The Market


Delta S4 Stradale steals the show as RM tops €18m in Essen

Delta S4 Stradale steals the show as RM tops €18m in Essen 12th April 2019

It was a Youngtimer that made the headlines this afternoon – but not one of the über-saloons from the No Reserve collection. Instead, jaws dropped wide open when a telephone bidder paid over a million euros for what some might describe as the love child of a cornflake box and a builder’s skip…

The saleroom had been warmed up by the previous lot, a 1982 Lancia 037 Rally Stradale, doubling its pre-sale estimate of €350k to €400k to achieve a whopping €770k with premium. Bidding on the boxy Delta S4 Stradale came thick and fast, final honours going to the telephone. We would not be surprised to see the car make its way across the Atlantic.

Why the big price? Low mileage of sub-2,200km, original books and tools and good, original condition played their part. It ended up in a bidding war, two people clearly wanted it and anything could happen. Expect a rush of cars to auction any day soon.

At a glance:

* Gross: €18,446,530
* Percentage sold by number: 83%
* Top-selling car: 1937 Mercedes-Benz 540 K Cabriolet A, €2,255,000 gross, €2,000,000 net (est. €2m to €2.4m)
* Well sold? Are you kidding? The Delta S4 Stradale (above)
* Well bought? Tempting to say one of the Youngtimers, but in truth many were sold cheap for a reason. How about the 1971 Lancia Fulvia Rallye 1.3HF 'Fanalone' for €24.7k?
* One to take away? The 1974 Maserati Indy 4.9, at €60.9k a classic 1970s Maserati 2+2 for modern Mercedes money

Compared with Thursday, today’s sale was busier, helped by RM’s smart move to allow regular showgoers into the event to see what a top-level auction is like without forking out for a catalogue. Unlike Artcurial’s bunfight at Rétromobile, it wasn't ‘Ellis Island, 1905’.

With the exotic Lancia having set the counters spinning, everyone’s eyes were on the much-fancied AMG-tuned 1979 Mercedes-Benz 500 TE (below). Nine bidders were on it; hopes were high. In the end it sold for just over double low estimate: €125k net, €143.75k with premium.

Essen probably wasn’t the right event to offer a Bugatti Veyron, but RM has appearances to maintain. The Franco-German hypercar went home, as did the 2.7 Carrera RS and the Diablo.

Elsewhere, some hard-nosed bidding by European trade and private clients in the room resulted in some bargains, though the red ‘plexi’ ‘Daytona’ sold well for €635k gross (say $720k), as did the €331.25k Ferrari Dino 246 GT.

RM estimated the Youngtimers well. There was the odd gem, but consider this: the world’s premier collectors endlessly refine their garages, moving from D-type Jaguar to Ferrari 250 GT SWB to Alfa Tipo 33 Stradale. This collection was just a load of 'stuff': random, with no considerations of quality or finesse, an overload of ‘big bumper’ North American specials and black-window limos, not much to really excite the connoisseur.

Overall, you can’t knock the positive atmosphere and an impressive sell-through of 83%. The event worked well – it’s likely the Canadians will return in 2020.

RM Sotheby’s at Essen Techno Classica, 11-12 April 2019

Gross: €18,446,530
Number of cars not sold: 35
Number of cars withdrawn: 0
Total number of cars: 212
Number sold: 177
Percentage cars sold by number: 83%
Percentage by value average low/high estimate: 55%
Percentage of cars sold below low estimate: 67%
Percentage of cars sold not met avge of estimates: 80%
Percentage of cars sold met/exceeded top estimate: 16%
Average value of cars sold: €104,810
Average year of cars offered: 1982
Percentage of cars offered at No Reserve: 63%
Percentage of cars offered from the Youngtimer Collection: 41%

Photos by K500