Auction watch - America launches auction season

Winter 2020

Nathan Chadwick 16th February 2021

A rare BMW M3 being sold at auction in the US

The results continue to defy the COVID doom and gloom – RM Sotheby’s, for example, posted a 90 percent sell-through. Meanwhile, a smaller-than-usual selection at Gooding also saw 80 percent go through.

At Gooding, a 2011 Porsche 997 GT2 RS blasted through its $350,000 upper estimate to post a £374k final price; one of just 142 in the USA, it had covered just 2600 miles. Elsewhere, a 2006 Mercedes-McLaren SLR with just 7000 on the clock landed mid-estimate at $220,000, but the biggest result for Strada-era cars also came from the Three-Pointed Star. A white 1989 Mercedes-Benz 560SL R107 with just under 12,700 miles was always going to do well at no reserve. But its $40k-$60k estimate was smashed by quite some margin, with $75,900 paid.

Gooding February 2021

Over at RM Sotheby’s there was far more choice. The Homologation Collection in particular bundled together iconic Group A specials with a wide-body Mercedes-Benz 560SEC AMG and a Lancia Fulvia. There was an interesting battle of the DTM homologation special heavyweights: the 1990 BMW M3 Sport Evolution had lived in the UK for some time and sold for $212,800, not far off its great competition foe, a 1990 Mercedes-Benz 190E 2.5-16 Evolution II ($268,800).

RM Sothebys February 2021

As wild as these cars looked, they were all comfortably upstaged by arguably the star lot – one of just nine Cizeta V16T supercars. This particular car was built for the Royal Family of Brunei and was displayed at the 1993 Geneva Motor Show. It didn’t make it to Brunei, and instead spent many years in the possession of Hong Seh Motors in Singapore, who’d placed the order. Most of its 620 miles had been done in factory testing. In the end, it sold for $665,000.

Over at Mecum, if you wanted to share seat space with a former ex-President of the United States a 6910-mile Ferrari F430 F1 coupe afforded you that opportunity. You just needed to stump up $330,000 for the privilege of sharing the logbook with Donald Trump. To put that in perspective, a 4600-mile F430 Spider sold for $139,700 at the same sale…

Mecum Trump February 2021

These sales were largely dominated by big-ticket cars, but our favourite was much more reasonable. We loved this wonderfully evil-looking 1991 Lotus Esprit Turbo SE. It had covered just 35,500 miles and had clearly been cherished, and sold for just $29,700.