RM Monterey sale 2019 review

The RM Sotheby’s Monterey Car Week 2019 auction, this year spread over three days, was held at the Portola Plaza in Monterey (CA). The catalog listed a total of 184 cars and, overall, the event can be considered a success: 135 cars (73%) were sold, generating a total turnover of USD 107 million, including commission (12% on the first USD 250 K, and 10% on anything paid beyond this threshold). Eighty of the cars (43%) were offered without reserve; of the 104 offered with a reserve price, 56 (54%) found new owners. The average sale price was around USD 792.6 K. In total, twenty cars broke the million dollar barrier: eleven of these fetched in the region of USD 1 million, three sold for around 2 million, two for 3 million, and one each for 5, 7, 8 and 19 million. The 1994 McLaren F1 “Le Mans Specification” (chassis #SA9AB5AC1R1048018), one of the only two of this particular version built, which has covered only 21,500 kilometers from new, sold for USD 19,805,000, after a pre-sale estimate of USD 21–23 million (the sale’s highest declared estimate). It thus became the auction’s most expensive car, as well as the most expensive McLaren ever sold at auction. The car that “brought up the rear”, recording the auction’s lowest sale price, was a 1973 Volkswagen Type 181 Thing (chassis #1833024537 E). Also offered without reserve, this car sold for USD 36,960 after an estimate of USD 25–35 K. A couple of cars were sold after the auction ended; although the single sale prices of these cars were not disclosed, the amounts were included in the auction total. Two cars in particular, both produced in 1967, really took the sale by storm: a 1967 Ferves Ranger (chassis # FVS 0387) sold for an amazing USD 196 K after being offered, without reserve, with an estimate of USD 30–40 K, while a 1967 Porsche 911 Rallye (chassis #308475 S) changed hands at USD 912.5 K after being offered, also without reserve, with an estimate of USD 250–325 K. Just as we saw at the Bonhams sale, the youngtimers crossing the block did pretty well.

This sale will long be remembered for a “mix-up” concerning one particular lot: the 1939 Type 64 Porsche. When the bidding started, for some reason the sales room screen showed USD 30 million, which quickly climbed to 40, 50, 60 and then 70, before, in a very excited room, the auctioneer realized the mistake and announced that the offers were actually for USD 13,14, 15, 16 and 17 million. Whether or not this was a deliberate mistake is open to question. In any case, the car failed to sell!

The six cars we previewed

Three of the six cars we featured in our preview of the RM Sotheby’s 2019 Monterey auction changed hands, one of them making it into the sale’s Top Ten. We refer to the 1965 Ford GT40 Roadster Prototype (chassis #GT/108), which came under the hammer at USD 7.650 million, a figure perfectly in line with its estimated value of USD 7–9 million. The next most expensive of our selected six was the 1965 Aston Martin DB5 Shooting Brake, coachwork by Radford (chassis #DB5/2273/L). After generating a huge amount of interest, this car sold for USD 1.765 million, well above its the pre-sale estimate of USD 1–1.4 million. Finally, after some intense bidding, the 1961 Maserati 5000 GT Coupe, coachwork by Carrozzeria Ghia (chassis #AM103 018), an amazing restoration project, sold for USD 533 K, after being offered, without reserve, with an estimate of USD 500–700 K. The other three cars in our selected six, namely the 1961 Ferrari 400 Superamerica SWB, Coupe Aerodinamico by Pininfarina, the 1930 Bentley 6.5-litre “Speed Six” Sportsman’s Saloon, coachwork by H.J. Mulliner, and the 1939 “Porsche” Type 64, were all no sales.

The RM Sotheby’s Monterey sale Top Ten

1. USD 19,805,000: 1994 McLaren F1 “Le Mans Specification” (chassis #SA9AB5AC1R1048018). One of only two produced, it was offered with a clock reading of 21,500 km from new. Its sale set a new world record for a McLaren and indeed for an F1 model sold at auction. Its pre-sale estimate was USD 21–23 million.

2. USD 8,145,000: 1962 Ferrari 250 GT SWB Berlinetta (chassis #3359 GT), a car with a series of great attributes: matching numbers, original color combination, Ferrari Classiche certified, well known history, perfectly restored. It was offered without reserve with a pre-sale estimate of USD 8–10 million.

3. USD 7,650,000: “our” 1965 Ford GT40 Roadster Prototype.

4. USD 6,385,000: 1965 Aston Martin DB5 “Bond Car” (chassis #DB5/2008/R). One of the two cars sold directly to Eon Productions for the launch of the 007 movie Thunderball, it is one of the four, “equipped by Q”, used in the filming of Goldfinger. Restored in 2012, it was offered with three owners from new. It has Aston Martin Assured Provenance certification, confirming its history. It sold above its pre-sale estimate of USD 4–6 million, and set a new world record for the model.

5. USD 5,100,000: 1960 Porsche 718 RS 60 Werks (chassis #718-044), coachwork by Wendler. This car has a factory racing past during which it was driven by Sir Stirling Moss, Graham Hill, Dan Gurney, Jo Bonnier, Bob Holbert, and Hans Hermann, and raced at Le Mans, Targa Florio, Nürburgring, and Sebring. Its pre-sale estimate was USD 5.75–7.75 million.

6. USD 3,520,000: 2006 Ferrari FXX (chassis #ZFFHX62X000146355). This car is one of just 30 built and sold under a “by invitation only” program. Not driven since 2006, after the initial Fiorano shake down. It comfortably exceeded its pre-sale estimate of USD 2.85–3.25 million, setting a new world record for an FXX at auction.

7. USD 3,000,000: 1995 Ferrari F50 (chassis #ZFFTG46AXS0103351). Sold immediately after the auction, this Ferrari Classiche certified car is one of only 55 F50s originally delivered to the USA. It was offered with 8,000 miles from new and a pre-sale estimate of USD 3–3.5 million.

8. USD 2,947,500: 2014 Ferrari LaFerrari (chassis #ZFF76ZFA6E0205297). One of the 499 built, this car was originally supplied to a customer in the USA. Offered with less than 450 miles from new, it lived up to its pre-sale estimate of USD 2.9–3.4 million.

9. USD 2,205,000: 1969 Ferrari 365 GTS (chassis #12163). This is the 1969 Brussels Motor Show car and the first of the only 20 365 GTSs manufactured in total. Ferrari Classiche certified, it wears its original color combination of Avorio (Ivory) over black. It is equipped with a correct-for-type Ferrari Classiche sourced and restored engine. Its pre-sale estimate was USD 2.25–2.75 million.

10. USD 2,040,000: 2014 Pagani Huayra Tempesta “Scozia” (chassis #ZA9H11UA7ESF76097). One owner, less than 1,500 miles covered from new. Unique Scottish tartan interiors, completed with several custom touches and rich in optionals worth about USD 135,000. It was updated, at the factory, with the Tempesta package as soon this became available, at a cost of USD 221,739. The pre-sale estimate was USD 2–2.4 million.

A comment

“While there was an undertone of measured restraint throughout all the auctions over the weekend, it was encouraging to see record-breaking results for many of the highlight consignments, as well as for outstanding collectable, lower value examples in the auction. (…) Client demand for near-perfect late-model examples remains as strong as ever.” Gord Duff, Global Head of Auctions.

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