RM Auctions’ Villa Erba sale, held alongside the Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este on Italy’s Lake Como, is always a remarkable event with stunning cars, and the 2013 auction is right in line. A scant 40 cars will be available May 25, with a dozen cars that would be on the catalog cover of most any other sale: a 1953 ex-works Ferrari 340/375 MM, an incredibly rare 1905 Fiat 60hp 5-passenger touring car (all but guaranteed to be the fastest way to Brighton this autumn), a 1929 Bentley 6½-Litre Sedanca de Ville. Oh yeah, and six Bugattis, two Cisitalias, an SS Jag, and a Ferrari from just about every decade of its existence. So, as interested buyers or enthusiastic observers, where do you start? Any of the lots would do, but here are five that caught our eye.
1957 BMW 503 Cabriolet – Lot 104
Estimate: $335,000 - $440,000
Current Hagerty Price Guide value: $155,000 - $325,000 (+$10,000 for knock-offs)
The BMW 503 is an exceedingly rare car, with fewer than 150 Cabriolets built — when was the last time you saw one sell? By our count, that would be 2009, where Gooding & Company sold one in Pebble Beach for $231,000. Times have changed though, and the 503 is a rising star with a 64% increase in value during the past three years. Bertone coachwork and the ascension of the 507 certainly help the car’s cause. This example sports Rudge knock-off wheels, a Becker Mexico radio, and a handsome white-over-blue color combination. We expect big things.
1985 Ferrari 288 GTO – Lot 115
Estimate: $1,000,000 - $1,200,000
Current Hagerty Price Guide value: $675,000-$1,150,000
The 288 GTO was Ferrari’s halo car during 1980s, and was long dismissed by the cognoscenti as a supercar from a less than super era. That is no longer the case, however, as it is a certified member of the million-dollar club. Enthusiasts have increasingly embraced the model of late, and values have risen by 37% since 2010 as a result. The GTO offered in Villa Erba is Ferrari Classiche Certified, and is expected to come close to a record.
1933 MG K3 Magnette – Lot 123
Estimate: $755,000 - $910,000
One of the most important MGs in the marque’s history, the K3 on offer here (S/N K3001) is a well-documented works team car that was campaigned extensively in period and today is eligible for most of the world’s top events. Supercharged performance would make it competitive in those events, as well. Another car poised to set a record.
1955 Lancia Aurelia B24 Spider – Lot 129
Estimate: $650,000 - $780,000
Current Hagerty Price Guide value: $737,000 - $985,000
The B24 Spider has been on a recent tear in the market, with two examples selling for tremendous numbers in January (one restored for $825,000, one original for $803,000). During the past three years we have seen values appreciate by 70%. This Aurelia is an early model with split bumpers and a wrap-around windshield, is restored, and is left-hand drive. It is a color-changed car, but is now in a livelier red than its original beige, and should see a lot of interest among buyers.
1993 Jaguar XJ 220 Coupe – Lot 139
Estimate: $195,000 - $245,000
Current Hagerty Price Guide value: $186,000 - $327,000
Famous for not quite living up to all the hype preceding its debut, the XJ 220 has mostly come into its own. Buyers have stopped grousing about the car’s six-cylinder engine and have simply started enjoy it — and values are up 40% since 2010. At Hagerty Price Guide, we have this car on our shortlist of future stars, and this 1,500-km example could end up being one of the better buys of the sale.