RM just makes the podium at London Olympia

RM just makes the podium at London Olympia 25th October 2019

Taking over Bonhams' traditional pre-Christmas West London slot, a few hours ago RM offered 85 cars and sold 58 – a sell-through by number of 68%. Earlier in the event, the saleroom broke into ecstatic applause as one lot was sold for £1.5m – unfortunately for the motor cars team, it was a bottle of ‘The Macallan 60 Year Old 1926’ whisky…

The rare bottle of malt had been estimated to sell for between £350k and £450k and was part of a £4 million whisky collection auctioned by Sotheby’s just before the cars.

The venue was a well-lit, modern hall in the Olympia exhibition complex, round the back from Bonhams’ usual spot. Minimum dressing gave the site a Spartan look, but the broad selection of cars – with no obvious star lot – did the talking. It was well attended on both days and many familiar faces from the UK trade and the higher echelons of collecting were there in force.

The anonymous American whisky collector will raise a glass tonight. He will be joined by the brother and nephew of the late owner of the 1969 Lamborghini Miura P400 S, a pair who watched in amazement as bids on the dusty car bought in 1974 “with all our savings” effortlessly broke the million-pound barrier before the hammer dropped at an oddball £1,105,000 (£1,248,125 with premium).

Factor in a €450k (plus tax) restoration in Italy and that’s a £1.64m, or $2.1m Miura P400 S. Cheers to that, say existing Miura owners...

At a glance:
* Gross: £9,294,725 (2018, £8,728,388)
* Percentage sold by number: 68% (2018, 50%)
* Top-selling car: 1969 Lamborghini Miura P400 S £1,248,125 gross, £1,105,000 net (est. £800k to £1m)
* Well sold? Has to be the Miura, one of the ‘garage find’ sales of the year
* Well bought? The paint to sample (“What did they give them?” wondered Simon…) Sepia brown 2018 Porsche 911 GT3, for £115k all-up, surely bought at less than half its showroom sticker
* One to take away? Everyone loved the grey Khamsin with its hard-to-believe original-fitment tow bar. At £66,125 (gross) it wasn’t that cheap, but a cool thing nonetheless. And practical

The sell-through and gross were better than last year but well off the heights of 2014 to 2016. Holding a sale at the same time as the Padova exhibition can’t have helped. RM majored on more modern and racing cars, leaving top-drawer pre-War and 1950s cars for Paris next year.

None of the racing machinery (Jaguar XJR, Maserati MC12, Porsche 962, Ferrari 412 T) troubled the lap charts on the night, though the ex-Works Martini 1985 Lancia Delta S4 Rally did sell, albeit well under lower estimate at £675k net, £764.4k gross.

The red RHD, ‘chairs ‘n’ flares’ Dino 246 GT crept into cheap ‘Daytona’ territory at £432.5k, while the days of million-dollar-plus Maserati 3500 GT Vignale Spyders seem long gone: tonight’s non-matching (but with original block as a spare) car sold for £410k gross. The auto-to-manual, US-delivered 4.7 Ghibli Spyder achieved a with-premium £398.8k.

A success of the night was one of the final Jaguar E-type Series III Roadsters that sold way over upper estimate for £189.75k all-in. The modern Ferraris with delivery miles and wacky colours suffered from matters of tax on the former and taste on the latter. Saleroom chatter of the possibility of the 1961 Ferrari 250 GTE 2+2 actually being “Enzo’s own car” helped the fine recent restoration sell well for £404,375 with premium.

That’s it for the Canadians in Europe this year. Next stop will be Abu Dhabi on 30 November, where K500 will cover what promises to be a fascinating debut auction straight after final practice at the Yas Marina GP track.

RM Sotheby’s at London Olympia, 24 October 2019 (2018 at Battersea)

Total gross cars:£9,294,725 (£8,728,388)
Number of cars not sold: 27 (47)
Number of cars withdrawn: 0 (3)
Total number of cars: 85 (94)
Number sold: 58 (47)
Percentage cars sold by number: 68% (50%)
Percentage by value average low/high estimate: 37% (23%)
Percentage of cars sold below low estimate: 69% (77%)
Percentage of cars sold not met avge of estimates: 88% (96%)
Percentage of cars sold met/exceeded top estimate: 5% (2%)
Average value of cars sold: £160,254 (£185,710)
Average year of cars offered: 1988 (1976)
Percentage of cars offered at No Reserve: 26% (30%)

Photos by K500