What will be the trending topics from RM Sotheby’s in Amelia Island?

With a quirky selection of ‘youngtimers’, a handful of the world’s most serious track toys, and a smattering of ultra-desirable blue-chip classics, the recipe for the RM Sotheby’s Amelia Island sale on 8–9 March looks to be a heady one. Here’s which cars we’ll be watching closest…

As if the temperature in Florida needed raising any further, RM Sotheby’s will be bringing the heat to sun-kissed Amelia Island on 8–9 March 2019 with a catalogue of some 140 collector cars, ranging from 1960s Grand Tourers to contemporary hybrid hypercars and everything in between. 

Let’s start with the big-hitting blue-chip classics, shall we? The Canadian auction house’s biggest coup for Amelia Island is probably the 1937 Bugatti Type 57SC Tourer. It’s one of just 16 open-topped Type 57Ss and even fewer eight bodied by Corsica. What’s more, it retains its original engine, gearbox, chassis, and bodywork. The estimate is a not insignificant 6–7.5m US dollars. 

More in line with our tastes is the 1965 Shelby Cobra, the only full-fat 427 to have won a race in Europe in the period and estimated accordingly at 3–4m dollars; the 1965 Ferrari 275 GTB, which boasts the rare and rather charming Campagnolo ‘Starbust’ wheels (est. 2.2–2.4m dollars); and the ravishing red 1965 Aston Martin DB5 Vantage Convertible (1.4–1.6m dollars). 

Whether you’re a track-day regular or a historic racing veteran, you’ll no doubt need to dig further into your skills locker to tame the 2005 Maserati MC12 Versione Corsa (1.6–2m dollars), 2013 Lotus T125 quasi-Formula 1 car (400,000–600,000 dollars), or the 1990 AAR-Toyota Eagle HF89 (900,000–1.2m dollars). The latter is a 700bhp ground-effect monster that, in the early 1990s, brought the Japanese giant its first IMSA GTP win. 

Isn’t it remarkable that values of Ferrari’s limited-to-799 F12tdf – essentially a hardcore track-biased Grand Tourer – are creeping up on the bona fide hybrid hypercars from Porsche and McLaren? The top estimate of RM’s beautifully specified and sub-350-mile Blu Tour de France 2017 example is a stunning 1.1m dollars, just 125,000 dollars off the lower estimate of the virtually brand new 2015 Porsche 918 Spyder. 

Neither is the modern machine we’d be driving away from the sale – that would be the rarer 2012 Lexus LFA Nürburgring Package (825,000–925,000 dollars) – orange has never sounded so glorious! 

While the bulk of the Goliath collection of youngtimers RM consigned late last year is due to be sold at Techno Classica Essen in April, a handful has escaped and is en route to Florida. The most lust-worthy car is arguably the 1989 Mercedes-Benz 560 SEC AMG 6.0 ‘Wide-body’ that, despite its lack of early history, is still expected to garner 120,000–140,000 dollars. That said, we wouldn’t turn our noses up to the stunning manual 2004 Ferrari 575M Maranello, which has the all-important Fiorano Handling Pack and has travelled just 7,800 miles (250,000–300,000 dollars). 

Inevitably, there is a further selection of more modern classics that piqued our attention, not least the 1990 Porsche Ruf BTR Carrera 4 Turbo, a car billed as ‘The Ultimate’ (250,000–300,000 dollars) and the 1999 Bentley Continental SC, the rolling embodiment of automotive sporting and opulence (175,000–225,000 dollars). 

We wonder if we’ll ever see what is essentially a brand-new Lotus Esprit S4 offered in the region of RM’s sensational Norfolk Yellow example’s 60,000–75,0000-dollar estimate again? And if the 2008 Ferrari F430 Spider offered (200,000–250,000 dollars) is indeed the sole example painted in the impossibly elegant retro shade of Marrone 1972? That remains to be seen. What we do know is that all eyes will be on the RM Sotheby’s saleroom at the Ritz-Carlton on Amelia Island next weekend. 

Photos courtesy of RM Sotheby’s © 2019 

You can find the entire catalogue for the RM Sotheby’s Amelia Island sale, taking place on 8–9 March 2019 in Florida, listed in the Classic Driver Market.