RM Auctions at Pebble Beach August 2003 - Review

With the benefit of ‘home advantage’ at Monterey when the ‘away teams’ of Bonhams and Christie’s came to visit, RM’s auction, spread over two days, was the most successful of the three held last weekend. Apart from the jaw-dropping 1956 Ferrari 860 Monza sold for $2,057,001 the team also sold a 1967 Ferrari 275GTB/4 Alloy Berlinetta for $621,500 and a unique piece of US motor-racing history, one of the original Bud Moore Trans-Am 1970 Ford Boss 302 Mustang Race Cars – for $343,200.

So many of the lots achieved high prices it is difficult to pick out a trend – apart from so many lots achieving very high prices….

Jaguar E-type anyone? Well, how about a 1964 Jaguar E-Type Series I Roadster for $108,901 or a 1966 Jaguar E-Type Series I Roadster for $101,201? I am sure these are fantastic concours examples of what a London dealer described to me this week as a car that if Ferrari had only made 12 examples would be worth £1,000,000 each. But big money in anyone’s book. The blue car illustrated here is the 1966 seller while the white car is a 1970 SII 4.2 which was bid to $65,000 but did not go. On the Jaguar front RM were also able to sell both a 1991 Jaguar XJR 15 Race Car for $154,000 and a 1993 Jaguar XJ220 Race Car for $157,500 – both models that European dealers and auctions tend to have trouble moving.

What about a 1965 Austin-Healey 3000 MK III BJ8 Convertible? Well one went for $90,201 last weekend.

RM had an amazing three Maserati 5000GTs for sale. All sold - a 1962 for $176,000, another 1962 for $319,000 and a 1964 for $302,500. The 1952 Nash-Healey Le Mans Sports Racer, a car from the rather dull utilitarian era of British sports car design went for $176,000, but to be fair its roadgoing brother, a 1953 Nash-Healey Roadster, only managed $19,800.

Also on the British front two seminal classics went for an identical $88,000 – the 1957 AC Ace Bristol Race Car and the 1967 Aston-Martin DB6 Coupé.

Even the non-sellers cranked up some serious bidding. The 1969 Ferrari 312 Formula One Race Car was bid up to $500,000 on Saturday and did not sell, while the 1963 Ferrari 250 GT SWB California Spyder went to $1,300,000 but no further - and therefore not selling.

Was the Ferrari worth two million bucks? Well it won the 1956 Sebring World Championship round driven by Fangio and Castellotti, winning by two laps over the sister 860 Monza 0602M of Musso and Schell. It was then sold and appeared over many years in US West Coast sports car events, and is clearly a thoroughbred car of the highest provenance. It’s also the sort of price a Ferrari 250SWB with period racing history can attain as well as being Aston Zagato territory. So yes, and given the inexhaustible attraction in the States for all things Ferrari it will no doubt go up and up – no doubt in future RM Auctions to come.

For a full listing, see the Provisional Auction Results

Text - Steve Wakefield