The Market


No Reserve Ferraris lead the way for RM in Paris

No Reserve Ferraris lead the way for RM in Paris 2nd February 2022

The trend of strong auction results seen last week in Arizona made its way to Europe earlier this evening at RM's Paris sale, an event originally scheduled to tie in with Rétromobile.

Due to the resurgence of Covid, the organisers of the annual classic car exposition in the French capital moved its usual early February date to mid-March, leaving regular Rétromobile Week salerooms RM and Bonhams high and dry. The change could well have helped the Canadians, though, benefitting from a following wind of very strong results in the US fanning the flames of an attractive catalogue packed with No Reserve entries. The Brits are on stage Thursday, 3 February, at a new venue near the Eiffel Tower.

From on-the-night figures, even with fewer cars offered, RM comfortably beat the €16.5m gross it set in 2020. And every other figure was an improvement: nearly a third of the catalogue beat top estimate; when the final results came in, percentage sold-by-number was an impressive 91%.

The provisional gross, €23.37m, equates to around $26.2m. A high proportion of the catalogue was devoted to No Reserve Ferraris from the Petitjean Collection, which attracted a high number of Northern European dealers, many of whom were in exuberant spirits throughout the evening.

At a glance:

* Gross, motor cars: €24,502,151 (2020, €16,544,588)
* Percentage sold by number: 91% (2020, 71%)
* Top-selling car: 1985 Ferrari 288 GTO €3,464,375 gross, €3,075,000 net (est. €2.4k to €2.6k)
* Well sold? With looks only its father (legendary designer Giovanni Michelotto, his final work on a Ferrari) could love, a 1983 commission received from the Saudi Arabian royal family. Based on a Ferrari 400i, the beige ‘Meera S’ had hints of the unloved 80s/90s ‘Fox body’ Mustang about it... yet sold for €432,500 gross against its €90k to €110k estimate. Registration in Dubai will add further costs
* Well bought? Let’s just say ‘on the money’, the unrestored 1966 Paris Show car 275 GTB/4 (pictured, below) sold to first owner fashion designer Charles Jourdan and then in 1969 to Marcel Petitjean. It went for €2,367,500 with premium. Factor in €500k spent in Italy on proper restoration work and it’s a market-correct, ca. $3.3m four-cam ready for concours success

The spotlight was always going to be on the Petitjean cars, and they did not disappoint, but interest in the sale was maintained over the full four and a half hours. With the exception of the 288 GTO (pictured, top), none of the Petitjean cars was in good condition, most needing varying degrees of restoration or remedial and service work but were generally matching numbers. Nonetheless, bidding was strong on nearly every lot, with trade buyers eager to snap up a bargain.

The 288 GTO was sold to the UK trade for what’s likely to be a benchmark value in 2022: €3,464,375 with premium, or nigh-on $4m. Later in proceedings an F50 went for €3,436,250 (say $3.9m) gross. These, plus the Bugatti EB110 GT (below, bought by a Dutch dealer) that was hammered sold at €1.6m (€1.805m gross/$2.1m), are hot property in today's market.

The oddball 250 GT Pininfarina Cabriolet S2 (pictured, below) with altered covered headlamps believed fitted by veteran Modena-based US tinkerer Tom Meade still sold for €1,141,250. That’s around $1.3m, proof that interest in the older, more sedate Ferraris has not drained away. Naturally, it was red.

Other sales of note, all prices include premium:

* 1986 Ferrari Testarossa 'Monospecchio', a Petitjean car that sold for €178.2k, €35k over top estimate.
* 1969 Ferrari Dino 206 GT, everyday Rosso Corsa, an older restoration going under estimate after lacklustre bidding for €365,000.
* 1970 Maserati Ghibli 4.7 Spyder, North American-spec original manual but 4.7 and in searing crimson, not sold.
* 1954 Fiat 8V Coupé, factory body, sold below guide price but only after determined bidding for €905k.
* 1958 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Roadster another ‘model of the moment’ but held back by unknown history for 37 years and insipid presentation in non-original silver with silver hardtop (was more interesting white with black when new). Sold for €916,250, just over $1m.
* 1963 Aston Martin DB4 Convertible Series 5 SS, Dubai registered and sold post-sale for €1,130,000, or $1.3m

All eyes now on Bonhams’ 112-car marathon on 3 February. Will today’s strong result repeat itself? Rely on K500 to let you know as soon as the next Paris sale finishes.

RM Sotheby’s in Paris, 2 February 2022 – results (2020)

Total gross cars: €24,502,151 (€16,544,588)
Number of cars not sold: 5 (23)
Number of cars withdrawn: 2 (1)
Total number of cars: 56 (78)
Number sold: 51 (55)
Percentage cars sold by number: 91% (71%)
Percentage by value average low/high estimate: 86% (37%)
Percentage of cars sold below low estimate: 29% (56%)
Percentage of cars sold not met avge of estimates: 49% (73%)
Percentage of cars sold met/exceeded top estimate: 31% (18%)
Average value of cars sold: €480,434 (€300,811)
Average year of cars offered: 1976 (1973)
Percentage of cars offered at No Reserve: 50% (32%)

Additional reporting by Thomas Berns.

With thanks to Hammer Price

Photos by Thomas Berns for K500