Life of Luxury, indeed: California Spyder, C-type Jaguar, Bugatti Chiron lead RM Sotheby’s Icons auction

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Luxurious Spyder, Jaguar and Bugatti sell at Sotheby’s Icons auction
California Spider tops RM Sotheby's Icon's auction in New York City | RM Sotheby's photos

RM Sotheby’s “Icons” auction took in $45.5 million Wednesday evening during its portion of Sotheby’s new “A Life of Luxury” week of sales at the auction house’s corporate offices in New York City.

“The Icons auction attracted many thousands of visitors as both art and car enthusiasts flocked to Sotheby’s Manhattan headquarters to view over 30 iconic automobiles,” Gord Duff, global head of auctions for RM Sotheby’s, said in a post-sale news release.

“We saw strong bidding across the sale including from a number of Sotheby’s specialists on the phones competing with clients in the packed room.

“There was particular excitement around our top lot – the 1959 Ferrari 250 GT LWB California Spider Competizione which saw four bidders compete for nearly 10 minutes, sending the final price to $17.99 million.”

Luxurious Spyder, Jaguar and Bugatti sell at Sotheby’s Icons auction
First U.S.-offered Bugatti Chiron brings $3.77 million

The 250 GT California Spider is a competition model with open headlights and was one of 11 cars selling for $1 million or more during the sale. The car, chassis No. 1451 GT, was the second of eight aluminum-bodied California Spiders produced and finished fifth overall in the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1959. Its pre-auction estimated value was $14 million to $17 million.

Another car with racing history was the second highest seller of the evening, the 1952 Jaguar C-type (XKC 007) that in its debut was the first C-type to race in the United States, and with Phil Hill in the driver’s seat. The car sold for $5.285 million.

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Another car drawing a lot of pre-sale interest was the first Bugatti Chiron to be offered at auction and the first of the new cars to be offered in the U.S. market. The car sold for nearly $3.8 million and, in addition to the car, the buyer will be treated to a personalized visit to the Bugatti factory in Molsheim, France.

Also attracting attention was a 2000 BMW Z8 originally owned by Apple founder Steve Jobs. Equipped with a BMW-branded Motorola Startac cell phone as an original accessory, the car sold for $329,500.

Luxurious Spyder, Jaguar and Bugatti sell at Sotheby’s Icons auction
Steve Jobs’ BMW sold with Motorola mobile phone

Top-10 sales, RM Sotheby’s Icons 2017:

  1. 1959 Ferrari 250 GT LWB California Spider Competizione, $17,990,000
  2. 1952 Jaguar C-type, $5,285,000
  3. 2018 Bugatti Chiron, $3,772,500
  4. 1965 Aston Martin DB5 convertible, $2,700,000
  5. 2014 Pagani Huayra, $1,850,000
  6. 2015 Porsche 918 ‘Weissach’ Spyder, $1,732,000
  7. 1958 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL roadster, $1,407,500
  8. 1955 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Gullwing coupe, $1,352,500
  9. 1960 Ferrari F40, $1,242,500
  10. 2016 Ferrari F12 tdf, $1,105,000

(Prices reported include buyer’s fee.)

RM Sotheby’s next auction, “A Century of Sports Cars,” is scheduled for January 18-19, 2018, at the Arizona Biltmore resort.

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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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