As I study the sales lots from RM’s online auction with the radio nearby, Coldplay’s latest single comes on. Coincidentally, I notice that among the cars offered at this auction, there are also two Ferraris from the collection of Higher Power, the bassist from Coldplay. Will the Higher Power work for him too, that is, will the value of his cars increase as a result of the notoriety of the owner?
Before we find out we should look at the last two “Open Roads” auctions, the name given to RM’s online-only auctions. The first with offers that opened on 19th May and closed on 26th May, the other from the 23rd to the 30th of June.
The May auction offered 50 cars of which 30 (60%) were sold, for a combined value of €1,863,671 ($2,211,851) versus €3,294,639 ($3,909,237) on offer (as with the other Open Roads auctions, these two cases were held in euros, Swiss francs, pounds and dollars), with an average selling price of €62,122 ($73,727).
The June edition did slightly better, with 34 cars sold out of 51 on offer (66.66%), €4,757,042 ($5,644,444) total estimate and €2,790,149 ($3,311,418) in takings with an average selling price of €82,063 ($97,394). The ratio of value offered versus value awarded was 56.5% for the May sale, 58.5% for the June sale.
These very similar numbers (that are also very close to those seen in March and April) indicate that RM has created its own market segment with a certain expectation and a specific target, based on the guarantee offered by the RM brand and the selected cars of the catalogue.
What did we discover? Let’s look at some of the cars that stood out.
For consistency, let’s start with Guy Berryman’s two cars. The first was a 1971 Dino 246 GT in silver with a black interior. One owner from 1978 to 2014 and recent engine and suspension rebuilds, and braking and ignition system overhauls; on the other hand it did not have Ferrari Classiche certification. With an estimate of £210,000-£240,000 (€245,000-€280,000 or $290,000-$330,000) in line with the market it was sold for £225,500 (€263,229 or $312,333). Good but nothing to indicate that the market gave it a particular premium for the Bassist.
A similar fate also befell the very rare 1974 Ferrari 365 GT4 BB from the same owner. One of just 58 right-hand-drive examples, very nice original colour scheme of Grigio Ferro with Rosso interior, Restored in 2015 – 2017 by marque specialists at a cost of over £70,000 (about €80,000 or $95,000), and matching numbers. This one was also without Ferrari Classiche certification and a note indicated that the odometer was broken, so the 39,000 indicated miles could not be verified. With prices over the last year fluctuating between €185,000 and €275,000 (about $220,000 to $325,000) and an estimate of £210,000-£240,000 (€243,000-€300,000 or $288,000-$355,000) it was more than acceptable. It sold for £209,000 (€241,700 or $286,787). Again, no Higher Power.
Among the cars I studied carefully at this auction was a 1997 Toyota Supra 15th Anniversary. Prices for this model have been rising of late and so by all accounts, this lot was testing the pulse of the market. With several weak spots including an automatic transmission and about 90,000 km on the clock working against proven single ownership and well documented service history, the market considered the merits outweighed the defects and the Supra changed hands for $77,000 (€64,894), a high price considering its condition.
There was a lot of excitement at the June auction for the 1995 Lancia Delta Integrale Evoluzione Edizione Finale. A few weeks ago, we came across another one at Silverstone, with only one owner and 5,400 km on the clock which sold for £218,250 (about €250,000 or $295,000). Although the one on sale at RM had travelled 27,000 km since new and the number of previous owners was unknown, the estimate of CHF 95,000-CHF 175,000 (€85,000-€160,000 or $100,000-$190,000) seemed more than attractive. However, this was not the case: it was sold within its estimate at CHF 110,000 (about €100,000 or $120,000), certainly a good deal for the buyer.
Another car worth keeping an eye on is the Fiat 131 Abarth Rally Stradale. RM offered an example from 1976, in the classic Rosso Arancio exterior over black interior. The 131 Abarth Rally is an easy-to-replicate car starting from the three-door 131. True fakes. We recently saw a Ferrari 250 Lusso that showed just how much a dated certification is no longer a guarantee . In this case it is exactly the opposite: the ASI approval from 2000 reassures the originality of the car. Also for this reason, the car had an estimate of CHF 95,000-CHF 150,000 (€85,000-€135,000 or $100,000-€160,000) but it was sold for much more: CHF 170,500 (€155,000 or $184,000).
As always, before closing I would like to point out what I would have bought on a budget. In this case, it was a car that the market has already discovered but, in my opinion, has not yet shown its full potential. The 2002 Honda S2000 with its 240 bhp 2-liter VTEC engine is becoming more and more desirable and the one on sale at RM with its unusual Suzuka Blue paint on ton-sur-ton leather and just 27,000 miles from new was a peach. With an estimate of $17,500-$22,500 (€14,700-€18,900) it changed hands for $18,000 (€15,100). With the best examples now well over €50,000, the new owner can already think about future profits.