A final glance at the RM Sotheby’s Monterey sale

A Le Mans-winning Jaguar, the most desirable pre-War Alfa of them all and the first Shelby Cobra – it’s not hard to argue that the RM Sotheby’s Monterey sale is the most impressive auction taking place in California this week. But will the results match the grandeur of the catalogue?

As RM’s headlining lots are edged onto their plinths and polished to within an inch of their lives at the Portola Hotel ahead of the two-day sale on 19-20 August, so our focus turns to the catalogue in general – one with, in the face of an ever more discerning buyer’s market, ambitious estimates across the board.

Provenance pays 

Many of the star cars, including the Le Mans-winning Jaguar D-type (est. 20,000,000-25,000,000 US dollars) and the Fantuzzi-bodied Ferrari 268 SP prototype (estimate on request), are fresh to the market although, as we saw with the Ferrari 250 GT ‘SWB’ that failed to sell at Arcturial’s Le Mans Classic sale, this is an attribute that doesn’t necessarily guarantee a sale. That said, the provenances of both are stunning – particularly the Jaguar, which will surely surpass the record price for the marque currently held by a C-type at 13.2m dollars.

The Jaguar is only matched estimate-wise at Monterey by the Alfa Romeo 8C Lungo Spider, which comes from the collection of Sam and Emily Mann. However, you can perhaps go ahead and include the first-ever Shelby Cobra, CSX 2000, in there too – its given estimate of, we quote, “PRICELESS!” translates into a more serious real-world figure of at least eight digits. Of course, there is also a raft of blue-chip Ferraris that will undoubtedly keep the interests of collectors and market analysts afloat.

A sustainable surge?

Riding on the back of the surging demand for limited-production modern supercars, RM has consigned both a Ferrari 550 Barchetta and a 575 Superamerica (450,000-600,000 dollars and 375,000-425,000 dollars, respectively), a 2005 Maserati MC12 (1.3-16m dollars) and a 2014 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG ‘Black Series’, expected to garner 425,000-550,000 dollars. Combined with the modern offerings from the other auction houses, we are keen to see whether this is a sustainable trend. 

No-precedence headliners aside, we expect no massive deviations from the wider-market trends that have become apparent since last year’s Monterey sales. Will the anticipated pullback of British collectors in the wake of Brexit have a major effect on the overall results? Will the absence of Max Girardo on the rostrum be a notable one in the room across the two days? Will the strong estimates for the big hitters be met, resulting in a plethora of ‘World Records’ as in previous years? Check back on Classic Driver throughout the week to find out. 

Photos: RM Sotheby's

You can find the full catalogue for the RM Sotheby’s Monterey sale listed in the Classic Driver Market.