Will box-fresh beat beautiful at the RM Sotheby’s Villa Erba sale?

At Lake Como this weekend, the tranquil sounds of gravel crunching, jazz playing, and waves gently lapping the water’s edge will be interrupted by a gavel dropping, as RM Sotheby’s offers 66 collector cars and motorcycles (and one yacht!) during its biannual Villa Erba sale…

Release the grease

The lot that’s stolen the most column inches in the weeks leading up to the Villa Erba sale, both in the automotive and general press, has undoubtedly been the 1993 Porsche 911 Carrera RSR 3.8, which is so ‘new’ that’s still got the factory-applied protective Cosmoline grease smeared all over its bodywork. One of just 51 built, and showing just 10km on the clock, we can’t help doubting whether this untouched car will ever turn a wheel under its own power again. The brazen Guards Red interior won’t be to everybody’s tastes, but that’s by and by — with the explosion for air-cooled Porsches still rumbling, it’s 2–2.2m euro estimate perhaps doesn’t sound so outrageous.

Undeniable beauty 

The lack of headlining blue-chip Ferraris at Villa Erba is made up for with a more traditional quartet of very special pre-War cars. Comprised of the Saoutchik-bodied 1928 Mercedes-Benz 680 S Torpedo-Sport Avant-Garde (est. 6.5–8m euros), which is a former Pebble Beach ‘Best of Show’ winner; the drop-dead-gorgeous 1937 Talbot-Lago T150-C SS ‘Goutte d’Eau’ by Figoni et Falaschi (est. 3.2–3.8m euros); the first Alfa Romeo 6C 1750 Gran Sport 4th Series built (est. 2.2–2.6m euros); and the ultra-rare 1935 Bugatti Type 57 Atalante Prototype (est. 2.8–3.2m euros), bodied by the marque’s in-house carrosserie at Molsheim, the four should appeal to the inspired concours visitors and exhibitors at the neighbouring Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este.

The Holy Trinity

It’s indicative of the current market interest in limited-edition modern supercars that four of the most beautiful pre-War cars in the world are joined by three of the latest and greatest tech-fest hybrid hypercars. RM is the first auction house to assemble what is commonly referred to the ‘Holy Trinity’ — the McLaren P1, the Porsche 918 Spyder, and the LaFerrari. Of the three, we like the road-converted P1 GTR, estimated at a mighty 3.2–3.6m euros, the most of the three. After all, there can be few sillier cars in which to nip to the supermarket on a Sunday morning.

Young guns

Nipping at the heels of the hypercars are another two of the market’s current darlings: the Porsche 911R and the Ferrari F12TdF. The former shows fewer than 1,000km on the clock and, though not in the most imaginative colour combination, is estimated to garner 390,000–440,000 euros when it crosses the block. The ‘Blu Swaters’ Ferrari, on the other hand, is specced beautifully (we couldn’t really have done it better ourselves), with almost every conceivable box ticked. RM’s attached an ambitious (but achievable) 750,000–800,000 euro pre-sale estimate.

Fast and Fury-ous 

Elsewhere in the catalogue, we think the one-of-150 1994 Lamborghini Diablo SE30 represents good value at 370,000–450,000 euros, especially in comparison to the aforementioned more recent ‘modern classics’. Although, we’re not sure the same can be said of the duo of Aston Martin V8 Zagatos: a 1989 Volante and a 1987 Coupé, both with low mileage. The ‘Fury Yellow’ shade of the former is so lairy that it actually suits the quirky Zagato design quite well. But after Bonhams’ lower mileage (and better coloured) example sold for a below-estimate £281,500 (including premium) at Newport Pagnell last week, the 450,000–500,000 euro estimate on this car is looking rather ambitious. 

Photos courtesy of RM Sotheby’s © 2017 

You can find the entire catalogue for the RM Sotheby’s Villa Erba sale, taking place on 27 May, listed in the Classic Driver Market.