We get an exclusive look at the Pinnacle Portfolio, and find out a little about the owner, before it heads to auction with RM Sotheby's later this week
The remarkable RM Sotheby’s Pinnacle Collection of supercars goes up for sale in Monterey, California on Thursday 13 August, later this week. Classic & Performance Car was given exclusive access to the cars while they were being prepared for sale.
Most of the cars, when we view them, are in a huge secure warehouse down a narrow alleyway in downtown Los Angeles. It’s not an area we’d normally choose to visit but when the doors swing open, the view is breathtaking: a line of superlative supercars, headed by a Ferrari 250LM. And this isn’t all of the collection – the NART Ferrari 250GT SWB Berlinetta Competizione is still hidden away, but we’re promised a trip to the rest of the cars, including the Pope’s Ferrari Enzo.
These, then, are the cars of a single collector, who has remained anonymous throughout. In fact, very little has been said of him at all, until we quiz RM Sotheby’s Shelby Myers, who reluctantly reveals a little more detail.
‘He’s not just a collector of cars,’ says Shelby. ‘He collects wine, furniture, art… he likes the very best of the best: the best vintages of wine; the rarest furniture. His drive was to find the most unique cars in the world and put them in one building. He’s bought the majority of them in the last five years.
‘The reasons for selling the cars are consolidation. Sell 25 cars, buy three or four even better cars – more exclusive, more valuable. And he’s keeping five cars from his current collection. He’s absolutely not getting out cars.’
As for the cars for sale, almost every one of them really does have a unique story. For example, at the warehouse, there are two Veyrons: one is the first production Veyron, number one, and the other is the last coupe, number 300.
There’s a Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren with just 130 miles on it. The Konigsegg CCXR from the fifth instalment of the Fast and the Furious films. The very first US import Toyota 2000GT which, though its paint isn’t perfect, is expected to set a new record for a Japanese car. And that 250LM is reckoned to be one of the most original – possibly the most original – in existence.
Generally, it seems that the earlier a car was bought by the vendor, the less unique it’s likely to be, but there’s not a single car here that isn’t spectacularly special. The Ferrari Dino 246GTS is a superb example, numbers matching, and we’d defy you to find a Daytona Spider with a more spotless engine bay.
All the cars are on the button too, and perfectly maintained – the owner had a team of people looking after them, and it really shows. The F50 is typical, having had its fuel tank bladder (an expensive ‘service’ item on the F50) replaced recently, and the McLaren F1 comes with a huge crate containing spare engine, tyres and tools. Incredible!
‘The worst I’ve found are really minor cosmetic flaws,’ says RM Sotheby’s Barney Ruprecht, who is looking after the cars in the warehouse. All start first time, all have service records.’
Barney takes us to Rex Nguyen Restorations, where several more of the cars are being prepared for the sale. There’s an alloy-bodied Gullwing, a Porsche 959, a Maserati MC12 that (unusually) has been federalised for 49 states and has covered just 750 miles, and a Jaguar XJ220 that’s California-legal.
But the star of this bunch is of course the Pope’s Enzo. It was gifted to Pope Jean Paul II in 2005 by Ferrari, as unlikely as that seems, and predictably sold on by the Vatican, with the proceeds going towards relief aid for the Indonesian tsunami for $1.1 million.
Under the engine cover is an inscription in Italian from Ferrari head Luca di Montezemolo. It reads: ‘This Enzo is unique in the history of Ferrari as a sign of solidarity for those suffering, inspired by a great pope, Jean Paul II.’
A final tot-up of the mind-blowing collection reveals that of the 25 cars on offer, 15 of them were the fastest cars in the world in their day. It will be fascinating to see how they sell – and of course we’ll be hoping to find out what the owner buys next.
Words: David Lillywhite // Images: Matthew Howell