We admire the collector car auction site BringATrailer.com (more affectionately known as “BaT”) and respect all of the hard work Randy Nonnenburg and his partner Gentry Underwood put into their website to take it from a cool, car-classified aggregation blog with no followers in 2007 to what is now a full-blown curated vintage and classic car auction site. However, in the last five years since converting the site completely to auctions, BaT went from being a source of affordable, interesting vintage and classic cars between private sellers to becoming yet another mostly high-end auction outlet, 45% of which is dealer-based. Why? Supply and demand.
Over the past five years, BaT slowly raised their auction curating capacity to an average of nearly 40 lots per day, five days per week for a weekly total of 200. During a “Ask Me Anything” session on Reddit.com April 23,2019, Randy Nonnenburg confirmed BaT only posts 40% of the auction requests the site receives. During the same session, Randy later admits BaT now receives an average of 100 auction requests per day, or roughly 600-700 weekly. Do the math and conservatively BringaTrailer currently turns down 400 auction requests each week. Factoring out 45% of these rejected requests assumed to be dealer-sourced (based on our research of BaT auction lots) means that conservatively Bringatrailer.com turns away 150 private seller auction requests each week. Thus, BringaTrailer.com now has the luxury of being very particular about the vehicles they offer at auction due to the sheer selection available at their disposal.
During aforementioned Reddit interview, Randy tries to point out those 60% get weeded out because sellers won’t budge on an unreasonably high reserve price or they seem shady based on their phone interviews. While we’re in agreement the curators deal with much of that, we also have no doubt over the past five years BaT quickly learned how to weed out potential bad apples. They also can now rely on their growing database of sold collector and vintage cars to recommend reserve prices to sellers. So, the question becomes this: in their effort to increase their sales rate (currently averaging just under 75% year-to-date), does BringaTrailer.com try to coerce some prospective sellers into accepting an artificially low reserve price in exchange for featuring a collectible car at auction?
If you are a private seller who has tried to list your collector or vintage vehicle on BringATrailer.com but were turned down, we’d like to hear from you! Please post your story below! If you can provide proof of your story, we’ll send you an exclusive GuysWithRides.com T-Shirt for taking the time to post!