A closer look at the spotlight-stealing RM Sotheby’s Monterey sale

Of the ‘big three’ auction houses holding sales during Monterey Car Week later this month, RM Sotheby’s is clearly intending to steal the headlines with its Ferrari 250 GTO, the most valuable car ever offered at auction, estimated at 45–60m US dollars. Here’s a look at the rest of the catalogue…

In 2017, the Canadian auction house’s Californian home from home, the Portola Hotel & Spa, was undergoing construction work, which reduced available space and thus the number of cars offered. In 2018, however, the building is complete and RM has curated a bumper 150-lot catalogue, spearheaded by its own ‘big three’ – the 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO (est. 45–60m US dollars), 1963 Aston Martin DP215 (18–22m dollars), and 1966 Ford GT40 MKII (9–12m dollars). We’ve already taken a closer look at each of these star cars, so let’s see what else is up for grabs at RM’s flagship sale on 24–25 August.

If you think RM Sotheby’s has put all its eggs in the aforementioned cars’ baskets, you’d be oh-so-wrong. Just look at some of the other blue-chip Ferraris offered, such as the striking Vignale-bodied 375 America (3.5–5m dollars), which starred at the 1954 Geneva Motor Show and is the first of its type to be offered publicly in seven years, or the sensational 250 GT ‘SWB’ (9.5–12.5m dollars), one of just 42 alloy-bodied cars built in 1960.

Our pick of the Prancing Horses, though, would have to be the ex-Pierre Bardinon 1953 Ferrari 250 MM. Resplendent in midnight blue, chassis #0344 was raced extensively across Europe in the period with notable success before it wound up in the famous Pierre Bardinon Mas du Clos collection, where it resided for 20 years. At 7.5–9m dollars, we think it’s a rather good value proposition given its rarity (31 were built), provenance, and sheer beauty.

As we’ve become accustomed to seeing at collector car auctions in recent years, there’s a raft of ultra-rare modern super- and hypercars in the catalogue. Top honours probably go to the 1998 Mercedes-Benz CLK GTR AMG, the ninth of 20 closed examples built, with fewer than 1,500km on the clock (4.25–5.25m dollars). Having said that, the striking Liquid Silver McLaren P1 (1.7–2m dollars), solid-red ‘as-new’ LaFerrari (3–4m dollars), and delivery-mileage Aston Martin Vanquish Zagato (600,000–800,000 dollars) are all hot property right now and seemingly on a one-way trajectory. 

Two superb competition Porsches will cross the block later this month – a 1968 908 Works ‘Short-Tail’ Coupé and a 1957 550A Spyder. The former, which was raced by Vic Elford and Jochen Neerpasch, has an attached pre-sale estimate of 2.3–2.8m dollars, while the latter, a car with an extensive West Coast competition history, is expected to fetch 4.6–5m dollars.

Porsche is a marque that features heavily in the catalogue. Not only are there examples of its seminal 356, Carrera 2.7 RS, and 930 Turbo, but also two ‘youngtimer’ 911s that have been given the highly coveted Ruf treatment. Our pick is the cult classic CTR ‘Yellow Bird’ from 1989 – it might not dazzle in yellow, but it is one of the 29 original cars and has allegedly never been crashed or restored. You’ll need to fork out 1–1.2m dollars for all that Instagram credibility.

The award for the most beautiful car in the sale must surely go to the Zagato-bodied 1956 Maserati A6G/2000 (4.25–5.25m dollars), though the immaculate grey-over-red 1955 Mercedes-Benz 300SL ‘Gullwing’ (1.45–1.65m dollars) – complete with the all-important Rudge wheels – is admittedly sensational.

There’s not really any question as to which car we’d most like to drive back down the Pacific Coast Highway, however. The Ferrari 250 GTO is, simply put, one of the most desirable cars on the planet and for very good reasons. Sure, it’s got the ever so slightly less pretty Series II body but frankly, who cares? This is the real McCoy and you can expect every eye in the collector car world to be on it when it roars across the block on 25 August.

Photos courtesy of RM Sotheby’s © 2018 

You can find the entire catalogue for the RM Sotheby’s Monterey sale, taking place on 24–25 August 2018, listed in the Classic Driver Market.