Opening Bids: The Groupies

  • Photo by Patrick Ernzen/RM Sotheby's
    1955 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Alloy Gullwing Photo by Patrick Ernzen/RM Sotheby's

Individual cars were not the only record breakers at last year’s Pebble Beach auctions: The racer Fabrizio Violati’s 10 Ferraris sold for $65.9 million, the most ever paid for a private car collection at a single-day auction. Looking to top that figure—and compete directly with Peter Klutt’s sports car collection this year—RM Sotheby’s (rmauctions.com) has assembled a special sale of approximately 30 postwar sports cars dubbed the Pinnacle Portfolio. In terms of dollar value, “this is the single largest collection that has ever been brought to market,” says Ian Kelleher, managing director of RM Sotheby’s West Coast division. “With these cars, you have a representation of each of the marque’s most storied and most exciting examples. As a whole, they are the rarest of the rare.” 

Among the many automotive wonders is a 1998 McLaren F1 “LM-Specification” (estimated at $12 million–plus) and a 1956 Porsche 356A 1600 Speedster by Reutter ($270,000 to $320,000 without reserve). A 1994 Ferrari F40 LM ($2 million to $2.5 million) is one of only two examples ever built; a 2005 Ferrari Enzo ($3.5 million–plus) was once owned by the late Pope John Paul II; and a 1955 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Alloy Gullwing ($5.5 million to $6.5 million) is one of just 29 aluminum-bodied examples. 

The auction, scheduled for August 13 in Monterey, is the first dedicated Thursday sale the house has had at Monterey since it sold the Nick Alexander woodie collection in 2009.  

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