German-speaking countries are not famous for their international auctions, but today’s two are quite an exception: organized over the same weekend (2nd-3rd July), the sales at Dorotheum and Bonhams played hosts to an international clientele that were more than willing to dig deep into their pockets in order to take home some exceptional jewels.
Dorotheum is the most important Austrian auction house and assembled 79 cars in Vösendorf. Of these, 70, or 88.61%, found a new owner.
Bonhams, on the other hand, took advantage of the Gstaad Classic to entice a very interested public to buy one of the 54 cars on offer. In the end, they sold 47 of them, 87.03%, helped by the fact that 63% were offered without reserve, triple the number at Dorotheum.
Both, however, were satisfied with their results: Dorotheum expected to collect €4,950,000 or $5,100,000 and took home €4,626,505 or $4,835,000 (93.45%), Bonhams on the other hand, put the value of their lots at €9,150,000 or $9,415,000 and obtained €7,405,000 or $7,735,000 (81.76%). Having said that, Bonhams managed an average price per car that was double the number obtained by Dorotheum.
The top lot of Bonhams, one of the 15 Lamborghini Reventon Roadsters produced, from 2010, didn’t sell. Estimated at €1.85-2.2m, it received an offer of €1,645,000 ($1,720,000) and the owner decided to take it home.
So it was easy for the 1991 Ferrari F40 to become the most expensive car of the sale. With Pebble Beach coming next month, this was an opportunity to test the market: in March, a 3,800-mile, Ferrari-certified model was sold for 2.45 million dollars (roughly €2.4 million). This one, with over 20,000 km on the clock and without Ferrari certification, exceeded its estimate of €1.6-1.8, arriving at €1,950,000 ($2,040,000). Things are looking interesting for Pebble Beach.
In third place, albeit at a considerable distance, the Queen of Dorotheum: a Porsche Carrera GT from 2005 with 32,000 km on the clock. The elegant colour scheme was offset by the American specification and this placed it precisely within its estimate (€950,000-€1,350,000) at €1,035,000 ($1,100,000). With the recent quotations for this model, I think that more than a sharp braking, I would consider this a break away.
Three interesting lots united by the same common denominator: being part of the Swiss automotive culture. The first was a 1956 Alfa Romeo 1900C SS Barchetta, with coachwork by Carrosserie Ghia Aigle, , the Swiss offshoot of the famous Italian styling house that opened in 1946 in Aigle, a village near Lake Geneva, and which used the designs of the Turin-based Ghia. The car looks like a “super-spiaggina”, in fact the first owner was passionate about Riva motorboats and asked them to produce a car that resembled a boat. Unique and without comparison, it was estimated at €300,000-400,000, and the experts were very precise because it went to its new home for €315,000 ($330,000).
The second Swiss soul came from Monteverdi. A 1969 375S Coupé put on a very impressive show. Originally yellow with black interior, the car was first exhibited at the Geneva Motor Show in 1969 without finding any buyers, but later at the New York Motor Show they managed to sell it. Later, the colour was changed to its current metallic blue. The estimate of €70,000-110,000 was literally torn apart and the car was sold for €230,000 ($240,000).
The final Swiss-on-wheels example is perhaps the most particular of the three. Even the auctioneer admitted that he had never heard of the 1959 Volkswagen Beutler 1200. Produced in just 28 units, the car was based on the famous Beetle but at the time it cost more than a Porsche 356. This example, presented in a very elegant two-tone Antique Gold/Brown, had undergone a thorough restoration that lasted 11 years. Despite its humble origins, the car did not struggle to exceed its €80,000-120,000 estimate and was sold for €158,000 ($165,000). Being different makes you popular.
From Beetle to Beetle, another Volkswagen that amazed the market. This time, it was a common 1975 Volkswagen Beetle 1303 Cabriolet but with a very special history. The car once belonged to Bruno Kreisky, the Austrian chancellor from 1970 to 1983 who used it in Mallorca. Presented in the sunny yellow with which the politician had been seen and photographed numerous times. The estimate of €30,000-€40,000 initially sounded quite optimistic but, as it was offered in Austria, it changed hands for an astonishing €85,100 ($89,000).
And my personal choice? I have a weakness for the Aston Martin DBS from the late ‘60s and so, having seen a 1969 Vantage being sold for just €46,000 ($48,000) against an estimate of €70,000-110,000. I just ate my heart out. Of course, it had to be restored, but…
Also interesting was the 2012 Maserati GranTurismo GT4, one of just three examples transformed in 2014 by the Swiss Team in Balerna that won the Maserati Trophy race in Shanghai. Presented in impeccable condition, it was estimated at €70,000-110,000, so the buyer who paid €46,000 ($48,000) to take it home drove away with perhaps the deal of the day.