RM Auctions Paris 2014 – Auction Report

RM Auctions, Place Vauban, Paris, France, February 5, 2014

RM Auctions joined the fray during Paris Retromobile week this year, setting up on Place Vauban, adjacent to L’Hotel national des Invalides and much of the military history of France.

The sale’s highlight was the race car collection of Australian Peter Harburg, seven cars that individually and collectively could not fail to get any historic race fan’s heart pumping.

The Harburg collection, however, was only part of the delectation RM had in store, from late model Ferrari supercars, through the sweet (and fast) Gordini, to the sublime unrestored (but also unsold) Lancia Lambda 8th Series Short Chassis Tourer. Stir in some Alfas, Ferraris, Astons and top it off with the Blu Notte Lamborghini Miura which stole the show for my 12-year old granddaughter and it was one heck of an inaugural event.

It added up to a $23.9 million sale with a 79.3% sell-through. 45.2% of the lots sold under their low estimate but 11.9% of the lots sold over their high and the hammer bid total was 101.2% of the low estimate, a good indicator of the Place Vauban bidders’ enthusiasm for the cars offered.

It also was Paris, a place where any excuse, reason or justification to go and spend a few days is welcome. The food is wonderful. The street scene is unique. The hotels (Hotel de Buci is where we stayed and it was the antithesis of a Holiday Inn, or even a Hilton) are caring. We didn’t find any of the artisanal croissant bakers mentioned in a recent Wall Street Journal article, but it’s hard to imagine any better croissants than we got at Hotel de Buci or the shops across the street.

Smoke a Cuban cigar, sip an Armagnac, savor a coffee, wallow in great cars. How could it get much better?

RM Auctions Paris 2014 – Auction Report

Radcliffe Lamborghini Countach Sculpture
Lot # 1 Radcliffe Lamborghini Countach Sculpture; Day-Glo Orange; Estimate $108,152 – $148,709; 2 condition; Hammered Sold at $112,980 plus commission of 12.00%; Final Price $126,538 – – A full size sculpture of a Countach by Benedict Radcliffe, exhaustively detailed to the extent permitted by the 10mm (3/8-inch) diameter steel rods from which it is built. It is close to magical in its effect. [The automobilia commission rate is 17%, making the correct hammer price Euros 80,000.] – This much money would buy a full size, running and driving LP5000S Countach in good, sound condition, but it wouldn’t have the impact that this Day-Glo painted wire structure imparts.
1966 Alfa Romeo Giulia Super 4-Dr. Sedan Polizia
Lot # 3 1966 Alfa Romeo Giulia Super 4-Dr. Sedan ‘Polizia’; S/N AR337918; Grey/Tan vinyl; Estimate $20,279 – $27,038; Visually maintained, largely original, 3- condition; Hammered Sold at $33,798 plus commission of 12.00%; Final Price $37,853. No Reserve – Police radio, blue light, siren. – Quick, very flawed fresh repaint, decent new upholstery, orderly but aged engine. Rusted through right front fender. Old and cracked body seals. Used car dressed up for the auction. – The catalog says ‘used in many Italian movies’, an observation that is borne out by its movie car condition. Viewed from twenty feet or through a camera lens it looks the part. Up close it looks like a movie car, and this is all the money for what it is, and then some.
1970 Ferrari 365 GT 2+2
Lot # 8 1970 Ferrari 365 GT 2+2, Body by Pininfarina; S/N 12861; Engine # 12861GT; White/Black leather; Estimate $121,671 – $175,747; Visually maintained, largely original, 3- condition; Hammered Sold at $141,950 plus commission of 12.00%; Final Price $158,983. No Reserve – Centerlock alloy wheels, Blaupunkt Mannheim cassette stereo, P/W. – Cracked, musty-smelling old upholstery, old blue carpets. Quick repaint, like a used refrigerator. Dirty and aged underhood. An aged and neglected Ferrari with a mediocre fresh repaint. – A disappointing bought for a price that belies what it will cost to make it into a Ferrari the new owner will be proud to own and drive.
1974 Ferrari 365 GT4 BB
Lot # 12 1974 Ferrari 365 GT4 BB, Body by Pininfarina; S/N 18159; Red/Tan leather; Estimate $162,228 – $202,785; Visually maintained, largely original, 3 condition; Hammered Sold at $226,443 plus commission of 12.00%; Final Price $253,616 – RHD. A/C, P/W, centerlock Cromodora wheels, Goodyear Eagle tires. – Stored for almost two decades and not mechanically recommissioned .Paint blistering on both front fenders. Driver’s seat lightly soiled. Dashtop dried out. Old undercoat. A sound but aged BB. – The Berlinetta Boxer is an important transition for Ferrari that has been largely overlooked as collectors’ interest focused on earlier front engine V12s and later 288 GTO, F40, F50 and Enzo. That oversight seems to be in the process of being addressed, if this generous price for a car in dire need of extensive mechanical and cosmetic attention is any guide.
1940 Horch 853A Sportcabriolet
Lot # 14 1940 Horch 853A Sportcabriolet, Body after Erdmann & Rossi; S/N 854402; Black/Cream leather, Black piping; Black cloth top; Estimate $1,081,520 – $1,351,900; Rebodied or re-created, 3+ condition; Not sold at Hammer bid of $777,343 – Telefunken radio, fake rumble seat with fitted luggage, power steering, enclosed rear spare, wire wheels, dual spotlight-mirrors, fog lights, Horch lens headlights, Solex 2-barrel carb. – Rebodied on a chassis reportedly found in Russia around 1990. Body includes attributes of both Erdmann & Rossi and Glaser designs. Good older paint and chrome, very good interior and top. Missing some window seals, some scratched trim. Engine and chassis show ago and use. A sound and usable tour car. – An immense amount was invested to build this Horch so it is understandable that the consignor was reluctant to part with it at the reported high bid, as reasonable as it was considering the rebody and subsequent use.
1971 Mercedes-Benz 600 'Six-Door' Pullman Landaulet
Lot # 16 1971 Mercedes-Benz 600 ‘Six-Door’ Pullman Landaulet; S/N 10001512001861; Black; Estimate $108,152 – $162,228; Unrestored original, 4- condition; Hammered Sold at $648,912 plus commission of 12.00%; Final Price $726,782. No Reserve – Beaten, battered, partially stripped. ‘Needs everything’ is inadequate to describe how much this decrepit hulk will require. – Four times the high estimate. Only a Russian oligarch or Middle Eastern potentate could value the exclusivity of one of the 26 600 6-door Landaulettes this highly.
1971 Ferrari 246 GT Dino
Lot # 21 1971 Ferrari 246 GT Dino; S/N 02572; Fly Yellow/Black vinyl, Yellow cloth; Estimate $243,342 – $297,418; Visually maintained, largely original, 3- condition; Not sold at Hammer bid of $229,823 – Voxson 8-track stereo, Prototipo leather rim steering wheel, Cromodora alloy wheels, Carello headlight covers. – Repainted over filled sills and door bottoms. Awful coarse weave Yellow seat inserts, oily engine, underbody painted over old undercoat. Expect no pleasant surprises from this Dino. – It should have been on the market well before the reported high bid. [Photo courtesy RM Auctions, © 2013 Tiphaine Lanvin.]
1973 Porsche 917/30 Can-Am Spyder
Lot # 24 1973 Porsche 917/30 Can-Am Spyder; S/N 917/30-005; Blue, Yellow/Black; Estimate $2,838,990 – $3,920,510; Competition restoration, 3 condition; Not sold at Hammer bid of $2,703,800 – – Built by Porsche for Gerry Sutterfield in1980 with a 5-liter 1,100 hp twin turbo flat twelve and an original 917/30 chassis. Done to concours standards then passed through several collections including Hans Thulin and at least two in Japan. Never raced (or even existed) in period, nor to any significant degree in vintage racing. Orderly but aged vintage race car with shiny new paint. – A legendary Porsche but marked more by its lack of history than by a roster famous drivers and races. The reported high bid seems more than reasonable.
1950 Aston Martin DB2
Lot # 25 1950 Aston Martin DB2; S/N LML/50/13; Dark Blue/Black cloth; Estimate $365,013 – $466,406; Modified restoration, 2- condition; Hammered Sold at $439,368 plus commission of 12.00%; Final Price $492,092 – LHD. 2,922cc Vantage spec engine with triple Webers, silver painted wire wheels, Dunlop Racing blackwall tires, roll bar. – Raced at Sebring in 1950, finishing third in class, raced until 1960, then stored until 2008. Chief Judge’s Award winner at Greenwich in 2010. Thoroughly and very completely restored with excellent paint, chrome and interior. Paint is cracked by left boot hinge and losing adhesion under the window sills but other than that it is impeccable. – Sold by RM at Monterey in 2012 for $308,000 and, if anything, better now than it was then. A fast and rare Aston Martin that brought a reasonable price that values it most for its historic racing potential and overlooks its extensive competition modifications.
1969 Lola T70 Mk IIIb Coupe
Lot # 26 1969 Lola T70 Mk IIIb Coupe; S/N SL-106; Blue, ‘Sunoco’/Blue vinyl; Estimate $398,811 – $479,925; Competition car, original as-raced, 3+ condition; Hammered Sold at $202,785 plus commission of 12.00%; Final Price $227,119 – RHD. 383/450hp, four Weber carbs, BBS centerlock modular wheels, Avon racing tires. – Built by Sbarro in 1969 using a leftover Lola fame, first owned by Chuck Parsons but not known where it was raced, if it was. Chipped old paint. Orderly but raced engine, cockpit and chassis. Engine, clutch and transaxle rebuilt in 2005. – The absence of period racing history and not having been assembled by Lola weighed heavily on the bidders in Paris. By all accounts this should be a thrilling car to own and race, especially at this price, a good value.

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Show Comments (7)

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  1. Hi Rick. Very true and straightforward view on the auctioned cars. Especially on the Ferraries I do agree on all your points. I would have liked to know what you thought of the Cars at Bonhams at Grand Palais. It was interesting to see how much money you can burn when you have lack of expertice. Kind regards

  2. I enjoyed reading your comments about the cars. Very to the point, and none of the wanker speak so often used these days.

    Your granddaughter has a good eye, hopefully she ends up with someone down the road who appreciates it.



  3. “Four times the high estimate. Only a Russian oligarch or Middle Eastern potentate could value the exclusivity ” An excellent description, as usual. Thank you for always providing great auction coverage and insight.

  4. I know this is being picky, but the driver of lot 29 you referred to as “Henley Haywood” was, of course, the inimitable Hurley Haywood. Love your reports, though.