RM Sotheby’s Icons Auction
New York

Keith Bluemel Words by Keith Bluemel
Art Deco Rolls Royce Silver Ghost Riviera Town Car by Brewster was once owned by golfer, Gene Littler

The RM Sotheby’s Icons Auction was held during the evening of Wednesday 6th December 2017, in the Sotheby’s 10th Floor Galleries of their headquarters building on York Avenue in Manhattan. This was their third New York auction, and formed part of Sotheby’s “Life of Luxury” week of sales. The “iconic” offerings ranged from vintage wines, through art, sculptures and motoring memorabilia, to a range of automobiles. These latter spanned over 90 years, from a 1923 Rolls Royce Silver Ghost to a 2017 Bugatti Chiron, with a number of rare and interesting examples in between.

1959 Ferrari 250 GT LWB California Spider Competizione Le Mans racer stunned the classic car world with nearly $18 million final bid...

The undoubted star of the sale was the alloy bodied 1959 Ferrari 250 GT LWB California Spider Competizione, chassis # 1451 GT, with Le Mans (5th overall & 3rd in class in 1959) race history. After some spirited bidding, both in the room and on the telephones, lasting some 10 minutes, it sold for $17,990,000 to exceed its pre-sale estimate of $14-17million.

...Followed next by this '52 ex-Phil Hill Jaguar C-Type at $5,285,000
Rare outcome for Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Roadster, surpassing a Gullwing during the same sale with $1,407,500

Other notable sales were the Jaguar C-Type, which had been driven by Phil Hill in period to take the model’s first US race win, which achieved $5,285,000. Maybe looking a little lost amongst some of the more exotic machinery, was a 1992 Lancia Delta HF Integrale Evoluzione, 1 of 400 ‘Giallo Ferrari’ special editions, which achieved $190,400, in the process setting a new world auction record for a road-going Delta Integrale. Of the pair of Mercedes-Benz 300 SLs on offer, it was the Roadster that beat the “Gullwing” to the top sales figure, selling for $1,407,500, against the $1,352,500 for the latter.

Steve Jobs' BMW Z8 finished at $329,500 (iPhone X not included)
Gold plated Austin Healey 100-Six was the 1958 London Motor Show car

A BMW Z8 once the property of the late Apple founder Steve Jobs, sold for $329,500, whilst of what one might call “the novelties”, a 1953 Piaggio Ape Calessino trike made $45,600, a 1960 VW “23 Window” Microbus achieved $207,200, and a 1958 Austin Healey 100-Six with gold plated interior and exterior bright work, ex-London Motor Show that year, sold for $179,200. The star lot of the non automobile part of the auction, was the race suit and helmet worn by Steve McQueen, as his character Michael Delaney, in the film “Le Mans”, which achieved $336,000

Actual Steve McQueen's racing suit and helmet from "Le Mans" movie sold together for $336,000 -- "Racing is Life..."

Of the 31 vehicles on offer, there were 11 million dollar plus sales, with an 84 percent sell-through rate, and a total sales figure of $45.5 million. The Aston Martin DB5 Convertible on offer set a new auction record for the model, when it sold for $2.7 million, whilst the Bugatti Chiron established a new record price for a modern Bugatti with a selling price of $3,772,500. Also on display were a pair of cars destined for their Scottsdale auction in January, an Alfa Romeo 1900C SS Speciale and a Jaguar D-Type.

Porsche 918 "Weissach" Spyder with only 250 miles on the clock made the top ten with $1,732,000

Top Ten Sales in Descending Order


1.    Lot 141 1959 Ferrari 250 GT LWB California Spider Competizione (CHASSIS NO. 1451 GT) $17,990,000
2.    Lot 131 1952 Jaguar C-Type (CHASSIS NO. XKC 007) $5,285,000
3.    Lot 137 2018 Bugatti Chiron (CHASSIS NO. VF9SP3V3XJM795069) $3,772,500
4.    Lot 130 1965 Aston Martin DB5 Convertible (CHASSIS NO. DB5C/1923/L) $2,700,000
5.    Lot 142 2014 Pagani Huayra (CHASSIS NO. ZA9H11UA3ESF76078) $1,850,000
6.    Lot 138 2015 Porsche 918 ‘Weissach’ Spyder (CHASSIS NO. WP0CA2A16FS800652) $1,732,000
7.    Lot 126 1958 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Roadster (CHASSIS NO. 198.042.7500649) $1,407,500
8.    Lot 134 1955 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Gullwing (CHASSIS NO. 198.040.5500593) $1,352,500
9.    Lot 146 1990 Ferrari F40 (CHASSIS NO. ZFFMN34AXL0087144) $1,242,500
10. Lot 125 2016 Ferrari F12 tdf (CHASSIS NO. ZFF81BFA0G0219337) $1,105,000

All figures quoted include Buyer’s Premium.

All Photos by Keith Bluemel