RM Sotheby’s wrapped up its 26th annual Monterey auction with an impressive 86% sell-through rate and registered USD 164 million in sales. Bidders hailed from over 40 countries for the three-day event held between August 17 and 19. Ferraris dominated the leader board, claiming six of the top ten bids. The first place, however, was claimed by a 1957 Jaguar XKSS.
According to the auction house, a notable 20% of the bidders were first-time registrants. This is a strong indicator of continued growth and interest in the collector car marketplace. This trend is backed by the fact that this year’s final sales total ranks as the third most successful result RM Sotheby’s has achieved at its Monterey venue.
Gord Duff, RM Sotheby’s Global Head of Auctions, commented: “Following last year’s incredible success in Monterey, we are quite pleased with our team’s ability to source an incredible group of cars, ranging from pre-war classics through to modern day hypercars. The results speak for themselves, with final sales totals ranking this year’s auction as the third most successful in our company’s history.”
Fetching the highest bid of USD 13,205,000, the 1957 Jaguar XKSS is one of the “most original and best-preserved” of the fabled XKSS models. This well-maintained example retains its numbers-matching engine block and head, gearbox, rear axle, and bodywork. Formerly owned by Anthony Bamford and Campbell McLaren, this “ D-type for the street” was sold new in California.
The second highest bid of USD 6,605,000 was claimed by a 1959 Ferrari 410 Superamerica Coupe Series III by Pinin Farina. This car is the fourth of 12 Series III examples built, one of only seven cars factory-equipped with covered headlights, and the only covered-headlight example delivered new in Nero Tropicale.
Restored by RM Auto Restoration from 2017–2020, it is certified by a Ferrari Classiche Red Book to retain its matching-numbers engine, gearbox, and rear differential. It is a Platinum Award-winner at the 2021 Cavallino Classic, class-winner at the 2020 Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance, and best of show-winner at the 2023 Cavallino Modena and the 2023 Concours d’Elegance Suisse.
The third highest bid of USD 5,395,000 went to a red 1967 Ferrari 275 GTB/4 by Scaglietti. Originally owned by Steve McQueen, it was restored to the actor’s specifications from 2010 to 2013 by Ferrari Classiche, under the ownership of championship racing driver Vern Schuppan. The subject of numerous feature magazine articles, this late-production example built with a long-nose body configuration, has been exhibited in Maranello’s Museo Ferrari and at the Villa d’Este Concorso d’Eleganza.
The non-Ferrari inclusions in the top ten list include a 1937 Bugatti Type 57SC Tourer by Corsica at USD 5,395,000, a 1933 Packard Twelve Individual Custom Convertible Victoria by Dietrich at USD 3,305,000, and a 1935 Duesenberg Model SJ ‘Sweep Panel’ Dual-Cowl Phaeton by LaGrande at USD 3,030,000.
Of particular interest throughout the weekend was the performance of late model cars from the late 80s and beyond, demonstrating a marked desire for these highly optioned cars, with many models achieving final results well above estimate.
Buyers could not get enough of the iconic German marque Porsche, and reimagined models such as the 1997 Porsche 911 Remastered by Gunther Werks commanded $1.5M and the 1991 Porsche 911 Reimagined by Singer – Classic Study sold at $1.4M—both over their estimates. The highly original 1988 Porsche 959 Komfort sold for $1.7M, a staggering more than half million over its high estimate.
Porsches aside, a stunning white 2012 Lexus LFA broke a world record, selling over estimate at $1.1M. Not surprisingly, the Italian marque of Ferrari saw high demand, with a 2011 Ferrari 599 GTO selling for $1M, and a 2005 Ferrari Superamerica selling for $978K—both over high estimates. Overall, these figures highlight the insatiable demand for younger and later model sports cars. The rise of nostalgia for the late ’80s and ’90s era, coupled with the scarcity of well-maintained examples, also contributes to their appeal, which was evident throughout Monterey Car Week.
Certainly the talk of the weekend was the presentation of the barn-find Lost & Found Collection, with results that reaffirm the allure of rare, significant Ferraris remains undiminished. Notably, the 1954 Ferrari 500 Mondial Spider Series I by Pinin Farina, a battle-scarred gem, fetched an astonishing $1,875,000, while the legendary 1965 Ferrari 275 GTB/6C Alloy by Scaglietti commanded an eye-popping $3,305,000. Additionally, the 1956 Ferrari 410 Superamerica Coupe Series I by Pinin Farina, showcasing its timeless beauty beneath the wear and tear, changed hands for a substantial $2,810,000.
As an icing to an incredible weekend, RM Sotheby’s restoration wing, RM Auto Restoration, achieved its second consecutive Best of Show win at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance with the stunning, impeccably restored 1937 Mercedes-Benz 540 K Special Roadster.
Following an exhaustive 11-month restoration that took the entirety of 2022, RM Auto Restoration unveiled the stunning 1937 Mercedes-Benz 540 K Special Roadster on the concours field this past Sunday. The result was an unprecedented win with Best of Show honours, marking the team’s second consecutive Best of Show win at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance for a total of eight.
“The feather in the cap this weekend was certainly winning Best of Show at Pebble Beach for the second consecutive year. The team at RM Auto Restoration continues to prove their incredible craftsmanship, with eight Best in Show wins and victories back to back—a true testament to the entire team’s efforts. I truly feel our team at RM Sotheby’s is shaping the future of car collecting, and we’re having fun doing it. We have so much more to offer this fall, so stay tuned,” said RM Sotheby’s Gord Duff.
Sandra Button, the Concours Chairman, added: “This 540 K balances strength with sweeping lines and style, and its history is unique… I was impressed by the time and thought invested in this restoration. Every piece of this beautiful Mercedes-Benz was researched so carefully to honor its history.”