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Red or black? Placing your bets at the 2024 Monte Carlo auctions

Red or black? Placing your bets at the 2024 Monte Carlo auctions 2nd May 2024

The glitzy Monaco Grand Prix Historique is a jewel in the historic racing season. Since the 1980s the Principality has played host to high-powered classic car auctions, with fortunes made and others dashed. In 2024 three rival houses offer nearly 200 collector cars to tempt you to raise your paddle. Some might hit the jackpot; others have the cards stacked against them – we weigh up their chances.
Artcurial occasionally sets up shop in Monaco, but this is their first attempt during the Historics, buoyed by consigning 44 cars from the collection of Swedish clothing tycoon Staffan Wittmark without reserve and headlined by an €8.5m to €12m steel-bodied Ferrari 250 GT SWB. Matthieu Lamoure’s team kick off the selling spree when their auction starts at 4pm on Thursday, 9 May at the Fairmont Hotel.
Next up on Friday, 10 May, at 3pm for cars, is Monaco veteran Bonhams. The Bond St firm is once again at Karl Lagerfeld’s former home, the Belle Époque Villa La Vigie at Roquebrune-Cap-Martin, a short taxi or shuttle bus ride from Casino Square. The Brits have 51 cars to sell headlined by a €2.5m to €3m Ferrari 250 GT rebodied by Drogo.
Later that day at 5pm the flag drops on RM’s two-day, 108-lot bonanza at the Grimaldi Forum. The Canadians scored something of a coup by consigning cars from former Ferrari F1 World Champion Jody Scheckter, and his 1979 Belgian, Monaco and Italian Grands Prix-winning Ferrari 312T4 (€5.25m to €6.5m) is easily the most significant car of the weekend.
At a glance (Artcurial, Bonhams and RM Sotheby’s combined):

Number of cars offered: 199 (2022, Bonhams and RM only, 101)
Average price per car offered: €596,264 (2022, €620,099)
Number of cars/percentage of total at No Reserve: 115/58% (2022, 26/26%)
2022 combined gross: €42,064,863 (last Grand Prix Historique weekend)
Top estimated car in 2024: Artcurial’s 1962 Ferrari 250 GT SWB Berlinetta at €8.5m to €12m
Top selling car in 2022: RM’s ex-Nigel Mansell Williams FW14 for €4,055,000 gross
The big Ferraris
‘The W Collection’ Ferraris offered by Artcurial impress on paper and Ferrari Classiche red books abound. To have discreetly amassed so many iconic models – 250 GT SWB, 250 GT LWB California Spider, 275 GTB and 330 GTS – is quite a feat. But a deeper dive reveals many non-original colours (often red when new) and carefully worded histories. The California Spider carries an engine with no number “suggesting [it] had been replaced”. The SWB’s previous owner died from a heart attack at the wheel, the car suffering frontal damage in the ensuing road crash. The market will speak when these cars come under the hammer, but no reserve lots often receive bold estimates to give the impression of good value when bidders are pondering “one more bid”.
Over at Bonhams, the Motor Cars team leads with what started life as a humble Ferrari 250 GT Pinin Farina coupé, its chassis shortened and rebodied in 1966 after a crash – and changed again on several occasions, the catalogue description will entertain experts – by Carrozzeria Drogo. Yes, the same coachbuilding shop who had clothed the famous ‘Breadvan’, but that was based on a proper 250 GT SWB Competition Berlinetta and the rebuilt and very fast car ran when current against GTOs in 1962. Never raced in period, Bonhams’ car in Monaco travels on the coat tails of its very distant relation with an estimate of €2.5m to €3m more in hope than expectation.
In addition to the ex-Scheckter F1 Ferrari, RM rolls in with a serious line-up of top tier cars from Maranello. The 1972 365 GTS/4 ‘Daytona’ Spider (€2.8m to €3.2m) has travelled all over the world in a kaleidoscope of colours, is no longer in its original Argento/Nero and let down by poor detailing including lame Ferrari shields on its flanks. But it’s a non-red, European car with potential, its price boosted by strong results in Florida this March. Ferrari 250 GT Series 1 Cabriolets – the more interesting and stylish ones – are fairly rare at public auction and tend to achieve mixed results. RM’s original-spec white car, purchased for €4,420,625 at the Guikas sale in November 2021 when painted grey, carries an approachable estimate of €4.5m to €5m and has terrific eyeball appeal. The 1954 625 F1 is a shoo-in for racing at Monaco: €2.5m to €3m buys you a car to run every two years in the Principality – not to mention looking sensational as the centrepiece of any garage or study.
Intriguingly, none of the recent run of Ferrari hypercars make it to Monaco: no 288 GTO, F40, F50, Enzo or LaFerrari.
Interesting Porsches
Thanks to the legion of 911s consigned by Artcurial, 19% of the catalogues are Porsches. Of the Swedish No Reserve cars, the 1991 964 Carrera RS (€150k to €200k) and 1972 2.7 Carrera RS (€350k to €550k, bit of historic racing, ‘Plain Jane’ white with red accents, but we like the original-spec driving lamps) will appeal to those looking for value. Bonhams has a ’73 RS at similar money with a similar history: multiple modern Tour Autos, white with blue, replaced and restamped crankcase.
Billed as the last 917 to race at Le Mans, RM’s 1981 917 K-81 was built up by Kremer Racing with factory 917 parts for ace 935 specialist Bob Wollek to drive at that year’s 24-hour race. In the light of a recent exposé in German media, although constructed out of period this one can possibly claim better heritage than some others around today. Want to buy a real ex-Gulf JW Racing 917K? Expect to pay $15m to $20m. This yellow car has seen its fair share of market exposure and is now in at a broad €3.5m to €5m next week. We hope it finally finds a new home.
300 SLs
For those looking for a 300 SL, Artcurial is the only act in town. In addition to a 1955 ‘Gullwing’ and 1957 Roadster, it has a rare 1963 alloy-block, disc-brake, European-spec 300 SL Roadster with hardtop for €2.4m to €2.9m. The latter was restored by HK 2021-2023 in its original DB190 Graphite with Red leather, and all numbers are said to match. If it’s as good in the metal as the catalogue suggests, this is the one to bet on. Artcurial sold a similar spec, unrestored white car with only 1,400km recorded for €3,071,200 in July 2018, at ca. $3.6m gross the current record-holder in $US. All are offered without reserve.
Formula 1 fun
The Scheckter collection includes many gems such as the charismatic ‘tall airbox’ 1973 McLaren M23 (€1.75m to €2.25m) and 1975 Tyrrell 007 (€650k to €900k), plus one of motor racing’s most controversial machines, a 1977 Tyrell P34 six-wheeler, though the latter is a chassis built up in the 2000s. All are without reserve. Bonhams weighs in with the late Patrick Depailler’s 1978 Monaco GP-winning Tyrrell 008 at €1.1m to €1.4m. 1970s Formula 1 cars with big wings and tyres are a big draw at the Monaco Historics, so this is the ideal arena in which to present them.
Best of the rest
Bargain-hunters can look to the ranks of mostly No Reserve ex-Middle East classic Aston Martins, Bentleys and Rolls-Royces on offer at Bonhams and RM. As usual, the Canadians have the better cars, but not always at No Reserve. A more interesting entry among the sea of musty mediocrity (all liable to extra duties if staying in Europe) is Bonhams’ single-owner, 528km 2011 Aston Martin One-77, the first car delivered – unsurprisingly, to the major shareholders in the company – and elegantly finished in Bronze Pearl with an interior in Kestrel Tan leather. No Reserve, est. €800k to €1.2m – not excessive but don’t forget 15% buyer’s premium and a potential 20% VAT and 10% import duty.
Buyer’s Premiums in Monaco
Your regular reminder of the financial consequences of “just one more bid…” at a classic car auction.
* Artcurial. Up to €1,999,999 at 16%. Over €2,000,000, 16% on the first €1,999,999 and 12% on the balance.
* Bonhams. A flat 15% across the board.
* RM Sotheby’s. Up to €200,000 at 15%. Over €200,000, 15% on the first €200,000 and 12.5% on the balance.
In addition, local VAT is appliable on all buyer’s premiums.

It’s all looking very exciting, with the added value of quality historic racing set against a backdrop of the most glamorous street circuit in the world. Expect K500 to be your guide over three action-packed days of sales.

2024 Monaco auction schedule:

You can download a complete lot listing sorted by make and model HERE.

Artcurial – Thursday 9 May at 4pm. Hotel Fairmont Monte Carlo, 12 Avenue des Spéluges, 98000 Monaco. See

Bonhams – Friday 10 May at 3pm for motor cars. Villa la Vigie, Avenue Princess Grace, 06190 Roquebrune-Cap-Martin, Monte Carlo. See

RM Sotheby’s – Friday 10 May and Saturday 11 May at 5pm. Grimaldi Forum Monaco, 10, Avenue Princess Grace, 98000 Monaco. See

Photo by Alamy