The Market


RM bids adieu to Amelia with $62m+ final auction

RM bids adieu to Amelia with $62m+ final auction 4th March 2023

The Canadians are packing their bags and moving to pastures new in 2024, so this was the final outing for auctions conducted “the RM way” at Amelia Island. Despite the Ferrari 250 GT LWB California Spider failing to sell on the day, the tried-and-tested outfit still sold almost nine out of 10 cars offered and recorded their second-best overall total at the Florida event.

Away from the beige ballroom of the Ritz Carlton, RM set up camp only a short drive to a big white tent near the private jet airstrip. A tent it might be, but RM’s hallmark presentation shone through; it was an impressive display of cars. Due to the one-off nature of the auction, none were driven over the block. Instead, a big screen behind the rostrum showed live demonstrations of the lots as they came to meet their fate. It was a well-attended affair for the most part, though lacked some of the humour and spontaneity found elsewhere. The results, of course, speak for themselves.

The headlining Ferrari 250 GT LWB California Spider was a good car at an already attractive estimate of $9m to $11m. Had there been meaningful bids around the mid $8ms, given the generally approachable mood of vendors this week we’d have expected it to sell. Clearly, there were not.

Ironically, for a sale at one of the bastions of the vintage car movement, conducted by a company whose restoration department has prepared many traditional winners on the concours lawns, top-selling car at RM’s final Amelia auction was a wide-wheeled and winged modern Pagani Zonda R hypercar, which was rather a shame. A Duesie or noteworthy Ferrari should have taken top slot. 

The Pagani just beat the 1995 Ferrari F50 to that honour. Estimated at $4.75m to $6m, the F50 sold for a with-premium price of $5,065,000, just short of Broad Arrow’s record for the model of $5,175,000 achieved in Monterey last year. The ‘driver', No Reserve F40 was bought for $1,875,000; the 288 GTO for $3,965,000.

At a glance (on the day):
* Gross, motor cars: $62,392,911 (2022, $46,252,641)
* Percentage sold by number: 88% (2022, 89%)
* Top-selling car: 2010 Pagani Zonda R 'Revolución Specification’ $5,340,000 gross, $4,850,000 net (est. $4.8m to $6.8m)

RM’s red ‘Chairs and Flares’ Dino GTS had a lot to live up to, given Gooding sold another one for nearly $1m all-in not 24 hours before. Lacking an attractive colour and the unrestored allure of the other, RM’s went for a still strong $758,500.

Other results of note (all prices gross):

* 1965 Aston Martin DB5, $1,352,500. At last some cheer for Aston aficionados, the Kevin Kay-restored car shows there’s still life in the marque outside the European auction arena.
* 1965 Ferrari 275 GTS, $1,655,000. Two owners from new, probably well looked-after, but really needing a restoration back to Ivory with red leather.
* 1964 Shelby 289 Cobra, $1,655,000. Colossal price – in 428 big block territory – for beautifully restored and very original late-model 289.
* 2014 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Black Series Coupé, $940,000. With just 616 miles from new, another big-selling AMG. Est. $800k to $1m.
* 1968 Ferrari Dino 206 GT, $868,500. Very strong money – a record – for a red car well restored to more attractive grey. The last $800k+ Dino 206 GT was sold in 2015 at the height of the most recent boom.
* 1936 Lancia Astura Series III Cabriolet 'Tipo Bocca' by Pinin Farina, $2,205,000. Lovely pre-War European car that went well against its $2m to $2,4m guide.

So farewell, then, RM Sotheby’s at Amelia Island. The Canadian firm has been a fixture at one of the world’s most interesting concours for 24 years. The company's likely gross in 2023 – pending after-sales – is some way short of the $70,769,600 recorded in 2017. But still shows what can be achieved in a big white tent.

With official results yet to be declared, we envisage a combined gross for the four auction houses this week in excess of $170m (an all-time record) at an average of 84% sold-by-number. The K500 take on the Amelia Island sales, with full results by make and model, to follow…

RM Sotheby’s at Amelia Island 4 March 2023, results (2022)

Gross: $63,595,911 ($46,252,641)
Number of cars not sold: 9 (10)
Number of cars withdrawn: 0 (1)
Total number of cars: 88 (87)
Number sold: 79 (77)
Percentage of cars sold by number: 90% (89%)
Percentage by value average low/high estimate: 67% (82%)
Percentage of cars met or sold below low estimate: 54% (39%)
Percentage of cars sold below avge of estimates: 73% (66%)
Percentage of cars sold met/exceeded top estimate: 13% (14%)
Average price of cars sold: $805,012 ($600,684)
Average year of cars offered: 1964 (1968)
Percentage of cars offered at No Reserve:  40% (33%)

Photos by Marcelo Murillo for K500