the interior. A well and relatively recently restored Mk I Tiger. – Even as good as this Tiger is it isn’t better than the offer it got. Turning it down was imprudent.

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