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RM To Auction Creme De La Creme In Como

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On: Mon, May 9, 2011 at 3:32PM | By: Andrew W Davis

RM To Auction Creme De La Creme In Como

If you’ve been sitting on your billions just waiting for the right opportunity to convert them into something sexier than numbers on a spreadsheet, now’s your chance. [Well, your chance will actually come May 21 when RM Auctions will have their sale at the Concorso d'Eleganza Villa d'Este. So almost now.]

Right about here I could say something snide like “If you have to ask what or where that is you can’t afford anything there,” but we already know that’s true. But since I know, and you have more money than I do, I’ll gladly report it’s in Como, Italy.

[Look, just follow George Clooney or one of the dudes he’s supporting with “Oceans 47” or whatever the latest one is. I hear he’s got a pretty sweet pad nearby.]

Right. Now that you’ve got the where, I’m going to give you the why: RM Auctions is offering the most star-studded slate of consignments I’ve seen this decade, including, per their site, “32 blue-chip consignments with no fewer than ten anticipated to break the million-euro mark.”

That’s $1.5 million in real money, folks. And these lots' selling prices start there…

1937 Mercedes-Benz 540K Cabriolet A [Lot 116]


Though a specific year and model weren’t mentioned, when Janice Joplin sang, “Oh Lord, won’t you buy me a Mercedes-Benz” I can guarantee it wasn’t about this car. Even someone steeped in Southern Comfort knows it’s the guy downstairs that grants wishes like this. Sure, it’s not its same-age sister—the sinister black “Warner” Special Roadster my own soul has been promised for—but it’s going to go for half as much, even with a top estimate of $2.7 million. But I warn you: Out of all the cars at this auction, this is the one I have to have. I don’t know why—I was born in S.J, CA, in the mid-1970s to middle-everything parents that drove a Plymouth Valiant and a Volvo 145 wagon—but there it is. So just don’t look too hard or for too long unless you have the cash to make her yours. Then again, once you’re under her spell, no other car will matter…

1938 Talbot-Lago T150-C SS Teardrop Coupe [Lot 127]


Speaking of twice as much, if you were a gentleman of means looking for a place to spend your money before the Big War ruined everything by making German and Italian cars car-sona non grata on the rest of the Continent, the folks at Phony and Flashy—I mean Figoni et Falaschi—would’ve been happy to wrap Talbot-Lago’s T150-C SS chassis in its swoopy “teardrop” coupe bodywork. Sportier than the supercharged 540K, it’s rarer, too, helping auction estimates reach between five and six million bucks. [There’s another F&F design—a ’39 Delahaye 135 MS Grand Sport Roadster (Lot 118)—here, too, at one-sixth the estimated price in case you miss out on the Teardrop.] Neither are my cup of root beer, but even I have to say it's one heck of a looker. That it's a true sports/racing car underneath is just icing.

1937 Bugatti Type 57SC Atalante Coupe [Lot 107]


Though at 17 built it’s not as rare as the Talbot-Lago—11 of which were constructed—even automotive neophytes know that mentioning the “B” word means a stratospheric sales price. But with a high estimate of $6,375,000 this “real” Bugatti makes the Veyron’s price look like sales tax. Call me, well, whatever, but I’d rather have a Veyron than this mustard-and-tan swoopy coupe. Like with the ‘Lago I’m stickin’ with Sindelfingen wish-wise. After all, I could have a Veyron and the Benz with gas money—even at European prices—left over. [Maybe it's just the baby-food-color paint scheme. Even a 540K couldn't pull of that look.]

1953 Ferrari 250 MM Berlinetta by Pinin Farina [Lot 114]


1955 Ferrari 375 MM Berlinetta by Pinin Farina [Lot 120]


If there’s one thing I know about Ferraris it’s that I don’t understand their prices. Despite being a long-time Sports Car Market magazine subscriber, I still can’t figure out why the high estimate of $4.5 million on a ’53 250 MM is the low estimate on a similar car that’s two years newer. [Is it the extra “125” in the name that adds the $1.8 million to the high estimate? If so, that’s over $14k per “1”…] Seriously, though, I’m sure there’s a laundry-list of things that make the 375 MM “better” than the 250 MM—most of which are covered in RM’s thorough catalog descriptions—but even so, neither of these competition Ferraris (They have even serial numbers. I know about that!) could put my Mercedes “Baby” in the corner. [Yes, I used a Swayze reference in multi-million dollar Ferraris' descriptions. Wolverines!]

1957 Ferrari 500 TRC Spider by Scaglietti [Lot 132]


This Ferrari, on the other hand, piques my interest. Smack dab in the middle of the last two price-wise, this competition car looks the way I think it should. Unfortunately, that’s all it has, as it is eight cylinders short of having the heart of a “real” Ferrari. And before you launch into the explanation used by Boss 302, Camaro Z/28 and Mopar 340 fans about how the lighter weight gave better handling and blah, blah, blah, just know that I don’t care. Even the man with his name on the cars knew—and spoke of, at length—that a true Ferrari has a V12, period. Need more? There were just 19 of these four-cylinder 500 TRCs made in 1957, and SCM’s price guide lists their values between $2.0 and $2.4 million. From ’56 to ’61 they built 35 V-12 250 Testa Rossas, and their range is seven to sixteen million per. That’s math, folks, and therefore it cannot be argued with. [And since “540” is more than “500,” the Benz still wins, too. Look it up.]

1965 Ford GT40 Works Prototype Roadster [Lot 117]


But let’s talk about a model that actually kicked Ferrari’s posteriore, literally. Yes, 45 years ago Ford’s GT40s finished 1-2-3 at the world’s most important automotive endurance event, Le Mans. (Those were also the first American cars to win there, ever, BTW.) But I bet you mathletes have already discovered a problem: That race was in 1966. This GT40 is a ’65. Yup. The rest of you might have noticed the other “problem” with this car: it’s missing its, well, everything “greenhouse”-related [It’s the ultimate “Gurney bubble!”]. But fear not; this GT40 chop-top is a real-deal factory prototype. As you might have guessed by her serial number—GT/111—she’s the 11th GT40 prototype built and the fourth of five “roadster” versions created. So not only is she far rarer than all the Ferraris I just mentioned, she’s a real ‘Murrican car for ‘Murricans to spend money on instead of all them effete Europeans. If that’s your thing, stuff at least four million bucks in your ten-gallon hat and hope she sells at that mid-estimate price.

Now I'm just tossing this one out there, but I hear that the real joy in spending money is in the laughter of little children that's somehow related to it. I'm pretty sure that means you should buy the Benz for me so you can keep and enjoy the rest of your purchases guilt-free. Yes. That sounds right. Hey, I'll be more than happy to send you updates on how super-awesome a time my family is having somewhere near the car—you don't think I'd let actual kids close to it, do you?—with all the child's laughter or whatever thrown in, my treat. OK, how about this: Mercedes for me, one of my kids for you. That way you'll get those laughs whenever you want, and I'll still have two left over in case my wife or the police ask. [Is it getting hot in here? Why does it smell like brimstone?] Come on, there has to be SOMETHING I can offer you for that car...

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