A rare Ferrari F40 LM with racing history was the standout lot at RM Sotheby’s Paris auction on Wednesday – and it was one of an impressive seven million-pound-plus sales at the event.
The F40 was the subject of prolonged bidding both in the room at Place Vauban and over the phone and eventually sold for €4,842,500 (£4.2m), in the process setting a new world record for the model.
The more you know about the car, though, the less surprising that figure seems. The LM was the original competition version of the fabled F40, and only 19 were built. This one’s probably the most famous, having twice competed in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, finishing 12th in 1995.
It was far from the only big hitter, though, with a 1956 Porsche 550 RS Spyder making €3,042,500 (£2.64m) and a 1966 Ferrari 275GTB/6C selling for €2,860,000 (£2.48m) – the latter sale taking place immediately after the auction had finished.
Other classics to change hands for big figures included a 1957 Mercedes-Benz 300SL – every auction has to have one, it seems – in Roadster form, which made £784,903, a 1966 Shelby 427 Cobra (£674,794) and a 1960 Ferrari 250GT (£552,450).
More modern machines were also in demand, with a couple of Bugatti supercars proving particularly popular. The older of two, a 1994 EB110 Super Sport with an incredibly low mileage, sold for €2,030,000 (£1.76m) – well above its pre-sale estimate, and almost double the previous record for the model.
A 2018 Bugatti Chiron, meanwhile, was sold immediately after the auction for €2,275,000 (£1.97m), as was a 1996 Ferrari F50, which went for €1,700,000 (£1.48m).
Nestling neatly in-between the pricey classics and the almost-as-pricey modern machines was the first batch of the much-talked-about Youngtimer Collection: a single-owner group of more than 140 cars from the 1980s, ’90s and ’00s.
A total of 25 from the collection were offered in Paris, and all bar one sold.
Top of the pile was a 2006 Ferrari Superamerica, which changed hands for €590,000 (£513,300), but many of the lots exceeded their pre-sale estimates. A 1989 Mercedes-Benz 560SEC AMG 6.0 ‘Wide-Body’ was a particular favourite with bidders, and eventually sold for €297,500 (£258,825) – more than double its pre-sale low estimate and a new world record for the model at auction.
A group of low-mileage models also well exceeded expectations: a 17,000km 1992 Porsche 928 GTS made €138.000, a 1994 BMW Alpina B12 5.7 went for €207.000, a 1985 Audi quattro for €77.625 and a 1994 Mercedes-Benz E500 Limited achieved €86.250.
The only car from the Youngtimer group not to sell? Sorry, Mr 2015 Morgan Aero SuperSports, but that would be you…
There were some big prices paid away from the automotive side of things, too, with an Ayrton Senna McLaren Rheos Helmet particularly sought after. That changed hands for – brace yourselves – €162,000 (£142,000), helped no doubt by the fact that the Brazilian wore it during the 1990 Formula 1 World Championship, a season in which he and McLaren did the Drivers’/Constructors double.
Augustin Sabatié-Garat, auction manager at RM Sotheby’s Europe, was certainly delighted with the auction, which finished with a 76% sales rate.
“We have enjoyed a highly successful night in Paris, achieving the highest sale total since the first auction in 2014. This is a great indication that certain sectors of the market are looking strong for 2019, and it was particularly interesting to see how well cars from the Youngtimer Collection sold alongside the established blue-chip collector cars.
“This was the perfect venue for the presentation of our star car, the F40 LM, with such fantastic French history, and our increased bidder numbers and growing participation from around the world also indicate sustained and new interest in the collector car hobby.”
You can view all of the results from RM Sotheby’s Paris sale, and every other auction for the past six months, in the C&SC classic car auction results database.