Words and pictures: RM Sotheby's
The countdown is underway to RM Sotheby’s final event of the year, Driven by Disruption. The second iteration of the company’s groundbreaking New York auction, the exclusive December 10 sale features an offering carefully curated to showcase the extremes of motoring history and the moulds that were broken by engineers and designers when pushing the automotive envelope. From coachbuilt marvels to feats of high performance and wild customs and concepts, the catalogue spans more than 70 years of innovative motion. These select automobiles join the previously announced 1956 Ferrari 290MM, 1962 Aston Martin DB4GT Zagato, and 1955 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL ‘Sportabteilung’ Gullwing as beautiful disruptions to the automotive norms of their day, whether it be for their genre, engineering, or out-of-the-box styling.
Driven by Performance: 1973 Porsche 911 Carrera RS 2.7 Touring, chassis no. 9113601018 (Est. $950,000 - $1,200,000)
Porsche’s 1973 Carrera RS has become one of the most sought-after sports cars to emerge from the fabled German automaker. Having retired its Le Mans-winning Type 917 Prototype program of the late 1960s and early 1970s, Porsche needed another racing venue to bolster its competition image. When the FIA created a new series for production-based sports cars, Porsche pounced. Using the 911S Coupe as a starting point, Porsche’s Competition Department created two versions of the Carrera RS; a Sport or Lightweight intended for racing, and a Touring version trimmed for comfortable road use. The company’s sales department was sure they would never sell 500 examples, but were proven wrong when orders flooded in and they sold that first series of 500 along with two more. Most cars were delivered in Grand Prix White with contrasting Carrera graphics, but could also be ordered in the eye-catching “Jelly Bean” colors. The highly optioned 911 on offer at Driven by Disruption sports one such color, the rare Signal Yellow, and is presented with its original numbers-matching drivetrain and a Porsche Certificate of Authenticity. Boasting nothing short of legendary performance, it is one of the finest examples extant of Porsche’s first competition-based homologation model.
Driven by Fashion: 1953 Chrysler Special Coupe by Ghia, chassis no. 7232631 (Est. $700,000 - $900,000)
Chrysler was still “the engineer’s car company” in the early 1950s, producing beautifully machined products with a decidedly conservative look. Legendary Chrysler design chief Virgil Exner would change that, designing a series of increasingly flamboyant showpieces built by Ghia. Debuted at the 1952 Paris Salon, the Chrysler Special received so much attention that Mr. Ladouch, the French Chrysler importer, with the support of the company’s Export Manager, “CB” Thomas, decided it warranted a small production run for European clientele. The Special on offer, one of just 18 examples produced, was originally supplied via Neue Amag und Automobile, the Chrysler importers in Switzerland, eventually landing in the US.
Around 1982, it was acquired by the renowned Fran Roxas, who personally restored the car to its present color scheme, inspired by those worn in-period by the original show car. Roxas sold his Special to famed “dream car” collector Joe Bortz, who went on to show it all over the country during his two decades of ownership. The most famous of all 18 built, it remains a landmark styling trendsetter that still resonates on today’s Chryslers.
Driven by Technology: 1981 BMW M1, chassis no. 4301426 (Est. $800,000 - $1,000,000)
As a disruptive force, the M1 revolutionized BMW’s approach to motorsports and remains the only true mid-engine supercar in the company’s storied history. Combining cutting-edge style with brisk performance, it was the first automobile in BMW’s legendary M-Class and arguably remains the most significant and mold-shattering automobile the company has ever built. The road-going example on offer in New York is one of the most original in existence; virtually untouched for over three decades before being acquired by the vendor, it is presented in its original Arctic White and currently displays just 683 kilometers.
Driven by Adrenaline: 1986 Ford RS200, chassis no. 169 (Est. $450,000 - $550,000)
Often referred to as the Golden Era of rallying, enthusiasts speak with glowing memories of Group B regulations, when revolutionary all-wheel-drive chassis and turbocharged engines resulted in some of the most athletic cars to ever face a timer. While Ford’s European racing concern in England had dominated WRC competition in the 1970s, America’s oldest carmaker dropped out of the format in 1980 to develop something that could compete with Audi’s forthcoming Quattro and Renault’s mighty R5 Turbo. With its F1-bred chassis predicated on all-wheel drive, mid/rear 1.8-litre turbocharged Cosworth engine, and bodywork by Ghia, the RS200 is appreciated by design experts and performance connoisseurs alike.
One of just 200 road-going versions built to homologate the model for World Rally Championship certification, the car on offer is the last customer-delivered example. With just two private owners from new, it remains in highly original condition, never having run in competition and showing just 1,960 km. A near time-capsule example, it is a sensational anomaly in the Ford production output that represented the legendary Group B rally cars.
Driven by Heritage - 2003 Ferrari Enzo, chassis no. 135440 (Est. $3,000,000 - $3,500,000)
Combining Formula 1-inspired technology with groundbreaking design, the Enzo was a drastic departure from the cars that came before, bringing Ferrari into the 21st century. From nose to tail, form was a secondary consideration to function in order to allow for an unrivaled driving experience. With a limited run of just 399 examples produced, and one additional car built especially for Pope John Paul II, the Enzo became the gold standard to which all other supercar manufacturers compared their machines. Presented in virtually as-new condition, the Enzo on offer was formerly owned by renowned boxer and car enthusiast Floyd Mayweather. Surely one of the finest Enzos extant, it is just two owners and 560 miles from new.
These five automobiles are but a snapshot of the 31 pioneering motor cars and select automobilia set for RM Sotheby’s Driven by Disruption auction, December 10 at Sotheby’s New York City headquarters. To view the complete digital auction catalogue, please visit www.rmsothebys.com. The striking 250-page compilation is filled with stunning photography, expertly researched descriptions, and exciting footage that captures the essence of the upcoming auction – disruption.
For those unable to attend the event in person, RM Sotheby’s offers a range of remote bidding options, including absentee, Internet, and telephone bidding, and the auction will stream live at www.rmsothebys.com providing real-time coverage of the event. As a prelude to the auction, an exclusive six-day exhibition will open over the weekend of December 5 in Sotheby’s 10th floor galleries.