The firstMcLaren Speedtail to come up for public auction has been sold in the US for $3,277,500, about £2.4m and, with its bespoke options, probably close to what it cost when new just six months and 30 miles ago.
All eyes were on what the Speedtail, the British supercar firm’s fastest-ever car, to see if the limited-edition “hyper-GT” could show early signs of emulating the massive rise in values of its 1990s spiritual forebear, the McLaren F1. The auction house RM Sotheby’s, which sold the 250mph three-seater at its online Arizona sale, had a guide price of $3.5-4.5m on it.
The sale was one of a number of high-profile sales at the weekend that kicked off the new collector car auction year, which it was feared might prove as much of a challenge as 2020. So when the virtual hammer fell for the last time did prices collapse and are we now all awash with stupendous cars at giveaway prices?
Sorry, but no. All three major auction houses that held Arizona sales – Bonhams, RM Sotheby’s and Gooding & Co – report a very solid start to the auction year. Bonhams had a sell-through rate of 78 per cent and raised just shy of $6m. Gooding & Co sold eight out of 10 of its cars and totalled $7m, including setting a couple of records, while RM Sotheby’s larger sale saw 90 per cent of its cars sell, raising $35m.
Each of the auction houses had its own respective star performer. For Bonhams that was a superb example of what to many is the ultimate BMW, the 507, favoured sports car of the rich and famous in the 1950s. The ‘59 Series II roadster, one of just 253 507s made, sold for $1,809,000.
The BMW fell just short of its presale estimate but something else in the Bonhams sale made up for that – by doubling its estimate. The car? Unlikely as it sounds, that was a 1993 Land Rover Defender 110 which eventually sold for $123,000.
Why so special? It is one of 500 North America spec models that introduced the Defender to the US for the first time. With V8, coil springs, full rollcage and mandatory Alpine white body, the model made quite an introduction and is today much sought after, as the selling price of this cherished one-owner example shows.
The other top lots at Bonhams include:
1956 Mercedes-Benz 300 Sc Roadster, one of just 53 made, sold for $698,000
2018 Aston Martin Vanquish Zagato Volante, the first of the 99 Zagato Volantes, sold for $538,500
Alfa Romeo-based 6C 2300 Monza replica, sold for $406,500
Rünge RS010, a one-off mid-engined sports racer inspired by sportscars and aircraft of the 1950s, sold for $240,800
1992 Lancia Delta HF Integrale Evoluzione 1, a well-preserved, low mileage example and in tasty Martini 6 livery, sold for $182,000
At RM Sotheby’s, the star performer was a very red, very original Jaguar D-type with period race history that made its estimate, selling for $6m, around £4.4m. Rare for its red body and matching interior, it was sold new by Bernie Ecclestone (in his earlier career as car dealer) to British racer Peter Blond.
RM followed that up with the sale of a type of car that proved to be among 2020’s most sought after: a pre-war Bugatti. The Type 57SC Tourer by Corsica, one of just two in Corsica’s four-seater configuration, sold for $4,735,000, approximately £3.4m.
The Other top lots at RM Sotheby’s include:
1954 Ferrari 375 America coupe by Vignale, one of just three examples bodied by the coachbuilder, sold for $2,557,000
1956 Ferrari 250 GT Alloy Coupe by Boano, sold for $1,352,500
1957 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Roadster, sold for $1,066,500
1932 Cadillac V-16 Convertible Coupe by Fisher, sold for $1,022,500
2019 McLaren Senna, the 95thof 500 examples and highly optioned, sold for $1,044,000
2019 Ford GT ‘Lightweight’, sold for $967,500
1933 Packard Twelve Individual Custom Convertible by Dietrich, sold for $819,000
1993 Cizeta V16T, one of nine examples completed and ordered new by the Royal Family of Brunei, sold for $665,000
Gooding & Co.’s top lot was a 1966 Ferrari 275 GTB Long Nose which made $1,936,000, roughly £1.4m. Gooding didn’t publish guide prices so we don’t know if it was on the money or not, but for a two-cam car we would think so.
Ditto the 1954 Aston Martin DB2/4 drophead which reached $968,000, around £700,000. That is just ahead of Gooding’s third placed car, a 1926 Bugatti Type 37 Grand Prix which went to its new owner in return for $935,000, around £680,000 – what Gooding says is an auction world record for a Type 37. Another record was set for a 1968 Meyers Manx which doubled its estimate and sold for $101,200, roughly £74,000. For a beach buggy!
Strangest lot of Gooding’s auction had to be a brace of Citroën SMs, one converted to a pick-up body (sacrilege surely!) pulling along a ’72 SM reborn as land speed record car with twin turbo Maserati power and 200mph. Thirty three years after it hit that mark at the Bonnevile Salt Flats, it is still reckoned to be the world’s fastest Citroën. The world’s most unusual SMs sold for above estimate at just over $200,000, around £145,000.
The other top lots from Gooding & Co. include:
1967 Ferrari 330 GTC, sold for $517,000
1965 Shelby GT350, sold for $385,000
2011 Porsche 997 GT2 RS, sold for $374,000
1957 Porsche 356 A Speedster, sold for $313500
1968 Jaguar E-type Series I 4.2 roadster, sold for $231,000
2006 SLR McLaren Mercedes sold for sold for $220,000
2010 Rolls-Royce Phantom drophead coupe, sold for $170,500
Images courtesy of Bonhams, RM Sotheby’s and Gooding & Co.