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Biggest lots struggle to reach lofty goals during Monaco auction weekend

Words: Nathan Chadwick | Photography: Artcurial/Bonhams/RM Sotheby's

As the streets of Monaco roared to the sounds of historic motor sport once again on May 10-12, 2024, the action inside the halls at Artcurial, Bonhams and RM Sotheby’s was more muted at the very highest ends of the market.

While there were a few notable above-estimate results across the sales, a good proportion of £750k-plus cars failed to find homes, and the ones that did fell short of their pre-sale estimates – most notably the sale-leading Ferraris in Artcurial’s W Collection (more on that later). Bonhams’ Drogo-bodied 250 GT (pictured above) also failed to sell against a €2.5m-3m estimate.

There was stronger business in the low to mid-market, particular with regard to Porsches. RM Sotheby’s and Artcurial garnered good business, if rarely too far above estimate, for their examples of the Stuttgart marque. One stark result was the above 1997 993 S at Artcurial, which sold for €220,520 against an €80k-€120k estimate. RM Sotheby’s also garnered good results for its DB-series Aston Martins, following on from improving results we’ve seen elsewhere over the past few months.

Perhaps the biggest surprise of the auction came with the 2010 Ferrari 458 Italia first delivered to Lapo Elkann, grandson of Gianni Agnelli and heir to the Fiat empire. A unique creation finished by Ferrari Tailor Made, its army camouflage pattern covers not only the body panels but also the alloy wheels, badges, brake calipers, grilles and interior. Against a €250k-€350k estimate, it sold for €466,250.

We’ve picked out three of the standout results from each of the trio of auctions below. What were your highlights?


Artcurial’s sale was focused entirely on the W Collection, hailing from Stockholm, Sweden. As we’ve mentioned, the mid-market cars did well, hitting their marks for the most part. The two cars that led the sale, however? No reserve is always a risk, but the above 1958 Ferrari 250 GT Spyder California LWB, the 12th car built, carried a lofty €7m-€10m pre-sale estimate, and appeared to have the right elements – ex-Chinetti, restoration in Modena and Ferrari Classiche certification. However, it sold for €5,186,800.

Other Enzo-era Ferraris largely fell within estimate, although a 1967 330 GTC struggled (€548,320 against a €600k-€800k estimate). Not as much as the next car, however…

This 1962 Ferrari 250 GT Berlinetta SWB led the W Collection sale with a pre-sale estimate of between €8.5m and €12m, and it had a lot going for it. Its Blu Tigullio paint was not only original but unique, and it had matching-numbers engine, transmission and body. An ex-Chinetti car that had been displayed on the Pininfarina stand at the 1962 New York Auto Show, it had been restored to a standard where it received Ferrari Classiche certification. However, the car sold for a mere €5.53m – less than half its top estimate.

It wasn’t all bad news for Ferraris, although it was the newer cars that led the way. A 2014 Ferrari F12 Berlinetta sold for €268,200 against a €160k-€220k estimate, and a 1997 456 GTA – yes, the automatic version – sold for €77,480 against a €45k-€65k estimate.

This 1955 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL was one of the standout results of the auction, selling for €1,907,200 against a a €1.4m-€1.8m estimate. Fitted with the rare Rudge chrome centre-lock wheels from new, it still featured its original engine and its history was well known, having spent the first 56 years of its life passing through the hands of leading US collectors. It had also been restored by Paul Russell’s Gullwing Service Company.

Other Mercedes-Benz models in the sale had mixed fortunes; a restored 1957 300 SL Roadster with racing history via Gunther Philipp, with Rudge centre-lock wheels and a low build number (51) broke through its pre-sale estimate of €900k-€1.2m to sell for €1,549,600. However, one of the last 210 300 SL Roadsters built, with disc brakes and an aluminium brakes, struggled and fell far short of its €2.4m-€2.9m estimate. The 1963 Roadster, which came with a hard-top, had been subjected to a €600k restoration from specialist HK Engineering, and had a known history, plus matching-numbers chassis, body, engine, transmission and axles. On the day, it sold for €1,728,400. A 1971 Mercedes-Benz 280 SE 3.5 cabriolet, meanwhile, sold for €393,360 against a €280k-€400k estimate.


Bonhams had another struggle, following on from recent disappointing results. Of its ten leading lots of pre-sale estimate, only two sold: the above 1956 Maserati A6G/2000 (more on that below), and a 2013 Aston Martin V12 Zagato Coupé, which sold for €304,750 – a long way short of its €400k-€450k estimate. Bonhams’ lot list didn’t want for star quality at the high end, with Mika Häkkinen’s McLaren P1 prototype, Patrick Depailler’s 1978 Monaco Grand Prix-winning Tyrrell 008 and the aforementioned Drogo-bodied Ferrari 250 GT, but in the end the highlights came from further down the value range.

The 1956 Maserati A6G/2000 pictured above was the leading result, and had quite a story behind it. Modified by the Maserati factory to be a rally car in period for its American first owner, it was the most expensive car the marque had ever built and the only one of its type. It featured in period adverts of the time, and had been restored in Italy. Estimated at €825k-€925k, it sold for €931,500.

Other chrome-era highlights included a 1958 Porsche 356 A T2 Speedster 1600 Super, which sold €327,750 against a €350k-€400k estimate, a 1966 Aston Martin DB6 Vantage Sports Saloon formerly belonging to racing driver Louis Dollfus, which sold for €195,500 against a €180k-€240k estimate, and the ex-Paris Motor Show 1965 Aston Martin DB6 Vantage, which sold for €209,875 against a €140k-€200k pre-sale estimate.

Bonhams has had excellent business with its Mercedes-McLaren SLRs over the past year, as we’ve noted here with hugely above-estimate results achieved. That trend continued with this 2008 Crown Edition, based on the upgraded 722 Edition platform. The tenth of ten limited Crown Edition models, it was originally delivered to Kuwait in this unique livery. It had covered just 72km at the point of sale, and had been refreshed by the Stratton Motor Company, but it was sold without a registration document. That last fact didn’t hold it back – against a €300k-€400k estimate, it sold for €506k. It seems Magneto‘s long-sighted view back in issue 10 was somewhat prescient…

One of the most popular lots of the event was this humble 2012 Smart ForTwo City Car, which carried a pre-sale estimate of €5k-€8k. However, its one owner from new was none other than Sir Roger Moore, who kept it at his home in the south of France. When his children asked him about the car he’d say: “The bigger the star, the smaller the car” – and although the Smart had covered around 3000km, Sir Roger used it regularly for shopping in Monaco, where the ForTwo is registered. It sold for €31,943.55 after some spirited bidding.

Other small-car highlights included a one-family-from-new 1959 Fiat 600 Jolly, which sold for €97,750 against an estimate of €80k-€100k.

RM Sotheby’s

RM Sotheby’s two-day sale was the most wide-ranging, packing everything from supercars to championship-winning racing cars, chrome-era classics to 1980s-90s performance car icons. However, it wasn’t immune from some of the same trends that afflicted the other auctions – most notably Enzo-era Ferraris. We’ll come on to those shortly, but there was better news with the 1979 Ferrari 312 T4 offered from the Jody Scheckter Collection (pictured above).

The winner of all three of Scheckter’s victories in 1979 – the Belgian, Monaco and Italian GPs – it competed in nine races during 1979, and has been driven only by him since, including at the 2019 Monza Grand Prix weekend. In his possession since 1982, it was estimated at between €5.25m and €6.5m, and sold for €7,655,000. Other highlights from Scheckter included a 1977 Tyrrell P34, which sold for €1,040,000 against a €450k-€650k estimate, a 1975 Tyrrell 007, which sold for €702k against a €650k-€900k estimate, and a 1971 McLaren M19A, which sold for €837,500 against a €750k-€1m estimate.

It wasn’t all good news in the world of competition cars. While the 1954 Ferrari 625 F1 (€2.705m), ex-Walter Röhrl 1985 Audi Sport quattro S1 E2 (€635k) and ex-Henri Toivonen RAC Rally-winning 1985 Lancia Delta S4 (€837,500) hit their marks, there were notable no-sales and disappointing results. The above 1981 Porsche 917 K-81, the final factory-blessed 917 built, and the last of the model to compete at the Le Mans 24 Hours, sold for €2,648,750 against a pre-sale estimate of €3.5m-€5m, and the 1998 Porsche 911 GT2 by Roock Racing, ex-Hans-Joachim Stuck 1991 Audi V8 Quattro DTM and ex-Derek Warwick 1991 Jaguar XJR-15 all failed to find homes.

Moving to road cars, and the lack of appetite for Artcurial’s Ferrari 250 California was reflected in RM Sotheby’s 1958 Ferrari 250 GT Cabriolet Series I. The 23rd of 40 examples built, it featured one-off coachwork with covered headlamps, front bumperettes and unique side vents, plus matching-numbers chassis, engine, gearbox, rear axle and body, with original colours and Ferrari Classiche certification. However, it didn’t find a home against a €4.5m-€5m estimate.

RM Sotheby’s instead had better results with the above 1972 Ferrari 365 GTS/4 Daytona Spyder. One of 19 made in left-hand drive for the European market, and the eighth of 121 Daytona Spyders, it had Ferrari Classiche certification and recent restoration work. However, its non-original and non-period colours – it was originally one of 14 examples to leave the factory with Grigio Argento paintwork – didn’t hold it back. Against a €2.8m-€3.2m estimate, it sold for €3,436,250.

The struggles at the high end were reflected in the fifth 1962 Ferrari 250 GT/L Berlinetta Lusso, which failed to sell against a €1.5m-€1.75m estimate, and a 1955 Porsche 356 Carrera 1500 GS Speedster with competition history, which failed to sell against a €850k-€950k estimate. A 1967 Bizzarrini 5300 GT Strada Alloy hit €736,250 against a €750k-€850k estimate, though, and a 1959 Ferrari 250 GT Cabriolet Series II struck £995k against a €1m-€1.2m estimate.

Further details

For more details on the Artcurial sale, head here.

For more details on the Bonhams sale, head here.

For more details on the RM Sotheby’s sale, head here.

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