7 PM EST, 6th December
Sotheby’s 10th Floor Galleries, New York
1334 York Ave, 10th Floor
New York 10021
RM first approached Sotheby’s back in 2013 about hosting a car auction in their New York headquarters having been seduced by their success over the the previous few years. RM managed to obtain the consignment of some of the worlds best cars lead by one of the worlds best Ferrari 250LM, a unique Talbot Lago Teardrop DHC and Bertone bodied Ferrari 250GT SWB, the sale was extraordinarily successful with stellar sell through, average and a total of $64 million. This was largely repeated in 2015 with one of just four 290MM selling for $27.5 million and although the average was down the market reflected the increase in market values with the total reaching $72 million. 2015s sale also coincided with Sotheby’s choosing to take a stake in RM creating the RM Sotheby’s company that is hosting the 2017 sale.
Year – sold/ offered/(%) – Total gross US$ – High sale US$
2013 – 32/35 (91%) – $64,470,000 – $14,300,000 1964 Ferrari 250LM
2015 – 21/31 (67%) – $72,534,000 – $28,050,000 1956 Ferrari 290MM
2017 – 25/32 (78%) – $44,846,400 – $17,990,000 1959 Ferrari 250GT California Competizione
2015s sale saw the standard of offerings drop slightly and the same has happened in 2017 with the Ferrari 250GT California alongside a Jaguar E-Type convertible, De Tomaso Pantera and Lancia Delta HF Integrale. While these aren’t the traditional stock and trade for the sale, they are some of the best examples of their types and they are still worthy of some sort of spotlight. At the top end there are some of the classics, lead by the Le Mans 1959 class winning Ferrari 250GT California Lightweight at a market correct $14 – 17 million US and great buying whatever the headlights. Phil Hills Jaguar C-Type is another excellent 1950s racing car and well worth a look at the market correct $5.5 – 7 million for what is one of the more original examples of a very usable classic racer. Other classics of note include the 1932 Marmon Sixteen, 1952 Chrysler d’Elegance, 1954 Bentley Continental, 1955 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwing and 1965 Aston Martin DB5 Cabriolet all at market correct estimates.
Like any recent auction there is a sizable contingent of modern collectibles lead by the first public offering of a Bugatti Chiron at $3.5 – 4 million. Otherwise there are examples of the Porsche 918 Wessaich, Ferrari LaFerrari, F12TDf, Porsche 993 series GT2 and Carrera GT. While it will be interesting to see what the Chiron does, the truly fascinating entry is the 2014 Huayra which is offered at $1.9 – 2.3 million and with just 100 of the Huayra produced it could go much higher than that. Five interesting cars on offer are the wonderfully original, unique 1923 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost with Brewster Riviera Towncar at $500 – 700k, Saoutchik Cabriolet 1948 Cadillac Series 62 a rather fabulous if slightly OTT at $850k – 1 million, 1958 Austin-Healey 100-Six show car with 24k gold features at $350 – 550k, 1969 Ferrari Daytona Prototipo at $1.4 – 1.7 million and the quite extraordinary 1990 Lamborghini LM002 at $400 – 500k.
RM have managed to source a lovely list of consignments but it must be noted that they aren’t quite at the level of the 2015 and 2013 consignments. As much as I wish them well, I can only see a result that will be much lower than the previous events. Will be fascinating to watch,
RESULTS – $44,846,400
RM Sotheby’s New York sale is one of the few that transcends being a mere sale of old and collectible automobiles. From the very beginning RM has worked with Sotheby’s to offer automobiles as an artform and regardless of whether cars can be seen as art they are displayed as such to stunning effect. In fact Sotheby’s Modern Art sale on November 16th sold more than just the only Leonardo da Vinci painting in private hands for a record sum of $450 million, they also managed to sell the ex Schumacher 2001 Ferrari Grand Prix for $7.5 million. Easily a record amount, most sell around the $2 – 3 million mark, this was achieved by offering it as art rather than as a mere automobile and as such there may be lessons to be learnt in looking for added value and savvy vendors and auction companies would do well to consider how they can create transcendent marketing. As for the New York sale it followed 2013s Art of the Automobile and 2015s Driven by Distraction in offering 30 something curated automobiles and this time added an exotic selection of Sotheby’s vetted wine, Object d’Art and motoring emphemera under the title of Icons.
As an exclusive sale of the finest automobiles this sale is one of the best for tracking market trends and dynamics. A brief look at the numbers from the first three sales is fascinating,
- Total (2013) $64.47 million, (2015) $72.534, (2017) $44.846
- Sell through (2013) 32/35 (91%), (2015) 21/31 (67%), (2017) 25/32 (78%)
- Average age of lots on offer (2013) 1953, (2015) 1964, (2017) 1975
- Number of million dollar cars sold (2013) 16, (2015) 11, (2017) 11
- Number of cars sub 500k cars (2013) 7, (2015) 6, (2017) 12
- Most popular marques (2013) Ferrari (5), Ford and Mercedes-Benz (2 each), (2015) Ferrari (8), Lamborghini, Mercedes-Benz and Porsche (3 each), 2017 Ferrari (8), Porsche (4), Lamborghini and Mercedes-Benz (2 each)
- Top sellers (2013) $14.3 million Ferrari, $7.1 Talbot Lago, $7 Ferrari, (2015) $28.05 Ferrari, $14.3 Aston Martin, $5.7 Ferrari, (2017) $18 Ferrari, $5.2 Jaguar, $3.8 Bugatti
The most obvious point to take from those statistics is the march towards ever more modern offerings. Some of the dynamics that support these dynamics are the secession between aging collectors of traditional classics and younger buyers looking for modern collectibles, the boom in the luxury collectible market. Otherwise the key dynamic is the rise and fall of the market and the Ferrari segment in particular with prices increasing 20 – 50% between 2013 and 2015 and the overall market dropping a similar amount over the following two years. It may be a fairly banal cliche but it remains true that the very best of anything that offers a unique selling point always appeals, be it in travel, experiences or in fine automobiles, even to those with literally everything. RM’s consignments were lead by the 1959 Ferrari 250GT California Competizione, the very example that won its class at Le Mans ’59 and remains both one of the greatest California and an iconic example of a 1950s racing Ferrari.
As one of a handful of California built on the long wheelbase chassis with full racing specification, aluminium bodywork, semi competition engine etc the car is very rare while the Le Mans race history, provenance and present condition all conspire to make this an extremely privileged example. I guessed that RM Sotheby’s would estimate $15 – 17 million and they picked $14 – 17 million, although I would have guessed that the sales amount would have been at the lower end of the valuation scale because regardless of its qualities, it was still a long wheelbase, open headlight type California. Sparkling bidding saw the car smash through the upper estimate to sell for $17.99 million and its impossible not to say it wasn’t both well sold and well bought. Of the other lots that shone on the night, most also offered something unique, whether it be the grand Bugatti Chiron at $3.8 million against a bullish estimate or the little Piaggio Ape at $46k. You will struggle to find another Piaggio Ape anywhere and while the Chiron will eventually be relatively common there is tremendous value to someone to have the ability to rock on up to 11 Madison Square or Wynn Los Vegas and park the first Chiron outside. Money cannot buy that experience although I guess $3.9 million did buy it.
Another example of a car that sold well can be chalked up to it being simply a lovely example and that was the 1965 Aston Martin DB5 Convertible which went for a 2% over estimate $2.7 million, mind you it was rare (1 of 40), looked lovely in midnight blue and was freshly restored by Steel Wings so all the boxes were ticked and it well deserved the result. The Jaguar C-Type was also a lovely car, it was ex Phil Hill, had perfect provenance, was very well maintained and otherwise again ticked all the boxes so it is curious that it didn’t reach the same spectacular result, however it may be that Phil Hill doesn’t have the cut through in Europe that say Ecurie Ecosse or Stirling Moss would have and that may have harmed it. Maybe it was just a lack of two motivated bidders, whatever it was, the C-Type sold at least a million (if not two) below market and was one of the few truly good buys of the sale. Also good buying was the Marmon Sixteen at $962k (4% below estimate) and the mighty Rolls Royce at $307k (39%) although these are not what buyers are looking for in the current market.
Most of the consignments were offered at sensible reserves and sold where expected, the Bentley R-Type by Franay well sold but no harm either way at $1.083 million, Steve Jobs BMW at $329k and Porsche 918 Wessaich at $1.732 million, all market correct sums. Several cars sold slightly strongly although still within their estimate bands, the Ferrari F40 showing the early 2017 no sales were likely due to the car rather than the market, the F12TDf at $1.105 surprising me to take a top dollar amount and the Volkswagen Kombi, a long way from California surfer culture to sell for $207k. Two Mercedes-Benz 300SLs were on offer, a very red Gullwing and a beautifully restored classic silver Roadster and while to an extent the two types of 300SL have parity it must be noted that in this case the Roadster had a recently completed restoration from one of the industries best in beautiful colours as opposed to a Gullwing that would need restoration at some point and who’s colours were a challenge. The Roadster was great buying while its hard not to consider that someone overpaid for the Gullwing. Two quite different cars ask the same question regarding the size or the market vs market realities and its hard to know how many buyers there are for low mileage Ferrari Testarossa and Pagani Huayra, both selling cheaply at $246k and $1.85 million respectively and both expensive to use for different reasons.
The various no sales make interesting reading with Ferrari’s and Porsche’s proving difficult to sell on the night, the 246GTS, Cabriolet Series II and LaFerrari all bidded to where they must have been close to selling and perhaps a dose of reality needs to be had. Porsche were also not seeing much love, the 993 series GT2 failing at a $950k high bid, Carrera GT at $700k and 911 at $200k, like the La Ferrari and others, it remains a tricky balancing act to get the best stock without last year’s pricing. An interesting dynamic is the question of just how many buyers of Porsche GT2s and LaFerrari’s are there at these levels and I believe we are finding out. One interesting car that I thought would attract lots of attention, especially after RMs record breaking Maranello sale of #12653 was the 365GTB/4 Daytona Prototipo but perhaps it confused bidders and whatever the cars merits it failed to get near selling at the $1.25 million bid. Finally two of the less heralded cars of the sale caught my eye, the Austin-Healey 100-Six Goldie was extraordinarily unusual and made just $179k, a fabulous buy at that and the Lamborghini 002 at $467k is one of THE future collectibles and imagine taking that on the school run.
RM returned to New York with the Ferrari California and Jaguar C-Type and while they were among the best examples of their types its hard not to compare them to the Ferrari 290S, Aston DB4 Zagato and Ferrari 250LM which would have overshadowed them. The difference between this years auction revolved around that alone and while $44 million was a superb amount, it did lag behind either the $74 or 64 million results in other years, that difference one or two star cars can make also seen elsewhere this year, namely Gooding Pebble Beach and RMs own Villa Erba sale. Further it would be sad to see RM go down a road of lessening returns and cheaper cars on offer as seen at various sales which start with a hiss and a roar and diminish as newer, more flashy sales come along. Lest this be taken as negative or criticism, it is not, more observation and RM did very well once again to offer a superb selection of each car and RM really must be congratulated.
Lest I forget, I hope the California doesn’t get painted resale Red, it looks absolutely smashing in Grigio Argento.
Key – Lot # – Year – Make – Model – Chassis/ VIN – Estimate high – low US$/ EURO
#120 – 1989 Ferrari Testarossa 80908 – Est. $250 – $325k N/R/ $246,400 €208,513 -1%
Rosso over Crema. US car. 585 miles from new and as new. Well maintained. Docs.
#121 – 1960 Volkswagen Kombi Deluxe 23 Window 686862 – Est. $150 – 225k N/R/ $207,200 €175,341 Mid
Red and White over Beige. Los Angeles, USA delivery. Restored by Napa Valley Restorations. Stunning example.
#122 – 1932 Marmon Sixteen Le Baron Convertible Coupe 16 144 859 – Est. $1 – 1.2 million/ $962,000 €814,081 -4%
Green over Tan leather. Le Baron Convertible bodywork fitted, 1 of 8 survivors. Unknown car, Robert Sedgwick, Harrah Automobile Collection ’50s, restored ’60s, General William Lyon ’87, vendor ’90, recent freshening.
#123 – 1954 Bentley R-Type Continental Franay Coupe BC51LC Est. $1 – 1.3 million/ $1,083,000 €916,476 Mid
Manual. via Franco-Brittanic Autos Ltd. to Messrs. Vandendriessche et Fils, France (1), 1st of 5 Franay Fastback Coupes, unique in this spec, via Franco Britannic Automobiles to Farnham Rehfisch ’63 (2), unnamed (3), D.J. Smith, USA ’65 (4), Gene Littler ’77 (5), unnamed ’82 (6), Bill Jacobs (7), unknown, mechanically restored by Vantage Motorworks with a S1 head and dual SUs, concours award winner, via RM Monaco ’14 $965k, unknown. Docs.
#124 – 2000 BMW Z8 WBAEJ1340YAH60085 – Est. $300 – 400k N/R/ $329,500 €278,835 Mid
Titanium over Black leather. Steve Jobs, USA (1), 67th of 85 US cars, unnamed ’03 (2), unnamed (3), returned to (2) ’06, 15,200 miles from new. Celebrity ownership. Docs.
#125 – 2016 Ferrari F12 TDf 219337 – $1.1 – 1.4 million/ $1,105,000 €935,093 Mid
Rosso Dino over Nero alcantara. via Ferrari of Long Island, 1 owner and 398 miles from new. excellent, virtually new.
#126 – 1958 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Roadster 198-042-7500649 RM New York 6/12/2017 126 $1.25 – 1.5 million/ $1,407,500 €1,191,080 Mid
Silver Grey Metallic over Red leather. Lieutenant Browder, USA/ Germany (1), later taken to USA, Erich Vogl ’70 (2), Ronald Voss (3), restored in Black over Red, Tom McCarthy (4), Roderick Taylor (5), restoration begun, vendor ’14 (6), restoration completed by Rudi & Company. Perfect example.
#127 – 1948 Cadillac Series 62 Saoutchik Cabriolet 486237307 – Est. $850k – 1 million/ $857,000 €725,226 Mid
Black and Purple over Black leather. Hydramatic. via Roger Barlow to Louis Ritter, USA (1), send to France for J. Saoutchik to fit bodywork, unknown, later to Paul Kassoff, unknown, Rick Carroll ’80s, restored, Jerome Sauls ’94, Melvin Olshansky, unknown. Fabulous.
#128 – 1952 Chrysler d’Elegance Ghia Coupe 321953 – Est. $900k – 1.1 million/ $885,000 €748,921 -2%
Metallic Pinky red over Beige and Black. Unnamed Chrysler Exec (1), Chrysler Hemi 354 engine fitted, unknown ’87, Blackhawk Collection, Charles Cawley, Gordon Apker, Ron Pratte, via Barrett-Jackson to unknown, via RM to vendor ’11.
#129 – 1992 Lancia Delta HF Integrale Evoluzione – Est. $175,000 $225,000 N/R/ $190,400 €161,124 Mid
Giallo Fly over Nero leather. 6,487km from new. Very original, 1 of 400. Not registered.
#130 – 1965 Aston Martin DB5 Convertible DB5/1923/L – Est. $2.45 – 2.65 million/ $2,700,000 €2,284,843 2%
Midnight Blue over Fawn leather. 1 of 40. Normalair conditioning. Restored ’80s, matching numbers, concours award winner, later to James Utaski circa 2004, restored by Steel Wings was embarked upon, concours award winner at Pebble Beach and Amelia Island. Immaculate.
#131 – 1952 Jaguar C-Type XKC007 Est. $5.5 – 7 million/ $5,285,000 €4,472,368 -4%
British racing green over Red leather. via Charles Hornburg to Phil Hill, USA (1), Elkhart Lake ’52 Hill 1st and 4th, Madera Airport ’52 Hill 2nd, Torrey Pines ’52 Hill 1st, repainted red, Carlyle Blackwell Jr. ’55 (2), raced widely, Robert Lane ’57 (3), D-Type engine head fitted, Jack Ratteree (4), repainted British Racing Green, Terry Lawson ’70s (5), Gerald Nell (6), concours award winner, Gary Bartlett (7), via RM Monterey ’09 $2.53 mil. to vendor (8), very well maintained and documented.
#132 – 1973 De Tomaso Pantera L – Est. $125 – 175k N/R/ $145,600 €123,212 Mid
Panera Orange over Black. Sold to FoMoCo executive, USA (1), 2 owners before vendor. Remarkably original. Well sorted. 13,000 miles from new. Docs.
#133 – 1969 Ferrari 365GTB/4 12301 – Est. $1.4 – 1.7 million/ Not Sold N/A
Giallo Dino over . Final prototipo, part 275GTB, part 365GTB/4, US spec with unique bodywork. Displayed at the ’69 New York Auto Show. Greg Garrison, USA (1), converted to EURO spec before delivery, Jack Kent Cooke (2), Jackie Fisher (3), Bill DeCarr ’79 (4), Tom Shaughnessy ’06 (5), vendor (6), restored, concours award winner. Docs and Classiche certificate.
#134 – 1955 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwing 198-040-5500593 – Est. $1.3 – 1.5 million/ $1,352,500 €1,144,537 Mid
Fire Brigade Red over Tan leather. US delivery in Medium Blue over light Grey leather. Later to UK, R.B. Cole, later to USA for Craig McFarland, restored by Hjeltness Restorations ’89 in current livery, well maintained since. Docs and parts.
#135 – 1923 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost Brewster Riviera Town car 390XH – Est. $500 – 700k N/R/ $307,500 €260,218 -39%
Black over Black. 1 of 10, only one on Silver Ghost chassis, Augustine Leftwich Humes, USA (1), E.E. Greiner, C. Burke, unknown, Erle Heath ’70, unknown, Gene Littler, Bill Patton ’90, unknown ’09, freshened, concours award winner at Amelia Island ’12, vendor. Never restored, older repaint but otherwise original. Docs.
#136 – 1961 Ferrari 250GT Cabriolet Series II Est. $1.5 – 1.8 million/ Not Sold N/A
Grigio Ortello over Tan leather. via Luigi Chinetti Motors in Verde Italver over Natural Franzi leather to Angelo Roma, USA (1), unknown, Arthur True ’60s, Willard Quinn, Erich Traber, Switzerland ’89, redone in gunmetal grey over red leather, Japan from ’04, USA from ’10, restored by Fast Cars Ltd., 600 miles since. Wonderful condition.
#137 – 2018 Bugatti Chiron ZF9SP3V3XJM795069 – Est. $3.5 – 4 million/ $3,772,500 €3,192,433 Mid
Black and red over Black and red. 1st US spec Chiron, 250 miles from new. As new. Factory warranty. Docs.
#138 – 2015 Porsche 918 Wessaich Spider WP0CA2A16FS800652 – Est. $1.7 – 1.9 million/ $1,732,000 €1,465,684 Mid
Black wrap and Martini livery over Black. 1 of 200 Weissach edition, delivered in Metallic Oryx White over Onyx Black. Well specced. 270 miles from new. Recent $7k service.
#139 – 1996 Porsche 911/993 GT2 WP0ZZZ99ZTS392127 $1.1 – 1.4 million/ Not Sold N/A
White over Black leather. 1 of 194. German delivery, Japan from ’04, well maintained. 11,470km from new. Impeccable.
#140 – 1974 Ferrari 246GTS #08500 – Est. $500 – 600k/ Not Sold N/A
Bianco Polo over Rosso Leather. Chairs and Flares. Gary Yelvington, USA (1), unknown, 19,000 miles from new. Restored by Wide World of Cars. $100k in recent expenses. Concours quality. via RM Monterey ’13 $390k.
#141 – 1959 Ferrari 250GT California LWB #1451GT – Est. $14 – 17 million/ $17,990,000 €15,223,822 6%
Argento over Nero leather. 2nd of 8 Competizione spec California, 128F engine, Bob Grossman, USA (1), Le Mans Grossman/ Tavano 5th, refinished in Grigio Argento, shipped to USA, SCCA Thompson, Bridgehampton, Watkins Glen Grand Prix, Nassau Speed Week 1st, Marlboro ’60 1st, VIR ’60 1st, unknown, Gerry Sutterfeld, Sidney Stoldt ’75, Jon Masterson ’81, restored in Rosso, Pebble Beach concours award winner, via RM Monterey ’04 $4.95 mil. to vendor, Classiche certified, restored by Motion Products Inc. in original livery, Pebble ’15 award winner.
#142 – 2014 Pagani Huayra #ZA9H11UA3ESF76078 – Est. $1.9 – 2.3 million/ $1,850,000 €1,565,540 -3%
Argento over Nero leather. 78th of only 100 built. US delivery, 4,943 miles from new. Exemplary. Well maintained. Like new.
#143 – 1958 Austin-Healey 100-Six Goldie #BN6/2260 – Est. $350 – 550k/ $179,200 €151,646 -49%
White and 24 karat Gold (!) over Champagne leather. Built for display at the Earls Court Motorshow in ’58, cost 4 times a standard 100-Six, given away by the Daily Express in a contest, various, Bruce and Inan Phillips, of Healey Surgeons, restored to perfection, vendor, concours star. Docs.
#144 – 2014 Ferrari LaFerrari #204687 – Est. $3.25 – 3.75 million/ Not Sold N/A
Rosso over Nero alcantara. 53 miles from new. As new, immaculate. Docs.
#145 – 2004 Porsche Carrera GT #WP0CA29814L001158 – Est. $775 – 850k/ Not Sold N/A
GT Silver over Dark Gray leather. Jack Corwin, USA (1), vendor (2). 2 owners and 695 miles from new. Well maintained. Docs.
#146 – 1990 Ferrari F40 #87144 – Est. $1.2 – 1.4 million/ $1,242,500 €1,051,451 Mid
Rosso over Rosso leather. US spec, Cat/ non adjust type. via Steve Harris Imports to unnamed, USA (1), David Belding ’95 (2), Brian Gibbs ’04 (3), via Ferrari of Houston to unnamed, Canada (4), recently fully serviced. Docs incl. receipts for $118k in service work. 8,100 miles from new. Exceptional.
#147 – 1966 Jaguar E-Type Series I 4.2 Roadster 1E13575 – Est $250 – 325k/ $235,200 €199,035 -6%
Black over Black leather. Excel Electric Supply, USA (1), unnamed (2), stored for 40 years, concours restored by Shaun Saunders, via RM Monterey ’15 $319k to vendor. Beautiful. Docs and JDHT cert.
#148 – 1990 Lamborghini LM002 ZA9LU45A2LLA12186 – Est. $400 – 500k/ $467,000 €395,193 Mid
Nero over Nero leather. 1 of 301, 48 to US spec., Florida delivery, unknown, recent 5 year long restoration, receipts for $325k. Excellent, docs.
#149 – 1989 Lamborghini Countach 25th Anniversary ZA9CA05A2KLA12608 – Est. $200 – 250k N/R/ $268,800 €227,469 8%
Blanco over Blanco. Vendor since ’97, freshened by Al Burtoni, receipts for $98k, 15,708km from new. Excellent.
#150 – 1966 Porsche 911 302596 – Est $250 – 300k/ Not Sold N/A
Light Ivory over Black leather. via Vasek Polak to Paul & Helen Dickey, USA (1), very well optioned, maintained by Polak and Andial, repainted in ’75, unnamed ’12 (2), iconic, excellent car.
#151 – 1953 Piaggio Ape Calessino 9401 – Est. $50 – 80k N/R/ $45,600 €38,588 9%
Green and Wood sidecar motorcycle. Very scarce in USA.
|All information is copyright Auto Auctions Monthly except images which are copyright of Artcurial, Bonhams, Gooding & co., Mecum, RM/ Sothebys, Russo & Steele and Worldwide Auctioneers. All figures are US$ and gross unless specifically stated. All figures are accurate in the home currency for the sale, any figures in other currencies are calculated based on the exchange rate for the date of sale accessed from FxTop.com. Percentages as given are calculated as the % below low estimate or above estimate as noted. All information given for recreational use only and cannot be personally guaranteed for accuracy by the author.|