RM Auctions - 'Automobiles of London' 27 October 2010 - Review

Max Girardo takes bids on the famous '007' Aston Martin DB5

With just a couple of bids, nearly six months’ waiting was over: the sole surviving Aston Martin to feature on-screen in ‘Goldfinger’ was sold for £2,912,000 - some way off the fevered, ‘eight-figure’ sums of press speculation.

While the 500 or so present in the Battersea Evolution venue were denied a much-anticipated bidding war, no one can criticise the Ontario-based auction house for the most intense marketing campaign the collectors’ car world has ever seen.

You’d have to be a hermit living in a cave not to know that this car was up for sale. Even then, the news might have reached you – and quite possibly a deluxe catalogue and cocktail party invitation, too. It certainly wasn’t lack of promotion that thwarted a bigger price for the iconic Silver Birch DB5.

RM Auctions - 'Automobiles of London' 27 October 2010 - Review RM Auctions - 'Automobiles of London' 27 October 2010 - Review

The new owner is American businessman Harry Yeaggy, who was rumoured to have celebrated his acquisition with a late-night trip to the pub with auctioneer Max Girardo. They both thoroughly deserved their pints.

Elsewhere in the nigh-on £20m sale (nearly double its 2009 total), almost 90% of the lots sold, with yet more extraordinary sums for everyday Aston Martins, untouched by ‘Q’.

The 1989 V8 Vantage 'Prince of Wales' Volante (estimate: £125,000 - 155,000) sold for £201,600, the superb, ex-Lord Brabazon early DB2 wowed the audience by going for £196,000 (estimate: £90,000 – 100,000) and an attractive - yet hardly rare - 1970 DB6 MkII Vantage almost doubled its estimate, eventually selling for £173,600.

Some of the 18-car Aston Martin entry

Like the Martinis served at the pre-sale party, pretty strong stuff.

It was a bold move to include several entries more familiar to warmer, Stateside climes but RM’s consignment team’s efforts were more than justified as the 1938 Talbot Lago T23 ‘Teardrop’ by Figoni & Falaschi went well for £1,792,000 (estimate: £1,100,000 - 1,400,000), and the ultra-desirable ‘car of princes and playboys’, the 1966 Ferrari 365 California Spider, likewise broached its (£550,000 - 680,000) estimate, the hammer price of £660,000 translating to £739,200 with premium.

Other Ferraris finding new homes included a light metallic blue, short-nose 1965 275 GTB for £537,600, a 1989 F40 (£316,400) and a 1972 365 GTB/4 ‘Daytona’ (£128,800, at ‘No Reserve’).

Of the few non-selling lots in the catalogue, however, a disproportionate number were the Maranello marque (Enzo, 365 GT4 Berlinetta Boxer, 1957 250 GT Elena, 1965 500 Superfast and ‘long-nose’ 1965 275 GTB/6C).

1956 Maserati A6G/2000 Competition Berlinetta - Sold for £700,000

Oh well, what goes around comes around, and Lamborghinis by contrast had a stunning evening, with a strawberry red 1971 Miura SV (subsequently converted to ‘J’ specification a couple of years after delivery) going for £728,000 and a yellow 1972 Miura SV hard on its heels at £700,000. The out-of-this-world 1975 Countach LP400 'Periscopo' did well at £196,000, while one of the most popular cars in the saleroom, the ex-film 1969 Islero GTS, was bang on the money for vendor and buyer alike at £106,400.

Of the older cars, the Brighton Run-eligible 1904 De Dion-Bouton Model ADL Rear-Entry Tonneau sold for £280,000, the 1923 Rolls-Royce 40/50 HP Silver Ghost 'AX 201' Roi-de-Belges Recreation, £168,000, and the 1935 Aston Martin 1.5-Litre LWB Mk II, £112,000 (and is still my tip as an investment for the future).

All that glisters... some of the Hooper Corporate Collection cars

A significant proportion of the catalogue came from the Hooper Corporate Collection, and most exhibited a sense of style and taste that has been the hallmark of the coachbuilder since its heyday in the 1950s. Buyers could choose from a quite literally ‘glittering’ array of cars that included a gold-plated 1920 Pierce-Arrow Model 48 2/3-Passenger Coupé (sold for £89,600) and a 1930 Rolls-Royce Phantom II. The unsuspecting needed to examine the catalogue closely as the latter, despite its unassuming name, had been bodied totally in highly polished solid copper.

It sold for £114,800 - worth its weight in, er, copper, I suppose.

RM Auctions - 'Automobiles of London' 27 October 2010 - Review RM Auctions - 'Automobiles of London' 27 October 2010 - Review

Surprisingly, the 1952 Jaguar C-type we drove last week failed to find a buyer (bid to £1,750,000), and the 2010 Pagani Zonda R, the amazing '6:47 lap at the Nürburgring' car, went for £812,000 – some way short of its c.1.4m euros price when new.

It was one of the most popular cars in the saleroom, though, and just a few yards away was a personal favourite, the green 1954 Lancia Aurelia B20 GT Coupé. By no means an out-and-out racer, the small GT had been rally prepared and was in lovely, ‘workmanlike’ condition.

RM Auctions - 'Automobiles of London' 27 October 2010 - Review RM Auctions - 'Automobiles of London' 27 October 2010 - Review RM Auctions - 'Automobiles of London' 27 October 2010 - Review

You could do a lot with this car, never worrying too much about a scratch or mark and, for the money (£52,640), it was the time-honoured ‘all you need’ machine. Good luck to Mr Yeaggy and his Bond Aston – I’d be happy with this one.

RM Auctions' next sale is The Milton Robson Collection at Gainesville, Georgia USA on November 13. The company will hold its first 2011 auction over two days at Scottsdale on January 20 - 21. Entries are currently being invited – for more information see www.rmauctions.com.

Please CLICK HERE to see the official results (including buyer's premium).

RM Auctions in association with Sotheby's
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Website: www.rmauctions.com

Email: [email protected].

Text: Steve Wakefield
Photos: Classic Driver

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