Auctions

Six Favorites from RM Sotheby’s Upcoming Paris Sale

A ragtag group of Bizzarrinis, Porsches, and celebrity cars

As part of the Retromobile festivities, RM Sotheby’s puts on a relatively intimate sale in Paris, showcasing an eclectic collection of cars ranging from all eras and nationalities. Compared to some other sales on RM’s docket, its Paris collection puts a subtle focus on uniqueness, rarity, design, and celebrity. Here are six standout cars from the upcoming sale.

1989 Ruf CTR Clubsport

Back in the 1980s, if you wanted a fast 911, you drove a 930 Turbo off the showroom floor. If you wanted the fastest  911, you boarded a plane to Pfaffenhausen and picked up a Ruf CTR. I suppose it’s a bit unfair to simply call the CTR the fastest 911—in reality, it was one of the fastest cars, ever. With a weapons-grade 3.2-liter twin-turbo flat-six pushing out a severely underrated 469 hp to the rear wheels, the CTR crested 211 mph during a test with Road  & Track back in 1987, cementing it as the fastest semi-production car for a few years.

Ruf only made about 60 CTRs, and they don’t often come up for sale. This stunning Mint Green example is a CTR conversion, originally starting life as a 3.2-liter Carrera. The conversion was completed in 1991, and changed hands multiple times until it finally came to rest in Japan in 1993, where it racked up an impressive 120,000 miles. It returned to Europe in 2015, where it received a handful of updates and repairs.

This 1989 Ruf CTR Clubsport holds a high pre-sale estimate of around $400,000.

ABBA’s 1977 BMW 633 CSi

Celebrity cars are strange. They’re an odd, intimate slice into the history of a film or music superstar, showcasing taste that extends from the demure (David Bowie’s Volvo) to the flamboyant (John Lennon’s psychedelic Rolls-Royce). RM’s 1977 BMW 633 that was previously owned by Swedish pop superstars ABBA falls somewhere in the middle of the spectrum.

The stylish Bavarian coupe was requisitioned by the band’s record company for use on cross-continental tours, serving as a discrete runabout for Björn Ulvaeus or Benny Andersson. No cosseting automatic for ABBA, it seems—the car comes with its original four-speed manual transmission.

Look for a final sale price near the high estimate of $44,000.

2017 Bugatti Chiron

No modern auction is complete without some sort of modern automotive exotica. Among other supercars like a 2005 Maserati MC12, 2008 Mercedes-McLaren SLR Roadster, and a 2014 McLaren P1, the headlining hypercar is a 2017 Bugatti Chiron coated in two shades of blue.

This is one of the first 20 Chirons delivered worldwide, delivered new in April 2017. It’s a handsomely outfitted car, especially with the deviated saddle tan-over-black interior.

The Chiron is an exclusive car with a long, long waiting list, so it’s no surprise this Chiron carries a pre-sale estimate of $4.5 million, a cool $2 million more than the Chiron’s base price.

Johnny Hallyday’s 1965 Iso Grifo A3/C

This incredibly stylish coupe is one of the very rare Iso Grifo A3/C coupes built by the then-fledgling Italian startup under license to Giotto Bizzarrini. Bizzarrini, spurned by Enzo Ferrari after the infamous Palace Revolt, went on to develop his own high-performance coupe to rival the best Modena had to offer. After a disagreement with Renzo Rivolta, Bizzarrini spun off the A3/C into a brand of his own, forming the base for the Strada series.

This A3/C is one of the earliest examples of the model, wearing the ultra-desirable riveted bodywork. From very early on, the car was briefly owned by Johnny Hallyday, a rock star who achieved immense success in Europe, reaching a level of fame so high in France that he was often referred to as the French version of Elvis Presley.

Look for this Iso Grifo to change hands around the high pre-sale estimate of $3.7 million.

1995 Porsche 911 Turbo Cabriolet

Considering how commonplace they are out on the mean streets of Southern California, it’s strange to think that at one point, a 911 Turbo Cabriolet was considered obscure rarity. Right after the 993-generation 911 Cabriolet was unveiled in 1995, a Munich-based Porsche dealer approached Porsche regarding a potential Turbo variant of the new droptop. Porsche acquiesced, but required an order up front of at least 10 units. After the sales book closed, only 14 993 Turbo Cabriolets left Porsche Exclusive.

Powering this rarified drop-top was a variant of the turbocharged 3.6-liter from the outgoing 964 Turbo, pushing out around 360 hp. This particular Cab is believed to have been ordered new by Willi Weber, Michael Schumacher’s manager. Owing to the low volume and extremely high price tag, it’s no surprise the car is chock full of special order options, including an interior replete with carbon fiber trim  and a cloth roof in chocolate brown.

Although you can pick up a brand new 911 Turbo Cab for a paltry $175,000, RM expects this 993 Turbo Cab to change hands for a high pre-sale estimate of $900,000.

2005 Bizzarrini Magnate P708 Barchetta

Let’s end this on a weird note. Tossed in amongst mid-century Ferraris, 1980s Porsche 911s, and classic Corvettes, this burnt sienna Bizzarrini stands out like a dropped plate of spaghetti. Don’t worry if you’ve never even heard of this insectoid two-seater—neither have we.

According to the listing, this was an ill-fated attempt to revive the bygone Bizzarrini nameplate into a modern sports car manufacturer. $3.5 million was invested by Magnate, a large Thai manufacturing corporation, working closely with Bizzarrini to create a prototype to travel the auto show circuit.

After a period of development that lasted from 2005 to 2009, the project was abandoned, and the car was left disassembled in Germany. A Bizzarrini enthusiast purchased the P708, and brought it back into complete condition. He’s put roughly 1,000 road miles on the clock since.

Regardless of slightly generic styling and the unfortunate use of AutoMeter gauges, the Barchetta should be a hoot to drive, thanks to an exceptionally low curb weight and the 7.0-liter LS7 V-8 thumping out back.

Despite the strange kit-car appearance, it’s expected to sell for a high pre-sale estimate of $620,000.

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