The Concorso d'Eleganza Villa d'Este weekend on the shores of Lake Como in May each year holds a special place on the heritage motoring calendar and the official auction for the event, the Villa Erba auction staged by RM-Sotheby's, always throws up some spectacular machinery. This year eight cars topped the €1,000,000 mark and there were some very special cars offered below that figure as you will see from the summary below.
This year there was a distinct French flavor to the auction, with the top seller being the 1937 Talbot-Lago T150-C SS "Goutte d'Eau" Coupé by Figoni et Falaschi, which we previewed last week in an article naming it "the world's most beautiful car."
The "Teardrop" didn't attract the highest bid of the weekend, with that honor going to the 1928 Mercedes-Benz 680 S Torpedo-Sport, which attracted a bid of €5,050,000 but was still some $1.5 million shy of the reserve price, and some $3 million shy of the $8,250,000 it fetched when it last went to auction during Monterey Car Week in 2013.
It's not often that French cars take the top two spots at an auction, but that's what happened when one of the three Bugatti Type 57 Atalante prototypes built by the famous marque's in-house coachbuilder sold for €3,024,000. (More details below).
Of particular interest at the sale was one-of-51 Porsche 911 RSR that had just 10 kilometers on the odometer and went to auction still covered with the factory-applied protective Cosmoline coating.
Our summary of the top sales and no-sales from the auction follows.
No sale | 1928 Mercedes-Benz 680 S Torpedo-Sport
One of the best known and most impeccably credentialed cars in the world, this 1928 Mercedes-Benz 680 S Torpedo-Sport is already one of the top 100 most valuable cars in the world, having sold for $8,250,000 during Monterey Car Week in 2013, and it had previously been in the top 100 a decade ago, having sold for $3,645,000 during Monterey Car Week in 2006. The official estimate was €6.5 to €8.0 million (US$7.1 to 8.7 million), but bidding stopped at €5,050,000 and it was passed in. (Auction details)
$3,756,721 | 1937 Talbot-Lago T150-C SS "Goutte d'Eau"
by Figoni et Falaschi
One of 14 extant "Goutte d'Eau" Talbot-Lagos built by Paris-based Italian automotive couturier Giuseppe Figoni, we wrote up this 1937 Talbot-Lago T150-C SS as "the most beautiful car in the world" and hence its sale for just €3,360,000 ($3,756,721) was a surprise to us, though RM-Sotheby's estimate of €3,200,000 to €3,800,000 was correct all along. (Auction details)
No sale | 2016 McLaren P1 GTR
Now this is one of those inexplicable things that happen at auction. On the day before the auction, McLaren announced that the limited-production (only five were built) 986 hp McLaren P1 LM had lapped the 20.8 km Nürburgring Nordschleife circuit faster than any other production car had ever done before with a time of 6:43.2. Bidding went to €2,850,000 against an estimate of €3,200,000 to €3,600,000, and it was passed in. (Auction details)
$3,381,049 | 1935 Bugatti Type 57 Atalante Prototype
The credentials of this car are spectacular, being one of the four prototypes of the rare body style created by Bugatti's own in-house coachbuilding department, first owned by two-time Targa Florio winner and Bugatti director Meo Costantini, original in every respect, and with just 26,000 km on the odometer. The third Atalante built was sold for €3,024,000 ($3,381,049) against an estimate of €2,800,000 to €3,200,000. (Auction details)
No sale | 2014 Ferrari LaFerrari
A LaFerrari was sold at a charity auction held during Finali Mondiali in Daytona, Florida on December 4, 2016 for $7.0 million, becoming the most valuable car made this century to sell at auction. The only other LaFerrari ever to sell at auction fetched $3,685,000 during Monterey Car Week in 2016, so the estimate of €2,750,000 to €3,200,000 was quite reasonable for a car with just 200 km on the clock, but the high bid was just €2,450,000 and the car was passed in. (Auction details)
$2,254,033 | 1993 Porsche 911 Carrera RSR 3.8
This fully race-prepared Porsche 911 RSR is one of just 51 made by Porsche. It is also one of just two that were fully trimmed inside. It is also never driven, and despite being nearly 25 years-old, it is still covered with the factory-applied protective Cosmoline coating. Check the auction details for images of this time-warp example of the wildest 911 ever made. The car sold for €2,016,000 ($2,254,033), setting a record for a 964 model 911 at auction. (Auction details)
$2,003,585 | 1965 Ferrari 275 GTS
The tenth of the 200 Ferrari 275 GTS models built, with 54,000 kilometers from new, sold for €1,792,000 ($2,003,585) (Auction details)
No sale | 1930 Alfa Romeo 6C 1750 Gran Sport Spider
This fourth series Alfa Romeo 6C 1750 Gran Sport Spider is one of just two known such models bodied by Carrozzeria Sports SA of Milan. Period racing history, plus well documented since new. A high bid of €1,850,000 against an estimate of €2,200,000 to €2,600,000 saw the car passed in. (Auction details)
No sale | 2004 Ferrari Enzo
A very distinctive Enzo in that it was ordered new in Scuderia Rosso, without the normal black highlights, and even the leather internal trim is in the same color, giving the car quite some visual presence. Estimated to sell for between €1,900,000 and €2,200,000, the high bid was €1,700,000 and the car was passed in. (Auction details)
$1,627,912 | 2015 Porsche 918 "Weissach" Spyder
One of the prettiest examples of Porsche's 21st century 887 hp hybrid supercar, this is the only 918 produced in Porsche's historic Blue Arrow color and crossed the block with 11,000 kilometers on the odometer. Only a handful of these cars have gone to auction, fetching $1,475,000, $1,595,000 and $1,760,000 respectively, so it fell within the expected price range, at €1,456,000 ($1,627,912). (Auction details)
$1,596,606 | 1964 Ferrari 250 GT/L Berlinetta Lusso
An unusual color, but a great example of the most comfortable of the 250 GT series cars. The auction description perfectly summarizes the character of the car: Capable of crossing large tracts of land at high speed while cosseting its driver and passenger in the ultimate comfort, the luxury is a grand tourer par excellence. Sold for €1,428,000 ($1,596,606) (Auction details)
No sale | 1957 BMW 507 Roadster Series I
The auction description summarizes the 507 roadster: One of BMW's most celebrated vehicles, the 507 has remained an icon of design and Bavarian craftsmanship for 60 years. Conceived by the legendary American sports car dealer Max Hoffman, the 507 was intended to be the manufacturer's halo car, bringing a company then known for mundane sedans and microcars into competition with the likes of Porsche and Mercedes-Benz. Estimated to sell for between €1,700,000 and €2,000,000, the 507 attracted a high bid of €1,375,000 and failed to meet reserve. (Auction details)
$1,252,240 | 1948 Talbot-Lago T26 Grand Sport by Franay
One of the first post-WW2 supercars, the T26 Gran Sport Talbot-Lago featured a celebrated Grand Prix chassis with a new twin-cam 4.5-liter T26 engine. Only 29 were built on the short wheelbase chassis and only 26 reamin, each of them bodied by automotive couturiers. This Talbot-Lago T26 was one of the most beautiful cars of the entire Villa d'Este weekend, with a convertible body by French automotive couturier Franay. It was first shown at the Paris Salon in 1949 where it was photographed with one of the superstars of the day, Marlene Dietrich - below (courtesy of Peter Larsen and Talbot Club archives).
Indeed the car was remodeled several times by Franay and shown at numerous motor shows in period, plus numerous concours where it always seems to have won first prize. It offered a lot of car and provenance for the price, fetching €1,120,000 ($1,252,240). (Auction details)
$1,189,628 | 1990 Ferrari F40
Built for Ferrari's 40th birthday, the F40 is one of those very rare cars made in substantial numbers that sell for more than a million dollars. It was initially intended that 400 would be made, but in the end that number swelled to 1,315. Sold for €1,064,000 ($1,189,628) against an estimate of €850,000 to €950,000. (Auction details)
$939,180 | 1961 Maserati 3500 GT Spyder by Vignale
One of 242 Vignale 3500 GT Spyders built and a class winner at the Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance. The car was originally delivered in LHD in the UK and was fitted new with a five-speed ZF gearbox. Well bought at €840,000 ($939,180). (Auction details)
$914,135 | 1975 Lamborghini Countach LP400 'Periscopio'
The first showing of the Countach at the 1971 Geneva Motor Show sent shockwaves around the world and helped to propagate the Lamborghini name. It is the most collectible of the breed and this LP400 "Periscopio" was delivered new to Prince Mansour Bin Mashal of Saudi Arabia. One of only 150 made, it has travelled less than 6,000 kilometers. Sold for €817,600 ($914,135). (Auction details)
$813,956 | 1970 Ferrari 365 GTB/4 Daytona Berlinetta
Believed to have been owned by Princess Shams Pahlavi, the elder sister of the Shah of Iran. Sold for € 728,000 ($813,956) (Auction details)
$813,956 | 1959 WRE-Maserati
The second of three Maserati-engined race cars built by World Racing Enterprises, all three cars enjoyed considerable success, but sadly, allocating victories to each car was near impossible as adequate records were not kept. Beautifully restored, the car sold for €728,000 ($813,956). (Auction details)
$676,210 | 1966 Ferrari 330 GTC
Sold for €604,800 ($676,210) (Auction details)
$676,210 | 1960 Ferrari 250 GT Coupé Series II
Sold for €604,800 ($676,210) (Auction details)
$651,165 | 1969 Ferrari 365 GTC
Sold for €582,400 ($651,165) (Auction details)
$651,165 | 1961 Jaguar E-Type Series 1 3.8-Litre Roadster
An interesting and very early Jaguar E-Type, this Series 1 3.8 liter roadster was raced successfully in the early 1960s in Angola and Portugal. Now fully restored, the car fetched €582,400 ($651,165) against an estimate of €250,000 to €300,000 to set a new record for a non-competition E-Type sold at auction. (Auction details)
$550,986 | 1985 Lancia Delta S4 "Stradale"
An amazing time-warp example of the excesses of 1980s Group B rally cars, this 300 hp Lancia Delta S4 'Stradale' is one of the 200 street-legal cars built for homologation requirements. With only 1,600 kilometers from new, this Delta S4 is powered by a 1759cc fuel-injected DOHC engine and a dual-stepped Volumex KKK supercharger and turbocharger. Sold for €492,800 ($550,986) Auction Link
$400,717 | 2016 Porsche 911 R
Billed by the official description as the "most anticipated Porsche 911 of the 21st Century," the new 911 R performed admirably on the auction block at its first outing. This car had just 1000 km on the clock and sold for €358,400 ($400,717). (Auction details)