RM Sotheby’s 2020 London Auction

Top 3 Cars to be Auctioned at RM Sotheby’s 2020 London Auction

In light of the cancellation of the 2020 London to Brighton Veteran Car Run, the 14th annual RM Sotheby’s 2020 London auction will now be an online-only format.

Three standout cars to be featured at the 2020 London auction include a 1955 Porsche 356 Carrera 1500 GS Speedster by Reutter, a Ferrari F40 is currently owned by ex-Ferrari F1 driver Gerhard Berger, and 2011 Ferrari 599 SA Aperta.

1955 Porsche 356 Carrera 1500 GS Speedster by Reutter

Estimate £1,100,000 – £1,300,000

It was in the early 1950s when Dr. Ernst Fuhrmann designed the brilliant yet complicated Carrera “Four-Cam” engine to power Porsche’s first thorough-bred race car, the 550 Spyder. Dr.  Fuhrmann even claimed that he nicknamed his project “Drawer motor” since he had to hide his design paperwork into his drafting desk drawer every time Dr. Ferdinand Porsche would enter his office, simply because the project has not yet been approved. 

1955 Porsche 356 Carrera at RM Sotheby's 2020 London Auction
1955 Porsche 356 Carrera 1500 GS Speedster by Reutter © 2020 RM Sothebys
side of 1955 Porsche 356 Carrera 1500 GS Speedster
1955 Porsche 356 Carrera 1500 GS Speedster by Reutter © 2020 RM Sothebys
front of 1955 Porsche 356 Carrera 1500 GS Speedster
1955 Porsche 356 Carrera 1500 GS Speedster by Reutter © 2020 RM Sothebys

After 550’s success in the Carrera Panamericana Mexican road races, Porsche made a decision to use the engine in its production coupes and open-topped Speedsters and Cabriolets. In honor of its success in racing, the distinguished and expensive automobiles were dubbed “Carrera.”

Max Hoffman, Porsche’s New York importer, and John von Neumann, its West coast distributor, convinced the company to create a lightweight and spartan sports roadster to compete better in terms of price against the established British and Italian sports cars of the day.  

side profile of porsche with hood
1955 Porsche 356 Carrera 1500 GS Speedster by Reutter © 2020 RM Sothebys

At the Liege-Rome-Liege Rally in 1954, a 356 coupe fitted with a Fuhrmann engine dominated the race. Porsche then placed a Type 575 four-cam in a Speedster as a test, and other similar engines were also placed inside a couple of 356 coupes. A low volume production of just a hundred units soon began. 

In July 1955, the first 356 Carrera Pre-A Speedster that was intended for public sale was completed. According to the data gathered from the factory, there were a total of 148 Carrera Speedsters that were completed.  

speedster
1955 Porsche 356 Carrera 1500 GS Speedster by Reutter © 2020 RM Sothebys

At first glance, these special Speedsters were identical to the standard ones that had a less powerful pushrod engine. The only thing that sets it apart is the small gold scripts on the front fenders and tail, as well as the few extra switches that were added on the dashboard. 

The 1.5-liter Type 547 can produce 100bhp at 6,200rpm, and the engine flourished at high rotational speeds. The performance was exhilarating in such a lightweight chassis.

engine of 1955 Porsche 356 Carrera 1500 GS Speedster
1955 Porsche 356 Carrera 1500 GS Speedster by Reutter © 2020 RM Sothebys

This example bears chassis number 81062 and was completed on December 13, 1955. According to factory data, it is the seventh Pre-A Carrera Speedsters built out of only fifteen.

According to the Kardex, the red-over-tan example had an early-production (one-piece fan shroud) 1,488cc four-cam engine (number P90523) and a four-speed manual transmission (number 7574H). After it was completed to US-specifications including instrumentation in miles and sealed-beam headlamps, it was shipped to Hoffman Motor Company in New York.

interior of 1955 Porsche 356 Carrera 1500 GS Speedster
dashboard of 1955 Porsche 356 Carrera 1500 GS Speedster
1955 Porsche 356 Carrera 1500 GS Speedster by Reutter © 2020 RM Sothebys

This is one of the first Carrera Pre-A 1500 GS Speedsters that were ever built and arguably one of the finest. It is eligible for the Mille Miglia and is a great addition to any collection of exquisite and historically relevant sports cars.  


1990 Ferrari F40

Estimate: £900,000 – £1,100,000

The Ferrari F40 is bound to be mentioned whenever there’s a discussion of automotive icons. In celebration of the company’s 40th birthday, the F40 was the ultimate sports car that Ferrari could produce as a company. At the forefront in terms of performance, it easily left the Lamborghini  Countach and Porsche 959 in its dust, claiming the title as the fastest production car in the supercar world of the 1980s. With Enzo’s passing, the F40 is, unfortunately, the last car that received the blessing of il Commendatore. It was the end of an era for one of the most illustrious marques in the automotive industry. 

1990 Ferrari F40 at RM Sotheby’s 2020 London Auction
1990 Ferrari F40. Daniel Reinhard ©2020 Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s
back of 1990 Ferrari F40
1990 Ferrari F40. Daniel Reinhard ©2020 Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

Unlike the 959 which was able to achieve its top speed due to multiple innovative technologies, the F40, improved performance was by having less weight and more power.

For the chassis and bodywork, Ferrari made full use of fiberglass and carbon Kevlar, reducing its weight to only 2,400 pounds. Even the impressive shape was made with aerodynamics at the forefront, providing high-speed stability as well as an abundance of airflow to the engine so that overheating is prevented. Even the interior was designed to improve performance as the car was fitted with lightweight bucket seats and an absence of creature comforts. The F40 either had roll-up or fixed windows, no carpeting, and only had simple door pulls instead of traditional handles.  

front of 1990 Ferrari F40
1990 Ferrari F40. Daniel Reinhard ©2020 Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s
side profile of 1990 Ferrari F40
1990 Ferrari F40. Daniel Reinhard ©2020 Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

The impressive approach to weight savings was matched only by its approach to the F40s powerplant. It is powered by a twin-turbocharged 2.9-liter V8 similar to the 288 GTO but had bigger bores and shorter stroke. It can produce 478 bhp and reach 60mph in only 3.8 seconds. Impressively it was the first production car that could break the 200mph barrier. Originally, Ferrari was only going to produce 400 F40s, but the demand was so high that it pushed the total number of units built to 1,311. 

Upon completion on March 27, 1990 in Maranello, this example was delivered new to Ferrari agent Lightspeed S.r.l of La Spezia, Italy. It was sold to Mr. Lebee and exported to his home in Singapore through the sole Ferrari authorized dealer on the island, Hong She Motors Pte. Until February 1993, this example would remain in Singapore barely driven. It was then acquired by a second owner and then moved to Japan. 

Marque expert Marcel Massini stated that this example was on display at the much-acclaimed Retromobile event in Paris, France in both 2015 and 2017.

Gerhard Berger in front of 1990 Ferrari F40
1990 Ferrari F40. Daniel Reinhard ©2020 Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

In May 2019, the F40 was acquired by former Ferrari Formula 1 driver Gerhard Berger. Berger has competed in 210 Formula 1 races and between 1984 and 1997, he was able to win 10 GPs and he remains one of the longest-tenured drivers in the history of the series. 

Berger registered the F40 to his native Austria and was also submitted successfully for Classiche Certification under his ownership in December 2019. The ‘red book’ which will accompany the example will authenticate all pertinent original equipment and factory finishes. The original Rosso Corsa paintwork still displays an evident ‘weave,’ a feature that is in models that have a carbon fiber bodywork and a very thin layer of factory-provided paint. There is only one modification in the example and it is in the fit of the uncatalyzed and unsilenced ‘Le Mans Quicksilver’ titanium sports exhaust system. 

interior of 1990 Ferrari F40
1990 Ferrari F40. Daniel Reinhard ©2020 Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

The sale is a unique chance to own a fully serviced and superbly kept Ferrari Classiche certified F40 that has been directly under the care, supervision, and ownership of one of Ferrari’s Formula 1 icons – Gerhard Berger. 


2011 Ferrari 599 SA Aperta 

Estimate: £850,000 – £1,050,000

The Ferrari 599 SA Aperta was announced at the Paris International Motor Show back in 2010 and, like with the 550 Barchetta and the 575 Superamerica, it kept with the tradition of producing only limited-edition drop-top V-12 grand tourers. Only eighty examples were produced and even before it was announced publicly, all eighty cars were already pre-sold. 

2011 Ferrari 599 SA Aperta at 2020 RM Sotheby's London Auction
2011 Ferrari 599 SA Aperta.  Filip Vido ©2020 Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s
back of 2011 Ferrari 599 SA Aperta
2011 Ferrari 599 SA Aperta.  Filip Vido ©2020 Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

The SA Aperta used the 599 GTO’s chassis and drivetrain, but even then, Ferrari desired the car to have a softer personality compared to the GTO, which was planned to be the road-legal version of the 599XX. Ferrari gave the SA Aperta two aerodynamic fins behind the roll bars, and the windshield also had a steeper rake. The suspension and exhaust of the SA Aperta were designed to be less aggressive compared to the 599 GTO and the 599XX, resulting in a more comfortable drive especially for long-distance touring. 

This example is in a stunning Grigio Silverstone matched with Cuoio leather interior, and it is also equipped with a list of desirable options like the front and rear sensors, Scuderia shields, black-painted brake calipers, and carbon fiber wheel caps.

interior of 2011 Ferrari 599 SA Aperta
2011 Ferrari 599 SA Aperta.  Filip Vido ©2020 Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s
looking inside 2011 Ferrari 599 SA Aperta
2011 Ferrari 599 SA Aperta.  Filip Vido ©2020 Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

This SA Aperta is also fitted with a host of carbon fiber options including large carbon fiber racing seats trimmed in Cuoio, carbon fiber driving zone with LEDs on the steering wheel, carbon fiber door sills, carbon fiber central bridge. Options that are also included are the full Cuoio dashboard as well as the stitching in Charcoal, and gunmetal grey seat belts. 

Built in European-specification, the SA Aperta was completed and delivered in July 2011 to a collector in Athens, Greece through Ferrari’s official dealer in Athens. It was then exported by the owner to his U.K. residence where it remained until it was eventually acquired by the consignor in January 2016.  

Ferrari emblem
2011 Ferrari 599 SA Aperta.  Filip Vido ©2020 Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

The car was shipped to the Czech Republic and has remained in Prague with its owner although it has not yet been registered to his name. Under his custody, the car was serviced by the official Ferrari dealership in Prague, the Scuderia Praha, in June 2016 and August 2018, it has also been serviced just recently. The example has been driven less than 1,000 kms from new and is in excellent condition both inside and out. 

The SA Aperta is plausibly the most attractive of the 599 family, and are exceptional cars that are beloved by their owners for their usability.


For further information on these three cars or other cars at RM Sotheby’s 2020 London Auction please visit RM Sotheby’s website.

[Source: RM Sotheby’s]