RM’s top seller at its annual London fixture was the 1959 Ferrari 250GT Tour de France at £1,960,000. This open-headlight car, 1335GT, with period racing history and subject of a recent restoration and retrim, had been slated to fetch as much as £2.4m but sold near bottom estimate for market-correct money.
That same £2.4m was offered for the star of the show, one of 29 aluminium-bodied Mercedes Benz 300SL Gullwings, but among bidders from 33 countries none could quite offer enough to secure this rare 1955 car. In a marathon evening sale of 90 important lots at Battersea Evolution, the next big money was for the ex-Nuvolari TT-winning 1930 Alfa Romeo 6C 1750 GS Testa Fissa at £784,000, and a Bugatti Veyron from the Wim Zegwaard Collection made £579,600.
Other top performers included the very original 1937 Bugatti Type 57C Stelvio Cabriolet for £616,000. The ex-British Motor Show 1952 Bentley Continental R-Type by HJ Mulliner, one of the earliest Continentals and now restored, resplendent in its original white with red leather, attracted much interest and realised £532,000. Kicking off the sale was the 22-car Zegwaard collection, mostly of condition-1 iconic American convertibles offered at no reserve. Top here was the £78,400 paid for a 1962 Corvette, through a striking 1956 Chevrolet Bel Air convertible reached £42,560, pipping the ’57 version at £40,880, and a perfect 1974 Daf 33 sold for £7280.
Back on Ferraris, a 246GTS Dino sold at a massive £224,000 though a GT did not at £150k and, back on 250s, £510k wasn’t enough for the beautifully restored Lusso on the night, though it sold later, and Jack Boxstrom’s well-loved and raced 1958 Ellena sold for the right money at £235,200. Boxstrom was torn as to whether to take home to America the DB4 SII lightweight racer to replace it, but it looked slightly pricey at over £150k.
Ten more Astons featured at the sale and headlining those was a nice older restored 1964 DB5 Convertible at £632,800 and a recently French-restored 1964 DB5 coupe delivered new to Paul McCartney found a happy new owner for £344,400. It retained the Philips record player originally mounted under the dash, though this time loose in the passenger footwell. A beautifully kept DB4 SII found the right £235,200 and two DB6s made £151,200 and £89,600, though the £300,000 offered for the 1967 DB6 shooting brake built for Innes Ireland was not enough to buy it.
Later Porsches did well and exceeded their estimates, a 1996 911 GT2 with low mileage and two owners from new reaching an amazing £324,880, and a 1988 959 ‘Komfort’ realising a strong £308,000. One of the first Lancia Stratos Stradales reflected the rise in interest in these stubby homologation specials and sold for £249,200 against a pre-sale high estimate of £190,000.
Claiming 84 percent of total lots sold for a total of £14.26m, RM’s auctioneer and Managing Director, Europe, Max Girardo said: ‘Once again, our London sale has demonstrated that it successfully unites some the world’s finest cars with an audience of discriminating collectors from all corners of the world. We enjoyed a fantastic night in central London with some incredible results. The sale certainly rounded out RM’s 2012 roster of European sales in the best possible fashion.’