Plenty of notable cars crossed the block at the 2016 RM Sotheby’s London sale in addition to the 1967 Iso Grifo we chose as the feature car of the auction. Here are eight we thought worthy of a closer look:
Best Buy: 1985 Volkswagen Beetle
Sold at $21,011
Pewter metallic over gray cloth with red-striped interior. 1.2-liter, 34-hp, OHV flat-four. Four-speed manual transmission. Only 15 miles on the odometer. Still with its delivery protective plastic in places, dust covered, and never driven, it’s been pushed when moved. New throughout, stored since original delivery in Germany. This was one of 3,150 Jubilee Beetles that were built exclusively for the German market.
German delivery only but actually built in Mexico, this brand-new, in the wrapper Beetle will undoubtedly need some work (think stale gas and old oil) plus replacement rubber bits, given that it was last started during the Reagan administration. Those reconditioning costs won’t be too heavy, however, and this car tells a great story. A time-capsule example of a German-designed car known, built, and sold around the world.
1971 Lancia Stratos HF Stradale
Sold at $412,720
S/N 829AR0 001544
Red over Havana tan Alcantara and blue cloth interior. 2.4-liter, 192-hp, DOHC V-6. Five-speed manual transmission. Mostly original condition with 44,000 miles on the odometer. Lightly refreshed, this is essentially a survivor with most original surfaces intact. Underhood shows a nice patina brought about by use and age.
Never officially imported into the United States, the mid-engined, Ferrari Dino-powered Lancia Stratos became famous worldwide for its many rally wins in the then-recently formed World Rally Championship. This example is a “stradale” or street-going version that was built to homologate the race cars, and it’s the version you want if you intend to actually drive your car
on public roads. Designed by Bertone, only 500 examples were produced. This one is well-preserved and sold at a fair price. Expect values for good, original Stratos models to keep climbing.
1990 BMW Z1
Sold at $105,056
Red with black cloth top over black leather interior. 2.5-liter, 171-hp, SOHC I-6. Five-speed manual transmission. Incredibly, this car has fewer than 160 miles since new. The paint and brightwork are in very good condition, as one would expect from a car with very low miles.
The Z1 production model was unveiled at the Frankfurt Auto Show in 1987 and, despite high demand, only 58 cars were built for the 1988 model year. From then through the end of production, BMW built 8,000 Z1s — 3,000 more than it first intended.
When you see an exceptionally high sale price in any marketplace, you wonder if the result is repeatable. This new valuation for an essentially unused 26-year-old car tends to confirm the legitimacy of the figure. Examples with real-world miles — say between 50,000 and 75,000 — will not bring this amount, but you can bet they are no longer the $25,000 cars they have been for years.
1960 Ferrari 250 GT Cabriolet
Sold at $1,725,920
S/N 1881 GT
Grigio Acciaio (gray) over Rosso (red) leather interior. 3.0-liter, 250-hp, SOHC V-12. Four-speed manual transmission. Factory hardtop. Expertly restored by a marque specialist, this example has Ferrari Classiche certification. Shown at the Villa d’Este concours in Lake Como, Italy, in 2014.
Until the late 1960s, Ferraris were low-volume cars. The 250GT Cabriolet was no exception, with only 201 examples built. There was a time when the 250 GT Pininfarina cabriolet was relatively inexpensive for a vintage 12-cylinder Ferrari. The 250s everyone wanted were the dual-purpose road/race cars, not these luxe touring cars. Today, no V-12 Ferrari from the Enzo era — defined as pre-Fiat ownership — has been left behind on the value curve. This Pininfarina cab has much of the style of the California Spyder but at a fraction of the price.
1971 Monteverdi 375L
Sold at $210,112
Dark blue over biscuit leather interior. 440-cu-in, 375-hp, OHV V-8. Three-speed automatic transmission. Chrome wire wheels. Very good paint, the interior shows only light wear. A well-cared-for car that looks just a few years old, not 40-plus. Almost 32,000 miles on the odometer. Offered by the sole owner, who bought this car off the floor at the 1971 Geneva Motor Show, according to the auction company.
Switzerland should be proud of its Monteverdi cars, built in a land better known for watches and chocolate. Its 440 engine is from Chrysler. For small, independent car builders in the 1950s through the ’70s, large American V-8s were often the powerplant of choice. This car sold for much more than its $170,000 top estimate, and it is more than just a curiosity. This is an excellent example of luxury and high-speed touring from a time when there was plenty of competition.
1964 Morgan Plus 4 Plus
Sold at $172,592
Red and black over red leather interior. 2.1-liter, 105-hp, OHV I-4. Four-speed manual transmission. Excellent cosmetics throughout. Great paint and show-quality chrome, the leather interior is quite well trimmed. Left-hand drive. This is the fifth of just 26 Morgan Plus 4 Plus coupes built.
The Morgan Plus 4 Plus just about defines the term “love it or hate it” in the automotive world. To some the styling is more than just challenging. Others think the lines are graceful and work together well. In fairness, most agree the car does not photograph well, that it looks better in the sheetmetal than on the page or screen. The Plus 4 Plus’ streamlined coupe design was a radical departure from traditional Morgan models and was not met warmly when first unveiled at the 1963 Earls Court Motor Show in London. This is substantial money for a Plus 4 Plus, but it is one of the nicest examples seen recently.
1995 Porsche 911 GT2
Sold at $2,476,320
Riviera Blue over black and gray leather interior. 3.6-liter, 430-hp, turbocharged, SOHC flat-6. Six-speed manual transmission. One of 194 produced over three years with only 57 built to road-going specifications. A little more than 8,000 miles on the odometer. One of a number of cars at this sale from a private French collection. Overall, impeccable condition inside and out. Tidy and correct engine compartment with exceptional presentation.
This GT2’s high pre-auction estimate was $1,100,000. The eventual winning bidder, a Silicon Valley entrepreneur who had reportedly just sold his company, knew what he was looking for and attacked this car with surgical precision. It won’t be legal to register in the U.S. for a few more years, so where he’ll keep it is anyone’s guess. Auction drama is a real thing; this was a Hollywood-quality selling scene for more than double the expected return.
1986 Ford RS200 S
Sold at $232,624
White over gray cloth with red accents, Recaro seats. 1.8-liter, 350-hp, turbocharged DOHC I-4. Five-speed manual transmission. One of 20 S models produced, 2,550 miles from new. Very good paint, the trim shows a few scratches and wear areas but still nice. Clean, all-original interior.
One of the all-time great Fords, the RS200 was another car never sold new in the U.S. The RS200 S debuted in the 1986 World Rally Championship and grabbed a podium finish its first time out. That success was very short-lived, however, as the turbocharged, four-wheel-drive Group B class dissolved later the same year. That didn’t matter too much in the end, as the cars also excelled in non-WRC events. Only about 200 were built in all, with the 20 that carry the S moniker considered the most desirable. No longer a future collectible, its day is here. You can reasonably expect values to increase steadily.