The Market


RM sells No Reserve Gene Ponder Collection cars for $20.5m

RM sells No Reserve Gene Ponder Collection cars for $20.5m 26th September 2022

Rare Dino 246 GTS ‘Chairs & Flares’ with chromed Borrani wire wheels, anyone? Purists and those of a nervous disposition, look away now. Just the motor car section of RM’s ‘everything must go’ garage sale of automobilia, petronalia, furniture, toolchests and automobiles – often expensive replicas, or standard cars modified to personal taste – owned by Texan kitchen entrepreneur Gene Ponder generated a massive $20,503,975.

This is second time round for the 80-year-old founder of Master WoodCraft Cabinetry and the Canadian giant: after suffering a heart attack in 2007, Ponder sold 60 cars with RM in Scottsdale for around $15 million, but started collecting and modifying again soon after he recovered.

Following the lacklustre affair that was RM’s recent St Moritz auction, the Canadians were back on top form clearing over 1,100 lots in a three-day event at Ponder’s premises in Marshall, Texas.

Top-selling car was the 1960 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Roadster (est. $1.7m to $1.9m) that achieved $1,595,000 with RM’s across-the-board 10% buyer’s premium. Unsurprisingly, it was no longer in its original colours of white with white fabric roof and red leather, but the work had been done by world-leading experts Paul Russell in the mid-1990s.

The Dino GTS – US market car, original colour not disclosed – sold way over upper estimate for $632,500 all-in. Other Ferraris finding new owners included the 1959 250 GT Pinin Farina Coupé with modern a/c, a bonnet scoop and let’s just say ‘individual’ colours of red with red/black leather interior by that master of the genre Wayne Sparling for $489,500. It was originally Nocciola over vinyl and Naturale leather. The 1967 330 GTC went for a strong $797,500, but this time its non-standard dark red paintwork and beige leather looked just about acceptable (delivered new to Italy in metallic silver with black leather).

Amongst the many 100s of lots of automobilia were gems such as the modern painting representing a Ferrari P4 at heaven’s gate, halfway between transformation from metal to marble. Some ‘immortality’ symbolism there, we think. A sultry suspendered goddess sits alongside the racing car, a pinched look on her face, possibly the result of not wearing much at such a high altitude. Meanwhile, a hunky Roman god points at something through the clouds in the distance. “What can this be joining us, surely it’s a $792k 1952 212 Inter Coupé, rebodied by the masters D. Moroney of Cheshire, UK, in the style of a Touring Barchetta?” And all for $4,313.

RM Sotheby’s Gene Ponder Collection, 22-24 September 2022 - results

Total gross cars: $20,503,975
Number of cars not sold: 0
Number of cars withdrawn: 1
Total number of cars: 101
Number sold: 101
Percentage cars sold by number: 100%
Percentage by value average low/high estimate: 82%
Percentage of cars sold below low estimate: 62%
Percentage of cars sold not met avge of estimates: 76%
Percentage of cars sold met/exceeded top estimate: 15%
Average value of cars sold: $203,010
Average year of cars offered: 1953
Percentage of cars offered at No Reserve: 100%

Photo by RM Sotheby’s