Auction Preview: RM Sotheby’s Scottsdale 2017

As always, RM Sotheby’s has secured a truly impressive group of enticing cars. All eras and genres are represented in their Scottsdale sale including high-dollar prewar luxury cars, noteworthy Ferraris and Porsches, recent supercars and even a collection of classic Mopar muscle cars. Here are the 10 cars that we’ll be watching closest.

1939 Bugatti Type 57 Cabriolet
Presale estimate: $1,250,000 – $1,500,000
Hagerty Price Guide: N/A
Lot 134
One of just eight Type 57 Bugattis sporting lavish Letourner et Marchand coachwork, this car was ordered new by a French Baron with unique touches like an elongated steering column, special rear bumpers and even a one-off fishing rod-holder. Fully documented from new, it was displayed at the Pebble Beach Concours in 2004 and won second in class. It returned to Pebble in ‘16, so it remains a showable concours car.

1989 Nissan Skyline GT-R
Presale estimate: $50,000 – $70,000
Hagerty Price Guide: N/A
Lot 264
Now that early R32 Nissan Skylines are over 25 years old, they are starting to arrive on U.S. shores and many American collectors’ radars. This market has been untapped until recently as importation was illegal (they were never sold here). Since these cars were eminently tunable, many have been modified and driven hard. That makes RM’s example, a bone stock 1989 GT-R with just 23,360 original kilometers (about 14,500 miles) and a clean U.S. title, a real find. This car’s very presence at RM Sotheby’s Scottsdale sale also shows just how important newer Japanese cars are becoming in the collector car market, even at the higher end of the price spectrum. The presale estimate seems conservative, and this could be a breakout sale for Skylines.

1948 Tucker 48
Presale estimate: $1,600,000 – $2,100,000
Hagerty Price Guide: $1,400,000 – $2,000,000
Lot 160
There are fewer than four dozen Tuckers in the world today. And each of them is one of the most valuable cars ever built in America. This example is the 44th Tucker and was sold to its first private owner along with the prototype at the Tucker Corporation asset auction in 1950. It passed through a handful of owners through the years and received a light restoration in the 1970s, but was in long-term storage in Ohio from the early ‘80s until just recently in 2016, when its discovery made headlines. Tuckers rarely appear for sale, so many collectors will have their eyes on this one.

1971 Lamborghini Miura P400 SV
Presale estimate: $2,300,000 – $2,600,000
Hagerty Price Guide: $1,350,000 – $2,000,000
Lot 139
The SV was the last and most developed version of the Miura. It featured an upgraded suspension as well as a smoother and more powerful engine. SVs also lacked the earlier cars’ “eyelashes” around the headlights, and certain examples had a split sump lubrication system, allowing the engine and gearbox to use different sources of oil. RM’s example is one of the split sump cars and is equipped with factory air conditioning. It’s been cosmetically restored but otherwise remains largely original. Just 150 out of the over 750 Miuras built were SVs, making this a particularly desirable car.

1961 Ferrari 400 Superamerica Coupe
Presale estimate: $3,250,000 – $3,850,000
Hagerty Price Guide: $3,200,000 – $4,300,000
Lot 231
While not Pininfarina’s most elegant work, the 400 Superamerica Aerodinamico nevertheless has a commanding presence and in the early ‘60s was one of the very fastest cars you could buy, with over 160 mph possible thanks to its 340 hp V-12. Only 17 were built, and the one offered by RM Sotheby’s sports a top-notch restoration that has been shown twice at the Pebble Beach Concours.

2003 Ferrari Enzo
Presale estimate: $2,700,000 – $3,000,000
Hagerty Price Guide: $2,250,000 – $3,300,000
Lot 151
When the Enzo was new, you couldn’t just go out and buy one. It was only available to select Ferrari customers, and just 400 were built. That makes the opportunity to buy one at a public auction particularly appealing for those who weren’t able to buy an Enzo the first time around. This example was bought new and kept by designer Tommy Hilfiger, who drove it just 3,620 miles. Despite the low mileage, it’s been recently serviced and fitted with new tires. For the really ambitious collector, RM also has an F40 and an F50 on offer in Arizona.

1939 Mercedes-Benz 540K Special Roadster
Presale estimate: $7,400,000 – $8,400,000
Hagerty Price Guide: N/A
Lot 258
The star of the auction, at least in terms of its presale estimate, is the one-off 1939 540K Special Roadster with Sindelfingen bodywork. Any 540K is already a brilliantly engineered car, but the Special Roadsters were particularly rare with only 25 built. Commissioned with one-off bodywork for a Berlin art boutique owner in 1939, it also has the rare five-speed gearbox. Stored after war broke out, the car was found on blocks in Soviet-occupied East Berlin in 1949 and apparently driven by Soviet diplomats for several years before traveling further east to Russia. It nevertheless retained much of its original bits and made its way first to Sweden and then to the United States, eventually being restored in 2011-12. It has since been an active concours car and won several awards.

1996 Porsche 911 GT2
Presale estimate: $1,000,000 – $1,500,000
Hagerty Price Guide: $652,000 – $1,050,000
Lot 218
Despite a softening in the greater air-cooled 911 market, RM Sotheby’s has good reason to place such a high presale estimate on their 993 GT2. They sold a 1995 Riviera Blue example at their 2016 London sale for over $2.4 million, which was over double that car’s presale estimate. Due to the Porsche market’s downturn, this example likely won’t do as well but it is in similar condition and finished in the equally eye-catching color of Speed Yellow.

1969 Ferrari 365 GTS
Presale estimate: $2,900,000 – $3,500,000
Hagerty Price Guide: $2,900,000 – $3,500,000
Lot 263
While it looks a lot like a 330 GTS, the 365 GTS adds another level of performance and desirability. Its 4.4-liter V-12 makes 320 hp compared to the 330’s 300, and just 20 365 GTS were built compared to 99 330s. This example was restored in the mid-’90s and has had only six owners from new.

1990 Mercedes-Benz 190E Cosworth Evolution II
Presale estimate: $225,000 – $275,000
Hagerty Price Guide: N/A
Lot 214
The product of an unusual but effective collaboration between Mercedes-Benz and Cosworth, these 190E homologation specials were designed for DTM racing against the might BMW E30 M3. The Evo II versions are distinguished from lesser versions by even more prominent aero bits. These cars were never sold in the States, so collectors with an affinity for modern German performance will gravitate to this car. It is represented as the first one offered publicly in North America, although Bonhams has another Evo II crossing the block on the same day.

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