The Market


$4.9m Lamborghini Miura SV heads RM’s blockbuster ‘sneakers-to-supercars’ auction

$4.9m Lamborghini Miura SV heads RM’s blockbuster ‘sneakers-to-supercars’ auction 3rd June 2024

‘Dare to dream?’ ‘Hard to explain’ better describes some of the sums paid for sometimes only average entries at RM’s everything-must-go auction of items from the relatively recently assembled collection of Canadian entrepreneur and philanthropist Miles Nadal. Unlike some recent ‘no reserve’ collection dispersals, this one worked well. Last Saturday, the headlining day of the event alone grossed $63,321,480 for cars and bikes.
Here’s our analysis of a garage clearance sale that has everyone talking, but does it actually reflect a broader market swing upwards?

The Nadal collection was a little light on 1960s Ferraris, but other than that included just about every auction staple of the last 20 years: Dino 246 GTS, Ferrari 288 GTO, F40, F50, Enzo, LaFerrari, Mercedes 300 SL ‘Gullwing’ and Roadster, Jaguar E-type Fixedhead Coupé and Roadster, Porsche 959 and ’73 Carrera RS 2.7, etc, etc.
In many cases, first visual impressions seemed to trump quality in depth. The 1965 Aston Martin DB5 – RHD to LHD conversion, replacement engine, a documented crash in December 1965 on the Build Sheet, engine fire prior to purchase, automatic to manual conversion, colour change from white to, you guessed it, Silver Birch – is a good example. It sold bafflingly well for $720,000. You’d think, though, that in 2013 when the Aston entered the collection there were better examples to be had. Naturally it wore the 007 licence plate BMT 216A.

The Lamborghini Miura SV’s price is also hard to explain. Italian-delivered, late production with a split-sump engine (oddly not mentioned in the catalogue) and limited-slip differential are all good news. But a history of independent conversions from LHD to RHD then back to LHD, and years spent being passed around the British trade, do not mark it out as a car that would set a new benchmark for a Miura at auction. At least the latest 2015-2017 restoration was done properly in Italy, though even then the original beige interior has since been changed to non-original blue “that provides a particularly attractive and effective contrast to the Rosso bodywork” according to the catalogue.

Perhaps the biggest jackpot was over $1 million paid for a Ferrari 365 GTB/4 ‘Daytona’. Not a Plexiglas European-spec car in a rare colour, but one built in the most saleproof configuration you could ask for: US delivery, pop-up lights, red and beige originally, now repainted dark blue with wire wheels out of a Christmas cracker. You’d probably expect it to sell for half as much, if at all, as there’s no shortage of far better cars out there to buy.

 At a glance:

* Gross, motor cars: $63,321,480
* Percentage sold by number: 100%
* Top-selling car: 1972 Lamborghini Miura P400 SV $4,900,000 gross, $4,450,000 net (est. $2.75m to $3.125m)
* Well sold? The DB5, Miura SV, Daytona, 550, Dino…
* Well bought? If golden era Americana is your thing, the 1936 Cord 810 Cabriolet, bought for $156,800 all-in against its $200k to $275k guide price. At the other end of the scale, a bang up to date 2021 Ferrari SF90 Stradale (est. $500k to $650k) was snapped up for $472,500

Other results of note (all prices gross with RM’s usual US 12% under $250k, 10% over $250k split premium):
* 1985 Ferrari 288 GTO, $3,882,500.  Air-conditioning, power windows and ‘OK’ odometer reading of 26,617km (16,539 miles). On the money.
* 2000 Ferrari 550 Maranello, $296,500. Punchy price for blazing red, Canadian-delivered 550 helped by very low mileage of 6,729km (4,182 miles).
* 1973 Porsche 911 Carrera RS 2.7 Touring, $747,500. Good to see a nice, matching numbers RS fetch proper – some might say ‘strong’ for one in Light Ivory – money at auction.
* 1990 RUF BTR lll 'Flat-Nose' Cabriolet, $753,000. Big result for car estimated at $400k to $500k.
* 1959 Porsche 356 A Carrera 1600 GS 'Sunroof' Coupé, $637,500. Considering catalogued “numbers-matching engine and gearbox,” a fair price in today’s slower market for these early cars.
* 1967 Ferrari 275 GTB/4, $3,305,000. Delivered new to France in silver/black (the most common colour in period, alongside red), now dark blue/cream with an old 2012 Classiche certificate and to-a-budget European restoration history.
* 1955 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL 'Gullwing', $1,655,000. Originally kiss-of-death Fire Engine Red, now silver and with replacement gearbox and repro Rudge wheels. Good price in the circumstances.
* 1974 Ferrari Dino 246 GTS, $775,000. US red car with Daytona ‘chairs’ but no ‘flares’. Low mileage but repainted and retrimmed (previously both original) during current ownership that started in 2020.
* 1964 Ferrari 250 GT/L Berlinetta Lusso, $1,490,000. Unsurprisingly no longer Nocciola. An older restoration in dark red that sold at a level which leaves room to improve and correct it.
* 1959 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Roadster, $2,095,000. Great original colour (DB 334 Light Blue) but some modern mods such as disc brakes. Engine and body confirmed as matching, no news on the other major components. Strong money for a basic original spec (drum brakes/ iron block engine) Roadster.
Few except RM could have organised such an event, especially in Canada. They built interest worldwide leading up to the auction, the catalogue presentation flattered, and most importantly, persuaded Mr Nadal (pictured, above) to bravely consign everything without reserve.

A final word from Simon: “Seeing ‘No reserve’ is an aphrodisiac for bidders: they smell a bargain, and pile in thick and fast, often without sparing much thought as to what something is actually worth, more on ‘If someone else wants it, I do too.’

“This can work if the auction house has the global reach that RM does – witness the Duemila Ruote sell-off a few years ago – and if the offerings are of a decent standard, which these were, even if certainly not Best of the Best. When the cars have issues, and the auction house has a smaller bidder pool, like Artcurial in Monaco, it can backfire. A headline 100% sell-through rate benefits only the auction house if the big lots are fire-saled. But that’s a story for another newsletter.

“Here, on the day, RM did a great job, and their vendor must be very happy. We should wait for a few more similar results before assuming one swallow makes a summer, but it’s certainly a good sign for the market.”

RM Sotheby’s in Ontario, The Dare to Dream Collection 31 May-1 June 2024 – results
Total gross cars: $63,321,480
Number of cars not sold: 0
Number of cars withdrawn: 0
Total number of cars: 92
Number sold: 92
Percentage cars sold by number: 100%
Percentage by value average low/high estimate: 97%
Percentage of cars sold below low estimate: 46%
Percentage of cars sold not met avge of estimates: 68%
Percentage of cars sold met/exceeded top estimate: 22%
Average value of cars sold: $688,277
Average year of cars offered: 1978
Percentage of cars offered at No Reserve: 100%
Photos by RM Sotheby’s, strictly copyright