Bonhams’ New Car Auction Site Will Offer Everything From Prewar Classics to ’90s Cars
"The Market" will look to rival the success of vintage car cult Bring a Trailer when it launches in January
When we spoke with Randy Nonnenberg, co-founder of Bring a Trailer, in 2019, he told us why the car auction site to end all car auction sites has been so successful: “The commenting community is really the most important part of BaT.” In short, his business started by building a community, then branched out into auctions, then found major financial success (it was acquired by Hearst in 2020).
It’s a clear enough formula to follow, but as an interest in online collector car auctions that people can peruse at their leisure has spiked in recent years (especially during the pandemic), other interested parties aren’t willing to wait to cash in. Since 2019, a number of competitors have cropped up, including Cars & Bids (from YouTuber Doug DeMuro), Rad for Sale (‘80s and ‘90s vehicles and ephemera), PCARMarket (Porsche specific) and Collecting Cars (which started in the U.K. but has expanded to the U.S.). Now, a new player looks to enter the arena.
Bonhams, the old and prestigious auction house, will launch its own U.S. collector car auction site in January, as reported by Bloomberg. The Market by Bonhams will follow a similar route as Collecting Cars — it has already launched in Europe and will expand stateside — and comes with a bit of a history, as the auction house acquired the U.K. platform, which has been active since 2017, earlier this year. But unlike the aforementioned marketplaces, Bonhams brings long-standing credibility in a certain sector of motoring that others have yet to achieve.
“Prewar cars will be a particular specialty at Market US,” writes Bloomberg, citing Caroline Cassini, the general manager of The Market’s U.S. outpost. “A segment that remains virtually absent from other online sellers, prewar cars are vehicles built before the start of World War II (which began in 1939), including the BMW 328 Roadster, Duesenberg Model J, and Lincoln Zephyr. While the general rule of thumb has been that people who tend to buy such expensive relics are themselves aging and unlikely to buy in a virtual environment, Cassini says that this is changing.”
That’s not to say The Market will only offer automotive antiques. On the contrary, Cassini says that much of the focus will be on vehicles below the $100,000 mark and include collector cars all the way up to the ‘80s and ‘90s territory of Radwood’s Rad for Sale site.
For those interested in checking out the European site before the U.S. launch, and reading about its credentials and terms (89% sale rate, no buyers fees), you can find The Market by Bonhams here.
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