2,000 Wheels has the sound of a Mecum Auctions mega event. All at no reserve sounds more like Barrett-Jackson. But , , which is Italian for 2,000 Wheels, is an auction scheduled for November 25-27 by RM Sotheby’s, which says this sale will be the largest of a single private collection in European history.
The anonymous collector of this array of more than 800 lots is offering more than 430 cars, 150 motorcycles, 60 boats, a hundred or so each of signs and bicycles, as well as a handful of bobsleds, a few engines, and some other stuff — all at no reserve. The sale is timed and co-located with the Milano AutoClassic classic car show in the very fashionable city in northern Italy.
The star of the collection, and long-hidden from public view, is one of only seven long-nose 1966 Ferrari 275 GTB/6C models built with alloy bodywork, half a dozen carburetors and torque tube. Pre-sale estimated value of the car is just shy of $3 million.
The collection also includes a 2004 Maserati MC12, a 1994 Bugatti EB110 GT, a 25th anniversary Lamborghini Countach, a 2005 Porsche Carrera GT and a 1988 959 “Komfort,” a 1969 Ferrari 365 GTB/4 Daytona Berlinetta “Plexi” and a 1992 F40, as well as a 1991 Lancia-Ferrari Le Mans race car.
But this is an eclectic collection to say the least, what with Lot 948 being a 1991 Pontiac Trans Sport SE minivan estimated at to be worth $3,000 at the most.
Instead of its traditional glossy and fact-packed auction catalog, RM Sotheby’s has produced a tabloid-style newsprint catalog with mostly thumbnail photos, the lot number, vehicle year make and model and pre-sale estimated price. The accompanying website includes more photos of some lots and allows you to enlarge them to see more details, but still generally lacks on the usual information.
Take, for example, eye-catching Lot 623, being offered as a replica of a 1946 Alfa Romeo 412 Spider Vignale. We’re told the car is built on chassis No. 913346 with engine No. 923886, but it is indeed a replica of a car that (some web-searching reveals) Vignale rebodied for the 1951 Mille Miglia and is being sold with a pre-sale estimated value of around only $34,000.
I’ve gone through the 64-page newspaper-style catalog twice and my personal tastes are as eclectic as the collectors:
Lot 101: Three Vintage Bobsleds
No details about where they might have raced, but each seems to have cool patina from use and any of the three would be a wonderful piece of wall art. Pre-auction estimate for the trio is $550 to $950.
Lot 135: Fiat Servizio Sign
Apparently metal sign measures 31 X 39 inches. Cool colors. Only downside I see is friends seeing the sign and making Fix It Again, Tony, jokes. Pre-sale estimate: $110 to $160.
Lot 143: Agip sign
Agip is a major Italian distributor of petroleum products. This sign appears to be metal and measures about 39 inches square and would be a great reminder of several trips to Italy. Pre-sale estimated value: $160 to $270.
Lot 197: Vintage Fire Service Bicycle
This is probably my favorite vehicle in the entire catalog and was and may still be a very efficient way for a firefighter to reach and start battling a blaze, especially in a crowded, urban environment or in a small hillside town. Pre-sale value: $1,600 to $3,200.
Lot 449: Automoto
Apparently produced by Jomard in Montelimar, France, this is an early motorized bicycle. Pre-sale estimated value: $1,075 to $ $1,610.
Lot 467: JAWA Speedway
The JA comes from the first two letters of Frantisek Janecek’s last name and the WA is short for Wanderer. In 1929, Janecek bought Wanderer’s motorcycle division and started producing powered two-wheelers in Prague. He died in 1941 but the company continued, though it was re-organized in the 1990s as JAWA Moto. This is one of several JAWA Speedway racing bikes offered in the auction and has a pre-sale estimated value of only $540 to $1,075.
Lot 578: 1991 Lancia Delta HF Integrale Evoluzione
The street-legal version of one of the famed Killer Bees rally cars. Nice way to show up at your local cruise night, or to carve your way around an autocross circuit or on forest roads. Pre-sale estimated value: $32,00 to $37,500.
Lot 584: 1949 Alfa Romeo 6C 2500 Sport Freccia d’Oro
Catalog says it’s chassis No. 916431 and engine No. S 928773 and the pre-sale value is $69,800 to $80,500. No mention of history or the gorgeous lines of the Golden Arrow bodywork with which Alfa Romeo returned to automotive production after World War II.
Lot 699: Bob Club Cortina
Cortina was the site of the 1956 Winter Olympic Games. This vintage bobsled apparently comes from the sledding club established at Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy, where the bob run would be renamed in honor of Eugenio Monti and Renzo Alvera won the silver medal in the two-man race and comprised half of Italy’s silver-winning four-man team. They were the first bobsledding Olympic medals won by an Italian. Monti would go on to win four more in ensuing Winter Games.
RM Sotheby’s photos by Jeremy Malcolm, Eugene Robertson and Tom Wood
A former daily newspaper sports editor, Larry Edsall spent a dozen years as an editor at AutoWeek magazine before making the transition to writing for the web and becoming the author of more than 15 automotive books. In addition to being founding editor at ClassicCars.com, Larry has written for The New York Times and The Detroit News and was an adjunct honors professor at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.