HomeThe MarketPre-war French cars are stars at RM Sotheby's $28.5 million sale

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.

Larry Edsall
Larry Edsall
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.

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