RM Sotheby’s, Place Vauban, Paris, February 7, 2018

It snowed.

In fact, it snowed so much wet, slushy white stuff that one section of RM Sotheby’s temporary structure became unsafe and had to be cordoned off on the day of the auction.

It snowed so much (all of three inches, but for Paris it was the most snow in three decades) that the Parisians were completely mystified about what to do with it, or in it. Traffic disappeared from the streets, taxis went home, the Metro at Gare du Nord failed.

The authorities held trucks outside the city on Wednesday which meant that:

  1. The car haulers couldn’t get in to clear the exhibit/auction space after the sale; and
  2. Oil couldn’t be delivered to fuel RM’s phalanx of generators and the heaters that kept the structure above the ambient 35 or so degrees Fahrenheit outside.

The generators stayed on, but it got cold on auction evening. Instead of checking coats and hats people were going back to the check room to retrieve the winter gear they had checked early in the day when the heat was still on.

We joked that the RM-ers had brought the weather with them from Blenheim. They coldly informed us that, “It’s warmer in Blenheim.”

These are the numbers:

Year Cars Sold/ Offered Sale % Sold < Low Est Sold > High Est Average Sale Median Sale Total $ Exchange Rate
2018 69/83 83.1% 65.2% 8.7% $422,631 $255,970


$29,161,512 $1.2281/€1
2017 60/77 77.9% 43.3% 13.3% $492,147 $224,000


$29,528,809 $1.0708/€1
2016 48/61 78.7% 75% 6.3% $437,311 $148,525


$20,990,934 $1.1051/€1

While four lots hammered sold on bids of $1 million or more two of them were late model Bugattis, the EB110 Super Sport Prototype and an effectively brand new Bugatti Chiron. Four lots bid to $1 million or more didn’t make reserve including the Ferrari 166MM Spider, Ferrari 275 GTB long nose alloy and the headline riveted duralumin-bodied Iso Grifo A3/C first owned by French pop star Johnny Hallyday.

Results are reported at the New York wholesale exchange rate on Wednesday and do not include VAT on the buyer’s commission.

RM had yet another buyer’s commission schedule of 15% of the first €200,000 and 12.5% above that. Added to the lousy US$ exchange rate (the worst since 2014) it contributed to inflating the results when expressed in US$ and when compared with U.S. sales of comparable cars or the same cars’ previous U.S. auction transactions. The 2016/17 RM Paris auctions’ BP was 12% across the board.

It was almost 3km from Place Vauban to my rented apartment on Quai Malaquais. Taxis were thin on the ground and I walked it three times, arriving looking like the Abominable Snowman. But Paris is always an entertaining walk, even slipping and sliding on unshoveled sidewalks (no one in Paris owns a shovel, apparently). On auction night there was a ‘Solidarity’ demonstration outside some government office along the way to liven up the evening. Parked around the corner were a dozen or so packed police vehicles ready to keep the peace if solidarity became fractious.

Here are the cars, sorted in lot number order:

Lot # 107 1950 AGS Panhard Monomill Monoposto; S/N 863; Engine # 1754; Blue/Blue; Estimate $30,703 – $42,984; Competition car, original as-raced, 4+ condition; No Reserve; Hammered Sold at $34,387 plus commission of 15.00%; Final Price $39,545 – 850cc Panhard twin, single Zenith carb, Panhard gearbox, Panhard disc wheels, aeroscreen. – A homebuilt created by Pierre Guerin in Grenoble, France, the Atelier Guerin Special, possibly raced when new. Now aged and neglected with dull chipped paint, usable upholstery and a later Panhard engine in need of total restoration. – When returned to running, driving condition that big twin Panhard will be deafening and the driving experience, particularly on a hillclimb, should be breathtaking. It seemed to have been generously estimated, but then brought a successful hammer bid of even more, proving, if nothing else, that it pays to offer an obscure French-built racing car in France.

Lot # 110 1972 De Tomaso Mangusta Coupe, Body by Ghia; S/N 8MA998; Engine # CP007; Red/Black leather; Estimate $233,339 – $294,744; Older restoration, 2 condition; With Reserve; Hammered Sold at $307,025 plus commission of 14.50%; Final Price $351,544 – 302/350hp Ford, Holley 4-barrel, electronic ignition, lightweight flywheel, uprated disc brakes, De Tomaso alloy wheels, Ferrero wood/leather steering wheel, air conditioning, cassette stereo. – Excellent paint and interior. The engine compartment and storage areas are like new, aside from the engine and brake modifications. The restoration was done twenty years ago but today looks like it was only last year. – Despite its age the quality of the restoration shows in how well it has held up, along with excellent care and attention. The bidders noticed, but even at that paid a serious premium for it. It is an expensive Mangusta.

Lot # 115 1962 Ferrari 250 GTE SIII 2 + 2, Body by Pininfarina; S/N 4189GT; Ice Blue/Red leather; Estimate $528,083 – $577,207; Recent restoration, 2+ condition; With Reserve; Hammered Sold at $558,786 plus commission of 13.60%; Final Price $634,774 – Chrome spoke Borrani wire wheels, Autovox radio, fog lights. – Excellent paint and interior. Freshly restored at great expense and better than new. Ferrari Classiche certified. – This Ferrari was expensive when RM sold it from the Aalholm collection in 2012 for $240,605 (Euros 195,600 at the time, Euros 516,875 today) and it is even more expensive today after a Euros 290,000 restoration. It is a marvelous example, restored to standards most 250 GTOs can only aspire to, but a 2/3 million dollar 250 GTE? This is a curve-setting result.

Lot # 120 1965 Ferrari 275 GTB Alloy Berlinetta, Body by Pininfarina-Scaglietti; S/N 08069; Engine # 08069; Silver/Black leather; Estimate $2,947,440 – $3,438,680; Recent restoration, 2+ condition; With Reserve; Not sold at Hammer bid of $2,701,820 – Chrome spoke Borrani wire wheels, Michelin XWX tires. – Long nose alloy bodywork. Excellent paint, interior and chrome. Freshly restored by GTO Engineering in the UK and like new with impressive body fits and flat panels. Ferrari Classiche certified. – Sold by RM in Monterey in 2014 before restoration for $3,382,500. The collector car market may have softened since then but not enough to support the stingy bid it brought here.

Lot # 127 1963 Maserati 3500 GT Spyder, Body by Vignale; S/N AM1011457; Black/Champagne leather; Black cloth top; Estimate $859,670 – $982,480; Cosmetic restoration, 3 condition; With Reserve; Not sold at Hammer bid of $706,158 – Chrome spoke Borrani wire wheels, Becker Europa multi-band radio, ZF 5-speed, Weber carbs. – Indifferent quality old repaint with several areas of flawed preparation, good upholstery, erratic chrome. The underbody has been overcoated with some kind of sealant. The engine compartment is orderly, but the chassis is aged. A sound but pedestrian 3500 GT converted from FI to carburetors. – This Maserati was sold from John Bookout’s collection by Worldwide at Hilton Head in 2008 for $211,200, then by RM in Arizona in 2012 for $297,000. Why the seller thinks it has tripled in value in the last six years is a mystery; the reported high bid should have been more than sufficient to see it on its way to a new home.

Lot # 128 1967 Maserati Mistral 4.0 Spyder, Body by Frua; S/N AM109SA1627; Gold/White leather; Black cloth top; Estimate $921,075 – $1,043,885; Recent restoration, 2 condition; With Reserve; Hammered Sold at $798,265 plus commission of 13.27%; Final Price $904,189 – Blaupunkt multi-band radio, chrome spoke Borrani wire wheels, Lucas fuel injection. – Very good paint, interior and chrome. The engine is restored like new, as are the chassis and underbody. One of 125 Mistral Spyders, even fewer with the 4-liter engine. – This is a generous price when expressed in today’s faltering US$, but it would be ample even at last year’s much more advantageous US$/Euro exchange rate.

Lot # 129 1970 Maserati Ghibli 4.7 Spyder, Body by Ghia; S/N AM115S1233; Black/Champagne leather; Black cloth top; Estimate $859,670 – $982,480; Visually maintained, largely original, 3+ condition; With Reserve; Hammered Sold at $767,563 plus commission of 13.30%; Final Price $869,648 – Chrome spoke Borrani wire wheels, Michelin XWX tires, modern Becker Mexico radio with navigation, power windows, power steering. – Sound repaint, old scratched and scuffed chrome, good older upholstery and interior trim. Orderly engine compartment with some work and detailing on top but not in the depths. Inappropriately badged as an SS. A sound driver quality Ghibli Spyder. – Offered by RM here in 2015 where it was reported bid to $542,355 (Euros 475,000 at the time, Euros 708,125 here on a successful hammer bid of Euros 625,000.) The result here is inflated by the conversion to the current weak US$ but even in Euros it is fully priced for its specification and equipment.

Lot # 134 1958 BMW 507 Series II Roadster; S/N 70127; Ivory/Black, White; Black cloth top; Estimate $1,964,960 – $2,210,580; Unrestored original, 3+ condition; With Reserve; Hammered Sold at $1,934,258 plus commission of 12.82%; Final Price $2,182,180 – Rudge wheels, Blaupunkt multi-band radio, front disc brakes. – Two owners from new, always maintained by the same BMW-trained mechanic, never restored. Sound but aged original paint, original interior trim with reupholstered seats and newer carpets. Orderly never-restored engine compartment and chassis. A wonderful 507 that has never fallen into disrepair, far better than a dirt encrusted barn find. – This is a premium price by any standard but one that brings an unusual level of care, preservation and attention over the past six decades that is nearly impossible to duplicate. The new owner should be satisfied with both the 507 and the value.

Lot # 142 1965 Iso Grifo A3/C Coupe, Body by Drogo; S/N B0209; Engine # 691F010750; Red/Black leather; Estimate $3,070,250 – $3,684,300; Visually maintained, largely original, 3 condition; With Reserve; Not sold at Hammer bid of $2,425,498 – Riveted duralumin alloy body, alloy wheels. – Sound old repaint over old paint and original interior. First owned by French pop star Johnny Hallyday and mostly preserved since his ownership. – Even with the riveted Drogo alloy body and the rather remarkable preservation the amount offered for this A3C is based on its Johnny Hallyday history, unrelated to the car which without his bum prints in the upholstery would be worth something like half this much.

Lot # 148 2014 McLaren P1; S/N SBM12ABB2EW000080; Dark Grey, Rocket Red/Red Alcantara; Estimate $2,087,770 – $2,456,200; Unrestored original, 2 condition; With Reserve; Not sold at Hammer bid of $1,842,150 – ‘Stealth Package’ equipped, Red calipers, Meridian sound system, parking sensors, vehicle tracker, fire extinguisher. – 6,000 km, one owner, and like new with Euros 100K in special features and options. – It is not unreasonable to expect over $2 million for a pristine McLaren P1, particularly not one with as many special order features as this.

Lot # 149 1925 Bugatti Type 35 Grand Prix; S/N 4394; Dark Blue/Black leather; Estimate $614,050 – $859,670; Rebodied or re-created, 3 condition; No Reserve; Hammered Sold at $417,554 plus commission of 13.97%; Final Price $475,889 – Cibie headlights, single sidemount, aeroscreen, no fenders, two Solex sidedraft carbs. – Replacement chassis, reproduction engine built by Laurent Rondoni, some original Bugatti Type 35 parts including partial bodywork, front axle, shocks and radiator. The Bugatti gearbox is numbered 29, the rear axle (Type 30?) is number 21. Has a charming patina, worn upholstery, chipped paint and well-used chassis and brakes. Looks amazingly original, but isn’t. This chassis number is recorded as originally delivered to Lord Cholmondeley (‘Chumly’ as pronounced in Britain) and said to have been discovered in a junk yard in Kent in the 80’s. – In essence, who cares? It is a seriously charming and usable Type 35 bought for a Pur Sang price. One thing the British know how to do, and do well, is create patina. It was honestly described, with inspection reports from Pierre-Yves Laugier and David Sewell, and is a sound value at this price.

Lot # 150 1993 Bugatti EB 110 Super Sport Prototype Coupe; S/N ZA9BBU2E0PCD39006; Engine # 0026; Light Grey Metallic/Dark Blue leather; Estimate $1,043,885 – $1,350,910; Unrestored original, 2 condition; With Reserve; Hammered Sold at $1,252,662 plus commission of 12.99%; Final Price $1,415,385 – Books and tools. – Factory test car for the Super Sport version and bodywork, all-wheel drive, uprated engine from another prototype (C7 chassis MCD39006) that set a speed record at 342.7 kph, 212.9 mph. 3,300 km from new, freshly serviced, two owners since the factory. – At the level of the EB110 Super Sport performance becomes of mostly academic interest since the tires last only minutes at terminal velocity, as does the fuel. This, however, is a singular milestone on Bugatti’s quest to be the ultimate hypercar and the Place Vauban bidders rose to the challenge with this price. It is expensive, but it also is the only one and it is essentially brand new.

Lot # 151 2017 Bugatti Chiron Coupe; S/N VF9SP3V39HM795042; Engine # DAL001022; Atlantic (Dark) Blue, French Racing Blue/Saddle leather; Estimate $3,929,920 – $4,421,160; Unrestored original, 2 condition; With Reserve; Hammered Sold at $3,622,895 plus commission of 12.67%; Final Price $4,081,898 – Maritime Blue calipers, carbon fiber and leather steering wheel, polished ‘Classique’ wheels. – Under 1,000 km from new, with all its accessories and equipment, in showroom condition. Electronically limited 420 kph top speed (261 mph) but reputedly capable of 455 kph (283 mph) if there were tires that would hold together at that speed … and a fuel tanker following behind to refill the tank. – Among all the cars at RM Sotheby’s Paris auction this was the one that had a crowd of adoring young men gathered around it taking photos from all angles. One of them even brought a model, in the correct colors. It was a sensation for the Facebook and Instagram set. RM got $3,772,500 for a Chiron in New York in December and this result is consistent with that at about half a million US over ‘sticker’.

Lot # 158 1970 Lancia Fulvia Rallye 1.6 HF ‘Fanalone’ Coupe; S/N 818540001284; Red, Matte Black hood/Black cloth; Estimate $73,686 – $98,248; Modified restoration, 3 condition; No Reserve; Hammered Sold at $71,230 plus commission of 15.00%; Final Price $81,914 – Dual Weber carbs, 5-speed, roll cage, fire system, Sparco seats, Sabelt belts, leather rim steering wheel, Cibie driving lights, alloy wheels, custom fuel cell. – Rally prepared in the naughts, Historic Monte Carlo and Tour Auto participant. Sound and competently prepared and maintained in good, usable condition but showing its age and some use. – RM’s ‘Duemila Route’ auction in late 2016 had several rally-prepared Fulvia 106 HF ‘Fanalones’ in more neglected condition than this. By the standard of that sale this is a representative result and a sound buy for an enthusiastic historic rally driver and navigator.

Lot # 159 1969 Chevrolet Corvette Convertible Race Car; S/N 194679S724957; White, Red/Black; Estimate $245,620 – $307,025; Competition restoration, 3 condition; With Reserve; Not sold at Hammer bid of $208,777 – Aluminum block 454, L88-style intake and hood, side exhausts, fender flares, wide Torque Thrust-style wheels and tires, hardtop, fixed headlights, Sparco steering wheel, Recaro seat, OMP belts, roll cage, fire system. – SCCA raced starting in 1971, Central Division A/Production champion and finished 8th in the runoffs in 1973 driven by Paul C. Jones and raced sporadically until 1985. Brought to Europe in 2004 and prepared for historic GT1 racing including the Le Mans Classic in 2010, 2013 and 2014. Definitely a race car, but professionally built, prepared and said to be (and looks) historic race ready. Comes with spares including a 427 engine. – Perhaps the best performance for money offering by RM Sotheby’s, the reported high bid is a responsible offer for it that the consignor should have given serious consideration.

Lot # 160 1967 Lamborghini 400 GT 2+2 Coupe, Body by Touring; S/N 01285; Engine # 1484; Ice Blue/Black leather; Estimate $552,645 – $614,050; Unrestored original, 3+ condition; With Reserve; Hammered Sold at $552,645 plus commission of 13.61%; Final Price $627,866 – Chrome spoke Borrani wire wheels, tools, jack. – Good largely original paint, chrome and interior. One owner from new, 61,963 km and carefully preserved. Serviced in 2016 and ready to be used. – This is a barn find that hasn’t been relegated to a barn, a marvelously preserved, highly original, high performance Lamborghini. That said, its price even in Euros has a serious originality premium on the order of 25%, value that resides in the eye of the bidder but is elusive to others.

Lot # 162 1968 Bizzarrini 1900 GT Europa Coupe; S/N 1500521; Engine # 20EH0058775; Red/Black leather; Estimate $307,025 – $368,430; Visually maintained, largely original, 3 condition; No Reserve; Hammered Sold at $227,199 plus commission of 15.00%; Final Price $261,278 – 1.9 Liter/110hp Opel engine, Weber carbs, foam sleeve air filters, alloy wheels, Dunlop Racing tires. – One of 12 believed built, a mini-5300 GT in style, if not in performance. This has an inconsistent chassis number and may be the prototype. It was delivered originally to Giorgio Giordanengo and had an Alfa Romeo engine at some point; this is a later, appropriate, 1.9 liter prepared Opel four. It is old, has a superficial repaint and creased original upholstery, showing 32,378 possibly original km on the odometer. – Artcurial sold another Bizzarrini Europa 1900 GT in Paris last year for $316,262 (with a later 2.4 liter Opel engine), Euros 305,152 at the time. This result is Euros 212,750 all-in and a much better deal at an appropriate performance-related discount from a Chevy-powered 5300 GT Strada.

Lot # 163 1974 Alpine-Renault A110 B ‘Team Vialle’ Rallycross Coupe; S/N 20377; Engine # 807G40104; Blue, White, Red/Black cloth; Estimate $171,934 – $221,058; Competition restoration, 2 condition; With Reserve; Hammered Sold at $159,653 plus commission of 15.00%; Final Price $183,601 – Corbeau seats, rally dash and wiring, leather rim steering wheel, Gotti gold center polished rim modular wheels, Michelin Racing tires, Luke belts, roll cage, Weber carbs. – 1978 Dutch Rallycross championship driven by Piet Kruythof and 4th in the European Championship. Rolled up by Willem van Dalen in 1984 and restored in 2000 with road equipment. Sharp, orderly, tidy and attractive. – Approaching ‘ludicrous fast’, this is a whole lot of rear-engined performance for the money with its seriously-tuned Gordini engine and ultra-compliant suspension. On track or off-road this is a handful, bought for a moderate handful of Euros.

Lot # 164 1970 Ferrari 246 GT Dino ‘L-Series’ Coupe, Body by Pininfarina-Scaglietti; S/N 00854; Engine # 0005746; Dark Grey/Red leather, Black bars; Estimate $368,430 – $429,835; Recent restoration, 2 condition; No Reserve; Hammered Sold at $331,587 plus commission of 14.35%; Final Price $379,176 – Daytona seats with headrests, alloy wheels, open headlights. – Early 206 GT-transition ‘L-Series’ Dino 246 with alloy doors and lids. Restored in the U.K. five years ago and still impeccable with seriously impressive bodywork and fits. – This is a realistic result for an L-Series Dino with such an impressive restoration, even if the glossy clearcoat paint is more showy than when the body left Scaglietti’s shop.

Lot # 165 1954 OSCA 2000 S Barchetta, Body by Morelli; S/N 2005S; Engine # 2200; Red, White accent/Black; Estimate $1,074,588 – $1,197,398; Competition restoration, 3 condition; With Reserve; Hammered Sold at $859,670 plus commission of 13.21%; Final Price $973,269 – Maserati six, three single choke Weber carbs, Marchal headlights and fog lights, heater, full width windscreen, silver painted Borrani wire wheels – Later engine. Raced in Italy when new by Roberto Sgorbati, then sold to Argentina where it was discovered without an engine in 1986. Restored in Italy in 2003 to sound usable condition. Shows some wear, age and miles. – An historic Mille Miglia veteran at least twice (according to the tech stickers on the windshield), this is a pretty and practical OSCA with abundant opportunities to use it on the road, track and tours. It brought a realistic price considering its sketchy history.

Lot # 166 1994 Ferrari 348 GTS Spyder, Body by Pininfarina-Scaglietti; S/N ZFFUA36B000096858; Red, Red roof panel/Tan leather; Estimate $92,108 – $122,810; Unrestored original, 3+ condition; No Reserve; Hammered Sold at $70,616 plus commission of 15.00%; Final Price $81,208 – Air conditioning. – A clean and orderly used Ferrari with 40,359 km from new. Major service in 2015. – A reassuring car that appears never to have been neglected, this 348 GTS brought a superior price, particularly in today’s soft US$.

Lot # 170 1965 Alfa Romeo Giulia GTA Sprint, Body by Bertone; S/N AR613369; Engine # 19272; Red, White nose/Black cloth; Estimate $276,323 – $337,728; Competition restoration, 4+ condition; With Reserve; Not sold at Hammer bid of $233,339 – Alloy wheels, braced rollbar, replacement dual ignition engine, leather rim steering wheel, Recaro seats, Turn One belts, Carello halogen headlights, Plexiglas side windows with sliding door window panels, riveted Plexiglas rear window, 45DCOE Webers. – Gutted interior, scratched and gouged. Awful paint, musty interior. Properly plumbed but dirty and disorganized engine compartment. A generally driven hard and put away wet GTA with a replacement engine. Needs attention everywhere. – The reported high bid here, whether in Euros of US$, should have been more than enough to buy this scroungy, neglected GTA.

Lot # 172 1953 Ferrari 166 MM Spider; S/N 0272M; Engine # 0272M; Red/Black leather; Estimate $4,543,970 – $5,526,450; Competition restoration, 2 condition; With Reserve; Not sold at Hammer bid of $4,236,945 – RHD. Three 4-barrel downdraft Weber carbs, 5-speed, full width windscreen, outside laced painted Borrani wire wheels, Simpson aircraft-style belts, Dunlop Racing tires. – 1953 Mille Miglia 3rd in class driven by Alberico Cacciari and Bill Mason and throughout the 1953 Italian season by Cacciari. Entered in the 1954 MM by Ferrari but used as a ‘hero car’ (the ‘Spyder Burano’) for the movie ‘The Racers’ driven by de Graffenried, Parravicini, John Fitch and Kirk Douglas. It did not finish. Came to the U.S. to finish filming, then sold to Tom Carstens and Pete Lovely. Shown at Pebble Beach in 1961. Ran the historic MM 2008-10 with John Megrue. Modified with an alternator, electronic ignition and gearbox synchromesh. Very clean, orderly and correct, with its original frame, engine, gearbox, rear axle, steering box and carburetors. Recently reworked to recreate the 1953 nose configuration but said to be 80% original bodywork. Very good paint. Engine compartment and chassis are like new. An exceptional early Ferrari competition car. – A 2-time Mille Miglia participant, movie ‘hero car’, U.S. racing history with Pete Lovely, highly original in all important respects, it all adds up to an exceptional Ferrari that would have been a sound value even at the low estimate.

Lot # 173 1995 Lancia Delta HF Integrale Evoluzione II ‘Dealers Collection’ 4-Dr. Sedan; S/N ZLA831AB000586062; Deep Red Pearl/Beige leather; Estimate $110,529 – $147,372; Unrestored original, 2 condition; With Reserve; Hammered Sold at $171,934 plus commission of 15.00%; Final Price $197,724 – ‘Dealers Collection’ with Recaro seats, pushbutton start, alloy wheels, Momo leather rim steering wheel, OMP pedals. – 20,782 miles from new, one of 180 built. Despite the mileage there is essentially no wear or use evident. – The bidders’ response to this Lancia surprised even the usually optimistic pre-sale estimate writers, coming in 16% above the high estimate. It is a charming thing, in impeccable condition.

Lot # 177 1983 Aston Martin V8 Vantage V580 ‘Oscar India’ Coupe; S/N V8V0L12363; Engine # V5802363V; Ivory/White leather; Estimate $276,323 – $307,025; Recent restoration, 2 condition; With Reserve; Hammered Sold at $294,744 plus commission of 14.58%; Final Price $337,728 – 5-speed, BBS wheels, Avon tires, air conditioning, Alpine CD stereo, halogen headlights and fog lights. – Mechanically restored in 208, repainted and reupholstered in 2011, freshly tuned by Aston Martin Heritage. Excellent paint, chrome and unblemished upholstery and interior wood trim, spotless engine compartment except for some faint fuel stains on the carburetors. – The all-white livery is very much a matter of personal taste, and it is apparent from the price it brought here that it appealed to more than one person in the Place Vauban tent.

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