David Gooding knows a little something about the value of collectible cars. Having grown up among Las Vegas's famed Harrah Collection as a boy – his father was the curator of that automotive treasure trove – Gooding learned about classic vehicles not from slavering over photos, but from touching, cleaning, and driving actual Duesenbergs, Rolls-Royces and, Pierce-Arrows.
Now, as president and founder of the automotive auction house that bears his name, Gooding & Co, he creates and oversees a series of annual auctions at which the most beautiful and – in the case of a 1957 Ferrari 250 Testa Rossa Prototype, which sold in 2011 for $16.39 million – the most expensive cars in the world trade hands.
With the cars of the contemporary era – the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s – officially becoming eligible to be considered "classics," a whole new generation of vehicles has begun appearing on his auction stands. In 2013, high-profile modern vehicles such as a 1990 Ferrari F40, a 1995 Ferrari F50, and a 1972 Ferrari Dino 246 GTS crossed the block and achieved astounding prices.
But beautiful and potent as they are, Ferraris are an obvious choice for future collectibles. And as intrigued as we are by the rise of formerly shunned Italians like the delicate Dino – one of which Gooding just sold for $363,000 – not everyone has Ferrari money. So when we ran into Gooding at the recent classic car Concours d'Elegance in Pebble Beach, California, we took a stroll around the show field and asked him to use the vehicles displayed there as a jumping-off point for a discussion of the next generation of rising collectibles. Here are six in particular to watch for.
Mercedes-Benz 190SL (1955–1963)
Now that prices of the Mercedes's iconic 300SL Roadsters are securely in the stratosphere, interest has shifted to that radical car's less complicated younger brother: the four-cylinder, 190SL. "Though it had half the power of the Gullwing," Gooding says, "it looks nearly just as good." Gooding credits its up-and-comer status to the fact that it is "viewed as a great starter classic from a great brand, with excellent reliability and access to parts and technical support." 300SLs routinely sell in the $700,000 range, but Gooding recently sold the debonair '57 190SL pictured here for the bargain price of $198,000.
Credit: Courtesy Gooding & Co.