What would you drive home from this online-only RM Sotheby’s sale?

The first thing we need to report about the RM Sotheby’s Palm Beach auction, which was due to take place on 21–22 March, is that owing to the spread of the coronavirus, it has been moved to an online-only sale. Bidding will commence on 20 March. And with that, let’s dive in shall we?

Comprising over 200 lots, the bumper online-only Palm Beach sale from RM Sotheby’s is cram-packed with fascinating collector cars to suit most tastes and budgets. Perhaps unsurprisingly, there is a lot of Americana offered, as well as several relatively high-profile thematic collections such as the wonderful assembly of Rolls-Royces formerly owned by Bikram Choudhury. 

In terms of European cars, we think it makes sense to group them by country. Representing the Italians, there are a number of delectable Ferraris and Lamborghinis on the roster. How good does the Ferrari 599 GTB look painted in Rosso Fiorano over Cuoio upholstery (est. 135,000–150,000 US dollars), for example, and why have we never considered a Lamborghini Jalpa before? One of just 410 produced, RM’s 1984 Targa example (90,000–110,000 dollars) has only covered 50,000 miles and, perhaps more importantly, retains its rear wing, an option that cost the original owner an extra 5,000 dollars. 

While the low-mileage ‘Rambo Lambo’ LM002 would be a great car in which to evade the cononavirus, our favourite Italian from the sale is the 2005 Ferrari F430. A beautifully original car in a not-so-original colour combination, we can understand why its simplicity, condition and rare six-speed gearbox commands a healthy estimate of 180,000–200,000-dollars. 

The British contingent is also very strong. In addition to the swarm of quirky Rolls-Royce Camargue Drophead Conversions we explored earlier this week, we love the 1977 Aston Martin V8 Vantage ‘Bolt-On Fliptail’ (150,000–200,000 dollars). A left-hand-drive convertee, the handsome V8 is one of just 16 ‘Fliptail’ versions of the marque’s very first supercar and in Aston Martin circles, that elevates it very high in the desirability stakes. 

A McLaren Senna painted Sarthe Grey and showing 200 miles on the clock spearheads the catalogue with an estimate of 950,000–1.2m dollars, but for budgets that don’t stretch that far, how about the incredibly elegant 2002 Aston Martin DB7 Vantage Volante? A beautifully presented car that’s covered just 28,000 miles and is jam-packed with optional extras, the V12 convertible is estimated at just 25,000–30,000 dollars. That is a hell of a lot of car for the money. 

We think France’s finest offering is the wonderfully original 1973 Citroën SM from The Belle Meade Collection (45,000–50,000 dollars). In the German corner, meanwhile, several Porsches had us flinching for our chequebooks. If you want to know the difference between one of the best five-speed 928 Ss on the planet and, well, not, the 61,000-mile car from 1985 is estimated at 25,000–30,000 dollars while 8,500-mile example from 1986, complete with all its invoices and original bits and bobs, is up at 90,000–110,000 dollars. That’s the price today’s collectors are willing to pay for originality when it comes to these ‘youngtimer’ Porsches.

If you’re more of a 911 person, there’s a lovely Grand Prix White 911 Turbo from 1987 that’s loaded with options including the must-have limited-slip differential, electric sunroof and heated seats. Heated seats, in 1987! If you’re feeling particularly brave, how about the 5.5-litre turbocharged V12-powered 2004 Mercedes-Benz Brabus T12? 

Photos: RM Sotheby’s © 2020 

Bidding commences on 20 March for the online-only RM Sotheby’s Palm Beach sale. You can find the entire catalogue listed in the Classic Driver Market.