RM and Sotheby's 'boutique' Art of the Automobile sale in New York turned into a bidding frenzy last night (21 November) with more than $60million raised in just two hours on a catalogue of just 31 cars.
The sale smashed 11 world records and more than half the classics sold accrued more than $1million apiece.
They included enormous results of $1.65m each for a two-owner-from-new 1960 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Roadster and a BMW 507 that came complete with factory hardtop.
Top-seller, though, was the 1964 Ferrari 250LM (main image and below) which amassed $14.3m. With a rich racing history, including 1st in class at the 1968 Daytona 24 Hours, and having not been sold publicly for many years, the LM was expected to make big money, but the near top estimate price drew gasps and cheers in equal measure.
A pair of Ferrari specials also generated a huge amount of interest.
The first, a one-off 1955 250 Europa GT by Pinin Farina made $2.42million (a price that would re-occur throughout the sale it seems), while the later Bertone restyle of a 250GT SWB Competizione topped $7million against a $6.5-8.5m guide.
That may have looked a strong result, but it was topped by more than $100,000 by the 1938 Talbot-Lago T150-C SS Teardrop Cabriolet. Even though the Talbot's sale price fell below lower guide, the trade said it was still an excellent return for what is thought to be the most original surviving example of the short-wheelbase Figoni et Falaschi design.
The Chevrolet Cerv II – designed by Larry Shinoda and Tony Lapine and engineered by Zora Arkus-Duntov – fell a few hundred thousand dollars short of its lower estimate, but still sold for $1.1m.
The only Supersonic that Ghia built on an Aston chassis, the 1956 DB2/4 MkII, made a mid-estimate $2.3million, while the 1955 Maserati A6G/2000 Spyder nudged its top guide at $4,455,000.
There is no question that even among this selection of sleek and rakish beauty, the 1933 Rolls-Royce Phantom II sports coupé by Freestone & Webb stood out. The pre-sale estimate of $2-2.8m was again proven to be spot on as the delectable Royce settled almost in the middle at £2.42m.
The other most appealing pre-war classic was the 1936 Delahaye Type 135 Competition Court Teardrop Coupé, which made precisely the same money as the Royce, but in the Delahaye's case falling well short of its $3m lower guide.
Pre-sale speculation that the auction would see a Toyota 2000GT crest $1million was undone when one of just 54 cars delivered to the US fell just short at $968,000.
With so many one-offs, styling exercises and super-rarities in the sale, worthwhile analysis of the results is difficult, but the most telling evidence of the sale fever – and the state of the classic car market as a whole – came when $450,000-plus was paid for a pristine 1966 Jaguar E-type S1 4.2 Roadster.
Notable no-sales included the Duke and Duchess of Windsor's 1941 Cadillac Custom Limo and 1955 Lincoln Indianapolis Exclusive Study by Boano.
RM boss Rob Myers said: “What we have established here in New York is a complete demonstration of how to bring some of the world’s rarest and most exceptional automobiles to market, in both an exciting and visually arresting way. Furthermore, the sale has successfully brought many new collectors into the market for the first time, which is fantastic news for our hobby.”
1957 F.B. Mondial 250 Bialbero Grand Prix $143,000 Sold
1960 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Roadster 198.042.10.002562 $1,650,000 Sold
1961 Ferrari 250 GT Cabriolet Series II 2473 $2,035,000 Sold
1956 Aston Martin DB2/4 Mk II ‘Supersonic’ AM300/1/1132 $2,310,000 Sold
1933 Rolls-Royce Phantom II Continental Sports Coupé 42PY $2,420,000 Sold
1957 Dual-Ghia Convertible 145 $456,500 Sold
1933 Auburn Twelve Custom Speedster 2119E $1,210,000 Sold
1932 Ford V-8 Cabriolet 18-81392 $319,000 Sold
1959 Porsche 356 A Carrera 1600 GS 'Sunroof' Coupé 108399 $605,000 Sold
1936 Delahaye Type 135 Competition Court Teardrop Coupé 47242 $2,420,000 Sold
1997 Ferrari F310 B 179 $630,000 No sale
1970 Plymouth Road Runner Superbird RM23R0A170172 $363,000 Sold
1955 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Gullwing 198.040.5500695 $1,265,000 Sold
1955 Ferrari 250 Europa GT Coupé 0407GT $2,420,000 Sold
1938 Talbot-Lago T150-C SS Teardrop Cabriolet 90111 $7,150,000 Sold
1941 Cadillac Custom Limousine "The Duchess" $415,000 No sale
1933 Duesenberg Model SJ Beverly 2538 $1,760,000 Sold
1929 Ford 'Dick Flint' Roadster $577,500 Sold
2011 Bugatti Veyron 16.4 Grand Sport Bleu Nuit VF9SK2C24BM795010 $2,310,000 Sold
1958 BMW 507 Series II Roadster 70180 $1,650,000 Sold
1958 Oldsmobile Ninety-Eight Convertible 589M12628 $258,500 Sold
1931 Minerva AL Convertible Sedan 80105 $660,000 Sold
1954 Pegaso Z-102 Series II Berlinetta 0102-150-0148 $797,500 Sold
1955 Lincoln Indianapolis Exclusive Study 58WA10902 $1,550,000 No sale
1960 F.M.R. Tg 500 'Tiger' 21027 $137,500 Sold
1912 Stutz Model A Bear Cat $770,000 Sold
1955 Maserati A6G/2000 Spyder 2101 $4,455,000 Sold
1967 Toyota 2000GT MF10-10093 $968,000 Sold
1959 Ferrari 250 GT SWB "Competition" Berlinetta Speciale 1739GT $7,040,000 Sold
1914 Flying Merkel Model 471 $181,500 Sold
1966 Jaguar E-Type Series I 4.2-Litre Roadster 1E11911 $467,500 Sold
1964 Chevrolet CERV II P-3910 $1,100,000 Sold
1892 Brewster Park Drag $253,000 Sold
1964 Ferrari 250 LM 6107 $14,300,000 Sold
All photos: Michael Furman, courtesy of RM Auctions except LM archive shot: Bill Warner, courtesy of RM Auctions