RM Sotheby’s Battersea: vintage Ferrari 2+2 versus Ferrari Enzo hypercar

On September 6, 2017, RM Sotheby’s held its eleventh Battersea Park sale in London, an event that has become something of a tradition. The catalog included 68 cars plus a couple of 1:1 wooden models, and the auction recorded a sale rate of 57.3% (39 lots, 20 of which had been offered without reserve) for overall takings of GBP 7,064,000 (commission included). This result, rather below par for a firm like RM Sotheby’s in recent years, may be attributable, at least in part, to the numerous sales taking place in late summer this year. Indeed, the London auction came just a couple of weeks after Monterey Week and only three days before the special Ferrari auction in Maranello.


Certainly, there were fewer people than usual attending the sale and the atmosphere was colder and more subdued than on previous occasions. Interestingly enough, a good percentage of the cars sold were modern hypercars, and, in line with this, the most expensive lot was a 2004 Ferrari Enzo, which sold for GBP 1.8 million, becoming the only car in the auction to break the million pound barrier. The sale’s cheapest car was also its oldest: a 1900 Marlboro Steam Stanhope, which fetched GBP 9,200 after being offered without reserve with an estimate of GBP 35–45 K. All the reported prices include the buyer’s commission of 15% + VAT on any amounts up to GBP 200,000 and 12.5% + VAT on any part of a sale price exceeding this threshold.

The six cars we previewed

Of the six cars we picked out for our preview of the RM Sotheby’s London sale, only two sold, one of them fetching GBP 826 K, the second highest price of the sale. The car in question, a 1955 Bentley R-Type Continental fastback Sports Saloon by H.J. Mulliner, winner of its class at the 2017 Bentley Drivers Club Concours, came from a single family ownership dating back to 1983, and boasts a known history from new; one of its previous owners was Victor Gauntlett. This matching numbers car equipped with a 4.9-liter engine and its original manual transmission and lightweight seats, sold for GBP 826,250 after an estimate of GBP 775–900 K.

Photo © Tom Wood.

The other of our selected cars to find a buyer was the 1952 Lancia Aurelia B20 GT Series II, with a documented ownership history from new, which included a lengthy period (from 1974 to 2016) with a single owner. Fitted with period accessories, it just topped its pre-sale estimated value of GBP 140–160 K, selling for GBP 161,000. Surprisingly, the 1973 Porsche 911 Carrera RS 2.7 Lightweight with a full rally history, which had been expected to be one of the stars of the auction and was among our selected six, failed to sell. We were also surprised that the rare 1985 Mazda RX-7 EVO Group B Works, a car never used and in as new condition, did not find a new home.

The Top Ten at RM Sotheby’s Battersea auction

This auction’s Top Ten was quite different from the line-up of top-selling cars we usually find at the end of an RM Sotheby’s auction. Indeed, only one car broke the GBP 1 million barrier, and the Top Ten also included a car with a final price below the GBP 200,000 mark. The car that sold for the highest price was a 2004 Ferrari Enzo (chassis #ZFFCZ56B000136085), Ferrari Classiche certified, with less than 9000 kilometers covered from new, originally delivered in Titanio Matt, a color specially requested by its first owner, but now repainted in Blue Tour de France over Cuoio leather interior. It sold for GBP 1,805,000 and therefore, by a whisker, exceeded its upper estimated value (GBP 1.6–1.8 million).

We have already mentioned the second most expensive car of the sale, while third place went to a 1996 Porsche 911 GT2 (chassis #WP0ZZZ99ZTS392062). This car, one of the only 161 built and now with about 18,000 kilometers on the clock, came with a complete service record. Black over black, it also features some useful options, such as air conditioning and electric windows. It has covered just 3000 kilometers since 1999, when it was involved in an accident while lapping the Nürburgring. It was subsequently sent to Porsche where it was repaired perfectly. It sold for GBP 775,625 after an estimate of GBP 675–750 K.

The car that took fourth place in the Top Ten was an unusual car, a 2012 Lexus LFA (chassis #JTHHX8BHX08000211) boasting a single ownership from new, and less than 2600 kilometers covered. The LFA was built with the aim of creating automotive perfection, in the form of a 4.8-liter V10 engine paired with a six-speed automatic transmission. Only 500 units were built, and this one has spent its whole life in Gran Canaria. It sold for GBP 308,750, a price perfectly in line with its pre-sale estimate of GBP 290–330 K. Fifth place went to another modern Porsche, a 1998 911 Turbo S (chassis #WP0ZZZ99ZWS370667), one of the only 26 built in RHD configuration, with 23,000 miles from new. This car, finished in Arctic Silver on Blue leather and offered with a known service history — all work on the car was done by the official Porsche shop —, came close to reaching the top end of its estimated value range, selling for GBP 297,500 after an estimate of GBP 260–300 K.

Photo © Simon Clay.

The sixth highest price was paid for what was perhaps one of the auction’s most amazing and impressive lots, namely a 2014 Land Rover Defender Crew Crab SVX “Spectre” (chassis #SALLDH5P8FA462391), one of the 10 pieces built to be used in the James Bond film Spectre. Tuned by Land Rover specialist Bowler, prepared by Jaguar Land Rover Special Vehicle Operation, and painted in the regular Santorini Black, it is equipped with 37-inch tires, directly bolted onto the wheel rim, Bilstein rally dampers and a full roll cage. This Spectre, with just 234 kilometers from new and offered without reserve, practically doubled its estimated value (GBP 100–150 K), selling for GBP 230,000.

Seventh place in the Top Ten went to a 1970 Ferrari 365 GT 2+2 Pininfarina Coupe (chassis #13399 GT) matching numbers car, most likely the very first 365 GT 2+2 delivered new in Singapore and one of the only 52 produced as a RHD version. Sold to its third owner in Australia in 1981, it then stayed in same ownership for 30 years, during which time it was repainted from the original Oro in its current dark blue, retaining the black interior. Imported into the Netherlands by its fourth owner in 2016, this car far exceeded its estimate of GBP 190–210 K, coming under the hammer at GBP 224,250.

Photo © Peter Seabrook.

The eighth most expensive sale was another Ferrari, a 1983 512 BBi (chassis #ZFFJA09B000044661), which was delivered new in Germany, and remained in storage from 1990 to 2015, before being re-commissioned and sold in the UK. With the Rosso over black color scheme and 69,700 kilometers on the clock, it sold for GBP 218,500 after an estimate of GBP 190–230 K.

The ninth most expensive car was a 1938 Delahaye 135 “MS” Cabriolet conversion (chassis #60221), originally equipped with a Coach Muette body (a closed, two-door, four-seater body) by Henry Chapron; it was transformed into a cabriolet in 1980 by Bill Hind’s restoration shop, when the engine was upgraded to the MS specification. This well-maintained car, which has been under the same ownership since 1991, sold for GBP 207,000 after an estimate of GBP 190–260 K. The final car to make it into the Top Ten was a 1961 Jaguar E-Type Series 1, 3.8-litre Roadster (chassis #876336), a flat floor car still paired with its original engine, finished (repainted) in its original color of Opalescent Gunmetal over red, and recently re-commissioned by Lanzante. Originally sold in the USA, it was returned to the UK in the late 1980s and converted to RHD configuration during a full restoration in 1991. It sold for GBP 195,500 after an estimate of GBP 170–200 K. These ten top-selling cars, representing 14.7% of the lots in the catalog, sold for a total of GBP 5,088,375 (about 72% of the total value of the sale).

Some other cars on sale at RM Sotheby’s Battersea auction

A good result was obtained by a 1971 Porsche 911 E (chassis #9111200556) with only two owners from new (it last changed hands in 1972). It was originally delivered to race car driver John Fitzpatrick, British Saloon Car Champion in 1966, who, in the early 1970s, raced for Kremer, twice winning the European GT Championship: in 1972 in a 911S and in 1974 in a Carrera RSR. This matching numbers car, in very good original condition, never restored but well maintained, and painted in striking Conda Green, far exceeded its GBP 70–90 K estimate, selling for GBP 126,500. A 1973 Land Rover Range Rover (chassis 355064242B), featuring a galvanized chassis in place of its original one, deeply restored and repainted in Bahama Gold, sold for GBP 29,900 after being offered without reserve with an estimated value of GBP 30–40 K. Finally, a 1956 Alfa Romeo 1900C Super Sprint Coupe by Touring (chassis #AR 1900C 10160), originally sold in Italy before finding its way to Norway where it was restored in 2007, was offered in ready-to-be-driven condition, and sold for GBP 155,250 after an estimate of GBP 135–165.

All pictures courtesy of RM Sotheby’s. Header visual © Peter Seabrook. 

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