The old car market holds up well during the annual New Year sales in Arizona, where Bonhams sold a Lightweight E-type for £6 million to smash the E-type auction price record and become the most expensive post-1960 Jaguar sold in a public auction.

Classic vehicle specialist insurer Hagerty monitored the auctioning of all 3468 automobiles, and nearly $260m later, preliminary figures for the 2017 Arizona auctions are in. Compared to last year, more vehicles were offered, more were sold, and $9m more traded hands. This year’s totals also eclipsed 2014’s $254m, ranking it as the second biggest ten days of auctions in the annual event’s long history and reversing 2016’s down year.

The bump in sales in Arizona in 2017 is primarily due, the number crunchers think, to increased volume as the number of cars crossing the block was up by 12 per cent this January. All told however, the average sale price for the batch of seven sales fell 11 per cent compared to one year ago.

The rarest and most exclusive cars continue to see strong interest, Hagerty report. Cars priced above the magic $1m saw double-digit increases in both the sell- through rate and average sale price versus 2016. Bonhams scored a truly massive $7.37m for its 1963 Jaguar E-type e the highest priced podium slot at the Arizona sales this year, while RM Sotheby’s results were topped by its $6.6m 1939 Mercedes-Benz 540K Special Roadster, and the third main auction house for top cars, Gooding & Co, set a record too, with the $3.3m sale of a 1935 Bugatti Type 35 Grand Prix car.

Just below this rarefied threshold, the prices analysts conclude that the upper-middle market is softening. A drop-off in quality coupled with price declines among Blue Chip cars that are in line with declines reported in the Hagerty Price Guide throughout 2016 caused the average sale price at this level to fall compared to a year ago.

Perhaps most importantly though, the bottom of the market remains strong. The sub-$100k market, which is the budget ceiling for the majority of collector car buyers Stateside, had high sell-through rates that were in line with those witnessed at the close of 2016. Mainstream domestics and trucks did particularly well in Arizona throughout the entire week, with all but one of the Dodge Power Wagons and Ford Broncos going to new homes.

Among pop domestics, classic Dodge muscle cars, such as the early ‘Seventies Charger and Challenger, as well as early ‘Eighties sports cars, including the Corvette, Mustang and Firebird, were the most likely market segments of the vehicles the Hagerty team inspected to sell above condition-appropriate prices.