$4.6 Million for the Batmobile! Insane Auto Auctions -- ROAD TESTAMENT

Uploaded by drive on 24.01.2013


MIKE SPINELLI: Today on "Road Testament," more than $220
million in collector cars were sold at auction last week.
What does it mean for car collecting and for the economy
in general?
And what cars would you spend your millions on?
All that and the news.
We've got Jalopnik's senior editor, writer--
MIKE SPINELLI: Travis Okulski.
That's today on Road Testament.
So this week in the news, everybody's talking about the
journalist who grenaded the flat-12.
So Formula One veteran David Piper let UK auto journalist
and former race driver, Mark Hales, drive Piper's Porsche
917 on a racetrack for a magazine article.
But what happened next is enough to make any writer
rethink ever borrowing another man's car.
TRAVIS OKULSKI: So the car over-revved.
Hales says he didn't miss a shift.
But like you said, grenaded the engine.
So Hales says he had a gentleman's agreement with
Piper that the 81-year-old F1 legend would cover the cost of
any mechanical damage caused during the track session.
And Piper, who needless to say is a multimillionaire, denied
ever making the deal.
And he sued Hales for $176,000 in damages.
And the high court has ruled in his favor.
Hales, who writes for "Octane" and "Auto Italia," is stuck
with $76,000 for repairs of the car and
$100,000 in legal costs.
Dude, you drive a lot of cars that other people own.
I mean, is this enough to scare you away from ever
driving anything?
And I just want to mention, Chris Harris drives all kinds
of people's cars on Drive.
Just drove a Singer 911 worth like $400,000.
These are things that could--
auto journalists aren't exactly the
most highly paid people.
Next thing you know, you have to buy a house that you don't
get a house with.
You have to-- what is it?
You break it, you buy it.
This time it's, break it, you spend your entire life
savings fixing it.
MIKE SPINELLI: Well what do you think of that?
TRAVIS OKULSKI: And you don't even get anything from it.
You get nothing.
TRAVIS OKULSKI: I don't strive--
I try not to drive a lot of other people's cars.
I drive cars that come from manufacturers, mainly.
Because exactly this--
I'm concerned about breaking someone else's car.
I don't want to be responsible or on the bill for a
gentleman's agreement that might be for a cheap car.
But it could be something-- driving a 917
is rare, rare car.
If I break it and get $175,000 in damages, I don't make that
much in a week.
Well, it's interesting because the 917 is not
an easy car to drive.
MIKE SPINELLI: And Hale's argument is that the car,
there was a mechanical issue with the transmission--
that the car over-revved itself.
It bounced out of gear and over-revved itself.
Piper said he told him to keep it at 7,000 RPMs.
Car went to like 8,500.
And the motor went.
So 917s are tricky.
But everybody wants to know about them.
Everybody wants to--
I would read an article about an 917 being driven.
TRAVIS OKULSKI: Especially writing for a place like
"Octane." Because "Octane," that's what they do is drive
older and more exotic, awesome cars, like a 917.
And a modern driving impression of a 917 would be
something to have.
That would be awesome.
MIKE SPINELLI: But is this story just like,
oh god, that sucks.
Or is there a bigger thing to think about here?
TRAVIS OKULSKI: I'd like to think there isn't a bigger
thing to think about.
But it seems like if one guy goes out
and breaks a $176,000--
and we're hearing this might even be a replica car.
There's conflicting reports.
Piper did own it since 1970.
So the car's appreciated a lot since then.
TRAVIS OKULSKI: 1.4 million pounds.
MIKE SPINELLI: Which is like a billion American?
TRAVIS OKULSKI: It's a lot American.
It's many American dollars.
MIKE SPINELLI: The mighty British pound.
TRAVIS OKULSKI: $176,000 would ruin most
auto journalists forever.
MIKE SPINELLI: But then you have to think--
and again, this is sort of devil's advocate.
Because most people believe that, break it you buy it.
And yet, the guy can pay for it.
He's a rich guy, Piper.
This guy's a poor guy.
Piper's car was going to be in a magazine.
Now granted, the magazine would benefit from
having a 917 in it.
But don't you think there might be a little bit of a
gentleman's agreement that, hey, you know
what, I'll cover this.
It's my car.
And he doesn't own it anymore, by the way.
And this happened--
TRAVIS OKULSKI: It was three years ago?
MIKE SPINELLI: Three years ago, yeah.
So it's not like it's brand new news.
It's just the judgment in Piper's favor is new.
TRAVIS OKULSKI: Well, what I find interesting, is that it's
an unwritten gentleman's agreement.
And you're driving a car worth 1.4 million pounds.
Wouldn't you think if you're driving a car that's worth
that much money, you'd have a piece of paper signed that
says, I'm not going to hold you responsible for
something like that?
I can understand if it's a Kia Rio, you have
a gentleman's agreement.
But if you have a Porsche 917, you have something that says,
hey, if I damage your car, I'm not responsible.
Or I'm responsible for this amount of money.
Or you'd have the proper insurance in place.
Or something.
MIKE SPINELLI: Well, insurance is the key.
Hales is a freelancer.
If you're an employee, most magazines--
and I guess most big companies that you work for-- will
indemnify you, to some degree.
Or at least they'll insist that there's some sort of
umbrella policy in place.
In this case, as a freelancer, he didn't have it.
So no matter what we say, he's stuck for
$176,000, which sucks.
He's got a mortgage for a house he isn't
ever going to see.
TRAVIS OKULSKI: The bottom line is, this sucks.
And the lawyer's fees are almost as much as the damage
to the car.
MIKE SPINELLI: Well it's more.
That's the other thing.
The legal fees are $100,000.
Just to fix the car--
I guess it makes sense.
Rebuilding a 911 engine would be about $7,600, all told.
Add a zero.
TRAVIS OKULSKI: Because the 917 is 10 times better than
the 911 from a similar era, I guess.
MIKE SPINELLI: Yeah, so he's on the hook for more legal
fees, because he also has to pay for Piper's legal fees.
That's how it works.
So on top of having to pay his own 50 quid in legal fees,
he's got to pay the other guy's legal fees.
So just a bad scene all around.
TRAVIS OKULSKI: I guess I wouldn't want to be a
journalist in England, then.
And I wouldn't want to drive any of the cars we are going
to be talking about next.
When we go over the couch, we're talking about the big,
auction news this last week.
Just gigantic money.
It's insane.
MIKE SPINELLI: Yeah, exactly.
TRAVIS OKULSKI: It's a preview.
MIKE SPINELLI: "Road Testament." Twitter, Facebook,
Twitter, Facebook, all the other things--
Travis, on the couch.
MIKE SPINELLI: So what are we talking about?
This past week was the post-holiday auction
bacchanalia also known as trophy wife spring break.
It's in Scottsdale, Arizona.
Six major auto auctions happen here.
And we're not talking about police auctions where you can
get a Crown Vic for $500.
These are gigantic money cars.
And the interesting thing is, no matter what anyone thinks
about the economy in the middle class, the market for
these really, really, really high-priced cars just keeps
going hotter and hotter.
MIKE SPINELLI: Every year.
TRAVIS OKULSKI: It seems to just grow by leaps and bounds
every year.
It's insane.
So here's some of the stats this year.
2,234 vehicles sold for a record $223.8 million.
MIKE SPINELLI: That's 22% up from the previous dollar
record of $183.9 million last year.
The average price paid per car-- because there were a lot
of cars sold-- so we're going to just focus on the top five.
Because it's in the absolute crazy millions.
But a lot of cars were bought.
But the average price was $100,000 per car.
So some are $8 million.
Some are like $7,500.
TRAVIS OKULSKI: But an average price--
MIKE SPINELLI: Pretty high average.
TRAVIS OKULSKI: --that worked out.
MIKE SPINELLI: Because last year, it was only $85,000.
MIKE SPINELLI: Well, everything's insane.
This is kind of a crazy stat.
5,000 people, just at the Barrett-Jackson auction-- this
is just one of the six--
had combined lines of credit of nearly a billion dollars.
TRAVIS OKULSKI: I think somebody with a telephone
calculator could probably tell us how many dollars that is
per person.
MIKE SPINELLI: It's a fair amount.
And here's why, really.
The average price of a classic Ferrari is up 59% over the
last 36 months.
So if you had bought a $2 million Ferrari five years
ago, it would be really worth--
you would have quadrupled your money, basically.
Not going by this particular stat, but if you look at the
auctions that went by.
It's insane money.
So we asked you guys what you would spend your
sick millions on.
So of course, STiG911 "The Mad Max V8
Interceptor!" Oh wait a minute.
Do you know what this ties into?
Something we're going to be talking about, is that the car
that got the most attention was the Batmobile.
MIKE SPINELLI: And we're going to be talking
about that in a second.
But STiG911 says he would pay sick millions for the Mad Max
TRAVIS OKULSKI: Which supposedly is going to be in
"6 Fast, 6 Furious."
MIKE SPINELLI: That's true.
TRAVIS OKULSKI: I saw a picture of that
earlier this week.
So look out for that in theaters soon with a 37-speed
Jack Grey, "959," obviously.
"Ferrari GTB/4.
This is my dream car," says--
that's vento, right?
It's vento.
TRAVIS OKULSKI: I believe so.
It's a coffee at Starbucks.
"I'd never spend $4.6 million on any one car but instead
build a garage and fill it with all the cars I've ever
wanted." Right now, you could do that, as long as all the
cars you ever wanted didn't include Ferrari 250s.
TRAVIS OKULSKI: Or the Batmobile.
MIKE SPINELLI: Or the Batmobile.
That's bpotstra, whatever.
Let's go.
"I notice that the Lamborghini Miura SV seems to have crested
the $1 million mark." That's another one that would have
been a really good investment, if you paid $500,000 for it a
couple years ago.
"I'd think it was worth it at 10 times the price."
TRAVIS OKULSKI: OK, so at $10 million for--
MIKE SPINELLI: Says BigPimpinGuvie.
TRAVIS OKULSKI: $10 million for a Lambo SV when you can
get a Miura S--
MIKE SPINELLI: I think it's headed that way.
TRAVIS OKULSKI: You think $10 million for an SV?
MIKE SPINELLI: In 10 years.
I can't disprove it, so--
MIKE SPINELLI: Well it's just crazy to think that if you
have a million to lay down on a car right now, that it's
just going to keep going up?
Or is there a bubble?
We'll talk about that in a second.
This is kind of weird one. "A 2003 Jag XJ8 super V8, Vanden
Plas body" and I think he meant convert.
But swap it with an XJR supercharged V8
from a modern one.
TRAVIS OKULSKI: Or just buy a Maserati.
MIKE SPINELLI: Or just buy a 2010 Quattroporte sport.
And you could buy like 17 of them.
MIKE SPINELLI: Thank you, ButterRainbows.
TRAVIS OKULSKI: It's a nice name.
MIKE SPINELLI: And of course, SleevieB has a
giant list of cars.
You can just check that out and see what he--
but he's got both Cossie--
what would that be?
MIKE SPINELLI: And then the Escort Cosworth also.
So, you guys have good taste.
We'll see in 20 years, when you guys are all
MIKE SPINELLI: --what you end up buying and what cars you
end up pushing toward the $8 to $10 million range.
So anyway, this is the first one.
So this is the '58 Ferrari 250 GT California
long wheelbase spider.
Went for $8.25 million.
TRAVIS OKULSKI: Which looking at it this way doesn't seem
like an awfully off-market price, either.
Because I think it was about five years ago, James Coburn
had a 250 GT California short wheelbase, that sold to Chris
Evans, radio personality in England.
He sold it for, I think was 5.5 million pounds.
So again, that's about $38 million, give or
take a little bit.
It's amazing.
Obviously, the Ferrari thing is interesting because so many
of them are different.
MIKE SPINELLI: They were all built differently.
You get the Carriage Works that worked on a lot of them.
And so there are one of a kind Ferraris.
So yeah, it makes sense that these are the ones that get
real crazy money involved.
TRAVIS OKULSKI: And if you say Ferrari 250, too, it can mean
anything from the 250 California to this, which is
the 250 GT Competizione [INAUDIBLE]--
TRAVIS OKULSKI: That sold as well for-- what
was that, $8.1 million?
MIKE SPINELLI: That was $8.14 million.
And these are cars that were going for--
we thought they were expensive at $4 million.
And to double?
What the hell is going on in the economy, right?
So is it that rich people have just pulled a lot of money out
to the sidelines, and they just have it sitting around?
And they need something to do with it?
TRAVIS OKULSKI: I can't imagine being at the level
where I can say, I've got $8 million.
I'm going to buy a car with it.
Because when I think of a car, it's something
I'm going to drive.
It's something I'm going to take places and park places.
I'm not going to take an $8 million thing anywhere.
TRAVIS OKULSKI: I probably wouldn't take
$100,000 car to the mall.
I'd have to have--
MIKE SPINELLI: Well, obviously there's nostalgia involved.
But also, there's got to be a practical economic
consideration with it.
If you've got cars that are appreciating 60% a year, why
not give it a shot?
Granted, we could be looking at a bubble, which would
really suck for these guys.
TRAVIS OKULSKI: Well, we saw it with muscle cars a little
while back.
There was the muscle car bubble.
TRAVIS OKULSKI: Because everything, like Hemi 'Cudas
and things were going for a million
dollars at these shows.
Now they're still expensive.
They're still hundreds of thousands of dollars.
But they're not hitting the million dollar market.
Well, it's interesting.
You mentioned the Hemi 'Cudas.
There was the--
it was a '71 Hemi 'Cuda convertible that
was like one of five.
And that was the over million dollar one.
And now, I don't think that would even get that.
TRAVIS OKULSKI: I don't either.
MIKE SPINELLI: So anyway, this is the one
that got all the attention.
So it's the Batmobile, the original Batmobile built from
the Lincoln Futura concept car from 1957.
And then George Barris got a hold of it and in the mid
'60s, built this.
TRAVIS OKULSKI: So it sold for $4.2 million.
But the official number is $4.62 million, because
Barrett-Jackson has a commission that they take off
of the top of each sale.
MIKE SPINELLI: Commissioner Gordon?
TRAVIS OKULSKI: Commissioner Gordon comes
with the car as well.
But you have to pay a commission of 10% of the
vehicle's price to Barrett-Jackson for the right
to sell the car.
So Barrett-Jackson made $420,000 on this car alone.
MIKE SPINELLI: Well, that is amazing.
So it's the auction companies that have the
license to print money.
TRAVIS OKULSKI: They're making a ki-- and this
was a reserve car.
And the reserve was dropped at $2 million, I think it was.
They didn't think that this was going to be sold higher
than $2.5 million.
TRAVIS OKULSKI: I didn't think it was going to
make $300,000, honestly.
Because it's cool.
It's very cool.
It's a great piece of history.
MIKE SPINELLI: It is one of the originals.
And there are a lot of replicas built lately.
So to have the one that Adam West actually
drove into the mountain.
It's cool.
I think they Burt Ward on stage when they sold the car.
They had--
if you want to see a funny thing, go on "Jalopnik" and
search for the Batmobile, because we have a GIF of
Georgee Barris's grandson standing behind George Barris,
where he goes through four seasons of emotions in about
30 seconds.
It goes from pure elation, to dire sadness, to he's ashamed,
to he says screw it, because he's just so
happy for his grandpa.
But this was incredible to see.
MIKE SPINELLI: This was incredible.
Just to burn through these--
so this is the Porsche 718 RSK roadster
went for $3.14 million.
That there's a drop of a million bucks between the
Batmobile and a racing Porsche from the '50s.
TRAVIS OKULSKI: This should be worth more.
I personally think--
I mean, come on.
MIKE SPINELLI: This is where nostalgia only goes so far.
I mean, nostalgia for a TV show car, in that case, beats
out nostalgia for racing, apparently.
This is that Maserati.
MIKE SPINELLI: This is that Maserati.
This is the--
TRAVIS OKULSKI: It's got the 0.15 liter engine, with
upwards of 12 horsepower.
TRAVIS OKULSKI: It's a kid car, actually.
It's for children.
Because they said, this is the Maserati 150 GT
Spider, $3.08 million.
Actually it's a 2 CC.
But somebody screwed up, and it lived-- it
was a like half liter.
It was like an airplane engine or something.
But still, this is one of those romantic-era cars that
people are really super into.
You're not going to drive it.
MIKE SPINELLI: Well, is anybody going to drive any of
these cars?
So JF Musial's not here this week.
He's down in Daytona.
So I'm going to try to walk you through the Drive Trends
Index for the week of January 14.
Obviously, last week's results and this week--
E30's up.
MX5 is up.
370Z's down.
BRZ's down.
In the affordable category, mid-range--
more people are talking about the BMW M3 than last week.
Fewer for the C63 AMG, which isn't surprising, because the
auto show was last week.
C63 AMG wasn't really--
TRAVIS OKULSKI: But the M3 wasn't either.
And neither was the RS4.
MIKE SPINELLI: I think you should shut up now.
MIKE SPINELLI: The Elise is down.
Boxster is up.
All right.
So what about the top-range category?
That was last week.
100% 100%?
what the hell is this?
Where's JF?
Corvette, 100 last week.
Bugatti Veyron, 81.
Let's look at next week's.
Corvette's down.
TRAVIS OKULSKI: To 88 internets.
MIKE SPINELLI: Down to 88 internets.
88 internets.
Corvette really saw the biggest decrease, because the
auto show's over.
And the hype machine is kind of backing off.
TRAVIS OKULSKI: People are done.
They don't care about the Corvette anymore.
MIKE SPINELLI: The juggernaut is winding down.
TRAVIS OKULSKI: 86 people care about the Bugatti Veyron.
MIKE SPINELLI: And they kind of bounced up to the Veyron.
Well the Koenigsegg Agera R is up because we ran--
TRAVIS OKULSKI: That's the Drive lift.
MIKE SPINELLI: That's the Drive lift, we call that.
The-- of course.
What else we got?
Anything interesting?
That's it. @Drive on Twitter.
That's "Road Testament" for this week.
Travis Okulski, thanks for coming.
TRAVIS OKULSKI: Mike Spinelli, thanks for having me.
See you.