Lancias, Youngtimers stun RM Sotheby’s inaugural German auction

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Top sale at the inaugural RM Sotheby's auction at Techno Classica in 2019 was this 1937 Mercedes-Benz 540 K Cabriolet A that brought $2.55 million | RM Sotheby's photo

A vintage pre-war Mercedes-Benz took top honors on the auction block, but a trio of Lancias made famous in rallying and cars from the Youngtimer Collection stole the show on the second and final day of RM Sotheby’s inaugural collector car sale in Essen, Germany. 

The sale, which posted €18.7 million ($21.167 million) in sales with a nearly 86 percent sell-through rate, was staged in conjunction with the annual Techno Classica collector car show. 

“We are thrilled with the success of our first-ever auction in Germany and feel privileged to have been a part of Techno Classica Essen,” RM Sotheby’s president Kenneth Ahn said at the conclusion of the auction. “This was the most successful collector car sale Germany has seen in some time, and we consider Germany to be an important part of our growth strategy in Europe given the size of its economy, significant wealth, and the number of active car collectors. 

“Our inaugural Essen auction has been a noteworthy event for us as it has not only extended the RM Sotheby’s brand in continental Europe but has also extended the RM Sotheby’s experience to collectors at a wider variety of price points in Europe. We look forward to returning next year and to expanding business with German collectors.”

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1982 Lancia 037 Rally Stradale

“We were pleased to see strong interest from new collectors at this inaugural sale, especially across the much-loved Youngtimer Collection which has appealed to a slightly younger generation of collector,” added Maarten ten Holder, the auction company’s European manager.

The auction sent 229 vehicles to new owners. Bids came from residents of 46 countries, and more than 40 percent of bidders were first-time clients, RM Sotheby’s said.

The auction opened April 11, when a 1937 Mercedes-Benz 540 K Cabriolet A by Sindelfingen brought an auction-topping sale of €2.255 million ($2.55 million). Prices quoted include buyer’s fee.

“Featuring outstandingly handsome coachwork by Sindelfingen, the supercharged 540 K was presented in Essen having undergone a high-quality restoration and retaining its original chassis, engine, gearbox and bodywork,” RM Sotheby’s noted in its news release.

While the pre-war classic sold within its pre-sale estimated value, the trio of Lancias, which sold back-to-back-to-back on April 12, each exceed pre-auction estimates.

1985 Lancia Delta S4 Stradale

It began with Lot 255, a well-preserved 1975 Stratos HF Stradale, a three-owner car driven less than 12,000 kilometers since new; the car sold for 

€545.000 ($616,913). Next up was Lot 256, a 1982 037 Rally Stradale. The car was another original vehicle, and with only 3,500 kilometers driven.  It brought €770,000.00 ($871,602), nearly double its pre-sale high estimate.

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Next up, Lot 257, was a 1985 Delta S4 Stradale, also an original example of Lancia’s famed Group B homologation specials and with only 2,200 kilometers on its odometer. Expected to sell for around €500,000, the car finally sold for an astounding €1,040,000 ($1.177 million), drawing applause from the crowd in the Messe Essen.

The prices paid for the 037 Rally Stadale and the Delta S4 Stradale were both world auction records for those models, RM Sotheby’s pointed out.

The auction also included 85 more cars — future classics — from the Youngtimer Collection. Among them, a 1990 Mercedes-Benz 560 SEC AMG 6.0 “wide-body” sold for €149,500 ($169,226); a 1979 Mercedes-Benz 500 TE AMG station wagon drew bids from 10 people before selling for €143.750 ($162,717), more than double its pre-sale estimate; a low-mileage 1992 Land Rover Range Rover brought €40,250 ($45,561); and a “highly original” 1992 Nissan 300ZX Twin Turbo sold for a final €32,200 ($36,448).

Among the unsold cars was a 2013 Bugatti Veyron 16.4 Grand Sport Vitesse that was bid to €1.3 million.

Top 10 sales, RM Sotheby’s Essen 2019

  1. 1937 Mercedes-Benz 540 K Cabriolet A, €2,255,000 ($2.55 million)
  2. 1985 Lancia Delta S4 Stradale, €1,040,000 ($1.17 million)
  3. 1959 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL roadster, €893,750 $1.01 million)
  4. 1982 Lancia 037 Rally Stradale, €770,000 ($871,602)
  5. 1970 Ferrari 365 GTB/4 Daytona Berlinetta, €635,000 ($718,788)
  6. 1975 Lancia Stratos HF Stradale, €545,000 ($616,913)
  7. 1955 Mercedes-Benz 300 Sc coupé, €432,500 ($432,500)
  8. 1962 Aston Martin DB4 Series IV, €387,500 ($438,631)
  9. 1970 Ferrari Dino 246 GT, €331,250 ($374,958)
  10. 1930 Avions Voisin C23 Conduite Intérieure, €275,000 ($311,286)
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2005 Ferrari Superamerica, €275,000 ($311,286)

RM Sotheby’s next auction takes place May 4-5 in St. Louis, Missouri, where the Guyton Collection will be sold. Afterward, the company returns to Europe for its annual Villa Erba sale on the shores of Italy’s Lake Como.

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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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