RM Auctions: Villa d'Este May 21 2011 - Preview

1955 Ferrari 375 MM Berlinetta: 3,200,000 - 4,200,000 euros

A quick tot-up of the lower-end estimates of RM’s Villa d’Este catalogue reveals a potential 31.5 million-euro sale. And don’t forget, that’s for just 32 oh-so-carefully selected cars, averaging, say, nearly a million euros a go. Gosh.

In 2010, the Ontario-based auction house broke with its recent tradition of all-Ferrari and Maserati sales in Maranello, moving to Monaco for the Historics weekend and holding what was to turn out to be one of the highest-grossing European collectors’ car auctions, achieving a staggering 33,235,917 euros.

This year the venue is Villa d’Este, by Lake Como in Northern Italy, and the sale will be held on Saturday evening, at 8:30pm. Almost any of the entries could be considered ‘Villa d’Este Concours material’, with six cars coming directly from the Bertone factory museum.

1962 Alfa Romeo SZ Sprint Zagato Coda Tronca: 260,000 - 300,000 euros 1980 Lamborghini Athon: 150,000 - 220,000 euros

Choosing a highlight from this section of the sale – which will be offered as consecutive lots, numbers 108-113 – must come down to either the 1970 Lancia Stratos HF Zero (1,000,000 - 1,800,000 euros) or the 1967 Lamborghini Marzal, similarly estimated at 1,000,000 - 1,800,000 euros. It’s not all multi-million material, though, as the quirky 1978 Lancia Sibilo is a relatively modest 60,000 - 100,000 euros.

Neither does the Bertone Museum only feature European cars, as the 1963 Chevrolet Corvair Testudo (or ‘tortoise’ in Italian), at 500,000 - 800,000 euros, is an unusual take on GM’s innovative early 60s compact.

1929 Rolls-Royce Phantom I Springfield Riviera Town Brougham: 490,000 - 700,000 euros

And the rest of the sale includes two wonderful V16s Cadillacs, a 1938 Sixteen Town Car by Fleetwood (100,000 - 170,000 euros) and a 1930 V16 Convertible Berline by Saoutchik, for 280,000 - 350,000 euros. The latter, already a prize-winner at Pebble Beach, carries unique coachwork by the Parisian coachbuilder Saoutchik which has as its main feature a remarkable full-length sunroof.

Also from that decadent inter-war era of luxury comes a car originally delivered to His Highness Yeshwant Rao Holkar II of Indore, nowadays a city of about 1.5 million in the state of Madhya Pradesh in West Central India. The 1937 Mercedes-Benz 540K Cabriolet A by Factory Sindelfingen (1,250,000 - 1,800,000 euros) has been the subject of a full ‘nut and bolt rebuild’ by RM Auto Restoration and is presented in a classy – yet menacing, as is the way with these cars – dark metallic blue. A stunning entry.

1931 Minerva 8 AL Convertible Sedan: 630,000 - 840,000 euros 1966 Ferrari 330 GTC Berlinetta: 175,000 - 225,000 euros

As is, in a more literal sense, with its ‘sunburst finish’ paint scheme, the 3,250,000 - 4,250,000-euro 1937 Bugatti Type 57 SC Atalante Coupé which wowed visitors to the 2011 Kuwait Concours d'Elegance. There’s also a rare 1931 Minerva 8 AL Convertible Sedan (630,000 - 840,000 euros) and a car from the late John M. O’Quinn collection, a 1929 Rolls-Royce Phantom I Springfield Riviera Town Brougham, 490,000 - 700,000 euros, with gold-plated exterior trim and original exterior ‘cane work’ (actually thickened paint squeezed through a tool, a speciality of Brewster).

Moving into the 50s and 60s, the catalogue simply drips with quality and a discerning collector, yes, a ‘Classic Driver’, wishing to add to his garage would do well to ask RM to make the necessary hotel arrangements and head to Lake Como for the sale.

1967 Lamborghini Marzal: 1,000,000 - 1,800,000 euros

The 1965 Ford GT40 prototype Roadster is the subject of a separate feature on Classic Driver. With this, the wild, metallic green 1968 Bizzarrini 5300 GT Strada (380,000 - 480,000 euros), the 1964 Alfa Romeo TZ1 (475,000 - 575,000 euros) and the 1953 Ferrari 250 MM Berlinetta, at 2,500,000 - 3,000,000 euros, you have ticked so many boxes your box-ticking pen will need a refill.

In addition, there’s the 1955 Ferrari 375 MM Berlinetta (3,200,000 - 4,200,000 euros – another magnificent car I have been fortunate to drive), and the 1957 Ferrari 500 TRC, a Ferrari Classiche-certified, ex-Targa Florio car for 2,600,000 - 3,300,000 euros.

1970 Lancia Stratos HF Zero: 1,000,000 - 1,800,000 euros 1953 Ferrari 250 MM Berlinetta: 2,500,000 - 3,000,000

In such stellar company, ‘standard’ road cars are few; but do include the 1967 Ferrari 275 GTB/4 at 725,000 - 825,000 euros, the 1957 BMW 507 Roadster (520,000 - 580,000 euros) and another car from Maranello, the 1963 Ferrari 250 GT Lusso, estimated at 375,000 - 425,000.

Finally, back to quintessentially ‘concours d’elegance’ entries with what could be the big-seller on the night: the 1938 Talbot Lago T150 C-SS Teardrop Coupé by Figoni et Falaschi. Carrying an estimate of 3,100,000 - 3,800,000 euros, the metallic silver, with grey sub-tone, coupé is another car that has passed through the RM Auto Restoration shop.

1959 Ferrari 250 GT LWB California Spyder: 1,600,000 - 2,000,000 euros 1937 Bugatti Type 57 SC Atalante Coupé: 3,250,000 - 4,250,000 euros

It’s joined by two other Figoni et Falaschi-bodied Delahayes, the 1938 135 MS Coupé at 900,000 - 1,100,000 euros and the 1939 Delahaye 135 MS Grand Sport Roadster (800,000 - 980,000 euros). Truly, any one of these three cars sums up the spirit of Villa d’Este – be prepared for an exciting night on May 21.

1938 Talbot Lago T150 C-SS Teardrop Coupé by Figoni et Falaschi: 3,100,000 - 3,800,000 euros

You can view all the entries in the Classic Driver car database.

Please click HERE to see a full lotlist.

Admission to this event requires the purchase of an official auction catalogue for 70 euros. The catalogue admits two and must be presented at the entrance to the sale to be granted entry.

Spazio Villa Erba
Largo Luchino Visconti, 4
Como 22012 Italy

May 21, 2011
8:30 PM - 11:00 PM CET
(viewing starts at 10:00 AM CET)

May 20, 2011
10:00 AM - 6:00 PM CET
May 21, 2011
10:00 AM - 6:00 PM CET

RM Auctions
One Classic Car Drive
Ontario N0P 1A0

Telephone: +1 519 352 45 75
+44 (0)20 7851 7077
Fax: +1 519 351 13 37

Website: www.rmauctions.com

Email: [email protected].

Text: Steve Wakefield
Photos: Courtesy of RM Auctions

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