It was a strange Monterey auction for RM Sotheby’s this year. Construction on the Portola meant that the auction took place under a tent outside and the absence of former auctioneer Max Girardo was disappointing to many in the audience. However, the presentation of both the cars and in the auction room were top notch as always with RM, and three of their star cars sold for over eight-figures with world records broken for each.
Oddly, RM Sotheby’s put two of those three cars in the first 20 lots on the sale’s first day, which is surprisingly early and meant that there was less energy in the room during the latter part of day one and most of day two. The first of the big cars to cross the block ended up being the auction’s top sale and indeed the entire week’s. The 1956 Le Mans-winning Jaguar D-Type sold for $21,780,000, making it far and away the most expensive British car ever sold at auction. Two lots later was the very first Shelby Cobra, CSX 2000, which sold at $13,750,000 and became the most expensive American car ever sold at auction. The gorgeous and extremely rare Touring-bodied Alfa Romeo 8C 2900B Lungo Spider also sold for $19,800,000, making it the most expensive prewar car ever sold at auction.
RM Sotheby’s concluded their annual Monterey sale at the Portola Hotel & Spa with $117.9 million in total sales. They sold 82 lots out of the 100 offered and averaged $1,438,110 per sale. The overall total is well down from 2015’s $167.2 million, but last year featured four dozen more cars and 2016’s average and median sale prices both increased over last year.
Another huge result, even if it wasn’t in the millions, was a 1967 Ferrari 330 GT 2+2, usually one of the most affordable ways to acquire an Enzo-era V-12 car, for $737,000. For reference, that price is within $50,000 of both of the sale’s 365 GTB/4 Daytona Coupes.
While the headline cars did well, there were also some notable misses. The Jim Click collection of Fords crossed the block towards the middle of the sale and failed getting much attention. The collection’s two Boss 302 Trans Am Mustang racecars each had a low estimate of $1 million but failed to sell at high bids of $750,000 and $425,000. The 1964 Shelby 289 Cobra and 1966 Ford GT40 also fell well short of their reserves at high bids of $1.45 million and $2.7 million, respectively.
Two of the auction’s big Ferraris also missed. The 250 GT LWB California Spider was only bid to $9.4 million, which is $2 million short of even the lowest value for the model in the Hagerty Price Guide. The most surprising no-sale of the auction, though, was the 1962 Ferrari 268 SP that hammered not sold at $12.5 million. While it’s a rare V-8-powered sports racing Ferrari that ran at Le Mans, $12.5 million seems like a perfectly fair offer, especially when you look at the 750 Monza with an arguably richer history that sold the day before for less than half that.
Almost a dozen Maseratis from the Riverside International Automotive Museum also sold at no reserve for what seems like bargain prices, but almost every one of them was in fairly neglected condition. One exception was the museum’s 2005 MC-12 that sold for $1,430,000.
Overall top 10:
1. 1955 Jaguar D-Type sold for $21,780,000
2. 1939 Alfa Romeo 8C 2900B Lungo Spider sold for $19,800,000
3. 1962 Shelby Cobra 260 Roadster sold for $13,750,000
4. 1956 Ferrari 250 GT TdF Coupe sold for $5,720,000
5. 1955 Ferrari 750 Monza Spider sold for $5,225,000
6. 1966 Ford GT40 Mk I Road Car sold for $2,900,000
7. 1964 Ferrari 500 Superfast Series I Coupe sold for $2,750,000
8. 1973 Ferrari 365 GTS/4 Daytona Spider sold for $2,475,000
9. 1957 BMW 507 Roadster sold for $2,145,000
10. 1963 Ferrari 250 GT Lusso Coupe sold for $2,090,000
The next RM Sotheby’s collector car auction will be the annual sale in London on September 7. Highlights include a 1995 Porsche 993 GT2, 1939 Alfa Romeo 6C 2500 Sport Cabriolet, 1960 Aston Martin DB4GT and a 1956 Austin Princess once owned by John Lennon.