RM Sotheby’s Villa Erba Auction 2019 – Recap

The 2019 Villa Erba sale, held on May 25th against the usual backdrop of Lake Como, was the fifth auction organized by RM Sotheby’s as the official auction house of the Villa d’Este Concours d’Elegance. This year, the number of cars offered was not huge, although the catalog included a few selected classics and modern supercars.

The bidders came from 30 different countries, and a quarter of them were first-time RM Sotheby’s clients. Two 1950s racing cars, a Ferrari and a Porsche, became the auction’s top sellers, each coming under the hammer at more than EUR 3 million. Both boast a clear and well-documented history and an excellent provenance. In total, five cars broke the EUR 1 million barrier.

The cars offered for sale, by brand

With the catalog including cars ranging widely in age, from a 1924 Isotta Fraschini to a 2019 Aston Martin, this sale did not focus on any specific chapter in car-building history. That said, almost half of the cars in the catalog (25 out of the 52) were built in the period 1950-1969. Officially declared a celebration of the centenary of Carrozzeria Zagato, this auction saw nine cars bodied by the Milanese coachbuilder crossing the block. The brand most strongly represented at the sale was Ferrari, with eight cars (two bodied by Zagato), followed by Aston Martin, with seven (including the event’s three most important Zagato-bodied cars). Then came Alfa-Romeo and Maserati, each with five (one of the Maseratis was bodied by Zagato), and Porsche with four.

General results

Of the 69 lots offered, 46 (almost 67%) were sold, generating a total turnover, including the buyer’s premium (15% on amounts of up to EUR 199,999 and 12.5% on anything paid over this threshold), of EUR 19,800,000.

Limiting our analysis to the cars, 29 of the 52 listed in the catalog (55.8%) changed hands, and they included the nine that were offered without reserve. The sales of the cars alone totaled EUR 19,350,000.

The Top 10 cars

01 – 1954 Ferrari 500 Mondial Spider Pinin Farina (chassis #0448 MD). This matching numbers, Ferrari Classiche-certified car has a known in-period racing history, and was offered with only three owners from new. Sold for EUR 3,717,500 (estimate EUR 4.25–4.75 million)

02 – 1957 Porsche 550A Spyder (chassis #550A-0121). This is the 15th car built of a series of just 40, and the only one sold new in Denmark. It, too, has a known in-period racing history (mostly in Denmark and East Africa). Its history includes one ownership lasting 31 years. Sold for EUR 3,380,000 (estimate EUR 3.4–3.8 million)

03 – 1965 Aston Martin Short-Chassis Volante (chassis #DBVC/2335/l). One of the last of the 37 short wheelbase versions built, this matching numbers car was offered from a 25-year single ownership. Sold for EUR 1,805,000 (estimate EUR 1.3–1.5 million)

04 – 1955 Fiat 8V Coupé Zagato (Chassis #106.000076). This matching numbers car, freshly professionally restored, is one of only 25 Coupé Zagatos built. Sold for EUR 1,771,250 (estimate EUR 1.6–1.8 million)

05 – 1931 Bugatti Type 50 Roadster (chassis #50123). This is the only Type 50 roadster still equipped with its original body, penned by Jean Bugatti himself. Its first owner was André Derain, co-founder of the Fauvism movement. It boasts a known history. The car was sold together with numerous original documents. Sold for EUR 1,411,250 (estimate EUR 1.4–1.8 million)

06 – 2016 Ferrari F12TDF (chassis #ZFF81BHB000214162). This car, one of 799 built, was offered with two owners and 6,000 kilometers from new. Sold for EUR 792,500 (estimate EUR 750–850 K)

07 – 1961 Maserati 3500 GT Spyder Vignale (chassis #AM101.1333). Car 173 of the only 251 built by Vignale, this matching numbers specimen was originally equipped with, and still has, a hard-top and Borrani wire wheels. Sold for EUR 663,125 (estimate EUR 625–700 K)

08 – 1966 Ferrari 330 GTC Pininfarina (chassis #8773). This matching numbers car is the 10th 330 GTC built, and one of the only 598 built between 1966 and 1968. It still sports its original color combination. Sold for EUR 556,250 (estimate EUR 495–600 K)

09 – 2019 Aston Martin Vanquish Zagato Shooting Brake (chassis #SCFNMCUZXKGJ54490). This car, offered “as new” and with only one owner from new, is one of only 99 built. Its Zagato design is the most beautiful and iconic used for the Vanquish series. It was offered without reserve and sold for EUR 511,250 (estimate 650–850 K)

10 – 1973 Porsche 911 Carrera RS 2.7 Touring (chassis #9113601564). Completed in July 1973, this matching numbers car was one of the last Carrera RS 2.7s built. Freshly restored to a very high level, it still wears its original color combination. Sold for EUR 477,500 (estimate 475–525 K)

The four most interesting results

It is worth noting that, even when including the buyer’s premium in the final price, only two cars sold at the Villa Erba auction exceeded their pre-sale estimates.

The 1965 Aston Martin Short-Chassis Volante (chassis #DBVC/2335/l), a matching numbers car and one of the last of the 37 short wheelbases built, became the third most expensive lot of the sale, selling for EUR 1,805,000 after an estimate of EUR 1.3–1.5 million. This result can be attributed, in part, to the rarity of the model and the level of the restoration, done by Ross Engineering of Berne (CH), one of Aston Martin’s dedicated Heritage Specialists. The work, commissioned by the seller, was done with no expense spared, and the subsequent, almost 30-year, single ownership proves just how cherished this car has been. It would certainly be impossible to find another in such condition and with this kind of history.

The 2010 Porsche 911 Sport Classic (chassis #WPOZZZ99ZAS794134) is car number 40 of the only 250 making up this very special series, created to commemorate and celebrate the most admired 911 version of the past. This particular specimen has covered only 6000 kilometers from new was offered in “as new” condition. Sold for EUR 320,000 after an estimate of EUR 275-290 K.

The 1965 ASA 1000 GT Bertone (chassis #01126), a model widely known as “la Ferrarina” on account of its origins, sold very well indeed. The “Ferrarina” project was born of Enzo Ferrari’s desire to create a smaller and cheaper car, and the four-cylinder engine developed for it had close similarities to the firm’s bigger 12-cylinder version, and not only because both were designed by engineer Gioacchino Colombo. This car, one of the only 90 built, is a matching numbers specimen. Offered with only four owners from new, it has enjoyed a trouble-free life the Netherlands. It came under the hammer at EUR 138,000 following an estimate of EUR 125–175 K.

The 1966 Lancia Flaminia Super Sport 3 C Zagato (chassis 826.232.002028) is a very rare model indeed, as only 150 units were built with the Super Sport specification. One of the last built, this one features Zagato’s trademark “double bubble” roof, and has a well-known history, including a professional restoration in in Italy, done in the period 2008-2010. Still looking perfect, it was offered without reserve and sold for a hefty EUR 252,500 after an estimate of EUR 230–280 K.

Photo credits:

ASA 1000 – Dirk DeJager, courtesy of RM Sotheby’s
Lancia Flaminia Zagato – Cymon Taylor, courtesy of RM Sotheby’s
Aston Martin SWB Volante – Stephan Bauer, courtesy of RM Sotheby’s
Ferrari 500 Mondial – Diana Varga, courtesy of RM Sotheby’s
Porsche 911 – Tom Jidden, courtesy of RM Sotheby’s
Porsche 550 – Scott Pattendel, courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

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