Five of the Villa Erba auction’s most stunning classics

| 27 Mar 2017

RM Sotheby’s has pulled the veil on the first of its cars to be sold at Villa Erba on 27 May, and it’s a lineup that will leave collectors of coachbuilt classics clamouring for their chequebooks, and us mere mortals clutching our lottery tickets. We’ve chosen our top five cars of the sale so far, including a sublime Bugatti Atalante and a charming BMW 507.

5. 1953 Bentley R-Type Continental Sports Saloon by Mulliner

RM’s sublime Bentley R-Type Continental is every bit at alluring now as it was in 1953, when it was used by the company to tempt potential buyers at that year’s Geneva Salon. The right-hand-drive example left the factory with desirable rear wheel spats and lightweight adjustable seats, plus a raft of other options including double filament headlamps. 

The car eventually made its way to the United States and three-times Rolls-Royce Owners Club Best of Show award winner Anthony ‘Bud’ Korteweg, who fully rebuilt the car for his personal use. A ringing endorsement, if ever there was one. 

4. 1957 BMW 507 Roadster


Undoubtedly one of the most beautiful BMWs ever made, this 507 is sure to make a statement wherever it goes – especially given its unusual shade of Sea Green. One of just 251 examples built, RM’s 507 boasts its original engine and factory hard top. It’s got 73,000km on the clock – all accrued by just four owners, one of which kept the car for a staggering 52 years. 

3. 1930 Alfa Romeo 6C 1750 GS Spider


Fewer cars fit with the beautiful surroundings of Villa Erba quite like the Alfa Romeo 6C 1750 GS Spider. Chassis 8513001 is the first fourth series car built and one of just two sporting coachwork by Carrozzeria Sport SA. The car was campaigned in the 1932 Swiss Car Championship by Baron Horst Von Waldhausen and later in the European Hillclimb Championship by Julio Villars. In addition to a fascinating competition history, the Spider has a well-documented chain of owners, one of whom it stayed with for 48 years. 

2. 1937 Bugatti Type 57 Atalante Prototype


Just three Type 57 Atalante Prototypes were ever built and, of those, chassis 57254 is particularly special. The car was delivered new to Bugatti Works driver Meo Costantini and benefited from a specially tuned engine. Elevating its rarity, it is one of few built by Carrosserie Bugatti, and sports matching numbers and just 26,000km on the clock. It’s even got its original toolkit. 

1. 1937 Talbot-Lago T150-C SS Goute d’Eau Coupé


Affectionately known as the ‘Teardrop’, the Figoni et Falaschi-bodied T150 is one of the most attractive, aerodynamically inspired automotive designs of all time – and this example is no exception. The Art Deco masterpiece is the second to be fitted with enclosed front wings and remained in Switzerland throughout the majority of its life. It was fully restored to concours condition by Atelier et Carosserie de Tourraine in 2002. 

Photos: Fotohalle Unger/Tim Scott/Robin Adams/Tom Wood