HomeCar CultureLifestyleVatican flag flies high at RM Sotheby’s Monaco auction

Vatican flag flies high at RM Sotheby’s Monaco auction


While it wasn’t the top sale of the day, a 2018 Lamborghini Huracan gifted by the automaker to Pope Francis reportedly drew the most interest from bidders and spectators alike at RM Sotheby’s Monaco auction Saturday. The sale was held in the Grimaldi Forum in conjunction with the Grand Prix de Monaco Historique vintage racing weekend.

Lamborghini customized this special version of its Huracan supercar, which wears the colors of the flag of Vatican City — Bianco Monocerus and Giallo Tiberino. The car was presented to the Pope in mid-November and carries his signature on its hood.

RM Sotheby’s expected the car to sell for €250,000 to €350,000 ($300,000 to $420,000) but the final figure was €809,375 ($975,300), that amount to be distributed to various charities supported by the Vatican. 

Pope Francis, Vatican flag flies high at RM Sotheby’s Monaco auction, ClassicCars.com Journal
1966 Ferrari 275 GTB tops Monaco auction at $2.58 million

After the auction, Rent Car Deluxe, a “Spanish luxury hire car company,” announced that it had purchased the papal car at the auction and would add it to its rental fleet and donate all income from its rental to charities benefiting disadvantaged children.

“Rent Car Deluxe, which has its headquarters in Murcia, Spain, is delighted to announce that the car will be offered for rental to its clients and the financial income generated by the rental will be donated in their entirety by the CEO of the firm, Mr. Martin López, in order to help to improve the life of disadvantaged kids,” the company said in a news release.

Rent Car Deluxe specializes in “high-range cars and exclusive sports cars,” which it rents for hours or days “to give that touch of distinction to all kinds of events, fairs, holidays, weddings or any other celebration,” according to its website. 

Pope Francis, Vatican flag flies high at RM Sotheby’s Monaco auction, ClassicCars.com Journal
1960 Corvette draws a record price

Overall, the Monaco auction generated €23,317,290 ($28,097,335) in sales with a 72 percent sell-through rate. RM Sotheby’s said bids came from residents of 36 nations.

The special Huracan wasn’t the only specially modified vehicle selling well at the auction. A l0w-mileage (840 kilometers) 2015 Bugatti Veyron 16.4 Grand Sport Vitesse featuring several modifications related to the Transformers movie franchise sold for €1,720,625 ($2.07 million), again above its pre-sale estimated value. (Prices quoted include buyer’s fee.)

The top sale of the auction was the €2,142,500 ($2.58 million) paid for what RM Sotheby’s termed an “exceptionally restored, euro-spec” 1966 Ferrari 275 GTB, one of only 88 long-nose, steel-body, triple-carburetor versions. The car did not sell on the auction block (bidding did not reach the consignor’s reserve price), but the deal was struck while the car was still in the auction room.

RM Sotheby’s claimed world auction-record prices for two vehicles — a 2006 Ferrari 575 Superamerica selling for €860,000 ($1.036 million) and a 1960 Chevrolet Corvette bringing €331,250 ($399,156). Bidding on both cars soared past their pre-sale estimated values — the Corvette was expected to bring only between €90,000 and €120,000 ($108,000 and $144,000), which was the case with several vehicles offered during the sale.

Two noteworthy Porsches also were among the auction’s top sellers. One was a 1973 911 Carrera RS 2.7 Lightweight specially built for Finnish racing and rally driver Leo Kinnunen. The car was one of only two 2.7 RS coupes with ST wheel arches and was the only ’73 car fitted with the Carrera 3.0 RS rear spoiler that was offered for the 1974 model year. The car sold for €1,242,500 (nearly $1.5 million).

The other was the Porsche-based 2018 RUF CTR3 Clubsport, one of only three produced and the car that appeared on the RUF stand at the most recent Geneva Motor Show. Expected to sell for around €850,000 ($1 million), the car brought €1,107,500 $1.334 million).

Pope Francis, Vatican flag flies high at RM Sotheby’s Monaco auction, ClassicCars.com Journal
Former racer’s special Porsche sells for nearly $1.5 million

Top 10 sales, RM Sotheby’s Monaco 2018

  1. 1966 Ferrari 275 GTB, €2,142,500 ($2,581,713)
  2. 2015 Bugatti Veyron 16.4 Grand Sport Vitesse, €1,720,625 ($2,073,354)
  3. 1962 Ferrari 250 GT Cabriolet Series II, €1,692,500 ($2,039,463)
  4. 1973 Porsche 911 Carrera RS 2.7 lightweight, €1,242,500 ($1,497,213)
  5. 2018 RUF CTR3 Clubsport, €1,107,500 ($1,334,538)
  6. 2006 Ferrari 575 Superamerica, €860,000 ($1,036,300)
  7. 1957 Ferrari 250 GT coupe, €848,750 ($1,022,744)
  8. 1987 Porsche 959 Komfort, €837,500 ($1,009,188)
  9. 1992 Benetton B192 F1 (ex-Schumacher), €815,000 ($982,075)
  10. 1999 Lamborghini Diablo GT, €815,000 ($982,075)

(Prices include buyer’s fee.)

RM Sotheby’s next auction is the Dingman Collection event June 23-24 in New Hampshire.

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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