Although a relatively new event in the classic car scene, now on its sixth edition, the Milano Autoclassica Show managed to attract 60.000 visitors last week. But that 18 percent increase in attendance is largely due to the presence of the Duemila Ruote Collection sale organized by RM Sotheby’s.
With more than 800 lots and all available without reserve, the auction definitely attracted more foreign visitors for the first time to the show staged in the Milano-Rho Fiera halls just on the outskirts from the capitol of the Lombardy region.
We are used to seeing manufacturer displays at the other major European shows such as Retromobile and Techno Classica, but they are, in general, the German, French and British marques. So it’s interesting to see stands with Lancia, Ferrari, Alfa Romeo, Maserati, Lamborghini and even Aston Martin showcasing their heritage for once.
Even though the Raging Bull and the Brits where hosted by the local dealerships, still it’s great to see them officially participating in a classic car show.
As for being in Italy, the ASI (Automotoclub Storico Italiano) had a few different stands spread out throughout the different halls. But, naturally, a big draw remains all the collector car dealers, including newcomer Girardo & Co., which had only a three-car display but drew big crowd all weekend long. Well, it’s not hard if you bring a Ferrari 250 GT Lusso, a Lancia D24 and a Ford GT40 Mk III.
While the main hall is filled with dealers, it’s outside where the much of the show actively takes place. There are demonstration runs, from a Ferrari 250 TR to hopped up Fiat-Abarths. There’s the Fiat 500 club, all of whom drove to the show, and many visitors are offering their cars for sale.
But the star attraction for this weekend was the much-discussed Duemila Ruote collection on offer by RM Sotheby’s. A collection of this magnitude (424 cars) going over the block is naturally going to attract a massive crowd of onlookers as well as those hoping to go home with a bargain.
And let’s face it, all the cars where estimated below market value for a reason.
Since this sale was initiated by the Italian government, most lots were still under seizure during the sale and most of the cars had been standing still for at least four years. Most of them where either driver condition vehicles that need some recommissioning or full restoration projects.
Oh, and most were also without paperwork and registration documents, which means that without the Italian libretto it is illegal to export the cars out of the country, although this was being resolved. During the sale several cars where already announced as having received new librettos, and others would follow in the next few weeks.
Yet even with this all in mind, the bidding wars where fierce and swift. With 83 percent new bidders and well over 4000 people with bidders paddles in hand, people really wanted to take something home, often regardless of the condition and the final price, even though you could walk back into the other show halls and find the same model on a dealer stand, in running condition and with all the paperwork.
The auction did attract a lot of newcomers to the Milan show and I’m certain many will return, even without a huge auction taking place. After all, the quality is there and you are still in Milano, the fashion (and perhaps the food) capital of the world.
Photos by Dirk de Jager