RM and Sotheby’s “Art of the Automobile” Sale Generates $62.5m in Two Hours

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RM Auctions and Sotheby’s “Art of the Automobile” sale achieved $62,452,500 in just over two hours of bidding on November 21. The packed saleroom saw records tumble across numerous lots, with top sale honors going to a historic 1964 Ferrari 250 LM, sold at $14,300,000 — a world record for the model at auction. Taking the number two spot was the simply gorgeous  1938 Talbot-Lago T150-C SS Teardrop Cabriolet by Figoni et Falaschi, commonly regarded as one of the most beautiful coach built cars of all time, which sold for $7,150,000, also establishing a new world record for the model at auction.

There were 31 hand-picked automobiles, two motorcycles and seven pieces of artwork offered at the Art of the Automobile sale, the first major collector car auction to take place in Manhattan for over a decade. The sale presented over a century of automotive history and design in a unique gallery setting at Sotheby’s New York headquarters. Bidders hailed from 17 countries, 15% of whom represented clients who had never participated in an RM sale.

Rob Myers, CEO and Founder of RM Auctions, says: “Working with Sotheby’s, we set out to create the finest automobile auction that there has ever been. Our aim has been to raise the bar and set a completely new standard for quality and presentation, and I am delighted to say that these amazing results have proven it a great success. What we have established here in New York is a complete demonstration of how to bring some of the world’s rarest and most exceptional automobiles to market, in both an exciting and visually arresting way. Furthermore, the sale has successfully brought many new collectors into the market for the first time, which is fantastic news for our hobby.”

Aside from the Ferrari 250 LM and Talbot-Lago, numerous additional lots sold spectacularly well during the sale, with several world record prices established. The third highest seller of the night was the unique 1959 Ferrari 250 GT SWB “Competition” Berlinetta Speciale, one of the greatest dual-purpose sports racing cars of all time, with bespoke coachwork by Bertone. Huge interest in this car culminated in a top bid of $7,040,000.

The 1954 Maserati A6G/2000 Spyder by Carrozzeria Zagato, the only example with coachwork by Zagato, sold for $4,455,000. The 1936 Delahaye Type 135 Competition Court Teardrop Coupé by Carrosserie Figoni et Falaschi, the 1933 Rolls-Royce Phantom II Continental Sports Coupé by Freestone & Webb, and the 1955 Ferrari 250 GT Europa Coupe each achieved $2,420,000.  

No less than 17 of the 34 automobile lots achieved in excess of $1,000,000, including:

Lot 141 – 1964 Ferrari 250 LM by Carrozzeria Scaglietti                                                                                 $14,300,000

Lot 122 – 1938 Talbot-Lago T150-C SS Teardrop Cabriolet by Figoni et Falaschi                                         $7,150,000

Lot 136 -1959 Ferrari 250 GT SWB “Competition” Berlinetta Speciale                                                           $7,040,000

Lot 134 – 1954 Maserati A6G/2000 Spyder by Carrozzeria Zagato                                                                 $4,455,000

Lot 121 – 1955 Ferarri 250 Europa GT Coupe                                                                                                 $2,420,000

Lot 117 – 1936 Delahaye Type 135 Competition Court Teardrop Coupé by Carrosserie Figoni et Falaschi  $2,420,000

Lot 112 – 1933 Rolls-Royce Phantom II Continental Sports Coupé by Freestone & Webb                             $2,420,000

Lot 126 – 2011 Bugatti Veyron 16.4 Grand Sport Bleu Nuit                                                                             $2,310,000

Lot 111 – 1956 Aston Martin DB2/4 MK ll ‘Supersonic’ by Carrozzeria Ghia                                                   $2,310,000

Lot 110 – 1961 Ferrari 250 GT Series II PF Cabriolet                                                                                     $2,035,000

Lot 124 – 1933 Duesenberg Model SJ Beverly                                                                                               $1,760,000

Lot 127 – 1958 BMW 507 Series ll Roadster                                                                                                   $1,650,000

Lot 109 – 1960 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Roadster                                                                                           $1,650,000

Lot 120 – 1955 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Gullwing                                                                                           $1,265,000

Lot 144 – 1933 Auburn Twelve Custom Speedster                                                                                         $1,210,000

Lot 139 – 1964 Chevrolet CERV II                                                                                                                   $1,100,000

In total, 11 cars achieved world record prices:

Lot 109 – 1960 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Roadster  $1,650,000 – Record for a 300SL Roadster at auction

Lot 112 – 1933 Rolls-Royce Phantom II Continental Sports Coupe $2,420,000 – Record for a Rolls-Royce Phantom II at auction

Lot 114 – 1933 Auburn Twelve Custom Speedster – $1,210,000 – Record for an Auburn Twelve Speedster at auction

Lot 115 – 1932 Ford V-8 Cabriolet – $319,000 – Record for an unmodified 1932 Ford at auction

Lot 122 – 1938 Talbot-Lago T150-C SS Teardrop Cabriolet – $7,150,000 – Record for a Talbot-Lago T150-C SS at auction

Lot 127 – 1958 BMW 507 Series II Roadster – $1,650,000 – Record for a BMW 507 at auction

Lot 128 – 1958 Oldsmobile Ninety-Eight Convertible – $258,500 – Record for a 1958 Oldsmobile convertible at auction

Lot 130 – 1954 Pegaso Z-102 Series II Berlinetta – $797,500 – Record for the model at auction

Lot 134 – 1955 Maserati A6G/2000 Spyder – $4,455,000 – Record for a Maserati A6G/2000 Spyder at auction

Lot 138 – 1966 Jaguar E-type Series I 4.2-Litre convertible – $467,500 – Record for Jaguar E-type (non-competition model) at auction

Lot 141 – 1964 Ferrari 250 LM – $14,300,000 – Record for a Ferrari 250 LM at auction

Art of the Automobile followed a three-day exhibition in Sotheby’s 10th floor gallery, which also featured a fascinating symposium presented to in excess of 700 guests on Tuesday evening. The sale caps off a record-setting year for RM Auctions, which included a $125 million sale in Monterey, California in August — the highest grossing collector car auction in history.  RM Auctions will kick off its 2014 auction calendar at the beautiful Arizona Biltmore Resort & Spa in Phoenix, January 16 – 17. RM’s 15th annual Arizona sale is closely followed by the company’s debut Paris sale, February 5, during the world-famous Retromobile week. Full details for upcoming events are available online at www.rmauctions.com.

Tony Piff

SCM Auctions Editor and Photographer

Tony has long trumpeted the virtues of collecting Japanese cars. His daily driver is a 1970 Toyota Hilux — the one with the turn signals on top of the fenders. His popular “Rising Sun” column keeps a pulse on the J-tin market.

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