After what was to all intents and purposes a stellar edition of Pebble Beach, the two action giants of RM and Gooding put themselves to the test in Europe in two very different locations: a tried and tested London for Gooding, and a steep and slippery St. Moritz for RM.
At its second European auction, Gooding brought home an excellent result: 78.37% of the cars on offer were sold (29 out of 37) generating 78.08% of the estimated total value, equivalent to €26.5m (£23m).
The average price was also very high: €915,830 (£793,407), even higher than the more excellent results of Pebble Beach.
RM instead, did the exact opposite: after setting the world record at Pebble Beach, here it collected very little: just 10 cars sold out of the 22 on offer (45.45%) and just 28% in value: €7,043,695 (CHF 6,797,300). Reassuring, however, was the average price of €705,425 (CHF 679,730).
What happened? More than likely, it was due to a mismatch between the choice of cars on offer and the type of buyers in the room. Let’s take an example: the Bugatti 57S Atalante, RM’s top lot in St. Moritz, from 1936 the first year of production, estimated at €10m-€12 was withdrawn when offers stopped at €8,082,750 (CHF 7.8m). Three weeks earlier at Pebble Beach, Gooding sold an almost identical Atalante for $10.4m (€10,388,965). But what real interest might potential customers in St. Moritz, on their way to the Bernina Granturismo uphill race, have had for a pre-war car that was perfect for Concours d’Elegance?
And so, the top lot went to a 1965 Aston Martin DB5 Convertible. One of the two cars sold for more than one million Swiss francs (of the 6 on offer). Presented in excellent condition with a year-old restoration carried out at Aston Martin Works, it flew: in 2021, three of these models were sold at prices ranging from €950,000 and €1,160,000 before one at Pebble Beach broke through “the roof” at €2.7m! A flash in the pan? Judging by St. Moritz probably not: estimated at €1.9m-€2.7m, it changed hands for €2,220,165 (CHF 2,142,500).
The other car that sold for more than one million Swiss francs by RM was an Aston Martin DB5, in this case a Vantage in need of restoration. Estimated at €1m-€1.2m, it was sold for €1,170,960 (CHF 1,130,000).
At Gooding, the owner of the 1960 Ferrari 250 GT SWB Competizione – the top lot of the sale – went home with a smile on his face. An example with an impeccable history that participated in Le Mans (in 1960 and the classic), Goodwood – in the period – and Montlhéry. In the hands of the current owner since 2000 who had it restored in 2013 but not certified by Ferrari Classiche. However, the estimate of €7m-€8m was quickly demolished at €8,960,250 (£7,762,500). A sign of an upward price repositioning of a model that had reached 10 million five years ago. Five years in which offers never satisfied the expectations of those looking to sell and who ended up keeping theirs.
Another car also smiled at the seller. The Porsche 550 Spyder that was discovered in a garage in Switzerland earlier this year. With a full-bodied sporting history (Monza, Avus, …) and the charm of a barn find, the estimate of €1.4m-€2m was decidedly pessimistic, perhaps justified by the risk of the cost of restoration. It ultimately went for €2,337,450 (£2,025,000), a high number but still low in my opinion.
But Gooding also suffered with its pre-war offering. The second-most expensive lot, a 1932 Bugatti 55 Cabriolet by Gangloff sold far below its estimate of €4.3-€5.4m, changing hands for €3,376,325 (£2,925,000) and of the four Bentleys on offer, only two found new owners.
The estimates were not remarkable: they started from €800,000-€1,000,000 for a 1929 Bentley Speed Six Saloon and reached €1.3m-€1.7m for a 1928 Bentley 4.5 litre Tourer bodied by Vanden Plas. Both went unsold, while the 8-litre cars from 1932 were sold at €877,395 (£759,375) and €1,266,120 (£1,096,875) respectively. The 25% difference was down to the fact that the first one was re-bodied.
What about great deals? At Gooding, without a doubt it was the 1967 Maserati Mistral. Although in conditions that begged for a restoration (something Gooding recommended heavily) the estimate of €80,000-€115,000 without reserve was correct. Sold for €41,555 (£36,000)!
The real deal of the weekend though, came from RM: a Ferrari 360 Spider F1 with 25,000 km on the clock and only one owner from new. Youngtimers are in great demand right now and the 360 is defined by many as “the one to buy before it takes off”. Once again without reserve, it went away for just €38,135 (CHF 36,800).