RM Auctions - Automobiles of London, 28 October 2009 - Review

Max Girardo sells another car 'the RM way'

It’s three years since RM’s first London sale. In 2007 the Mercedes-Benz marque dominated the headlines. This year, a 2006 CLK GTR Roadster was the top-selling car at £616,000, followed by the 1950 Aston Martin DB2 Team Car achieving an impressive £550,000.

For the first time in an RM European sale, Max Girardo, Managing Director of the company’s European office, took to the rostrum and – croaky voice aside – did a superb job to sell 82% of the 84 cars on offer, achieving £10,979,090. The 40 lots of memorabilia also sold well – for £48,485, including £4025 for a Colnago Ferrari racing bicycle.

The latter was much admired by the many members of the British classic car trade present at the auction. I’m looking forward to seeing them after six months of intensive exercise on it.

1928 Rolls-Royce Phantom I Torpedo 17EX - Sold for £429,000

1965 Jaguar Coombs E-type GT - Sold for £50,600

1967 Maserati Mistral Spyder - Sold for £121,000

1967 Ferrari 250 LM Replica - Sold for £220,000

It took just five lots before the venue was buzzing with the news that the 1969 Mercedes-Benz 600 Pullman Landaulet (Est. £40,000 – 60,000) had finally sold for a jaw-dropping £308,000. It might well end up back at the Mercedes factory for a complete (possibly 1m euros...) restoration.

RM Auctions - Automobiles of London, 28 October 2009 - Review RM Auctions - Automobiles of London, 28 October 2009 - Review RM Auctions - Automobiles of London, 28 October 2009 - Review

The sale featured a collection of ACs and much interest at the invitation-only drinks party the previous night centred on the 1956 Aceca-Bristol Coupé – an elegant 1950s GT. That sold at a top-estimate £71,500, while the impressive, white 1973 428 Frua Coupé almost doubled its estimate at £110,000.

Bidding on the 1965 Shelby 427 Competition Cobra stalled at £525,000, some way short of its lower estimate, and I believe that was a missed opportunity for a historic racer to pick up a car with superb provenance (winning in period driven by David Piper and Bob Bondurant) and colossal performance (607bhp). Perhaps it looked too similar to a GRP replica for a tenth of the price?

1950 Aston Martin DB2 Team Car 'VMF 64' - Sold for £550,000, a world record for the model

The other car we tested prior to the sale, the 1963 ATS 2500 GT 3.0 Litre Coupé, was ‘No Reserve’ and sold for £308,000.

Perhaps the mood in the saleroom was not for uncompromising competition cars as neither the 1967 Lola T70 MK 3 Coupé (bid to £360k), nor the 1959 Elva MK V (bid to £39k) found new owners.

1954 Mercedes-Benz 300SL AMG Coupé - Sold for £462,000

First-up of the special AMG-built Mercedes was the 1954 Mercedes-Benz 300SL, a genuine ‘Gullwing’ chassis fitted with an automatic gearbox, modern suspension and brakes and a 6.0-litre, AMG-tuned V8. It achieved £462,000, beating its upper estimate by some margin.

RM Auctions - Automobiles of London, 28 October 2009 - Review RM Auctions - Automobiles of London, 28 October 2009 - Review RM Auctions - Automobiles of London, 28 October 2009 - Review

The two CLK GTRs appeared as consecutive lots later in the sale. Each, a coupé and a roadster, was the only right-hand drive model of its type. As McLaren F1 competitors, the CLK GTR cars, built by hand at HWA (a sister company to AMG), have no equal. Once started, bidding just carried on until the coupé sold for £522,500 (Est. £390,000 – 450,000) and the roadster £616,000 (Est. £430,000 – 500,000).

1954 Fiat 8V Coupé 106 - Sold for £341,000

1967 Ferrari 330 GTC Zagato - Sold for £101,750

The ex-works 1950 Aston Martin DB2 was another much-fancied car. Its third place overall at Le Mans in 1951 and class wins at the Mille Miglia did it no harm, as they mean it is eligible for every event worldwide. Estimated at £250,000 – 450,000, it was selling all the way and finally hammered down by Girardo at £500,000 (that’s £550,000 including buyer’s premium).

Of the other Astons, the DB5 Convertible did not sell, but the DB6 Volante did (£368,500) and someone will be running the racing DB4 in Europe next year, having paid £110,000 for the privilege.

1948 Bentley Mark VI Drop Head Coupé - Sold for £159,500

On the Ferrari front, the 1967 Ferrari 330 GTC by Zagato sold for £101,750, the 1967 Ferrari 250 LM Replica for £220,000, and someone bought a lot of flat-12 motoring (and fitted Schedoni luggage) for £30,250 – the price achieved by the 1991 Ferrari Testarossa.

1929 Alfa Romeo 6C 1750 GS - Sold for £522,500

The 1929 Alfa Romeo 6C 1750 GS was sold the next day for £522,500, while another imposing pre-War car, the 1928 Rolls-Royce Phantom I Torpedo ‘17EX’, went for £429,000.

1958 Porsche 356 A Carrera GS/GT Coupé - Sold for £140,250

Prior to the sale, Max Girardo announced that RM would be holding a Monaco Sale in 2010. This will be held on May 1, at the Grimaldi Forum, and timed to coincide with the biennial Monaco Grand Prix Historique. Details of the company’s super-successful Maranello Sale schedule are still to be announced.

To see the complete results of the 28 October 'Automobiles of London' auction please CLICK HERE.

RM Auctions in association with Sotheby's
46a Carnaby Street

UK Telephone: +44 (0)20 7851 7070
Fax: +44 (0)20 7851 7079

North America Telephone: +1 519 352 45 75

Website: www.rmauctions.com

Email: [email protected].

Text: Steve Wakefield
Photos: Classic Driver

ClassicInside - The Classic Driver Newsletter
Free Subscription!