The Duemila Ruote auction – Two Thousand Wheels in English – saw the sale of a collection of cars and automobilia siezed by the Italian government from a wealthy Italian businessman to pay an outstanding tax bill. The sale was handled by RM Sotheby’s in Milan alongside the Milano Autoclassic show and in the main the cars offered were at the affordable end of the scale – 54% of the lots hammered at under £50,000.
The sheer scale of the auction was amazing. With 423 cars for sale let alone the bikes, boats and memorabilia, it was a three day marathon that must have tested the energies and logistical skills of RM Sotheby’s to the limit not to mention those of bidders and attendees. With no reserve on any of the automotive lots and estimates that were in many cases low, competition to purchase these “fresh to market” cars was always going to be frenzied – or was it?
“It feels like we achieved the impossible here in Milan this week. The logistical challenges involved with putting on this sale are mind-boggling, but we have risen to the challenge and achieved results that nobody could have anticipated. The auction venue alongside the Milano AutoClassica was busier than we have ever seen in a sale room.” Augustin Sabatié-Garat, Car Specialist, RM Sotheby’s
Let’s put the sale in perspective. Against a backdrop of global economic uncertainty and political instability in Europe, RM Sotheby’s were offering the prized collection of wealthy Italian businessman & hedonist Luigi Compiano at a time when some classic car pundits are reporting that the market has reached its zenith. Factor in questions over the title of the cars, scant information about them in the auction catalogue, little to no vehicle paperwork – apart from a potential mound of form filling for buyers post-sale – and a pointed warning from RM Sothebys and legal specialists that buyers were on their own when the hammer came down. Still sound appealing?
The cars on offer
The collection itself was comprised of an eclectic mix of more recent classics and race cars many of which had been stored outside by the Italian authorities for the last couple of years. 60 Porsche 911s, 21 Jaguar E-types and a selection of modern supercars were amongst the lots with 20% of the total selling on the hammer for over £100,000. Not necessarily the type of fare for the more traditional collector but certainly appealing to some.
“The guy had good taste” Harry Metcalfe
Our sources indicate that many of these cars had been in good condition before the Italian government seized them but overall condition of the cars was obviously mixed. For buyers the biggest problem in identifying any potential bargains was the sheer size of the catalogue and the lack of information therein. Bizarrely this will also one of the draws of the sale and rumours now abound of owners discovering that the car they bought had run in the Mille Miglia in period or raced internationally – we’re certain that the lack of history, provenance and documentation will have been extremely attractive to a certain type of buyer.
Given the sheer number of cars it would be easy to pick out swathes of cars where the estimates were either over the top or too low. Both politics and a general sense of how potential buyers would respond to the challenges that a purchase might present will have played a part in setting the estimates. It sounds bizarre to say that in hindsight we felt that RM Sotheby’s were generally on the money with their estimates – particularly when 88% of the vehicle lots sold over estimate.
It sounds bizarre to say that in hindsight we felt that RM Sotheby’s were generally on the money with their estimates – particularly when 88% of the vehicle lots sold over estimate.
Could anyone have predicted what would follow ? £40.4 million of cars sold. Hindsight – as we all know – is a wonderful thing, and detailed inspection of the catalogue revealed plenty of opportunity to buy one-off cars. As we saw at the sale of the Baillon Collection last year the sale of a large number of fresh-to-market cars as part of a collection that will go down in classic car mythology does nothing to dampen the spirits of bidders. £2.56 million for a Maserati MC12? To many it will be worth a punt.
The classic car market and values are all about opinions and we can see plenty of reasons why so many cars sold so well. There’s no doubt that for some lucky winners buyers remorse will set in sooner or later as they tackle the logistics of getting the cars home, paperwork completed and cars registered in their home nation. Many of the cars will shortly be for sale again with much more appealing descriptions – but let’s face it, you could walk into any number of showrooms and pay more money for cars with similar provenance. The bold may now not have to do so and we are sure many buyers will still feel they got a bargain. Are those purchases really as risky as some people feel? Only time will tell. Just take a look at some of our picks below and let us know what you think in the comments section at the bottom of the page.
Those who failed to make a purchase will talk of crazy bidding and inexperienced first time buyers. RM Sotheby’s report strong interest from new markets and new-to-RM bidders as well as 50% of bidders being under 50 years old.
What does it tell us about the market as a whole?
The general consensus seems to be that this was a one-off result but in the last few weeks we have seen some very encouraging auction results in the UK at both Historics and Bonhams. Against a backdrop of uncertainty at this auction at least the classic car hobby is growing – globally.
DUEMILA RUOTE BY THE NUMBERS
More than 5,000 auction attendees
Record 3,000+ bidders from 57 countries
30 hours of auction action
817 lots sold in total
€51.26 million in total sales including premium.
|Sold over estimate||372||87.94%|
|Sold under estimate||12||2.84%|
|Sold in lower half of estimate||12||2.84%|
|Sold in upper half of estimate||20||4.73%|
|Sold in lower half of estimate or below||24||5.67%|
|Sold in upper half of estimate or above||392||92.67%|
|Sold at median estimate||7||1.65%|
|Sold within estimate – ACCURACY||39||9.22%|
1966 Ferrari 275 GTB/6C Alloy – sold for £2897,450 (approx)/ €3,416,000 inc. premium. Estimate £2 – 2.4 million approx.
2004 Maserati MC12 – sold for £2,564,950 (approx)/ €3,024,000 inc. premium. Estimate £930,000 – 1.1 million approx.
1969 Ferrari 365 GTB/4 Daytona Berlinetta ‘Plexi’ – sold for £740,990 (approx)/ €873,600 inc. premium. Estimate £550-680,000 approx.
1991 Lancia-Ferrari LC2 Group C – sold for £721,990 (approx)/ €851,200 inc. premium. Estimate £200-240,000 approx.
2007 Ferrari 599 GTB Fiorano (Manual) – sold for £455,990 (approx)/ €537,600 inc. premium. One of only 30 – believed to have just 1100 km on the clock. Estimate £230-275,000 approx.
1996 Porsche 993 GT2 – sold for £522,490 (approx)/ €616,000 inc. premium.
1952 Aston Martin DB2 DHC – sold for £427,490 (approx)/ €504,000 inc. premium.
1987 Alfa Romeo 75 Turbo Evoluzione IMSA ‘Ufficiale’ – sold for £284,995 (approx)/ €336,000 inc. premium.
1992 Lancia Delta HF Integrale Group A ‘Jolly Club’ – sold for £284,995 (approx)/ €336,000 inc. premium. Sainz/Moya in the Monte Carlo rally, also competed at Acropolis and Australia.
2003 Dodge Viper GTS-R – sold for £204,250 (approx)/ €240,800 inc. premium.
2004 Ferrari 360 Challenge Stradale – sold for £199,000 (approx)/ €224,000 inc. premium.
1996 Ferrari 355 Challenge – sold for £100,000 (approx)/ €117,600 inc. premium. 30,000 miles / 49,000 kms
2007 Porsche 997 GT3 RS – sold for £180,500 (approx)/ €212,800 inc. premium. 890 miles
2008 Ferrari 430 Scuderia – sold for £180,500 (approx)/ €207,200 inc. premium. 1,120 miles. 22% VAT payable s0 approximately £215,000 all in.
2002 Porsche 996 GT2 – sold for £161,500 (approx)/ €190,400 inc. premium. 1,120 miles.
1963 Jaguar E-Type S1 3.8 OTS – sold for £147,250 (approx)/ €173,600 inc. premium.
1994 Bugatti EB110 GT – sold for £522,500 (approx)/ €616,000 inc. premium. Estimate £230-275,000 approx.