RM AUCTIONS & BONHAMS 2016
During the Retromobile period, in the beginning of February, Paris becomes the place to be for car enthusiasts, journalists as well as collectors. Indeed, the city of light welcomes some of the most famous auction houses: RM Auctions, Bonhams, Artcurial… They usually bring a lot of interesting lots. 2016 was obviously no different. Considering the Artcurial auction is actually part of Retromobile, I thought I would treat the two others in a more detailed way. RM Auctions & Bonhams have also become sort of « part of the automotive landscape » during this period.
RM Auctions takes its quarters right next to the beautiful Invalides, inside a man-built showroom, with a view on the golden dome. Said “showroom” hosted the day before the Festival International Automobile, so bascially RM Auctions only has to bring the cars in. Fairly easy logistic! Feel free to check the final results for the auction.
This year they had a very interesting combo a lot of us here in Paris were waiting for. An F40, an F50, and a black Ferrari Enzo. This Ferrari Enzo is very interesting for many reasons. The car had an accident back in 2006, but was rebuilt by Ferrari, especially for Jean Todt (former owner). Therefore, the car has some pretty interesting details you wouldn’t normally find on a Ferrari Enzo: a BOSE stereo system, electric windows (power windows, carbon-fiber side view mirrors & rear-spoiler. Even better, the car has been certified by Ferrari Classiche. Talk about badass.
The car was previously sold to a french owner, which had Jean Todt (again, he seems to be in every story haha) sign the dashboard and write a bunch of stuff on it. Mainly good-luck messages and whatnot. I suppose this sort of gives more value to the car, right? Well, to be honest, I personnally thought there was a bit too much text in there. It didn’t look good, and I wouldn’t “sacrifice” my personal Enzo with such long messages, no matter who wrote it. The Enzo is my favorite car, it’s my everything, but that was a bit over the top. But hey, it eventually sold for €1,568,000, so I guess someone must’ve liked it! BTW, I’m not saying it I didn’t, but the inscriptions in the interior were a bit too much for me.
The Enzo was in the center (obviously, what else were they going to put), with both its sidekicks on each side, the Ferrari F40 and the Ferrari F50. Only thing missing was a 288 GTO and we would have the Ferrari BIG 4! The yellow Ferrari 365 GTB/4 Daytona also looked good, the colours popped-up so much, the black & yellow carpets helping out a lot (not with the pictures though). Sadly, the yellow baby didn’t sell during the auction night. However, the Ferrari F50 did sell for €1,275,000, which is “correct” if you compare the market (one was sold for +- 2 million in Arizona)! The counterpart, the F40, was sold for €1,036,000.
The marvel of the show was one of only 75 Porsche 550 spyder was Wendler, which sold for €2,744,000. That is a lot of money, though it’s slightly less than price expectations mentioned by RM Auctions I believe. This tends to give reason to my conviction which is I believe prices will start to stabilize themselves in the following years, and we won’t be seeing the insane speculation & exponential prices the market was seeing. Back to the Porsche. I’m not much of a Porsche guy, I don’t know a lot about the brand and I have a lot of difficulty in differenciating all the 911 family (well, with over 40 or 50 members, I guess that’s sort of understandable, right?). But this 550 spyder looked pretty cute, it’s a very simple design and the lines are very elegant. You wouldn’t necessarily think of it as a racing car, which would be silly considering it has a pretty good racing history (12h of Sebring). Funny to think it is from the same era as the 356 Speedster (which sort of looks “younger”).
Other cool cars included a 1965 Alfa Romeo Giulia Tubolare Zagato (aka TZ1). Estimates for the car were 950k – 1,2m. It didn’t find a buyer though. The white 1955 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Gullwing probably is one of the coolest I have seen. I don’t know why but I instantly fell in love with it. I think it’s the combination of white exterior and bright red interior, which was impeccable, that spoke to me. Car sold for €1,176,000. Not complaining here.
The other two stars were the 1657 BMW 507 Roadster Series II. The car looked marvellous, as if it barely got out of the factory. Car is really beautiful and has that classical feel to it: elegance from the past, without a doubt. Also, I didn’t know BMW could sell for that much: car was sold for €2,016,000 ! Well, at least I learned something new that day.
The 1962 Ferrari 400 Superamerica LWB Coupé Aerodinamico by Pininfarina is another one of those “big shots” that was sold during the RM Auctions. To be perfectly blunt, I’m not a big fan of the car’s lines & design. But hey, you can’t absolutely love everything now, right? Though I’m usually an easy-going guy, good thing I still know to say “NOPE”. The car was sold for the flabbergasting price of €2,950,000. A bit shy of 3 million! Probably the most expensive “Gran Turismo” car I’m not particularily fond of. Though I have to admit the car looked impeccable as well. Just like the BMW 507, both cars were in a condition I had rarely seen before.
The Bonham’s auction usually takes place at the Grand Palais, under the magnificent “verrière”, which gives a sensation of grandeur. At first I didn’t expect to attend, but I eventually changed my mind out of the blue, so I took my things and went there to check out the cars during auction day. I was a bit unprepared to take photos, though I had all my stuff with me. To be absolutely honest, I didn’t really have a lot of cars that got my attention this year, but then again this is 100% personal & subjective to my own tastes. I Mainly went for the Mercedes-Benz CLK GTR and the navy blue Porsche Carrera GT. Obviously, there were many many other cars, but I didn’t prepare the auction really well compared to the other events of the Retromobile period. And that is entirely my fault! Also, once I was there, I mainly chatted with friends for the whole time instead of taking pictures and documenting things. This leads to not many pictures and not *that* many things to say.
There was a magnificent 2002 Ferrari 550 Barchetta with an amazing spec. Dark green with light brown leather interior. The colour was absolutely mesmerizing and it would’ve caught the attention of anyone. Subtle yet outrageous at the same time, it really made its effect on me, instantly. The car was sold for €451,666 (final price), which is totally understandable once you see the colour and how the car looks with your own eyes. Apparently the car will be going to England to join another brother who shares a similar colour. And I found that incredibly cool. Only the english!
The masterpiece of the show for me. The Mercedes-Benz CLK GTR. Sadly, it didn’t sell. When the hammer dropped, it was at €1,7 million I believe. Which would be somethig like 2million with taxes & premium. I can understand this is a very big price to pay, and why some wouldn’t go for it. But to me the CLK GTR AMG is part of a family. Part of the holy trinity of the 90s = McLaren F1, Porsche 911 GT1 and Mercedes-Benz CLK GTR AMG. In my mind, those 3 cars are connected beyond measure, and represent a lot. The design of the CLK GTR (though not very practical in racing, Mark Webber will tell you all about it) is simply… memorable. To me, it is worth every penny. But then again, I can fully understand why some people wouldn’t consider buying it = let’s face it, it’s not the most practical car to drive around. But with only 25 built in the world, this car is a unicorn, without a doubt.
Another materspiece, the 1966 Ferrari 275 GTB Berlinetta was eventually sold for €2,070,000. During the auction I thought it hadn’t sold, so probably was done afterwards. I think the reason bidders weren’t too hot on this one is because it wasn’t in its original configuration, from what I understood.
Just like the 1951 Bentley Petersen 6 ½ liters “DARTMOOR”. You guys seemed to really like the car when I posted it on social media. And with good reason, considering how good-looking and elegant the car really is. It’s eye-candy, elegand, classy, it’s everything a classic car represents. The car sold for €483,000 – and it’s worth much more to me! I mean the car is apparently unique. The design is eternal and reminds me of the Bugatti Type 57sc Atlantic. But then again, a lot of cars from that time period seem to share that particular shape & lines which are so appreciated.
Another car that didn’t sell was the navy blue Porsche Carrera GT with terracota interior. I really wanted to see the car with my own eyes because it looked so gorgeous. However, so many people were standing around it, that I didn’t get a chance to take a lot of shots, or at least, not as many as I would’ve liked haha. That’s my curse = I always think I’ll have time to do it later, and I never do. Estimates for the car were 800k-1m, give or take. That might sound like a lot, but then again, it is a unique spec, which works really really well (though not my favorite colour out there). Let’s face it, the Carrera GT’s howling V10 is probably one of the best-sounding engines in the world, and that fact alone is probably worth a few hundred thousand bucks. I don’t know if the whole Paul Walker accident had an impact on the prices of the Carrera GT = they’ve always been sort of expensive and on an upward pricing range. The Carrera GT is a myth, a hard car to drive which needs to be handled with care and the utmost carefulness. Wether we like it or not, I think the myth has grown even more so nowadays.
The awesome bottle green 1992 Jaguar XJ220 coupé was sold for €299,000. A fair price. Whereas the Mercedes-Benz McLaren SLR roadster sold for… €356,500 !!! I couldn’t believe my eyes. I thought SLRs didn’t go for that high to be honest. The spanish Ferrari 599 GTO sold for €425,000 – I didn’t find that *too* expensive. From what I understood in the past few years, 599 GTOs were being exchanged for way more than that. So whoever bought it actually made a good deal -I think-!
All in all, it felt like a very calm auction. I had the sensation not many models were being sold. Probably I wasn’t paying a lot of attention to be honest. The place isn’t the most propitious I reckon, there is a lot of echo, and unless you’re standing very close to the bidding area, it’s really hard to hear let alone understand what is being said. I mean the place is HUGE. The fact that I was with friends didn’t help AT ALL I guess haha. But then again, can you blame me for chatting with friends surrounded by magnificent cars?