RM Sotheby’s Monterey auction: Aston race car sets new record

RM Sotheby’s recently held its two-day Monterey Auction, as always the Friday and Saturday of this exciting week for the classic car world. In the end, 113 cars were offered for sale (two having been withdrawn). RM Sotheby’s Monterey auction recorded a sale rate of 88% (103 lots), an excellent result corresponding to overall takings of USD 132,993,000 (10% commission included). Nine lots set new world record prices. The most expensive car was a 1956 Aston Martin DBR/1 that, offered with an undisclosed estimate, sold for USD 22,550,000 and, in so doing, not only set a new world record both for the model and for the Aston Martin brand, but also became the most expensive British car ever sold at auction.

Following behind this car, at some considerable distance, came the other lots, with the next most expensive fetching over USD 8 million, then one that sold for more than USD 6 million, two that fetched 5 million plus, and one that sold for more than 4 million. A further six broke the USD 3 million barrier, five sold for more than 2 million, and an impressive 15 passed the 1 million dollar mark.

New record prices for their respective models were set by a 1954 Ferrari 500/735 Mondial Spyder (USD 3,850,000), a 1955 Ferrari 121 LM Spyder (USD 5,720,000), and a 1959 Ferrari 410 Superamerica Pinin Farina (USD 5,335,000). A couple of Aston Martins, too, set new world record prices: one was a 1959 DB4 GT Prototype, bought for USD 6,765,000 (a record for a non-Zagato-bodied Aston Martin DB4), and the other was a 2006 DBR 9 GT, whose hammer price of USD 616,000 was the highest ever paid for this model.

Two Porsches also set new world records: a 2015 918 Spyder (USD 1,842,00) and a 1951 356 1500. The latter, selling for USD 1,017,500, set a new world record for a Porsche Pre-A model. Another modern supercar setting a new world record at RM Sotheby’s Monterey auction was a 2014 Pagani Huayra Tempesta, sold for USD 2,420,000. The auction’s cheapest car, offered without reserve and with an estimated value of 25–35 K USD, was a 1958 Kurtis-Kraft 500 Half Midget, which fetched USD 12,100.

RM Sotheby’s Monterey Auction 2017: The six cars we previewed

The six cars we picked out for our preview of RM Sotheby’s Monterey Auction all sold, one of them fetching the highest price of the sale. We refer to the 1956 Aston Martin DBR/1. This car is the first of the only five ever built and it boasts a fascinating and highly successful period racing career, during which it was driven by the most renowned racers of the time. It was offered with an undisclosed estimate and sold for USD 22,550,000 (10% commission included). Another of our selected six became the auction’s sixth most expensive car, namely the 1950 Ferrari 166MM/212 Export “Uovo” by Fontana, the one-off “invented” by Count Giannino Marzotto, who wanted a lighter and faster Ferrari for road races.

RM Sotheby's Monterey Auction 2017 Ferrari Uovo.jpg

This car, highly original and with a completely documented racing history, fetched a good price (USD 4,510,000), albeit short of its pre-sale estimated value (USD 5–7 million).

The next most expensive car among “our six” was the 1970 Porsche 908/03, a car conceived as a test car for the company, raced under the Porsche Salzburg colors, and now restored and ready to race again. After an estimate of USD 3.5–4.5 million, it fetched USD 3,575,000. This price gave it ninth place in the overall ranking (it would been eighth, had it not been the younger of the two cars that fetched this price).

Still listing our featured cars in price order, the fourth was the 1936 Mercedes-Benz 500 K Offener Tourenwagen by Sindelfingen, which boasts a wonderful post-war history including a 63-year single ownership (1951–2004). Restored in the 1990s, it fetched USD 1,540,000 after an undisclosed estimate. Fifth place in our line-up of RM Sotheby’s Monterey Auction went to the 1953 Abarth 1100 Sport Ghia, the last of the only four built and the only one originally supplied with the last evolution of the type 103 Fiat 1100 engine. Ghia showed this car at the 1953 Turin Motor Show and at the 1954 New York Auto Show. Painstakingly restored over recent years, and coming from an 8-year ownership, it sold for USD 891,000 (perfectly in line with its pre-sale estimate of USD 0.75–1 million).

RM Sotheby's Monterey Auction 2017: Pegaso Z-102 (right)

The last car in our selection was the 1954 Pegaso Z-102 Berlinetta Series II by Saoutchik, one of the only seven second series Pegaso Z-102 Berlinettas bodied by Saoutchik. Even after restoration, this car, which features the desirable twin ignition cylinder head, still has 95% of its original parts and systems. It was shown at Pebble Beach in 2015 (where it came 2nd in the Pegaso class) and at Amelia Island in 2016 (Amelia Award winner). At the RM Sotheby’s sale, it went for USD 7.7 K, a price comfortably within its pre-sale estimated value range of 725–900 K USD.

The Top Ten at RM Sotheby’s Monterey Auction

We should really call this part of our roundup “The Top Eleven”, given that the tenth and eleventh placed cars fetched the same price. These 11 top-selling cars, representing 9.5% of the lots in the catalog, sold for a total of USD 71.65 million (about 53.9% of the total value of the sale), and they all passed the three million dollar mark. What is more, to find the first car in this auction that sold for less than a million dollars, you have to scroll right down to position 33 in the list of final results!

We have already described the auction’s top car among our selected six, so we immediately move on to the second most expensive lot, a 1961 Ferrari 250 GT SWB Berlinetta (chassis #2985), coming from a total of nearly 40 years of ownership by two renowned Ferrari collectors. Platinum award winner at the 2016 Cavallino Classiche, this Ferrari Classiche-certified car sold for USD 8,305,000 after an estimate of USD 8.5–10 million. The next most expensive car, in third place, was a 1959 Aston Martin DB4 GT (chassis #DP199/1). This matching numbers car, which was the series prototype and is therefore a one-off version of what was to became the most famous Aston Martin model, has a known history. It sold for USD 6,765,000 (a record price for a non-Zagato-bodied DB4) after an estimate of USD 6–8 million.

In fourth place was a 1955 Ferrari 121 LM Spyder Scaglietti (chassis #0546 LM), the third of the only four 121 LMs built, campaigned by Scuderia Ferrari in 1955 at both the Mille Miglia (Paolo Marzotto) and the 24 Hours of Le Mans (Maurice Trintignant/Harry Schell). This matching numbers car also has a known history. Furthermore, it has had few owners since it passed into private hands. On this occasion, it came from a 20-year ownership. It was sold for USD 5,720,000 at RM Sotheby’s Monterey auction and thus set a new world record price at auction for this model, even though it failed to reach its (rather over-optimistic) estimated value of USD 6.5–7.5 million. Another Ferrari, a 1959 410 Superamerica (chassis #1305 SA), become the fifth most expensive sale. It is one of the only 12 Series II 410 Superamericas built, and it features factory covered headlights and unique tail lights and rear fenders. Assigned an estimated value of USD 5.5–6.5 million, this matching numbers car with a complete history sold for USD 5,335,000, setting a new world record for the model at auction.

Having already mentioned the car that fetched the sixth highest price, we move on to the auction’s seventh most expensive car, a 1954 Ferrari 500/735 Mondial Spider (chassis #0448 MD), offered with a known history that included a single ownership spanning almost two decades, and an intensive and successful racing career in California in the 1950s, most likely equipped with a 735 engine. This seldom shown car sold for USD 3.85 million, a world record for the model, but nevertheless just failed to reach the lower end of its estimated value range of USD 4–5.5 million.

Eighth position went to a 1965 Ferrari 275 GTB/6C Alloy (chassis #07933), fitted from new with the alloy body, long nose and six carburetors, equipped with the “interim” transmission, and recently restored to its former glory. This Ferrari Classiche-certified car with a well-documented history sold for USD 3,575,000 (well above its estimated value of USD 2.9–3.4 million). The same price was fetched by the car in ninth position, already described in the review of “our six”. Next, in tenth and eleventh spots, came another two cars that both fetched the same price, in this case USD 3,410,000. The oldest of the two, which thus gets the honor of being ranked tenth, was a 1930 Bentley 6.5 Litre Speed Six (chassis #HM2861), given a pre-sale estimate of USD 3.5–5.5 million. This car has a wonderful and well documented history, and is also one of the most beautiful, most famous and most important Speed Sixes of all, built with the original Corsica sedan body and incorporating all the “Le Mans” derived updates. As mentioned, its price was matched by a far more recent, and less used, 2015 Ferrari LaFerrari (chassis #ZFF76ZFA9F0211998). This car, which recently had a full service and was offered in totally original condition, including the original in Nero on Nero color scheme, and with less than 4000 miles covered from new, had been estimated to fetch USD 3.3–3.8 million.

Some other cars

Other cars excelling at the RM Sotheby’s auction include the 1972 Ferrari 365 GTB/4 Daytona Spyder (chassis #15007), the 1972 Los Angeles show car that, although known to exist, has remained out of sight for the past 20 years. It has been with the same owner since 1983. Still complete with its original A/C and Borrani wheels, this car, which has done over 36,500 miles from new, sold for USD 2,172,500, well above its pre-sale estimated value of USD 1.6–2 million.

RM Sotheby's Monterey auction 2017: 1991 Ferrari F40

Another, more recent, Ferrari, i.e. a 1991 F40 (chassis #ZFFMN34A9M0087895), one of the 213 built to US specification, was offered without reserve with a pre-sale estimate of USD 1.3–1.5 million. Boasting only two owners and 2802 miles covered from new, as well as a completely documented service history, it slightly exceeded expectations, fetching USD 1,540,000. Two other modern hypercars also did well. One, a 2015 Porsche 918 Spyder (chassis #WP0CA2A15FS800089) with one owner and 1188 miles on the clock, came under the hammer at USD 1,842,500 after an estimate of USD 1.2–1.6 million, setting a new world record for the model. The other, a 2014 Pagani Huayra Tempesta (chassis # ZA9H11UAXESF76059), was one of the only 100 Huayra Coupes built, and the very first delivered to a customer in California. Boasting only one owner and a low mileage from new (640 miles), it sold for USD 2.42 million, a price absolutely in line with its pre-sale estimate of USD 2.2–2.8 million and a new world record for the model at auction.

Another highlight was a 2006 Aston Martin DBR9 (chassis #DBR9/9), a true racing thoroughbred, offered by its first private owner and boasting a fantastic racing history in the Aston Martin Racing BMS team (i.e. the AM works team). This car, in exceptional condition, sold for USD 616 K, a world record for the model, after being offered, without reserve, with an estimated value of USD 275–325 K. Meanwhile, a more “classic” 1951 Porsche 356 1500 Reutter Coupe (chassis #11111), matching numbers, perfectly restored and a class winner at Amelia Island, Hilton Heads and Winter Park, sold for USD 1,017,500, far above its estimated value of USD 600-700 K, and thus set a new world record for the Pre-A 356.

For other results and more information please visit the website of RM Sotheby’s Monterey auction.

All photos of the gallery courtesy and © Peter Singhof. 

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