Pre-war French cars are stars at RM Sotheby’s $28.5 million sale

Figoni et Falaschi-bodied 1937 Talbot-Lago sells for $3.78 million | RM Sotheby's photos
Figoni et Falaschi-bodied 1937 Talbot-Lago sells for $3.78 million | RM Sotheby’s photos

With a pair of pre-war French classics each selling for more than $3 million, RM Sotheby’s fourth Ville Erba sale on the shores of Italy’s Lake Como posted more than $28.5 million in sales Saturday. Forty-one of the 66 cars and motorcycles were sold, for a 62 percent sell-through rate.

“It’s great to see that the demand for special pre-war cars is stronger than ever, and we continue to see rare, low-production supercars with excellent provenance, performing very strongly,” Augustin Sabatie-Garat, RM Sotheby’s car specialist and Villa Erba auction manager, said in a news release.

Bugatti Atalante prototype purchased for $3.402 million
Bugatti Atalante prototype purchased for $3.402 million

“Our track record selling rare Porsches for record-setting prices continues,” he added, ”and to have sold eight cars for over €1,000,000 ($1.12 million) demonstrates that the market is still strong.”

Topping the sale, held in conjunction with the Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este, were a 1937 Talbot-Lago T150-C SS “Goutte d’Eau” coupe that sold for €3,360,000 ($3.78 million) and a 1937 Bugatti Type 57 Atalante Prototype that brought €3,024,000 ($3.402 million). Prices include buyer’s premium.

The Talbot-Lago wears “teardrop” bodywork by Figoni et Falaschi.

The price paid for the Bugatti was a record for a non-S Type 57 model. The car is one of only three such prototypes, was delivered to its original owner with a specially tuned engine, and was sold having been driven only 26,000 kilometers since new.

Third on the auction’s top-10 results list was a 1993 Porsche 911 Carrera RSR 3.8 showing a mere 10 kilometers on its odometer and thus not only was an original car but was presented in “as-delivered” condition. Wearing special-order Polar Silver paint over a Guards Red leather interior, the car sold for a record €2,016,000 ($2.268 million).

1993 Porsche sold with only 10 kilometers traveled
1993 Porsche sold with only 10 kilometers traveled

Also cracking into the top-5 list was another Porsche, the only 2015 918 “Weissach” Spyder produced in historic PTS Arrow Blue colors. The car sold for €1,456,000 ($1.638 million).

Five vehicles bid to more than one-million euros were not hammered sold, including a 1928 Mercedes-Benz 680 S Torpedo-Sport Avant-Garde that didn’t sell after someone offered as much as €5,050,000 ($5.68 million).

RM Sotheby’s pointed proudly to a 1961 Jaguar E-Type Series 1 3.8 roadster with period racing history in Africa and Portugal that brought €582,400 ($655,200). The auction house noted that the price was a world auction record for an E-type that wasn’t a factory competition model.

The sale also included motorcycles. A 1954 BMW RS 54, one of only 24 produced that year, sold for €143,325 ($161,240).

Top 10 sales, RM Sotheby’s Villa Erba 2017:

  1. 1937 Talbot-Lago T150-C SS ‘Goute d’Eau’ Coupé, €3,360,000 ($3.78 million)
  2. 1937 Bugatti Type 57 Atalante prototype, €3,024,000 ($3.402 million)
  3. 1993 Porsche 911 Carrera RSR 3.8, €2,016,000 ($2.268 million)
1965 Ferrari 275 GTS by Pininfarina, €1,792,000 ($2.016 million)
  5. 2015 Porsche 918 ‘Weissach’ Spyder, €1,456,000 ($1.638 million)
  6. 1964 Ferrari 250 GT ‘Lusso’ €1,428,000, $1.6065 million)
  7. 1948 Talbot-Lago T26 Grand Sport Cabriolet, €1,120,000 ($1.26 million)
  8. 1990 Ferrari F40, €1,064,000 ($1.197 million)
  9. 1961 Maserati 3500 GT Spyder, €840,000 ($945,000)
  10. Lamborghini Countach LP400 ‘Periscopio,’ €817,600 ($919,800)
'61 E-type a strong seller
’61 E-type a strong seller

(Prices include buyer’s premium.)

RM Sotheby’s next sale is scheduled June 24 in Santa Monica, California.

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